Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Process Clothing Interiew | Larry Luk

A month or two ago I was checking out my daily blog circuit and saw that Process Clothing was having a little contest for some free swag. Never a stranger to taking my chances, I entered. A week later out of the blue I received an email from Larry Luk at Process informing me that though I didn't win he felt inclined to send me a shirt. We exchanged a few emails over the course of the next few weeks and he was gracious enough to not only do our Monday Morning Playlist feature but also answer a few questions. I found it intriguing to see such growth of a design studio and clothing line in somewhere other then a big market city like New York or LA where the resources and healthy competition are vast. I have been to Atlanta once in my life, April 3 of 2002 to be exact. I only know this because some how my Dad managed to snag tickets to Jordan's last game in Atlanta. Turned out to be a great game, Atlanta ended up winning 91-89. Something that did not lack in the arena was passion and excitement even though the Hawks finished the season with a record of 33-49. This Atlanta passion runs deep and is the same passion I see running through the veins of Process Clothing. Not only passion for Atlanta but also design, growth and creativity.

Can you give us a little background into how you and Georgios met?

We met on the first day of design school here in Atlanta. Our school is called, Portfolio Center (, and it's basically a no frills "factory" that is responsible for a lot of the talent out there in the design industry. Georgios and I soon realized that we shared the same aspirations to do more than just our design assignments and what our internships asked of us. We were constantly tantalized (sidetracked) by the trial and error process of silk-screening. Experimenting with inks and burn times, we eventually taught ourselves how to screen print, as we took over an old photography studio in the basement of the school (without asking). I'm not sure if the school was 100% cool with our unwarranted takeover of that studio, but they couldn't deny the passion we had for learning. We printed on anything we could get our hands on. Paper, fabric, and even all over the walls in that room! It's been a couple years since we both graduated from Portfolio Center yet that closet studio still exists! Someone there is carrying the torch! I've also been asked to teach at Portfolio Center this Fall, so I guess they weren't that mad at us.

Can you discuss briefly the process behind the Epidemik Coalition’s formation and how it has evolved to incorporate We Are The Process?

As I stated earlier, we were screenprinting like madmen and we formed a small gang for fun and called ourselves Epidemik Coalition. We started printing limited runs of tees because that's all we could afford to do and our limitations on-press afforded many challenges when it came to large runs and multi-color prints. Soon after that, The Museum of Design Atlanta caught wind of us, and asked us to exhibit some of our tees in their upcoming show, "To A T". I believe that was in October of 2005.Members of our crew came and went but Georgios and I continued to share the same passion for work. As graduation from Portfolio Center came around, we already had a small client list for our design services and we had accomplished several exciting projects with some of our mentors. We decided to take that momentum with us and officially opened for business as Epidemik Coalition (the design company) the day after graduation. started out as a blog to showcase the work we were doing in our infancy. It has grown into much more than that, as we update daily with news, interviews, commentary, portfolio updates, music, and much more relating to design and our community here in Atlanta. About a year out of school, we decided that we wanted to take our clothing more seriously. We pow-wowed with several friends and discussed what they'd want to see in a brand coming out of Atlanta and we arrived at the name We Are The Process. Enjoying the process, as it leads to the result of any creative endeavor, is crucial. We figured that if this line was going to get off the ground, it wasn't going to rely on one or two people. It was going to require contributions from our friends, families, drinking buddies, DJs, promoters, store owners, and anyone else that has something positive to contribute. Hence the emphasis on "We" in "We Are The Process". From that point, it took another year to design, promote, get samples made, sell, produce, and we finally just launched our first season this past March.

How many people are involved with your team?

Georgios and I are the main graphic designers. Then we have Ted, our web guru, Jorge our design council and photographer, Ross and Joe that keep us up to date on what's poppin' in the photo world, and Chris who does anything and everything asked of him. Georgios and I also share the duties of overseeing production and going on press checks.

