MOOD NYC has for a long time, been an aesthetic pleasure of ours. We’re in constant admiration of the diversity / no-fucks-given attitude to fashion and design they have stood by. Not only working with great and renowned artists such as Korakrit Arunanondchai and Tom Darracott but also pushing out bold punch-your-face-off graphics in-house. As well as consistent graphic design and art direction MOOD manage to crush video and moving image/animation. Everything they’re producing from boards to t-shirts, hats to bottle openers, has a level of detail and a solid distinct look that can only be MOOD. A skate brand like no other. Keeping it small, doing what they want. They’re also donating portions of certain items sold to Planned Parenthood®️ and Sierra Club®️. Power to the people.
Their latest lookbook, expertly shot by Anna Ottum features pastel backgrounds and bold styling. Further more illustrating just how MOOD like to do things (see below). Late last year we did a few graphics for MOOD. We caught up with Calvin Waterman, creative director and brains behind MOOD. Luckily we share our Brooklyn studio with him, so we were able to catch up over a breakfast burrito from Rosies.
Catalogue: Hey Calvin, congrats on the new launch, perfectly in time for Spring. When you’re designing do you think about seasons? Less in terms of long sleeve or short sleeve, more so for graphics and colour ways.
MOOD NYC: There is a bit of that, it’s funny we’ve started to go hard on color in the past year or so before that 90% of our designs were B&W. In terms of graphics, stuff just bubbles to the surface, I really try to go with the flow. The M.J. tee we did this year was drawn by my friend’s 8 year old son, it’s a really amazing drawing, I thought it had to be made into a tee. I lot of the graphics for this release I have been working on in the background, they just sort of coalesced into something useable.
C: Impressive roster of artists, how do you reach out? How do you select who’s gonna do it? Are they always receptive?
M: Thanks! It is such a variety, most of the time it involves cold emailing or going down in the dm…hahahaha. Of course rejection is always on the table, I won’t name names but I have been lead on more than a few times. Other times it happens really organically, you and I for example, us getting paired for some random project a few years back, becoming friends and ultimately working together was totally fucking random and great. Other times the artist will reach out. We’ve worked with the illustrator Anthony Picarelli on the past few releases, he actually reached out to us when he was fresh outta school. Now he does stuff for brands like Butter Goods, Opening Ceremony and low key did some stuff for that brand that starts with a Sup… I love working with different people and experiencing their process. We try to keep it open and let the collaborator do whatever they want with some subtle art direction in there.
C: Which collab has been your favourite so far and why?
M: Shit man! Ok well I think one of the most unexpected and successful collabs was with K-Hole that we did early on. They designed just one long sleeve for us HD IS OFF. It had so much crossover between skate, design, art, music etc. It was a motto that resonated at the time. Also K-Hole got us a full blown launch party at PS1 for a fucking shirt, I mean how many launch parties have you been to for just one shirt? It was siq.
C: You really produce just about anything, the graphics are often SO different, especially on boards, but somehow they are recognisable, almost making an aesthetic that is recognised by being an unrecognisable aesthetic. Try and get your head around that statement and explain.
M: HahahAAHhah, I feel you. I have been thinking about this recently. For most brands doubling down on what has worked in the past is their M.O. Since I am a bad business man I don’t see this as being very fun, although I am sure it’s great for business. I like to think of Mood as a band, maybe I will only be playing small shows in the backs of bars, but at least I’ll be playing what I want….hahahaha Is that depressing sounding?
C: Last question, I know you’re busy. Why did it take so long for you to ask us to do some graphics for you?
M: SHEEEITTTTTT…mmmmm…don’t we have some unreleased fully designed collection somewhere? HEY, I also think that we’ll probably have an ongoing collaboration or maybe some bigger project in the works soon ; ) Thanks much!