Welcome to Bluelefant, my vision for a new type of clothing company that creates progressive alternative American fashion—a serious company that doesn't take itself too seriously. Scroll down to see some of my ideas and learn more about the motivation for this project or head over to Blogelefant and read my my views on clothing and sustainability, pro-social business practices, fashion, basketball and of course, elephants!
With Bluelefant, it isn’t my intention to brand as many products as possible with a single logo—though, in my opinion some of these designs could be their own brand. I’m also not going for the clever shirt that you find amusing when you first see it but grow tired of after you’ve worn it a few times. My philosophy is that each design should stand on its own merits and sell itself without the help of brand recognition.
The name came to me one day when I was in college. It was perfect—It combined my favorite color and my favorite animal. And it had a perfect symmetry to it, the last letter of the first word doubling as the first letter of the second. It sounded like the name of some exotic bar. But I soon began to realize that it held more personal shades of meaning for me. You see, I’m from Alabama, where college football is everything. For a lot of people, fan affiliation is a large part of their identity. People used to ask me what school I went to, and when I told them, they would approve or scoff based solely on my answer. The big rivalry in my state is between the University of Alabama, whose mascot is an elephant, and Auburn University, whose main color is blue. So for me, Bluelefant is a representation of unity. Another team sport that tends to pit people against one another is politics. Ever since the election of 2000, pundits have branded the Democrats blue and the Republicans, whose logo is an elephant, red. Once again, I saw in Bluelefant a symbol that transcended division and stood for something more inclusive.
Once the idea had occurred to me, I began to notice that most of the artistic depictions of elephants I encountered were blue. I wasn’t the only one who thought this animal and color belonged together. There seemed to be some unconscious connection and that's something I want to tap into. I want Bluelefant Clothing to be a brand that unites people, a company that stands for humanitarian values.
First and foremost, I’m creating clothes that I would like to wear. It’s my hope that others will want to as well. I don't need to be rich. I want to make a living while making a difference and I want to have some fun while I do it. Some of my designs are social commentary while others are tongue-in-cheek spoofs of other brands. But I'm serious about the work. I want to produce clothing of the highest quality and I want it 100% made in the USA. I want people to buy my products not only because they like the style and quality but because they support the philosophy behind our business practices. People will choose Bluelefant because it says something about who they are.
Thanks for staying with me this far. Next let's take a look at some of my ideas.
I first encountered the word saturnine in a jr. high school vocabulary lesson. I was instantly intrigued by the mysterious nature of the term and how it captured the dark mood associated with the planet Saturn. The word conjured in my mind an image of the number nine with the rings of Saturn around it and I jotted down the design and never forgot it.
The design will appear on short-sleeve raglan shirts with black bodies and brightly-colored arms and necks or, alternatively, a more muted black and grey shirt with a glow-in-the-dark print. It also works on a simple ringer shirt. I envision Saturnine as a skateboarding brand.
Everyone knows someone who has served in the military, but most people only know the human consequence of war as a number they read or hear about in the news. Soldier honors the service of troops by reminding people that the wounds of war are real and that each of those numbers has a face. Whether you’ve served or not, wearing this shirt reminds those who see it that the best way we can thank our military personnel is keeping them out of harm’s way by resorting to war only as a final measure of self defense.
War is the ultimate failure of human civilization, yet it persists because it benefits a privileged minority at the expense of the majority. Protesting war is a noble endeavor, but words alone tend to lose their power over time. By replacing letters with the peace sign, anarchy symbol and dollar sign, the cause and consequence of war and the hope of the message are expressed in a more compelling manner.
Hemp has a rich history in America. The original draft of the Declaration of Independence was penned on hemp paper. Henry Ford built a version of the Model T with biodegradable hemp plastic. And our first president, George Washington, raised the crop on his farm, writing to a friend that he should “make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!” Think about it: were he alive today, George Washington would go to prison for his agricultural activities. This would be a shirt made of imported hemp that could and should be grown in the United States. It’s time to legalize this shirt.
The concept here is the shirt itself: a black-sleeve raglan with a tie-dye thermochromatic body. The artwork comes from Photoshopping my eye into my hand and applying various effects. It's groovy, it's outta sight!
T-shirts are great, but sometimes it’s nice to class things up with a golf shirt —but who needs yet another pretentious animal logo emblazoned across their left breast? Even if the elephant wasn’t already taken, I wouldn’t merely slap the Bluelefant logo on a golf shirt and try to peddle it.
Instead, I decided to go the opposite direction, satirizing corporate branding with the ultimate generic anti-logo: the skull and crossbones. Of course this being a golf shirt, replacing those bones with golf clubs was obvious. Finally, I gave the skull an eye-patch, and the name practically proclaimed itself!
Jolly Golferrr would be the flagship brand of Bluefelant Clothing, marketed to a wide range of demographics. Much of the marketing would focus on pirate-themed humor and parodying the fashion industry.
The inspiration for this shirt came from an old soccer-style shirt I’ve had since high school. The final design is the result of musings on soccer being a sport that’s alien to most Americans, the popular notion of alien abduction and anal probing, bad jokes about Uranus, and a having a go at Adidas for trademarking three stripes on a sleeve as a logo.
Soccer is a very alien sport to most Americans. It’s also shocking how many people claim to have been anally probed by aliens. Are they from Uranus or in your anus? Who knows? All I know is that when you play soccer, you’d better watch your ass!
Bluelefant + basketball = Bluballz. Inspired by the old red, white and blue ABA basketballs and the New Orleans/Utah Jazz music note logo, with just a touch of immaturity!
The brand lends itself to a number of licensed or co-branded items and accessories.
They say the best offense is a good defense and in basketball the ultimate defensive move is the rejection. One who rejects is a rejector. I took the eject symbol and added an extra line; altering the spelling for aesthetic and symbolic symmetry, Rejecter was born. Main product would be wristbands, but could expand to T-shirts, jerseys, hoodies, etc.
The Hindu god, Lord Ganesh, is often depicted as a blue elephant. When I visited Nepal, I noticed that many vehicles were adorned with stencil-style Lord Ganesh vinyl stickers. I liked the design, so I recreated it and added the om symbol. The text is Nepali for “blue elephant.”
As Tyler Durden said, you’re not the name on your underwear. I couldn’t agree more. And why would you want someone’s name on your underwear anyway? In keeping with the Bluelefant philosophy of not taking things too seriously, I present Elefantrunks, the quickest way to let everyone know you’re hung like an elephant!
Bluelefant's take on blue jeans is simple: they don’t come off the shelf looking like they came out of someone’s closet—no holes, no fades, no intentional imperfections. You want a worn-out pair of jeans? Wear’em out yourself.
Thanks for taking the time to look at my designs and read about my ideas. If you've made it this far, there's a good chance you're the type of person I'm looking for to help turn this vision into a reality. I'm looking for people who share my entreprenuerial spirit and want to be part of a business driven by values, not just profits. Bluelefant will be a privately-held, employee-owned company. All of our products will be 100% American-made and our brands will be fun and inclusive. Our marketing will aim to entertain as well as educate potential customers. If you want to make a living and make a positive contribution to society at the same time, send me a message on Facebook or Twitter and get involved. Thanks for your time!
All designs © 2007-2014 Bluelefant Clothing™ • Brian F. Sanford; All Rights Reserved