Vaffanculo Magazine (VM): So Keto Clothing started as a iChat message in 2011. What made you guys launch Keto Clothing?
Bryan Benattou (BB): I have always been really interested in business and visual/graphic art. I wanted to combine the two and felt that clothing would be a good way to do it.
Chandler Abbey (CA): I was about halfway through my intro to graphic design class during freshmen year and I just wanted to expand my graphic design work. I've always been into art, photo, design, film, fashion and surf culture, so Keto was the perfect opportunity to showcase what I thought was cool.
VM: How much of an impact did social media have on Keto's development?
BB: Social media was huge for us and it's definitely one of the best marketing tools available. We started with a Facebook page, moved on to a Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and then a website.
VM: What/who inspires Keto's designs?
CA: My work is inspired by events in my life, the ocean, my mood and music. I synthesize everything I see. I don't think art has to be necessarily "pure". I take bits and pieces of styles, vibes, my life, nature. I'd like to think that I combine and spit them back out ten times cooler.
VM: Very appropriate the name Keto then [Keto or Ceto, means sea monster in greek]. Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind one of your shirt designs?
CA: The Always tee is my favorite so far. The inspiration came from a trip up north of California to Yosemite, San Francisco and Half Moon Bay, and a breakup with my girlfriend. The background image is of Half Moon Bay, which I took it on the fly with a point and shoot. It ended up being out of focus which actually worked perfectly. The crystal ball (center graphic) was a visual representation of the explosion of sadness and anger that came over me after the breakup. The crystal ball came from a piece I previously made for her, so it eludes to both the past and my hope for the future.
VM: You mentioned music, how important is to your creative process?
CA: I draw a ton of inspiration from music, it's a huge part of my life. My dad had me listening to Weezer and Pearl Jam out of the womb.
I can listen to pretty much anything, minus screamo and country. Certain sounds just inhibit creativity in my head, so I create a lot of my better work when I'm listening to weird stuff. Blackbird Blackbird, Mister Lies or anything Crystal Castles works wonders for me when I design. Electro music gets me crazy hyper focused, something in my mind just clicks.
VM: Who do you guys listen to lately?
CA: My top three right now are probably "Vietnam" by Crystal Castles, "Cold War" by The Morning Benders and "It's a War" by Blackbird Blackbird. Genre wise, I prefer Reggae, Indie, Dream-Pop and Lo-Fi Stuff.
BB: Anything that makes me groove, but for the past year I have been in an alternative rock and electro-pop phase. I listen to bands like The Short Eyes, Reptar, Portugal the man, Dr. Dog, Dirty Gold, The Antlers, Conan Mockasin, I Break Horses, xxyyxx, Future Islands and Miniature Tigers. Occasionally I'll go back to my reggae and beach roots when i'm feeling the vibe.
VM: Eclectic mix of music indeed. Chandler, what was the last thing that exhilarated you?
CA: I've been getting into film recently so the last thing that inspired me was a series of photos and a video titled "Dopamine" that Dustin Humphrey did for Insight Clothing. It's the perfect combo of eerie and rad.
VM: You guys recently launched your first collection. What's next for Keto?
BB: We're currently in the midst of working on a surf documentary called "Relative Youth," which is about the different aspects and lifestyles of today's youth, illustrated through surfing. Of course, we also want to get into more shops. Hopefully we can expand up to Northern California in the next few months.