My first introduction to BAD HANDRITING was in summer last year when founder Benjamin Nicholson approached me as I was walking through Carnaby Street.
“You look like you’re into fashion” Benjamin observed.
“I am” I said nodding in agreement, after which he proceeded to tell me more about his brand.
This go out and get it how you can spirit that Benjamin demonstrated is something I think really defines our generation and youth culture today. Now BAD HANDRITING are gearing up to drop designs from their latest collection ‘Love or Death’ which sees the brand adopt a punk aesthetic with dark and gritty undertones.
We link up with the BAD HANDRITING collective in a park in Peckham to learn more about them and their process as Benjamin creates some of their custom spray-painted pieces in front of our eyes.
Benjamin tells me BADHANDRITING “wasn’t meant to be a brand at the start”. BAD HANDRITING originated from him making music with his friend Oli, a musician who goes by the name Lovechild and a key member of the collective. Truly embodying their DIY ethos, they would shoot and edit music videos for Oli, whilst Ben would illustrate the art for the album cover.
In September 2018, Benjamin took one of his drawings printed it on to a t-shirt and started selling them but this wasn’t sustainable and they were losing money from unsold stock. In 2019 they took a new direction and started making 1/1 pieces from up-cycled t-shirts and jumpers.
Benjamin and Oli are currently studying Fashion Promotion and Film respectively. Oli tells me “Me and Ben were always different, everyone was on some other shit and we just the weirdos in the library. I connected with Ben because he was in the library drawing these massive, crazy pictures and comic books and I was just trying to make movies”.
Once connected, they started working on their creative projects around each other whilst collaborating on BAD HANDRITING, “there was nothing else to do so we just had to make shit and that was our release” Oli says.
On their social media pages and website BAD HANDRITING’s tag line reads “Custom clothing for the last generation” which makes me wonder if they see the brand’s supporters as a subculture and if that’s something they are actively aiming to foster.
“For sure”. Ben explains, “We’re aiming to build up a cult fanbase… that support this kind of like art movement that we’re trying to start”.
“BAD HANDRITING family”. Oli adds. “Me and Ben’s friends growing up were like Tyler the Creator (not literally) and like Frank Ocean or whatever. Now it’s just, I feel like there’s always been this surge of young art, just powering and putting pressure on the older artists. Playboi Carti will come out and then Kanye is looking at him like I got to up my shit”.
“We’re trying to start a new fucking wave”.
“Literally, we’re doing all this from our uni house, it’s just the two of us really. These guys help out as well but it’s mainly the two of us from the start. We run the brand from our living room basically”.
The energy on the day from all of them is infectious and the passion for what they do is palpable. BAD HANDRITING’s new season titled Love or Death means breaking out of their comfort zone and exploring strong gothic themes with pieces named things like ‘Anarchy’ and ‘1000 eyes’.
Continuing to develop their methods of tie-dying, spray painting and bleaching their pieces to create their boldly unique designs, BAD HANDRITING resonates with DIY youth culture created by those who dare to be different.
Shop BAD HANDRITING’s new season collection Love or Death here
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