Hey! It's Ryan. Behind The Design is a blog series where I dive into some of the inspiration behind our favorite pieces. For this post, we'll be looking at my personal favorite design on the entire store, as of the time this is posted, "Mecha".
To start, it's worth noting most of the design ideas come from a massive round table brainstorm session with the team where we basically just talk about things we're watching, doing and or are into at the moment, however, for this design, in particular, the 'standard' process was completely bypassed.
Personally, I have always been dead set on having the perfect mech-style piece on the site, but I could just never get it right. Gundam is and has always has been one of my personal favorite series in the entire Anime sphere, so I knew it would only be a matter of time before I bonded that love into a proper design.
Wind back to early 2019. I was in the midst of finally watching Gundam NT and deep into an MG Justice Gundam kit. Now if you're unfamiliar with Justice Gundam, the armor is a sort of pinkish-red color that I have always loved (hold on to that detail, it comes into play in a bit).
At this point in time, we had also just launched our first collection of the year. My head was in design mode and ready to experiment with more ideas for the next round. I almost immediately drifted towards the idea of a "mecha" style design, feeling super inspired by what I was consuming in the Gundam world at the time. It all felt right.
The design process for "Mecha" itself started with the color palette. Remember that pinkish-red tint? That was the starting color, that was then complemented with a jet black base from the garments and white fonts to tie it all together. The first question I asked my self before I picked up the pencil was, "How can I make this look as "mech" as possible?" I didn't want to blatantly put my own rendition of a Gundam on a shirt or hoodie, no. I wanted something unique. Something that would, without a doubt, present the theme I was going for to the diehards, while at the same time, bringing in an urban, almost hard look that could be rocked by nearly anyone with the slightest taste for something more mechanical or gritty looking.
So what's more mech looking than a TON of technical jargon? I don't know, maybe you can tell me in the comments below, but that's what immediately came to my mind. Series of letters and numbers strung together, random statistics pertaining to some giant robot, engineering blueprints -- you name it, I included it in the design. The key to giving it the look I was going for was the layout. It had to be precise and done with intention and thought. I think that's what really brought it all together.
When you step back and look at it the design from the backside, the overwhelming amount of information makes you feel like your almost sitting in the cockpit of a Mobile Suit while it's booting up. I couldn't be happier with how that vibe emanates. It was exactly what I was going for and to this day, I wear "Mecha" almost every week (no joke).
Oh! And if you're wondering what the kanji (高橋 or Takahashi) is doing splashed on the front and on the back corner, I did sort of loosely create quick lore behind the robot and stats featured in the design. Takahashi was supposed to be manufacturer behind the robot and it was ultimately me paying homage to how there are alliances and different build types in the Gundam Series (i.e. O.M.N.I, ZAFT, etc.).
Overall, I personally love this design and I hope that for other mecha fans out there (and non-mecha fans too) you can enjoy wearing this hoodie and/or shirt as much as I do. If nothing else, you now know the context and inspiration Behind The Design.