Aloof aims to shine a light on the best brands and companies operating in the independent market right now, from all over the world. Those under the radar of the wider consciousness but with great stories to tell and a unique perspective on the nuts and bolts of building a brand.
In the red corner, us, Aloof Studio, fighting out of South London. In the blue corner, made in the squared circle, fighting out of Berlin. Our boxing puns and analogies might be terrible, but If you like charitable giving and good clothing, then this interview is worth reading. With our gloves on and taped, we went 12 rounds with Alex, Sebastian and Lorin to find out some more about the sport, the clothes and the good they're doing for communities.
Aloof Studio (AS): First off, have we any Southpaw’s in this interview?
Made In The Squared Circle (SC): Unfortunately not, we're all orthodox boxers, although we can’t speak for Dux, Lorin’s Dog.
AS: Could you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about what you do?
SC: We are made in the squared circle, a charity boxing brand. We believe boxing is a school of life, it helps to build confidence, discipline, calm and a tight ass body. More importantly, it has an almost unmatched capability to combat a massive range of social issues. That’s why we create boxing gear that raises awareness and funding for those who use the power of boxing for good, donating 12% of each product sale to initiatives that do so.
AS: Were you working in clothing before you started mitsc? What roles do you guys play in the company?
SC: None of us had any serious experience in clothing before. Lorin and Sebastian worked for fashion clients from a graphic design and marketing perspective, but the whole production thing was completely new to us.
Having said that, Lorin is responsible for graphic design, Alex is our number cruncher- making sure we can pay invoices and taxes, and Sebastian is doing the marketing and communications. Everything else, designing garments, developing new products and choosing initiatives to fund, is done as a collective. The good thing about being 3 people is that we never end up in a draw when we have to make a decision!
AS: How did you get involved in the sport of Boxing?
SC: To be honest, we’re latecomers to the sport. We've been watching fights since we were teenagers but didn’t start training until our late 20's. This didn’t change our love for the sport, and perhaps made us realise more the impact it had on us after working long office hours.
AS: You preach the impact that boxing has on your lives outside of the ring and a big focus of the brand is the partial donation of sales to boxing initiatives, which help others through the sport. Did you start the company with the intention of being able to provide funds for these initiatives, or did that come about during the process of setting up?
SC: That was always the plan right from the beginning, we wanted to create something that gives back. For us, it was rather a question of how we manage to do it and how much we can donate, whilst keeping the ship sailing.
AS: As a three-man (and a dog) team, were there any difficult moments when starting the company where you had different ideas of what direction you wanted mitsc to go in?
SC: Sure, we never questioned the initial idea or concept, but it was more difficult when discussing how it would look and how it feels. Even today there are heated discussions about design! With this being a side project for all of us, time is always an issue too.
AS: Who do you think is the best representation of your principles at mitsc currently fighting?
SC: The best representation are all the coaches and people in the gyms around the world who dedicate their time to get kids off the street and share their knowledge of the sweet science to do good.
AS: Are there plans to move into the sportswear side of things and make boxing equipment?
SC: We think about this a lot and we already have a couple of ideas on the drawing board, but at the same time, we have to remind ourselves to think step by step and round by round. Our current focus is our second collection and charity projects.
AS: Your brand identity is quite light-hearted and cartoonish in nature. Was it a conscious decision to go against the tough-guy stigma people associate with boxing?
SC: Absolutely! We wanted to create something that represented our perspective on the sport and give it a new context and meaning beyond its brawling image. Lorin came up with the idea of this little boxing character, who in a way represents all of us, and we loved it right away.
AS: Can you see yourselves branching out to stockists in the long term and reaching a larger audience? Perhaps not even to shops but to boxing clubs around the world?
SC: Yes, this is something we’d absolutely love to do!
AS: Looking back, was there anything you would have done differently? Did you have any knockdowns that you had to get back up from?
SC: We could have done a lot of things differently but we’re happy with where we're at, even though there are lots of things we've yet to do. To be honest, there were difficult times last year where we all got buried in our regular lives and didn’t give made in the squared circle the attention it deserves. We managed to get out of that situation and learned a lot from it.
AS: We’ve reached the 12th round now, anything you’d like to say before the final bell goes?
SC: For all those who haven’t tried it, go boxing. It has much more to offer than you might think.