Loot Crate creative director Tom Kurzanski on finding the perfect fashion for their subscribers
Loot Crate is one of the most popular geeky subscription box services available. The company offers multiple crate options to fit subscribers’ interests whether it's general pop culture or a more specific TV show or video game, so that every month you can receive exclusive items inspired by a theme. These items include collectibles and figures as well as apparel and accessories.
In fact all of Loot Crate’s options arrive with a piece of apparel, usually a T-shirt. However, geeks that want a more fashion-focused package delivered monthly can have that too. Loot Wear offers five apparel subscriptions that feature a range of options from socks to tees to one just For Her. Between these crates and deciding what apparel and accessories go into the other crates each month, Loot Crate has to think a lot about what fashion to offer its customers. So how exactly do they make their choices each month?
We interviewed Loot Crate creative director Tom Kurzanski over email to learn more about the company’s process when it comes to their geek fashion offerings.
How do you decide on the T-shirt to include in each month's Loot Crate? What is your process like for making that decision?
Tom Kurzanski: It’s a team effort that involves pop culture trends, results from our monthly surveys, direct requests from Looters, and Post-Its (lots of Post-its!), all through the lens of that month’s particular theme. The shirt is never decided in isolation of the rest of the crate’s assortment, it’s one piece of the unboxing experience. As a team, early in the process, we discuss everything from animations to podcasts, books to TV shows, basically all the things, so we can determine what would make a great assortment. From there, we build our concepts, sometimes bringing in outside artists to create the final T-shirt design.
Do you have different teams that work on the apparel and accessories to include in each of your different crates?
Kurzanski: I oversee our apparel creative for Loot Crate, Loot Crate DX, and Loot Wear, but we always collaborate as a team to identify fandoms, develop design ideas, and potential styles. Each crate has its own unique needs and so each creative lead best understands those requirements and limitations, but we all work within the unified, unmistakable Loot Crate voice.
Why did you want to start the Loot Wear range and how did you settle on the different categories to offer?
Kurzanski: Loot Wear originated as Level Up; a way for Looters to add on unique wearable items and to wear and share their fandoms. As the line grew in popularity, it no longer felt like an add on option, and the categories organically built out from Looter requests and our research into gaps within fandom apparel.
How did the Loot For Her option come about and why was that something you wanted to include?
Kurzanski: Our female fans requested a more fashion-forward outlet for their fandoms. Now we create exclusive apparel and accessories that get delivered to our Looters every month.
You currently have a For Her, By Her program where you work with artists for the Loot For Her crate. Why did you want to start this program and how do you find the artists you want to work with?
Kurzanski: There are so many incredible women artists in the geek and gamer space; one of whom actually inspired me to get into apparel design. Crystal Fontan (known as Bamboota in the art world) was producing great work for tee-a-day sites and her encouragement and inclusiveness in the tee community led me down the path I’m on now; creating apparel and helping to guide and harness amazing talent. Knowing Loot Crate has a platform to elevate these artists’ work and present it to an audience that may not be fully aware of them, it seemed fitting that we’d provide the opportunity to feature their work on an apparel canvas while, at the same time, satisfying our women fans with thoughtful, female-centric apparel and design. Having worked with so many of these amazing artists previously, I have a sense of their aesthetic and their favorite fandoms. We do our very best to match an artist with a fandom she’s passionate about, and that her style connects with.
Is it ever a challenge to find brands or artists to work with when it comes to the fashion items in your crates or is it ever challenging making sure each month's apparel and accessories across your crates are unique from what subscribers have seen in the past?
Kurzanski: Providing thoughtful items that are both unique and exclusive to Loot Crate can be a challenge, definitely. Finding fandoms that fit thematically, which also allow us to play with them creatively to tie into the Loot Crate spirit, and coordinating with an artist whose aesthetic and voice connect with both the theme and the fandom, means planning out months in advance. For example, we recently shipped a Dark Crystal poncho with gorgeous art by Spanish artist Asuncíon Macian Ruiz (a.k.a Medusa Dollmaker) and finding the right fit for that fandom was definitely a challenge. The aesthetic is so tied to [Jim] Henson and Brian Froud, but we and the Henson company wanted to find an artist whose vision stood on its own. As luck would have it, we both knew Asuncíon, and as a huge fan of Dark Crystal, she agreed to create the incredible piece for our Loot For Her line.
When it comes to geek fashion, what makes your crates stand out from the other subscription box options out there also offering apparel and accessories?
Kurzanski: We work with true fans and incredible artists to create wholly original designs which represent the spirit of every fandom, from concentrate. When you subscribe to Loot Crate and Loot Wear for apparel, you can be confident that you’ll get something that lets you share your passion with others, and empowers you to show who you are to the world.
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