Four years ago, when Drew Hampson and Josh Lloyd launched their company, D.I.Y or DIE, they dreamed of success. They will soon get their first taste when they showcase their designs at one of the biggest tattoo conventions in Canada, this coming May.
The Fernie-based clothing company has been invited to Tattoo Nouvelle Ère (New era tattoo), an artistic festival which will take place May 25-27 at Salon 1860, a magnificent restored church in Griffintown, Montreal. It is a festival celebrating body art of all kinds; from tattooing, to piercing and fashion. At night, the stage lights up with concerts and a vert ramp opens up to a pro skateboarding competition.
D.I.Y or DIE is one of 10 brands invited as vendors during the weekend of events. Fernie-based tattoo artists, Liam Monahan and Davis Fultz, has also been invited as two of 110 guest artists from North America and Europe.
Growing up in Fernie, Hampson (Owner, Operator) was most at home in the art room. After he met D.I.Y or DIE co-founder, Josh Lloyd in November 2014, the prospect of a clothing brand starting to become a reality. Together, each of their passions for art created the company that exists today.
“We were just ready for something new,” said Hampson.
The artwork that now covers the clothing they produce is a combination of dark ink work, traditional tattoos, and dark themes surrounding mortality. Both Hampson and Lloyd design the work, along with the help of local tattoo artist Davis Fultz and Ottawa-based artist, Murray Brokenshire.
Hampson says that each artist involved has a different art style, but all find commonality in their love for dark imagery and themes. Saying this, he understands the art style isn’t for everyone.
“The people who really love it, really love it, and the people who hate it, really hate it. It’s not for everybody and we’re not trying to make it for everybody.
“We’re just trying to do what we love.”
When D.I.Y or DIE first started out, Hampson and Lloyd (Design Manager) traveled every weekend to festivals, farmers markets, and craft fairs; anything to get their name out there. After a few years of hard work, they’ve moved past this, and now find themselves able to choose what conventions they want to attend. Additionally, Hampson believes they’ve found the demographic that their clothing appeals to, and focused on this group.
During regular hours, Hampson is hard at work at Giv’Er Shirt Works in Fernie. Almost all his time spent outside work is used building and managing the company.
He is beyond excited to be traveling across the country in one months time. This opportunity became available after Hampson and Lloyd met Shamus Mahannah, a successful Canadian tattoo artist, at a recent convention in Calgary. The next day, D.I.Y or DIE had an official invite to the Montreal festival waiting in their inbox.
When Hampson saw the invite to apply as a vendor he lost his mind. He’s excited for D.I.Y or DIE to be a part of this ‘new era tattoo’ movement.
“This is just the beginning,” he said.