Today we are bringing you a pretty cool indie clothing brand by the name of WAIFUWEAR! They create clothing inspired by Japanese culture, more specifically Anime! They are local to Phoenix, Arizona and have been around for little over a year. In that tie they have come out with some pretty cool products from T shirts to chokers and hoodies! Thy came from nothing and continue to grow and expand from hard work and dedication which I can admire.
I hope you enjoy our interview!
The Geek Lyfe: Although I am a fan of you guys, there might be a few readers who are not familiar, would you be able to introduce yourself and your brand?
WAIFUWEAR: WAIFUWEAR is a brand inspired by anime and cosplay. My first name is Mark Anthony, but you can address me as M A; and simply put – I’m an otaku from Phoenix, Arizona. I’m the creator and founder of WAIFUWEAR.
TGL: What is the origin story of WAIFUWEAR?
W: Like in any good story, there is a lot of personal history and backstory that led up into “the moment”, but to keep it as short as I can for the sake of your readers, the moment happened at Phoenix Comic Con 2015 which was my first ever convention. I had never been to one before that, and the be honest it was a life changing experience. I had never before seen cosplay up close like that, and with all the different fandoms and things going on, it was a bit overwhelming to be honest.
While taking a break from con, I wrote “WHERE DA WAIFU” in permanent marker on a used white t-shirt a good friend gave me; like literally wrote it on the shirt in the same way you see it on our “Signature” designs, and people really responded to it, both negatively and positively. A few weeks after Phoenix Comic Con, I came up with WAIFUWEAR. I linked up with a lawyer to see about trademarking both; and without hesitating, did, and when all of that got finalized around mid 2016, and after some consideration of what I was doing in life – and where I was going; I decided to make the jump and field test by coming out to Florida in October of 2016. I’ve been here since. Our website WWW.WAIFUWEAR.COM officially launched on 1.17.17.
TGL: Often times with folks who are creative, they run into a sort of creative block. What ways do you overcome this sort of block when it comes to new designs or marketing?
W: I LIVE. I VIBE. That’s my art and I hope people can vibe with that. My creativity is different in the sense that I’m not an artist by trade. I’m not a graphics designer, or a photographer. I don’t have crazy art skills, and I haven’t tried cosplaying yet. My background is banking and everything I learned growing up where I’m from in Maryvale, which is a neighborhood on the west side of Phoenix.
When I was growing up, my pops did his best to shield us from the stuff that was going on in our neighborhood, so it was always school and sports. I didn’t get to do much else outside of that, and so I used to write, A LOT. I used to run a role playing forum called Twisting Fate that was based on Final Fantasy VIII which went on for almost almost a decade. Writing is about as artsy as I get, and so, I guess it’s fitting in a way that I wrote WHERE DA WAIFU. I still do write, but not nearly as much as I once did.
As for marketing, people go to school for years to learn marketing, and I’m sure there are ways to go about it, especially today, but – I’m a firm believer in when you do good work, people are going to start talking – good and bad about you. Having them even talking about you is a start. So, until I get my skills up or meet the right people, I’m just going to stay the course and keep doing good work.
To overcome any kind of creative block, I just get myself around waayy more creative people than I am. I’ve been fortunate enough to be blessed with some amazing friends in life and new ones I’ve met along this journey that help me out in areas I’m not as skilled in, especially with art, and when I’m faced with a road block, I just reach out to my people and start asking questions. Everyone’s been really supportive of WAIFUWEAR and what I hope to accomplish and I’m committed to the cause and making them all proud.
TGL: What has been your favorite moment in time with WAIFUWEAR?
W: Honestly, I’ve had a lot and it’s a disservice to all the memories I’ve made up until this point to select my absolute favorite… But off the top of my head right now as I’m writing this, is probably when I went to Kami-con in Birmingham, AL. WAIFUWEAR wasn’t vending there, and I was in town to visit some family, so my youngest brother and I went to the con because he had yet to fully experience a convention.
