This interview was conducted in collaboration with the Glasgow University Charity Fashion Show.
Today I am introducing an endearing and funny duo, two pals bound together by the design of an edgy but affordable line of clothing – TAXMAN Clothing Ltd. You will probably have heard of them on campus as their t-shirts are incredibly prized, with record-time sellouts. GUCFS were lucky enough to collaborate with them on our most recent shoot & wanted to find out more about the guys behind this incredible brand.
Dave and Ally are the two founders of Taxman clothing. The story of how they met starts as the classic freshers story; “We met on the second day of freshers week in Murano” said Ally, “I started chatting to Dave because I noticed he had the same shoes, socks and trousers as me! How weird! We soon realised we had a lot in common, both being part of bands as well as being into fashion”. From this day, they have been pretty much inseparable!
Ally had a book of drawings that he had been working on for a while and one night, when flicking through it together, they stopped on one design, thinking it would look weird on a tee shirt; this little box with a heart. It mysteriously embodied a common belief of theirs (which they carefully avoided to reveal despite all my questions). The two boys decided to embroider the design on two simple white t-shirts, one for each.
Who would have thought that one, then two, and soon “tons of people” would start asking about it?
The two friends built a website followed by an Instagram account and used it as their only means of communication. “It is an Instagram-ran business, we had to set up a Facebook page at some point but clearly told people from the beginning “you can like this if you want but we won’t share anything there!’”. Alright, got it (let’s all check out @taxmanclothing on Instagram, I bet no one wants to miss out).
My curiosity grew bigger and bigger, how did two first year students, go about setting up such a successful business?
“We sort of went along with it” said Dave, “We started off sewing it ourselves but there came a point where there was so many orders we could not do it anymore. We ended up just doing the designs and hand-sewing the labels ourselves but even just that was a big mission! (laughs) I stayed up for 36 hours to hand-sew the first load of tee shirts!” Ally added.
Impressive!! The dedication they put into it mesmerized me, how did they cope with this and university at the same time? “We don’t do anything else” said Dave laughing “we never saw it as a business, it is more of a really fun hobby to us, and we don’t mind spending more time on it if it means that more people will be able to buy it”.
Taxman t-shirts are surprisingly affordable for a line of streetwear clothing. The two designers decided not to raise their price above £25, making it affordable to most students, even if that meant learning how to hand-sew, “I had to teach myself how to hand-sew, oh it was horrific” laughed Ally, “we had no other option, we could not afford a sewing machine, the one we finally managed to get is not even electric, it’s one from the 1920s!”.
As they grew bigger, along came the opportunities, as well as the fun. The website obviously needed some pictures so the two boys asked around and managed to gather their friends to model and take photos.“Those photoshoots were the funniest days ever” Dave added.
The duo also had the privilege to be invited to the ASOS headquarters in London. They were interviewed about their business, mingled with other cool student designers and got to model on a photoshoot with other models. “We turned up and they had a rail of clothes and asked us to pick up an outfit for the models and for us. There was a lot of other designers there, studying in art schools or doing placements at ASOS. We were just lost in the crowd, two wee boys from Perth and Dundee doing statistics and neuroscience!”. This is what keeps them going, “if it is not fun anymore we will stop”.
Now I had been asking myself, why “Taxman”? What is the meaning behind this brand name? “It is all meant to be part of a bigger picture, all the drawings together and the image of the brand has a meaning that hopefully people will figure out by themselves” said Ally. The new collection that they’ve “been working on for a while” is supposed to give away some more clues to the whole Taxman mystery. However, I am sorry to announce that the secret is to be kept forever, as they declared that their “job is purely to make the tee shirts” and they “will let the people interpret the designs the way they want.”
After chatting with them for almost two hours around a flavoursome chai latte and delicious carrot cake, I can tell you that this friendship is extraordinary, and will bring about an exciting future for the Taxman clothing label. As for now, one thing I won’t be able to help is stalk their Instagram, waiting for the next tee shirt batch release. Get it fast, last time they were gone in four minutes!
GUCFS were honoured to have collaborated with such an amazing Glasgow-based brand and we can’t wait to see what the future brings for TAXMAN.