two ruffians design and screenprint by hand a quirky range of clothing, homewares, jewellery and more from their base in Melbourne. I find the sense of humour they imbue into their designs refreshing and fun and I hope you do too! Today I'd like you to meet head ruffian, Nicholas Young to find a little more about two ruffians.
Who are 'two ruffians'? 'two ruffians' is my imagination - I use it as a tool to express myself and make my ideas come to life. I lived in the shadow of many creative friends in London while pursuing a career in sales and marketing. I knew in my heart that one day I would switch sides. My friends often joked that I was 'a creative person trapped in a salesman's body.' Well now those same friends ask how I do what I do, which is hugely rewarding. I no longer feel like I'm looking in on another world - now I'm a part of it. I'm a self taught designer and screen printer with a 'can do' attitude. Using a basic macbook, some design software, screen printing books plus pencils and paper, I've managed to teach myself to design, expose silk screens, print and sew. I also designed the 'two ruffians' website - which involved quite a sharp learning curve, considering I didn't even have a computer 2 years ago, let alone the skills to unravel the mysteries of web design. What is your favourite item you have designed thus far?
I like all of them, because I've had to work hard to take a raw idea through to a finished design for each of them. If I had to chose one though it would have to be the ' two ruffians' design. It means the most to me as this particular print screams 'two ruffians'! Two 'out of control' kids, with mischief in there eyes, having fun. They were taken from photos of me and my brother as little boys, so it's very personal and reminds me of the fun we had as kids.
What do you find most fulfilling about being a designer?
What I imagine, can become a design. It's brilliant!! Who inspires you professionally?
Good question. I don't really have one individual, but more of lots of visual snap shots in time. Music is probably the one thing that helps to focus my mind. The Acid Jazz scene of the late 90's London set me on a path of discovery. It introduced me to a lot of people that I still consider good friends. They, in turn, introduced me to art, music and fashion, all of which has had a profound effect on what I do now. Tell us something we might be surprised to know about you?
I'm lucky to be alive - being 3 months pre-mature, with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. Back in February 1973 the doctors rushed to save me....I've always been quite laid back - I joke that it's because I was lifted out - without much effort on my part!
Imagine a few extra zero's were added to your bank balance what would you buy?
A massive studio where all my friends can come and work. We'd build an international stable of design, pay off our debts and live happily ever after. I'd like to give back and help people in general...... oh and buy Clair a horse. How would you describe your interior style?
Urban minimal. Lots of concrete, wood, and eye popping colour - 'street art meets Stockholm'. What five things would you save in a fire? In equal first Clair and my dog Jack, my hard drive, my records, my wallet.
Place in the world you would most like to travel to? Cornwall. Beautiful fishing villages, nice beaches, surf, 3 hours from London and not far from Europe. Could be a good spot to run two ruffians from in a year or so. Where to now for 'two ruffians'? We (me, Clair, Jack the dog ) are going to drive around Australia visiting potential stockists in the New Year - rather than stand around at a trade fair, waiting for people to come to us - it'll be like a 'two ruffians' Australia tour. We get to see Australia, meet store owners, sell our designs - all for the price of exhibiting at a 5 day trade fair. It might be a bit different too - always good to try and stand out from the crowd.
Then, once we've exhausted all the wonderful opportunities that Australia has to offer I'll move 'two ruffians' back to Europe, then Asia, then America, then South America. By which time I'll be ready for a lie down!
I will introduce you to the other half of 'two ruffians', Nick's partner Clair Wayman in a few weeks. Clair has been designing a new range of jewellery for 'two ruffians' along with her many other creative endeavours.