But like I said, it's an extended family that allows our brand to do what we want it to do. If it weren't for our support system, we'd be closing up shop. It's not to say that we've "made it" by any means. We have a long road ahead of us, and a lot more lumps to take. We're new to the clothing "game" (I hate that term) and we don't know all the rules and we're not part of any streetwear-mafiosos-tradeshow-squad either. Our family is small and we're trying to grow it without becoming clowns. Our philosophy is:

1) Design integrity rules all else
2) Idiotic statement tees are a no-no
3) Never "mail-it-in" when it comes to design
4) Grow relationships

What is the ATL art/creative/design community like?

Some people aren't going to like what I say here, but I'm just gonna keep it real:

The ATL creative community is pretty small. It's one of those cities that hasn't fully embraced design. Local business owners, restaurants, and other upstarts (like underground rappers) often don't understand branding and often struggle to put their best foot forward. You'll find a lot of creative people who aren't natively from Atlanta. So a lot of these folks have a lot of ideals and experiences to bring to the table. It's unfortunate that with all this talent here, people turn around and hire their cousin who has a cracked copy of Photoshop to do their identities for a cheap price.

You would think it would be different with an international company like Coca-Cola here in town, but it seems that they are the biggest purveyors for good design here in town, it's just not registering with all the other "hustlers" out there. We're doing our part (along with many of our counterparts here in town) to educate the city of the importance of design, but it's definitely not going to change overnight.

On the site you seem to do a fair amount of interviews with local musicians and artists, why is it important for you to?

Our weekly "Set It Off" interviews are important to us because it provides a new reader (or someone that wants to get involved with the scene in Atlanta) a genealogy of who's who. It's great to look back and see how the city is interconnected with great people and hopefully can help put ATL on more peoples' radars.

E.C./Process has worked with Estate LA. Are there any future collaboration projects in the works?

We are definitely planning on working with Estate LA more. They are a quality company with a grassroots mentality that reminds us of ourselves. There are a few other things in the works with close friends of ours and stores that carry our product, but I can't give away any details at this point.

What would be the ideal or dream collaboration project for E.C./Process?

I'd love to work with the big 'ole Swoosh (Nike) or that lovable Dynamic Ribbon of optimism (Coca-Cola). We've actually done some graphic design and consulting work for both companies on a small scale, but a collaboration with our clothing line would be on a whole 'nother level.

There are so many efforts in this industry with no-concept, that there are only a handful of other clothing brands that we continually enjoy and would like to work with. A few of them are Maharishi, Levi's, 3sixteen, Benny Gold, Mash, Wood Wood, Marc Newson, & Kim Jones.

It is probably safe to say that Process is strongly rooted in graphic tees (aside from some headwear). Are there any plans to expand the line and if so what can we expect from E.C. and Process for upcoming collections?

Our roots were in graphic tees (from our design school days) so it was natural for us to start there. We have some big plans for Fall '09 and Spring '10, but you're going to have to keep up with our blog ( and our online store ( in the coming weeks/months to see that stuff. You should have them bookmarked anyway! To answer your question: Yes, we have a lot of great things in the works.

What, in your eyes, is the best kept secret in ATL?

Wow, it's gonna be hard to name just one, so I'll make a little list:

1) The 10pm burger at Holeman & Finch - You can only order it after 10pm and they only make 24 per day. It's a great burger and it's "Limited Edish" every night. Ha!

2) El Bar - My favorite place to hang out. The music is always bangin' and people come there to have a good time. No pretention, douchebags tend to avoid it, and all my best friends love to hang out there as well. Make sure you order a Bear Fight if you go there.

3) The Atlanta Hawks - Don't sleep on 'em this season! Playoff games at Philip Arena are bananas!

What is the staple piece of your wardrobe?

I gotta say the tee shirt. I own way too many of them and I wear them every day.

As a designer what is an essential tool for you and how does it strengthen your design?

I'd have to go with my sketchbook on that one. If you don't start there, you're doing yourself, your team, and your clients a disservice. Your damn MacBook is really just another tool and doesn't automatically make you a designer. I don't care how long you've been a designer... If you don't sketch first, your shit'll probably stank.

Thanks for the time Larry.

(photo by Kevin Byrd)