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While T-shirt makers the world over are plying their wares virtually, Brad Hodgskiss is keeping Mingo Lamberti real. "I do believe that it's important to have some presence on the web, but ultimately I want people to physically interact with the brand and the environment in which it's presented," he explains.
Established in 2007, Mingo Lamberti was named after Hodgskiss's grandfather, who believed in doing things properly, drawing from heritage and respecting authenticity. As such, the brand has been built on distinguishing existing objects through original design, while keeping quality high and editions low (200 per design).
"I would prefer consumers feel that they have found something original after stumbling upon it, rather than shoving it down their throat because I have my brand all over the place. The stores that stock the brand are also unique in their own right and that adds a lot to my brand," explains Hodgskiss, whose wares can typically be found at Astore, Lover, Twisted Love, Sowearto, The Wardrobe and Design Indaba Expo.
So far, Mingo Lamberti has brought out two ranges of T-shirts. For the most recent range, Far Far Away, a competition allowed new designers to submit entries. While a small prize was awarded to each of the eight finalists, the ultimate award was recognition and promotion through the competition's partners - Biblioteq, One Small Seed and Vida. Inspired by places visited in kids' storybooks and even adults' daily imagination, the entries were all decidedly twee and ironically fantastical.
Hodgskiss insists that each T-shirt has to look different from the rest. This is not only to ensure diversity, but because he wants to make sure that the Mingo Lamberti brand doesn't become more recognisable than the design.
This goes with the Mingo Lamberti wearers. "The only typical thing about them would be that they want to be original," he concludes.