By Rebecca Skilton
It combines influences from the normal and the paranormal. It blurs the lines between the strange and the familiar. It’s influenced by all things peculiar, fun and frightening.
It’s called Loose Threats and it’s the result of probing, passion and persistence.
Loose Threats is an illustrator, creative studio and self-described passive aggressive label. Grinding a new track for the world of casual and skate apparel, the brand is founded, directed and run by graphic artist and Garfield resident, Zac Fawkner.
A graduate of the graphic design course at Victoria University, Fawkner had no business training or experience prior to establishing Loose Threats in 2014.
Describing his schooling attitude as “primarily only motivated when it came to art and design”, the 23 year old admitted that operating his own business was something his 17-year-old self would have failed to imagine.
“When I was a kid I used to draw up my own skate brands and clothing designs, but it wasn’t really until the end of my design course that I realised it was something I could actually achieve. But in saying that, starting a business on my own wouldn’t have been something I thought I would do when I was in school,” Fawkner explained.
“It was pretty hard at first to figure out everything that I needed to do to get started. Things like the business structure, the budget and getting everything together was a bit of a puzzle to work out. I had no business training or background so it was all bit shaky at the start, but I was determined to work it all out and learn it on my own.”
From concept designs, to organizing and outsourcing printing and garment suppliers, to managing finances, social media accounts as well as shipping and postage concerns, Fawkner is currently a one man show. Yet despite his solo mission, the Loose Threats online store stocks a wide range of original long and short sleeve T-shirts, singlets, hoodies, caps, and beanies; with some products stocked on the digital shelves of larger companies.
“I run Loose Threats by myself so networking is very important, especially when it comes to choosing the right people to help manufacture and sell your products,” Fawkner said.
“And having friends help out is always appreciated, especially when it comes to promotional things like photography, and even just getting honest opinions is always refreshing.
“But operating your own business is really rewarding – especially when something works out or you get recognition or sales. You also have full creative control which means decision making is slightly less controversial. But there are downsides too. If something doesn’t work, you have full responsibility. And of course being in charge of finances is tough.”
Dedicating 20 to 30 hours a week to the Loose Threats brand, Fawkner constructs his designs to tie in with the arbitrary sensation of the brand’s name. With a general interest in anything strange and mysterious, Fawkner’s creations frequently feature sci-fi and other-worldly designs. Often playing on the brands name and theme, the designer commonly creates his website and products to incorporate intimidating remarks such as; ‘Bring money. Buy Shirts.’
But despite what some would consider menacing, it’s what Fawkner considers his brand’s point of difference.
“What makes Loose Threats different comes down to the brand’s attitude,” Fawkner said.
“From the designs, to the website and social media feeds, it all has that loosely threatening attitude. Aside from that, I put a lot of work into the branding and packaging – people always appreciate the small details.”
Only three years into his business endeavours, the future for both Fawkner and Loose Threats is a limitless journey, with a number of business objectives already highlighted for the graphic designer. However, despite looking forward to his future, Fawkner never forgets each small but significant triumph that’s been achieved along the way.
“Every time a person I’ve never met wants to buy something that I’ve designed and made always feels like an accomplishment. But I still definitely want to evolve Loose Threats. I want to keep the clothing label as a base but expand more in to the freelance market, and start making some interesting designs for other brands and businesses,” Fawkner said.
“But my advice for anyone wanting to start up their own business is don’t be afraid. Just work hard and take a few risks. And on top of all that, don’t forget to try and enjoy it.”