Interview With Psychedelic Fashion Designer Symbolika

Symbolika is a psychedelic clothing label that has gained a loyal fanbase around the globe with their superb designs documenting the psychedelic experience. They have a full range of psychedelic t-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts and hoodies for both men and women as well as a range of psy decor such as lampshades. I was fortunate enough to chat with store manager Yud and designer Fabian about the past, present and future of the collective.  

PA : Symbolika has been around since 2001. That's quite a long time for a label in the psychedelic fashion niche. Could you tell us about how Symbolika started, the history of the label ?
Symbolika : Symbolika started from visionary experiences. It started in Goa. After one of the experiences I started drawing symbols from the experience and it opened the channel to download these symbols and share them. After more experiences more symbols came and Symbolika was born with our first 10 symbols. 

PA : The name itself is interesting. Is there any meaning behind the name Symbolika ? Your designs incorporate a lot of symbolic imagery from spirituality and mind/consciousness expansion ­ is that where the idea for the name comes from ? 

Symbolika : All the symbols were ready and the idea to make a label was also there but there was no name. Then in another experience in an after party in Goa the name just wrote itself as it is in the logo now. The meaning is the power of symbol. Ka has a deep meaning in Egyptian mythology.
For Symbolika it means “the power of the symbol".

PA : Could you tell us little about the artists ? How many people contribute the designs ? Are you/they trained artists ? 
Symbolika : All the artworks are done by one artist, Fabian. He is a trained designer in Central St. Martins in London (college of art & design) where he graduated in ’91 and from ’92­ to ’97 had his own design studio.


PA : I like the way your designs make use of the clothing's background color. I think it makes your work unique in this field and instantly recognizable. Is this a theme you imagine you will continue with or do you plan to incorporate more "solid" designs in the future ?  

Symbolika : Because of my background as a designer I approach the preparation of the art as a designer and I take into consideration the limitations of the technology at hand. Because we are doing it in silk print, which is actually color on the fabric, all the preparation for printing and the translation of the artworks into printable media is done very meticulously down to the microscopic level of the dot. The use of the background color allows us to get to a very high definition image without overloading too much color onto the fabric, making it heavy.

As long as we use this technology the style will stay the same. At the same time the artworks are designed to be printed in small size for a shirt, but they also work very good in large sizes. The process has a lot of focus to find the balance between these elements.
PA : Could you tell us a little about the printing process and materials used ?

Symbolika : Silk screen printing, ­ stretching the limitations of the technology to the edge by using delicate screens and slow and strict printing. We mix the colors to ourselves to get very specific fluorescent colors.
PA :  Are your products available at festivals ? Do you guys attend many festivals ? At what festivals can we see your clothes ? Do you find festivals an important part of getting the symbolika brand name out there ?

Symbolika : Yes to all. The main festivals include : Boom, Ozora, Fusion and Antaris. We’ve attended Antaris for the last 15 years and every Boom since 2002.
PA : Some of your designs such as the DMT man and the LSD drop with Hendrix are obvious hallucinogen references. Were any of your designs inspired from a direct psychedelic experience ?

Symbolika : All of them ;)

PA : Who are you favorite artists ? Is there anyone you find particularly inspiring ?

Symbolika : So many ! To name a few: Mati Klarwein, M.C. Escher, Dali, Alex Gray, Robert Venosa, Pablo Amaringo, Ernst Fuchs.

PA : There has been a lot of interest in dye­ sublimation printing in recent years with sites such as Threyda offering all over tshirt printing of full images of psychedelic artwork. What do you think of the all over printing style ?
Symbolika : We think it can be done beautifully but we didn’t find the right way to do it with symbolika.
PA : Psychedelic art and fashion goes hand with psychedelic music. What do you guys listen to when creating your designs ?

Symbolika : Anything psychedelic ­ trance, ambient, rock, jazz, classical, Tibetan bowls, icaros, hang music. A few of our favourite artists include: Mauxuam, Kasadelica, Miles Davis, Tool and Jimi Hendrix.

PA : Can you tell us about the creation process ? How do you start a design, what tools do you use and how does it evolve to the final digital image ready for printing.

Symbolika : Design starts from a vision ­ - each artwork takes a long time to evolve and develop. The approach is to try to make an execution that will transmit the spirit of the vision in the best way and to improve on the result and the used technology, to learn something new from the process and find new ways of doing it. 
Starting with sketching, and then to digital sketching, then using 3d apps to make a rough statue of the artwork, and then a long process of building all the composition and details using digital processing apps.

PA : The Dmyitry deco lampshades are a great idea and hints at something that I think is lacking in most psychedelic shops ­ sophisticated psychedelic home decor. Any plans to expand on the deco range ?

Symbolika : Yes, it’s a field we also find very interesting. We just released new limited edition lamps (illumina) and we are in the process of making Tibetan style wall hangings (thangka) because of my background in product design, I design & build all the products.
PA : Is the entire production process managed in­-house or do you contract any of the production to other people such as the design or silk screening ?

Symbolika : At the beginning the production was 100% handmade and in­-house. Once the t­-shirt amount grew we moved to work in collaboration with a print master. All the products are manufactured in strict supervision. All the patterns are developed and improved in each production. The artworks are all done in­-house.
PA : Where are you guys located and does your location help your business in any way ?

Symbolika : Part of the year we are located in Goa and that’s where Symbolika started, in the Goa markets. In the summer we are moving around Europe.
PA : Now that is a job I could learn to live with ! 

Posted on 10.2.15 by PsyAmb TAG : , , , | 0 Comments ( ADD NEW COMMENT )


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