Five years ago, along with his brother Chris, Matt Dent founded Soho Warriors FC - a football team made up of like-minded creatives. With a squad of players offering multi-faceted skills they’ve evolved into a creative agency of the same name, curating events, producing and executing immersive experiences and now boast Adidas as one of their major clients. Recently they ran a Everpress campaign with a T-shirt designed by celebrated artist Jean Julien. We caught up with Matt to find out more.
Who designs the Soho Warriors FC kit? With so many creatives is there a massive team meeting?
It's normally me and my brother, along with a designer. We’re heavily influenced by 90s football - our kit for a recent tournament in Paris was an homage to the Coventry City 96/97 one that had a massive crest printed on the front in the fabric so we copied that. It was cool.
What does everyone do?
We're quite lucky that everyone does something different - if someone has an idea then they come to us and discuss how it should work and how we should pitch it. We try to start projects just me and my brother and the designer and then if we need video then we'll get our film guy or the photographer if we need pictures. It's really nice - you can pull in people from all over the team. We're also getting to a stage where we're looking to collaborate with other people outside of the team to mix it up a little bit.
How did Jean Julien get involved in your T-shirt campaign?
He's a really nice guy, not massively into football but he always asks how the team’s going and is interested in the concept. I've curated two of Jean's shows at Kemistry Gallery and have a really good relationship with him. I've always kept him in the loop and just asked him if he wanted to do a tee, which he was really happy to do. We were planning on doing it earlier in the year, but for us, doing T-shirts has always been a bit of a hit and miss thing. We've made loads - I've got boxes of them that we tried to do but the printing hasn't been great or the placement hasn't been right or they just haven't sold as well we thought so Everpress was just perfect for us. We started getting a bit of a demand for merchandise – people were emailing in asking for T-shirts and kits and stuff so we thought we'd see what happens.
With Everpress, is it something you could see yourself using as a test ground for t-shirts?
It doesn't need big runs to work. We didn't really know how it was going to go - obviously Jean's got a good following - I think we sold 40 or 50 T-shirts. You also don't get stuck with boxes of Small and XL t-shirts that no one wanted to buy. Something like Everpress has never really existed anywhere before, the nearest sort of service has always done cheap printing and bad quality T-shirts. I think it might be a good way for young brands to start; I know so many people who want to start T-shirt labels but if you can't invest that kind of money you can set up a Everpress store with your brand on it and see how it goes.
Which social media channel got the best response for you?
Instagram's been really good for us. I don't think we've been hampered by the lack of being able to add a link with the picture. If people like it enough they'll go to the link in the biog. It worked really well and there was no risk. We just put it out there and a few weeks later I had money in my account and all the T-shirts had been delivered. I didn't do anything! I just sent Everpress my design and that was it.