Tee Hunter speaks to Greg Kerr of Miles To Go clothing about the brand, his inspirations and how growing organically around a great concept has made Miles To Go a success so far and a brand to watch in the future too.
TH: What inspired you to form Miles To Go?
Greg Kerr: I was working at a print shop and printing other people’s shirts all day got me thinking that maybe I should try out making my own. I have never really liked the options available in stores for shirts and there weren’t nearly as many indie lines at the time, so, I basically wanted to print shirts i dug and hoped people liked them too. Initially, I was basically printing shirts in low numbers for myself and friends and wasn’t intending to really have a full on brand.
TH: Did your background you to a place where you felt ready to start a clothing brand?
Greg Kerr: I had printed in high school and made shirts for my band, so I was familiar with the process which helped a ton initially. I also went to school for digital media and that has helped with understanding artwork and the process involved in design. I had been in this industry making belts for people for 4-5 years before doing shirts as well.
TH: When was Miles To Go officially launched?
Greg Kerr: Miles to go never really launched in the way kids do it now. I printed a few shirts and sold them locally with no online presence and hustled my way into being able to buy designs and make more shirts. I have been doing it more seriously for almost 4 years.
TH: What was your aim with the brand?
Greg Kerr: The initial aim, which still holds up was to create a good product void of logo’s that focus on the art over branding. After I chose to make them all based off of literature, it has been great to see people checking out the books that inspire designs and get turned on by something new.
TH: What inspires the unique tone and style of your clothing designs?
Greg Kerr: I basically just continue to hire artists I like and I guess in a sense, my personal taste has really helped shape the look of the brand. This past weekend while selling at an event I had a few people think that all of the shirts were by the same artist and considering I had art by 6-7 different people on the table, I guess they do all have certain vibe.
TH: What do you think it is about literature and myth that makes for great imagery?
Greg Kerr: Reading forces us to use our imagination to visually create the words in front of us. We may all see things a bit differently, but I try to find strong theme or specific moments in a book or poem to capture. When you read a book, you see new things and toss yourself into the story, creating a whole new world of ideas.
TH: What has been your most popular design and why do you think that is?
Greg Kerr: Hands down, Moby Dick. Especially at live events, people can easily relate to Moby Dick (pictured below) and recognize it regardless of if they have read the book or not. In addition, the shirt is on a really soft tee and has no actual ink on it. The image has been created by removing dye from the shirt. The Invisible Man and Medusa have sold very well for me as well.
TH: What is your favourite design and why?
Greg Kerr: That’s one of the hardest questions ot answer because it changes all of the time. I have probably worn the Sirens or Medusa the most over the years, but the artwork for my spring design for the Bell Jar might be my new favorite.
TH: As a one man company, can it be tricky to balance everything in your life?
Greg Kerr: Tricky doesn’t even come close to describing it. I enjoy knowing my customers and since I print all of my tees myself, my hand is on everything that I sell. It might be time for me to hire someone soon to handle mail-order and some other tasks that take up a lot of time soon. When you own a business, there is no end of the day either and in your personal relationships, it can be tricky to stop yourself from overwhelming people with all of it.
TH: How many designs get scrapped vs. every one that is printed and how do you know when you’re onto a winner?
Greg Kerr: So far, I have never scrapped a design, but I might have one this season that gets bumped or not used at all. Generally, I have a pretty good eye on what will sell and won’t. I knew Moby Dick would do well, but I had no idea it would do as well as it has. I have printed it 8 times now. I still have some misses sometimes or designs that don’t sell as well and it never makes sense to me because I usually love the artwork a lot.
TH: Where would you like to see Miles To Go five years from now?
Greg Kerr: Five years from now, I will most likely still be doing things how I do it now, but hopefully on a larger scale. With each release, I try to top the last and feedback has been great. If it keeps growing organically how it has, I will be perfectly happy. Getting emails or facebook messages from people saying they checked out a book and read it due to the designs is one of the best things about doing this.
You can view the entire collection in the Miles To Go store
A big thank you to Greg for taking the time to chat with us about his excellent brand.