interview By Tracy NegretePhotographs: Mario GormanKnights of Bedlam & Horror is a lifestyle brand based out of Long Beach California. The company is funded financially & physically by the owners, all money’s made from sales goes right back into the brand. Their goal is to do this for the next 3-5 years and from there they will plan on what is next for the future of the Knights. They design,print,sew and produce all goods in house from their office based in LB California with no outside help what so ever.KBHThe crew KBH was born out of friends hanging out together raising heck. They could be seen in the Valley one night and Salt Creek by day break, all along focusing on creativity and elevation of styles. Praised by few, hated by many, the KBH crew has held together for 25 years (this year). Within those years different members have been seen touring the world performing, tattooing ,and designing for the likes of Cane and Able, Triple 5 Soul, Hurley, Split, Kentucky Denim, Kloze horse, Dada Supreme, and many more.The name may sound a bit harsh but so is the world we live in and you cant run from that! Say’s Swiss Precise, creator of KBH and local artist, musician and entrepreneur. We took a few minutes to catch up with Swiss to get some insight on his clothing line.
Art plays a major role in your design being an artist yourself. How many years have your been painting, what is about art that is so important to you? and what inspired you to create a clothing line?Swiss: I know this sounds cliche but I’ve been drawing & painting since I could remember with no formal training aside from an art class in high school and learning some screen printing in college but that’s about it. Art is very important to me because it’s a great way to escape this hectic world we live in & its definitely therapeutic I started Knights of Bedlam & Horror so I could design some fun stuff other then freelancing for people and being told what to create.When was KBH established?Well KBH the graff crew was started in 1991 in Long Beach and now we’re world wide and a lot more then just graff perry much covering all facets of art. As for the clothing line this is our 3rd year and were just taking in one step at a time.
How would you describe your brand to someone who has never seen it? What’s the feel of it?It’s definitely a street brand with a combination of hand drawn & computer graphic based artwork in each design.What is the process of a design for one of your shirts? How are the designs chosen?As I said in the question before our designs are a combo of hand drawn & computer generated I draw & sketch all designs first as an idea and from there a lil more refining in and redrawing in illustrator & or photoshop until everything is 100! All designs are chosen per season with a theme in mind and whatever isn’t picked is thrown back on the drawing board and re worked for next season or used as future inspiration
Where do you get your inspiration form for your clothing?Me personally I like watching the big fashion houses, the media and of course my graffiti roots…
Who do you feel your clothing brand caters too?Swiss: Well being its the beginning God our 3rd year were still building an audience but as of right now I’d like to say we’ve Been catering to the golden era of hiphop and those who grew up To appreciate it… Hopefully we can get this younger breed of kids to jump on board!
Your a fully independent running clothing line, what struggles do you face, what would you say the major advantages or disadvantages are of being independent.Swiss: Lets see the pros & cons are pretty easy not being a major name or label in the game is tuff on so many levels many of the buyers Aren’t familiar with your brand so they don’t want to take a chance with you & next I can’t really hire a sales team to go out and push it like I’d want…. But on the 100% independent level I have nobody to answer to,I have no dead lines,nobody cracking the whip and definitely not much overhead. We create,print & sew all our designs in house so it’s nice, We’re moving at 45 degrees…
How do you feel about your clothing line and the city of Long Beach as a whole, what importance does Long Beach represent to your line?Swiss: Well being that I’m born & raised in Long Beach i definitely represent that but I don’t need to wear it on my chest it’s embedded in me and what I do so I’m not knocking on people’s doors yelling I’m from Long Beach, it’s a way of life the LB is big enough to stand next to ORANGE COUNTY & LA COUNTY and be just fine… And that’s how I rep my city… We’re diverse and the swagger swings like a pendulum.
As your company grows, what do you want to stay the same? what key values of your company are important to you?Swiss: Same owners,Same designers,Same location…. Long Beach haha
Where can we purchase Knights of Bedlam And Horror?Swiss: Online at www.knightsofbandh.com and at a couple stores UGHH in Boston, Uprok in SLC Utah, Safehouse Santa Ana and were just now getting into a few shops in Japan… We would like to get int more stores no doubt! Dealer inquiries are welcome and we don’t mind doing consignment.
Any advice for artist and aspiring clothing designers?Swiss: Yes, success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in day out…