Ill Bred is a streetwear brand with a skate/hardcore/political influence, from the sunny regions of Southern California. It all started about a year ago in the back of a screen-printing lab at brand owner Alan Littrell’s local community college with the love for the D.I.Y. ethic and music. “I always enjoyed making D.I.Y. merch for my band and friends bands so I decided to start making my own shirts with my own designs,” Littrell comments. “So I went down the street to the swap meet and bought a small bulk of shirts and began printing with only a few hours of lab time each class before I got kicked out. I managed to print a handful of decent shirts along with lopsided logos and inky fingerprint stains. That lasted for about a half of a semester haha. My motives? Sounds dumb but I was always a picky buyer when it came to name brand clothes so I wanted to make clothes I and the people I hung out with would wear with designs and ideas that I would want to share with people while walking down the street or through school.” Litrell, who plays in hardcore band Dangerous Minds (with members of Dynasty) managed to produce a small but solid collection of items, which urged us to ask him some more questions.
Whether it’s with kids you hang around with on the streets or you skateboard with, kids you go to shows with, or kids you play games with on PartyPoker.com, Ill Bred is a brand you should know more about and that needs to be shared with your friends.
How have you been operating since you got started?
“Ill Bred is a very small operation. Small releases to keep a budget, small quantities so there isn’t too much left over. It’s kind of becoming a part of what Ill Bred is. So far it’s just me running things…designing, photos, social media, shipping, blah, blah, blah. I do have a close friend who has experience in this field and has owned his own shop. He gives me advice, helps me network with people, videography, and says if a design idea looks cool, haha. He kinda pushed me to get started and guided me through the beginnings, “unofficial” member I would say. I keep Ill Bred tightly knit; one reason is I would rather have that personal relationship I have with friends now then ruining it over some awkward business matter. Another reason is I have trust issues.”
What inspires you in creating new designs?
“Creating new designs is always scary. One of things that are in the back of your head is running out of ideas. But I think as long as your living you will always have inspirations. Old punk/hardcore merch, 90’s skateboarding, vintage typography/photos inspire me, pretty much anything that has a label and words. Most of all is the beauty in simplicity.”
You reckon your childhood influenced you in the decisions you made to started out this company, and your view towards art/design?
“Yes definitely, it’s pretty much how I came up with the name. It’s basically about being proud of how you grew up and your roots. For me it was skateboarding, music, touring, and chillin’ with homies. Everybody has their own opinion on what “art” is, and what it is not. I love the abstractness about it; it can be anything you want. One of my friends that was a fellow art student at the time walked into our class with a bunch of balloons he painted on and released them inside the room. No one could get them until they ran out of helium, it was awesome. As cheesy as it sounds art is whatever you make it and how you express yourself. Design should be simple and not over thought… but most of all pure and honest.”
What sets Ill Bred apart from other clothing brands?
“This is a hard one… Before the brand I would have ideas of shirts that I wanted to wear; not necessarily a “clothing brand” but just graphics/slogans (mostly political) that I wanted to confuse people with or offend them… I say this is a hard one because there are trillions of brands probably with the same idea as you. But what most brands are afraid of is stepping out of the box, being controversial (as in graphics and fashion trends). That’s something Ill Bred is willing to do. We haven’t done anything crazy yet, but I want this brand to rise questions like “ Why did they do that?” and “What does that mean?” so they buy our products trying to figure us out. I think even when we grow and have more resources we will always be a simple and straightforward brand doing what we want and how we want.“
Can you detail some future plans and collaborations?
“We definitely want to keep growing, larger releases, cut & sew more headwear but that all takes time. Collaboration wise, we love working with bands. You can expect another collab with hardcore band Dynasty (Strike First/Facedown Records), those are my dudes. Also, a collab with new, heavy-hitting hardcore band Isolation A.D. is in the beginning stages. Haven’t done anything with other brands yet but I would like to. I would also like to do something with a hip-hop artist or put a compilation or mix-tape I think that would be rad.”
Do you have an ultimate goal or vision in mind for Ill Bred?
“I would like to take Ill Bred to its full potential. Maybe having a shop one day, that would be wild. I would really like to do everything in house one day. Alongside a brand I would love to have my own warehouse for printing and office space. Offering services for bands and other companies as well. My vision is doing what I love while helping others and being able to live comfortably off of it. Simple as that.”
Keep an eye out for Ill Bred – they’re the next hot thing that’s coming for you. Be sure to check out their collection in their online store.