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Fortune Collective: An interview with the founder of Ipswich’s newest clothing brand!

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Fortune Collective: An interview with the founder of Ipswich’s newest clothing brand!

Fortune Collective is the product of a year’s worth of hard work for local talent Ben Theobald. This emerging menswear clothing brand combines exciting skate and tattoo inspired designs on high-quality materials – and with a totally affordable price tag too, you’d be mad not to check it out.

Fortune Collective is still very much in its infancy right now. Can you tell me about the brand, how it got started and who is part of the team?
I’ll try and keep this short–ish ... When I graduated from UCS about two years ago I started taking on a bit of freelance work; mostly working on logos, posters and merchandise design for bands. Designing shirt graphics was exactly what I wanted to do but coming out of uni without any real credentials made finding work a bit inconsistent. A friend suggested I do a few personal projects to keep the ball rolling, that I should maybe design and print a few shirts to sell for a bit of self-promotion between jobs. With a bit more thought, that idea turned into the setting up of a clothing company.

Fortune Co has been in the making for over a year now and after what has been a lot of early mornings, late nights and a massive learning curve, I was finally able to launch it at the beginning of August this year. The company is predominantly run by me with the help of a really good group of friends. All of whom share the same interests and ethos.

I was fortunate enough to grow up through a thriving Ipswich music scene

You mention on your website some of the passions that the Fortune Collective team share – “Art and music, tattoo and skate cultures, city and country adventures; to simply enjoying a coffee with friends.” Can you explain a little further how these have inspired your designs and work ethos too?
All of those are things that I am surrounded by or partake in on a regular, if not daily basis. I was fortunate enough to grow up through a thriving Ipswich music scene, when shows were promoted on a do-it-yourself basis. You’d draw a poster, Xerox it a hundred times and stick them up/hand them out wherever you could. There’s definitely a unity between all those cultures, and it’s that ‘hands-on’ DIY element within each of them that inspires me the most.

Fortune Collective Tshirt Ipswich

Your ‘Hierarchy’ t-shirt design proudly highlights that the brand originated in Suffolk, which I think is fantastic! What are some of the positives, and equally some of the challenges, that you face by being based in the countryside and not in a city centre? ,
At the moment Fortune only really has an online presence, so I wouldn’t say the location has hindered it in anyway just yet. However, I can see where the location might challenge the brand in the future depending on what path it takes, mainly because Suffolk or more specifically Ipswich isn’t yet as recognised for its stature in the arts as say, Norwich for example. Whether that be in music, art or design etc. we are a little bit behind.

One thing that you can expect from Fortune for sure ... is the brand doing its part to help revive the Ipswich music scene

I do think that is starting to change though. We now have a really good uni here, specifically the design and art courses, where the tutors are doing good things to put Ipswich on the map. All the Ip-Art events, Loveone and the little string of independent stores starting to pop up, the street and food markets, and the uprising waterfront area are only going to increase the appeal of Ipswich and will hopefully bring it up to a similar level to those ‘happening’ city vibes you get elsewhere. And best yet it will still be surrounded by all the beautiful scenery Suffolk offers as a whole. I’d very much like this brand to be a part of that uprising.

What is your vision for Fortune Collective going forward? 
I have a few goals, things to aim for, people that I’d really like to collaborate with, but I’m trying not to think too far ahead at this point. There’s a lot of promotional work still to be done and a small winter line to be planned out and printed. Right now I’m still learning a lot about the ins-and-outs of running a clothing company. One thing that you can expect from Fortune for sure, and hopefully sooner rather than later, is the brand doing its part to help revive the Ipswich music scene. It’s something that’s very important to me.

Scibble Tee

Ok, quick-fire round, let’s get to know the real Ben Theobald… What music do you mostly listen to?
I’ve been switching between Counterparts’ new record ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’ and Miguel’s ‘Kaleidoscope Dream’. My taste in music is all over the place.

Who is your role model in life and why?
From a design perspective and based on their work ethics; Jon Contino, Brandon Rike and Tom J Newell. Following them and their work for the last few years has taught me a lot.

You’re given one million pounds just for being a top guy, what do you do with it?
I’d see that my friends and family were good, then just better as many people’s lives as I possibly could.

Along with the money, you’re also made invisible for the day (a bird must have pooped on you the day before). Where do you go?
Sneak around Hogwarts like Harry did with his invisibility cloak. Hogwarts exists, right? RIGHT?

Last film you watched? 
Underoath’s ‘Tired Violence’, which is a really well-shot film about the band’s existence. I highly recommend it even if you aren’t a fan of the music.

Favourite country that you’ve visited?
I’ve only ever been abroad to Turkey, which was alright.

Any random talents?
I’m 26 and can probably still name all 150 original Pokemon.

What are going to do literally right after you’ve answered these questions? 
A few people have requested drawings with their shirt orders, so I will get some music on and make a start on those. That’ll probably be me set for the rest of the day!

Follow Fortune Collective’s Instagram page @fortunecollective


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