By Georgi Bomb
“The inspiration was a pretty simple thing really. I noticed the lack of clothing lines in Europe aimed at straight edge/hardcore kids. I’ve never been about making money, I’m just proud that there are people out there wearing my clothing, not many people can say that. Plus I’ve always wanted to be in a band but can’t really play an instrument so this is kind of my band, a one man band haha.” Ben Wynne speaks about the inspiration behind his new clothing label, xMore Than Inkx, which is planting its feet firmly into the straight edge scene.
Amazingly only founded in July 2011, the brand can now be seen across the chests of well-established hardcore and straightedge acts such as Billy the Kid, Ghostxship and XCurraheeX. Originally the idea was started with a straight edge Facebook page, which served the purpose of posting up bands in the edge and hardcore scenes, as Ben tells Culture Bomb, he grew tired of the way the straight edge scene was being portrayed on social media – people trying to convert others and generally annoying those not “edge” (Definition of straight edge).
After achieving over 3,000 fans of the page and suggestions he should start a clothing line, Ben made the decision to put his money where his mouth was and present the world with a xMore Than Inkx. Unfortunately there was a lack of money to put in his place of his mouth so he advertised designs for a number of weeks and collected pre-orders, before having the shirts printed and issued. “Luckily I knew a few guys in bands like GhostXShip, xCurraheex and Billy The Kid so I sent one member from each a shirt. You can’t beat promo like a band wearing your shirt. The shirts themselves didn’t take long to sell.”
Of course, with no money to back him up, there must have been some difficulties along the way? “I haven’t really faced any. Getting the money together sometimes . I’m lucky that the hardcore community is a really supportive one so I’ve had nothing but positive feedback. Actually getting my stuff out there when I started was a struggle but again I’m lucky because bands have shared my link on facebook. I’ve also found a great website (www.hardcoreshirt.com) where you send your design in and they advertise it for you for free.”
The hardcore and straight edge community may be a close-knit one, but fashion is about expressing the individuality, not conforming and reflecting one’s own personality. Fortunately, the current line isn’t just suitable for that one community. “I mean obviously the line is primarily aimed at edge kids; I’m sure non edgers don’t want a shirt with ‘STRAIGHT EDGE’ on the front of it! But the ‘BREAK STEREOTYPES NOT FACES’ shirt isn’t just aimed at edge kids. It’s more of a positive youth shirt. Although I will be mostly releasing edgewear in the future, there will be a few ambiguous designs in there too.”
Affordable is definitely evident here, the whole range on the site is reasonably priced, and you won’t get stung by postage either. The brand features the logo across trucker caps (£20 +free p+p), watches (£8), stickers, t-shirts (for men and women), hoodies and jumpers. Culture Bomb‘s favorite has to be the Break Stereotypes slogan as modeled below by Bart from A Point of Protest [Editor’s note: sorry, we aren’t edge!].
The future line expands further afield than just the straight edge slogan. Ben has desires to do a vegan and animal rights design, anti-racism and quite interestingly, an anti-drink driving design also, something which may generate a whole host of interest being an interesting but certainly passionate topic for many. xMore Than Inkx’s future could certainly play its part in the fundraising and charity awareness sector as Ben says, “I want to release a shirt and give all the profits to a charity also.”
So what else does the future hold for the brand? “I want to have stalls at as many shows as possible. I have my first one in December in Liverpool. Also I would love to start a record label in the future, but I’m not really thinking about it at the moment. I just want to concentrate on making xMTIx as popular as possible and put out some good merch!”
This is definitely a brand name to watch over the next year, with future ideas that will appeal to a wide range of people and, if anything, Ben’s humbleness is enough to make you want to jump in and support the rising clothing label. “Thanks to everyone who has supported me,” he endearingly finishes with, “All the bands, friends and family. And thank you for doing my very first interview! Keep supporting underground music!