Hi Marc! Do share more about yourself and Stonemen — what do you think is the unique selling point of the brand besides the eye-catching prints?
I love the outdoors and I love good design. That’s why I took a basic idea, like underwear, and gave it an aesthetic tweak. I think that made the biggest difference in a flooded underwear market. We also use superior fabrics and high-quality printing, as well as collaborating with top-notch artists. Essentially, Stonemen underwear is a piece of wearable art.
So, you were previously a photographer and venturing into this business seems a little unexpected. How did this union come about?
I don’t usually tell this to everyone — but the truth is, Stonemen started from an unfortunate sight of an elderly man doing exercises in front of me wearing a short pair of shorts and no underwear.
Not wanting to be affected by gravity the way this man was, I started wearing underwear! But upon being disheartened by what was available, I decided to create my own label. Since I have a background in fashion photography, the idea of putting images on underwear seemed like a natural thing to do.
How do you decide which of your photographs to use in the various underwear styles you produce — is there a “science” behind it or do you just go “oh, this looks good with that”?
A little bit of science, because everything needs to be cohesive. But we often conduct research and when we see something or someone’s art that we love, we connect and collaborate.
When we think of Australia and Australians, it’s active, outdoorsy and fun. Would you say that’s something reflected in the Stonemen brand?
Yes, definitely. It’s always warm where we live, so we tend to spend a lot of time outdoors. The perfect weather for just hanging in your underwear!
Were there any memorable reactions towards your products, especially for people who encounter them for the first time?
Definitely. It’s great when people who understand the attention to detail in the making process, and simply love the idea of a beautiful image on a pair of undies come up to you. These are the people who get it. It’s a very tricky hands-on process of matching the image through the panels on the instability of cotton. The smile on their faces is what drives us on.
The brand has been around for almost 10 years now and that’s really impressive for a small, independently run brand. What were some of the most important lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Be fearless and trust your instinct, but do your research. Have a plan and a vision, but be flexible.
Are there any Australian artists/makers currently on your radar? What is it about their work you admire?
Melanie Vulich. She was the artist behind our Cactus print. Her style is masculine and raw. We are working on another print right now with her.
How does your creative base inspire you and do you find aspects of the location creeping into your work as well?
We have just moved up the coast to Byron Bay. It’s a little surf, hippie, fashion village on the coast of Australia. It’s a great blend of sun, sea, surf and creativity. There are a lot of people up here that are really shaking it up in the design world. It feels good to be a part of it.
Share with us some of your favourite spots in Byron Bay and what do you love about them?
In Byron Bay, you’ll most likely find me at The Pass, Wategos beach, Roadhouse and Miss Margarita. These places are always full of friends and good times.
When you’re not busy at work, what would you be doing? What’s a typical weekend like for you?
A bit of surfing, hanging with my kids and a bit more surfing. But honestly, when you have an online store, you never really stop working!