Any geek worth his salt is bound to have a piece of apparel dedicated to his or her particular slice of Geekdom, from World of Warcraft to League of Legends…to pick your poison. But if you’re stuck in Singapore like me, where shipping from geek-centric shops like J!NX and Threadless would not only cost a pretty penny but the worst of all, you’ll be left with plain ole T-shirts which lacks the distinct ability of showing off your geekdom to the world while geeky shirts you ordered take a plane or a ship ride across the Pacific. The best geeks in Singapore could hope for was a Uniqlo collaboration with their favorite slice of Geekdom which are great but it left us geeks wanted more. In came Xmashed Gear, a geek-centric shirt company based in our sunny little island allowing local geeks to stock their closets full of witty and geeky tees without costing an arm, a leg and maybe even a kidney. Xmashed Gear founder Zhou Xuanming has also started to produce his own line of witty original designs. In addition to his Xmashed Originals, Xuanming also helped design the official GameStart 2015 mascot Alyse. We managed to grab Xuanming from his busy booth to ask him about the origins of Xmashed Gear and the inspirations behind GameStart Asia’s Mascot Alyse.
First and foremost, what were you career-wise prior to starting Xmashed Gear?
Before I started Xmashed Gear, I was a game designer for 7 years working in the video games industry, I loved my job but somewhere along the way I decided I wanted to start this crazy idea of mine which is to make apparel for gamers and then….we have Xmashed Gear -laugh-
Where did you draw the inspiration for your “apparel for gamers” idea from?
For several years before I started Xmashed Gear, I was actually submitting T-Shirt designs to T-Shirt websites overseas and I realized that I could actually earn quite a bit from selling my designs, my designs are getting quite a lot of traction and they were really popular with the American and European audience. The issue of shipping costs arise when my friends was commenting that it was really expensive to ship the shirts over to Singapore because all these T-shirt sites/manufacturers are based in the US, UK and Ireland. I thought to myself “Why don’t I just set up a site myself here” and that’s basically how I got started.
Can you give us some insight into the ideation process of Alyse, the GameStart Mascot?
Alyse was the brain child of the entire GameStart team, we threw a lot of ideas back and forth. We started off thinking if we wanted to use the Merlion in our design but we decided that it was quite cheesy. We also thought of maybe using a robot but it didn’t feel human enough so at the end of the day we decided to go with Alyse after a lot of iterations, I think Alyse is a mascot that represents gamers. We used a female character because it’ll feel more inclusive and we also made a very conscious effort not to overly sexualize her because we did not want her to be so ostracizing.
You are also known for your original designs, where do you draw your ideas from?
Playing games in general, whenever I play video games all these ideas start coming up to me and I write all these ideas down. Whenever I have time, I would sit down and look through all these dumb ideas, I filter out the really bad ones and what remains are the good ones and I just turn them into shirts.
Thank you Xuanming for your time.
Photos by Ken Koh
By Chen KangYi
© POPCulture Online 2015