Meet Insert Coin – the clothing brand with an eye for cool and the heart of a true gaming geek.
Insert Coin are a clothing brand taking the gaming world by storm with their range of cool, clever and cutting edge designs, made by gamers for gamers. We caught up with Insert Coin head honchos Jon and Dan at their Southend-on-Sea HQ for a chat about their PlayStation inspired gear and a lifetime of button bashing...
Jon and Dan, thanks for taking time out to chat to us. Can you tell us about how Insert Coin came about?
Jon: Dan and I have worked together for years and we've always been passionate about games. Back in 2010 we started getting some ideas together and got really excited about what we could do – within a few months we had the name, had a website built and started on our first designs.
Your clothes cover a huge range of games, from all-time classics to new titles like The Last of Us. What do you look for in a game to inspire you?
Dan: There needs to be that almost indescribable hook that some games have, like a certain character or setting that makes it click with people. Once we find that little spark, we look for ways to make it work on a T-shirt or other piece of clothing.
Jon: We look for inspiration from the games that have stuck with us through the years.
Dan: There are some games you can mention to people of any age and you instantly see their eyes light up. You never really grow out of the games you loved as a kid.
The PlayStation hook-up has had a strong start with your designs inspired by The Last of Us. What was it like to work on one of the biggest games of 2013?
Jon: Really exciting. We're massive fans of Naughty Dog and played all the Uncharted games relentlessly, so it was very cool to work with those guys and have creative discussions about our designs.
Dan: Getting that feedback is vital, they couldn't have been more helpful.
Jon: We saw lots of concept art from Naughty Dog – things like the Dawn of the Wolf film posters that are a theme throughout the game, that we've based one of our shirts on. Also we knew crafting was important, so that's why we did the Ellie's Survival School design with the brick.
Do you always work so closely with game developers?
Dan: If it's a new game then yes, they get involved to give us some direction. With older games we get a bit more freedom.
Jon: Sometimes we approach publishers and it takes them by surprise – they think, why do you want to make a T-shirt for a game from 1995? And we just say "it might be old, but that game is awesome!".
Jon: We're always online to see what people are asking for and it inspires us when people suggest what they want to see. We like having that direct link – on our website, we have a Respawn button, so if something's out of stock, users can hit the button and we can get in touch to let them know when it's coming back in.
Dan: We've started a regular games night with the Twitter and Facebook users. We recently played The Last of Us, so it was the Insert Coin team against people from the community in a tournament.
Jon: We were all practising the week before! We wanted to put in a good showing...
Dan: We've never claimed to be the greatest gamers, but we didn't want to get completely owned, so we had to get the practice in.
So what sort of games did you guys grow up playing?
Jon: I started out with old Spectrum computers, then through the years have been addicted to classics like Street Fighter. When the original PlayStation arrived it was games like Parappa, Gran Turismo...
Dan: I really love ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, but like Jon I've been playing games since the days of screechy tape decks to load cassette games.
What's next for Insert Coin?
Jon: The Last of Us pre-orders will be online soon and we've just started working on some new designs based around Killzone, God of War and LittleBigPlanet, so there's lots going on – we're going to be really busy well into 2014.
Want to represent your favourite games in style? Head over to the InsertCoin.com to get your geek on – or check out Jon's posts on PlayStation.Blog for a sneak peek at the Parappa the Rapper and The Last of Us ranges that are coming soon.
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Prepare for destruction on an intergalactic scale.