ANMLHSE - Life of the Party

Friday, August 21, 2009

In the past few years, I've always talked about wanting to start a clothing company, or even something as small as a t-shirt printing company. Because of this, I've spent a few months just taking a deeper look into the "Urban" or "Street" brands that I see kids wearing, or that I myself like to wear. Stuff like The Hundreds, Crooks & Castles, and Triple Fat Goose have all caught my eye and made me feel that I could someday create something that reflects my influences.

Fast forward to about a month ago. Through Twitter and a little Internet surfing I discovered a mysterious word that a few friends from high school were associated with - ANMLHSE. I recognized a few names as old classmates of mine and couldn't help but explode with pride and happiness. People from my hometown were actually doing something, even if I wasn't quite sure what that something was just yet. I visited their website and was immediately attracted to the strange world of animation and zoology. But what exactly is it?

ANMLHSE is a brand created by a few college friends using their combined talents in different fields to produce some quality clothing. One of the founders of ANMLHSE, PandaReemy, took some time to answer a few questions I had about their brand and how they took steps towards making their idea a reality. We ran into each other at Extra Butter's Movie Night, and enjoyed yelling and hollering during the showing of Class Act. (The picture above I was pretty sober, I just closed my eyes at the last minute, I swear!)

BPT: On your website it states that your company began when a group of friends all attending the same college. Can you elaborate more so on the moment/event that inspired this company?

PR: :: cough, cough :: ahem... Sorry about that, its this smoker blowing smoke next to me as I await this magic Chinatown bus to NYC. Well as crazy as we may seem there's really nothing magical about how we came together. We were all friends studying graphic design, animation and fashion design. But we shared a few common interests; mainly comedy, cartoons (90's kids stand up!), design, partying and street fashion. So me; the panda, Jonny Rabbit and my homeboy Cornell came together as the founders but we integrated everyone else in the crew which at that time was about 10 people.

BPT: So you came together with this idea for the clothing line... where did you go from there?

PR: Well the idea for the clothing company branched from my homie Cornell because he had a previous clothing line but he wanted to start something new. Jonny and I also wanted something of our own so it happened naturally when the suggestion came up that our life is like Animal House the movie. One thing you should know about us was 2-3 years ago we threw the craziest house parties in Philly. Bar none. So we ran with the concept because there's so much you can do with the name alone. We just shortened the name to ANMLHSE for legal issues.

BPT: How did you find a good printing company?

PR: Finding a printer came natural. We had a good friend, Phil Leone who owned a shop called Deep Sleep in Philly and he helped us out a lot. In this "streetwear" scene you have a lot of lame people who hate etc etc. But he was always cool with us even though we were so different. We used to use the printers who did Johnny Cupcakes early stuff but then we found someone recently in Philly who is super dope.

BPT: Was it hard to introduce your clothing line to your community? How did the youth of Philly react to the release of ANMLHSE?

PR: At first it was like a college thing. Friends and family were receptive to it and supported us. The "scene" was a little harder to get respect from even though we were one of the only brands out here. But we were getting recognition from our parties and we are talented at what we do so people couldn't deny that. After the releases of the infamous Backstabber tee and the Big Deal Project we got a lot of love, support and recognition. These two releases transformed us from a bunch of kids with a clothing line into a "brand".

BPT: In the past few years, the way companies use the Internet has made it easier for small businesses to reach consumers. How has technology helped ANMLHSE grow?

PR: First off, Myspace was our biggest way of reaching out. Now you have twitter which is super dope! I met so many cool peeps in the industry. The Internet helps anybody that's small and just starting out. At the end of the day its all about presentation though, make sure that if you are a small business you put %100 creativity into whatever you do because you may not think so but important people will see what you're putting out.

BPT: How do you feel your line is different from the other up and comers out there?

PR: Well I definitely think our brand is different in 3 major ways. ONE, I'd say Illustration and design wise, we are on point. Especially with color and line quality, we are pretty different from other brands. TWO we have this image of light hearted fun, but also mature edgy themes that we can all relate to. High school kids want what we portray and college kids or alumni understand what we represent. And THREE we honestly don't care about being in the scene or sales or what's hot. We put out what we want, how we want, when we want. And nobody out there can say we are trend hoppers or biters.

And I mean what other brand has character illustrations of them as animals. I mean this in a deeper sense of how people recognize us. For instance its like me and Jonny are branded with AnmlHse as more than just characters that people talk to and understand because we connect with followers and supporters. Other brands not so much. I think people are too worried about being the cool guy or the rebel, fuck that dude let's party, drink and have fun.

BPT: Personally, I really enjoy all of the stuff I've seen from you guys. it reminds me Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Cool World. Where do you draw inspiration from for upcoming projects?

PR: Thanks man, its cool you referenced these two movies because they were our biggest inspiration for the "Mighty Anmls" lookbook. We look at anything, cartoons mainly, comedy, the streets of Philadelphia, college, our friends, etc. We just brainstorm ideas, most of the time [we are] joking around and we just refine it to either get a reaction out of people or to do it in an artistic way.

BPT: What kind of advice can you give other hopefuls in the fashion industry?

PR: Have fun and be yourself. Very cliche things to say but its the honest truth. Another thing is think outside the box, whatever you do go hard but always make sure its artistic. Art first, style second.

BPT: What was the most important lesson learned in the past few years in terms of running a business? Would there be anything you would change if you had the chance?

PR: There was one point where we got carried away with throwing parties. Wasn't much of a good look because we lost ourselves within the midst of the alcohol and the women lol but at the end of the day we don't regret anything. We came back this summer with a vengeance. We just needed a short hiatus to get our shit together you know. So I guess there wouldn't be anything to change really.

BPT: ANMLHSE released its summer line a few weeks ago. Whats next for you guys? Where do you want to take this company in the near future?

PR:lots and lots of boooooze. lol no but really we have some projects, new events, ideas for collections in the works and lots of collabs with other underground street companies. We also have a monthly party on the way which everyone should come out to Philly for, its gonna be crazy! And finally for our long time supporters were bringing back a big deal of classic releases :: hint, hint :: and working on music projects and art projects. You'll just have to stay tuned to to see true believers!

Much respect and Love to Reemy for taking the time out to answer my questions. Look out for upcoming events/releases from the ANMLHSE crew in the near future. The Tigers will keep you posted!



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