Creator Series introduces the individuals who are using their inspiration and talent to push football culture forward.
Simen A A Prag is the casual aficionado behind Norwegian-brand, Branchmen. Bringing cuts inspired by A Guy Called Minty, Berlin Groundet and many others to the good people of Scandinavia.
How did Branchmen get started?
By popular demand to be honest. I had no plans to start another brand. I had been in the fashion business for many years and was a bit tired of it all. Branchmen came about as a result of many years of going to football with the lads. It all started with an away day/fashion blog really. Recreational purposes only.
Me and the lads were posting pictures from our trips abroad - our match attire, us drinking and just hanging about football grounds. After a while we discovered that people were making clothes and art as kind of a tribute to football culture. We were all about our Stone Island, Adidas, Burberry and Aquascutum and suddenly there was this whole other world of brands. And as our blog grew people was asking us to make pins, tees, mugs and such. So we did and here we are.
Who inspires you in design?
There's basically two types of inspiration. It's the good one, that comes from love - I get that from my own people - The ones I hang out with and care about. Our great designer Bjørn and I are talking all the time about this and that, constantly working. We inspire each other I believe. In terms of other designers or brands no one directly inspires our designs. But there are several people in the business that inspires us to create.
The uniform part of it excites me. The categorisation. You belong here or there. You're a part of something. There are rules but also possibilities. You communicate with the clothes you wear to football. To the extent that you can signal if you are to be left alone or up for getting your teeth kicked in.
The other kind of inspiration is more about what not to do. There are a few brands out there that we really don't want to be associated with – design vice and just how to work. It inspires us to believe in ourselves and not just tag along the line of everyone else. Brands stealing pictures, names and ideas. Tribute designs are all well but passing off designs and ideas as your own when they're stolen off the internet is a shame. The inspiration is dark but it pushes me to be better and in some fucked up way I'm grateful that these brands exist.
How did the collab with STAND come about?
I have been a huge fan and a STAND mag reader for years. When we did a webshop makeover a while back I wanted to start selling some magazines along side our own things. STAND was the first mag that came to mind. And after being a stockist for about 15 minutes I asked Bill if we could do some tees together. We had a design lined up and he said let's go. It's an ongoing project with new tees coming soon. Big shout out to STAND – doing important work.
What excites you about the crossover with football and fashion?
Ah, so many aspects. After 15 years in the military I believe the uniform part of it excites me. The categorisation. You belong here or there. You're a part of something. There are rules but also possibilities. You communicate with the clothes you wear to football. To the extent that you can signal if you are to be left alone or up for getting your teeth kicked in. I love the way football gives us the possibility to love and to hate. How you can even feel connected to a rival supporter because you share that passion if not for the same team. I could go on forever about football and the culture we all love so much. I feel sorry for the people that haven't got football in their lives.
What are your plans moving forward?
Just quit the military so this is all I do now. That means I have a lot more time to work on all our projects. We'll do more artwork this fall and of course more clothes from both Dandy Scandi and Scandi AMF. We're also doing a new brand called Bortekamp – means Away Game in Norwegian. We'll be doing some collaboration projects with different Scandinavian supporter groups. Looking very much forward to that. We're here to stay and we'll only grow bigger and stronger.
Who's your team?
Strømsgodset Idrettsforening. The prettiest team in Norway - from Drammen, in Buskerud where I grew up. But as almost every Norwegian I follow an English team as well – Preston North End FC. I have two daughters and two football teams - I love them all with all my heart.