Well, after finally finding parking (we arrived really late, like 7 or 8 that Friday night) and during our block walk to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, somebody yells “WHHEERREE DDAA WWAAIIFFUUU~~” from somewhere down the street and that just got me giddy. That was back in January and mind you we had barely started pushing the product in October of 2016.
TGL: What was your most frustrating?
W: I got stuck in St. Petersburg right after Shado Con 2017! It was the week of Thanksgiving, and I failed to reserve the rental car, because at the time, we decided to just hang out in St. Pete’s for a week before and after the convention, and I didn’t think about the possibility of an airport selling out of rentals (IT HAPPENS FOLKS!). So, I had to end up forking the cash over for a UHAUL in order to make it back to home for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a really expensive lesson.
TGL: When you aren’t making great products, what do you do in your
W: In my spare time I watch anime, video chat with my friends, and dream. I’m always dreaming, jotting down notes of things I want to happen – the notes in my phone are full of dreams.. I used to play a lot more video games back in the day, but I find the depth in the stories these days lacking, and they just don’t pull me in like they used to. I’m really big into football and the EA Madden franchises. The only things you will ever catch me sitting down and watching are anime and football. I like to read, but the content has to really capture my attention. The Outlaw Chronicles by Angus Donald are probably the last books I read cover to cover, book to book, and that series is hard to top.
TGL: What geek medium(Video Games, Comic Books, Novels, Movies etc.) made the biggest impact on your life and why?
W: Definitely anime. My uncle, who happens to be a few years older than I, put me onto it at a super young age. He put me onto things like Robotech and Macross; and that just paved the way for everything else. I just love it man! The art, the characters, the stories, the other worldly concepts like deep space, other planets, and different dimensions.
I like how they never really say – “This is the bad guy, and these are the good guys!” Anime doesn’t do that for the most part and that really helped shape my perspective of the world. And growing up as a 1st generation American (both my parents are from different countries) my parents really didn’t understand that it was different from a cartoon, so they didn’t really know the kind of content I was consuming as a 9 or 10 year old.
What anime taught me the most is that, at the end of the day, everybody has their reasons. What’s good to you may not mean what’s good to someone else, and not everyone sees things the same way. There’s many different point of views. There’s not always one story, or one way to look at things. There’s not always good and bad.
There are reasons and there are consequences.
And that’s how I pretty much have been operating my whole life.
TGL: What new and exciting things are around the corner for WAIFUWEAR?
W: WAIFUWEAR will be heading back to Jackson, Mississippi for Mississippi Comic Con June 24th and 25th. We were there for MS ANIME FEST back in March and we loved it. (Looking forward to seeing everyone again!) We’ll also be vending at Louisiana Comic Con: Lafayette September 16th – 17th .
We have some new art pieces coming out, works commissioned by SANGRDE who’s a really talented artist out of Arizona, (you should really check her out and interview HER, it’d be really worth your time.) And also a piece that we’re working on by the well-known Marvel Comics artist Steve Geiger. The way the piece came about is really cool, and we actually got to use the uber talented Kristen Hughey as our subject model for it and it’s gonna be DOPE! I’m super thankful to have met them both when we were vending at Fandom Con 2016 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
I’m also trying out new styes, and different cuts as I continue figuring out what works and what doesn’t work for WAIFUWEAR. We just released our SLAYER cut, and the waifus are really liking those, so definitely check those out.
TGL: Where can folks find all of the latest and greatest news on WAIFUWEAR?
W: To keep up with us, follow us @waifuwear on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can find our products at www.waifuwear.com I also want to shout out to some of my friends who’ve helped me along the way and continue to be a source of inspiration and council and you can find them on instagram at: @sangrde, @iamvailence, @citrusbell , @fiona_nova, @haidenhazard, @shay.amber, @raksmeyprak, and @shiny_waifu
I appreciate the interview, and it’s good to get some hometown love! Keep doing you Geek Lyfe and I hope to run into you guys very soon.
It was great to get to chat with the folks at WAIFUWEAR! 😀 Be sure to check out their content and wares at their website and social media accounts!