It takes a lot to be the face of a brand – a spirit of stylish success all while packing a punch of panache. Athletic endorsements keep sport strong, celebrity perfumes form a fashionable fragrance formula and models would not work if not to represent a product.
One of the longest trading, quintessential stalls of the Young Designers Market, has graced YDM social networks for the past year as our profile picture. Every status update, comment, Tweet and Pin made by a ‘Lady Phuncle’ pretty pink princess floating along a South Bank bridge, even the precincts ferris wheel seems to admire from the distance! With vintage inspired pieces alongside a mens label ‘Uncle Phuncle’, Ashley’s in fine form for the YDM on Sunday August 5.
Providing products all hand made in Australia, Ash and Steve are the go-to duo for everything Phuncle. With Ashley leading the ladies wear with design daydreams of classic retro silhouettes in the forefront of her thoughts…sewn with love in small batches to so you know you are sporting something special.
Representing the fellas is Steves signature T-shirts and hoodies boldy emblazoned with cartoon concepts from the depths of his subconscious and screen-printed by hand in our great southern land. Staying true to the culture of collectable comic books, the toon tees are exclusive with limited print runs boasting five new Uncle Phuncle cartoons each release.
Why do you like trading at the Young Designers Market?
YDM provides a fantastic platform for designers to showcase their works. South Bank has a fantastic creative buzz that draws in a wide audience. The market scene has grown considerably over the past few years and there are often a number of market events happening throughout the city on any given weekend…However, with YDM people know there is always the guarantee of a wide range of design styles, and I love the YDM community as they provide a great place to trade in a market of like-minded designers and creative types.
How do you prepare for the YDM?
Market prep begins as soon as we find out we’ve managed to book a spot at the next YDM.
We start by planning the Uncle Phuncle shirts that need to be screen printed (refilling sizes and colours) and planning the sewing schedule for Lady Phuncle designs.
We have staple Lady Phuncle items like our Phuncle Mini Skirts, Tea Time and Picnic Dresses which get sewn first and then we start on designing the new items. Then in the week leading up to the market we post previews of the new items on our Facebook page where people can have a sneak peak before the market.
Tell us about Team Phuncle…
My name is Ash, and I design Lady Phuncle clothing and my partner Steve is the artist behind all of the Phuncle cartoons. It all started when I stumbled across sketchbooks filled with cartoons by Steve, drawn around the year 2001 – 2005. There are hundreds and hundreds of toons in existence with Steve drawing new ones all the time. After I began the business as a T-Shirt label I started sewing and making my own clothes, from there Lady Phuncle was developed.
However, we both have backgrounds in music and when I’m not sewing or screen printing you can find me teaching piano. Some Phuncle toons include some musical influence and even our Lady Phuncle designs aren’t really released in collections that coincide with the seasons but rather released in albums. Most of the newer Lady Phuncle designs are named after songs we love – usually from the music of the 50s and 60s. My interest in designing came a bit out of left field, and it wasn’t until the end of 2008 that I started developing the idea further.
Uncle Phuncle made its first market appearance in 2009, and we had our first stall at the Young Designers Market in Feb 2010. It all really took off from there. Our newest Lady Phuncle album (to be debuted at this Sunday’s YDM) is called “Bacharach Forever” and is a collection of designs named after Burt Baracharch songs. This coming album is quite different for Lady Phuncle and features different colour combinations and styles we haven’t done before. We’re very excited to show it to people this Sunday at our market stall! Lady Phuncle’s newest album cover “Bacharach Forever”. This album cover was designed by Miriam Bligh.
Describe the general process you go through when you create your products?
With hundreds of cartoons in the Phuncle archive, the biggest challenge before a new T-shirt release is choosing which toons to use. Once we’ve chosen the cartoons we make our own screens to use for printing. It usually takes a full day to prepare all the artwork for printing.
Making our own screens means we have complete control over the printing process. Once all of the screens are made and mounted on frames it’s just a matter of busting out the fabric ink. It’s always exciting when the blank T-shirts arrive too. Each shirt is hand screen printed one by one and carefully left to dry before they’re all lined up ready to have the Uncle Phuncle trade mark printed on the back. Each shirt comes out differently – because they’re hand screen printed a design may come out darker or lighter making each shirt unique.
Once the shirts are dry, they are individually heat set and tagged with their size and Phuncle number. Uncle Phuncle T-shirts are collectable so each print run is carefully documented so we know exactly how many prints of each design are created.
Current Phuncle Toons available include: Phuncle No. 19, 27, 32, 38 and 46. Lady Phuncle staple items include our Phuncle Mini Skirts, Tea Time dresses (featured in the September 2011 issue of Dolly magazine) and our Picnic Dresses in addition to the current albums available.
Customers can find out more on our website: www.unclephuncle.com
Shop online in our online store: www.unclephuncle.bigcartel.com
and keep up to date with everything Phuncle: www.facebook.com/unclephuncle
Seek out something at YDM on Sunday August 5 for both girls and guys… antique chic or edgy sketchy – the Phuncle crew have your next must-have piece all stitched up!