In this installment of HOTSEAT, we spoke to Thomas Jones, the Managing Director and Head Designer of another upcoming UK brand, Razorstorm.
Razorstorm Clothing is actually one of the first major supporters of our site so without them being there for us, we wouldn’t be here right now. I don’t really know why we waited so long to do this interview but it’s finally happened.
They are a relatively new, yet established brand in the UK MMA and sports scene, providing us with the Razorstorm Hybrid MMA Shorts that feature a gi feel mixed in with a Muay Thai design; needless to say, it is truly a hybrid.
Anyway, on with the interview.
A: I will try keep this one short. No promises.
I started Razorstorm the company just over a year ago. The initial idea was basically just a bit of fun and started with one very simple Japanese, martial arts inspired t-shirt design for some friends and myself who trained in martial arts. At that time I had no knowledge of computer programs or how to generate images using the usual graphic design software. All I had at my disposal was some paper and a pencil and a £200 2-year old laptop with a broken screen (Haha, I had to use an older monitor through the VGA port to see the display).
So I sketched away a first concept which looked quite cool as an idea. I then borrowed Photoshop off a friend and muscled my way using online tutorials and Youtube to learn how to add simple colours, cut out the shape etc. I finally got my head around the basics and made the “Warriors of the rising sun” design. I then had to learn how to get this on a t-shirt. So I researched and read everything I could until I found the best methods, this took a bit of time to get it spot on with highest quality finish. After getting the first basic run of these t-shirts I sold a few to my training friends and family, I still had a few left so I decided to sell them on Ebay, apparently that is where people sell stuff right? – just to try and get them out of the garage. After setting up a small page the t-shirts sold very fast and I was really surprised. I then got some hoodies manufactured; again they sold quicker than I could get them in.
So full of excitement I was looking at this realistically and thought it would be a good idea to have a website just for information at first. At the time I was working 12 hour days Monday – Friday in a very dead end job on terrible wages, so it was difficult to fit everything in. I took some time off from work and started to try and learn how to make a website at home, at first it was beyond epic fail. In fact if you could see the old sites it would make you vomit. I used YouTube and tutorial websites to try and build the most basic site. This was very painful and there were a lot of “facepalm” moments. The first website was horrible; in fact the next 3 websites were pretty bad. I started to spend more and more time developing my skills in design programs at home and practicing my free hand drawing. At that particular time I was spending all my wages on developing the company and supporting my friends who fight with sponsorship. A few months down the line I had designed quite a few different ideas that sold nicely.
The company as it stood was growing at a standard speed, everything changed one day when I met up with the guys from Fighters Only Magazine. They really helped me out with tips and direction. After that meeting I totally changed my mind set on the whole situation, since that day I have done my best to support up and coming companies and fighters in the way Fighters Only helped me out.
I also took on Paul Sass as the main Razorstorm figure head fighter and pushed him as hard as I could in the market place. Spending lots of money out of my own pocket (still working in my dead end job) I wanted to give Sass the best marketing and exposure I could. The guy really deserved the break and marketing support.
So things have progressed a lot since this but all of the Razorstorm designs are still designed by me. I hand draw everything firstly and add colour and elements using computer programs. Trust me they take a long time to finish — haha.
We have sponsored many fighters all around the world, including Alexander Gustaffsson last year in the UFC. Which was great to get Razorstorm in the UFC at such an early stage of the brand.
We are currently working closely with lots of different companies and talented individuals like MMA frontline podcast and all the guys down at Elite Martial arts and CrossFit3D.
The Razorstorm name itself I have been using for awhile on different aspects of things that I have done. It was first used as my alias on an online game where I used to run a quite successful guild/clan. Back in the geek days, haha.
Razorstorm now means something totally different to me and everyone involved with it feels the same. When I hear the name it reminds me of hardgraft and people taking control of their lives. Normal every day people achieving great things. I respect anyone who gets off their back sides and pushes to make their lives better, this is why I respect pro fighters so much. It’s a hard game to be in and these guys need our support. Razorstorm cannot support everyone as we are only a small company, but the guys we do take on we try our best to push them. Our slogan “an unfair advantage” basically means people with a focused, determined mindset have an unfair advantage over their opposition.
A: For me there was no other choice. I did not want to reflect a name of brute violence or aggression or disrespect. These are not aspects we promote.
A: The ethos, dedication and what we stand for set us apart from other companies. Our quality is up there with the best and this is where it will remain. Our fan base is very strong already and people understand what we have achieved and what we can all achieve together. Razorstorm has started to become more than just a clothing brand, it has more of a family feel. The people involved in Razorstorm are all hard working dedicated normal people with a passion for what they do. There are no high flying businessmen with a big purse. It is all pure hard work and graft and the fans respect that. That is why they sport Razorstorm in the gym or on the street.
A: Pure dedication to bring the best designs and products to the fans. We receive lots of compliments and fan mail all the time, which is a great incentive to keep pushing harder. We have even had complements from big stars such as Frank Shamrock which is great in such early stages in our brand.
A: As the head designer I am inspired by so many different things, from nature to surrealism. Some days I wake up in the middle of the night with a crazy ass idea that I have to get down on paper. Other times I get random people with suggestions or I’m inspired by something I have seen or heard about. We are not a one trick band and also produce designs for many other brands, companies and organisations all around the world. Some brands see Razorstorm as a rival company, the wiser realise we are more than that and can actually help them rather than compete against them.
A: Haha .Yes mate, we have our fingers in many different pies. Some things you will get to hear about, others you will not. We are focusing lots of time into different aspects of training as this is also an interest we share. If you have not yet seen some of the Forge videos on youtube you are missing out. We also have ties with many gym owners and will be tapping into this as we believe our MMA fans will benefit from this different training information.
The gamer sector is something our design aspects will be expanding to as we speak.
A: We are always playing around with new concepts and ideas, some work and some well.. epic fail but anything is worth a try.
There have been many weird and bizarre concepts flying around recently in regards to glove design. I guess that has been the latest product we have been messing with.
A: Dude that would be like cutting off an artist’s hands, haha! But I guess I would have to say the new English Steel t-shirt, mainly because its new and I like new stuff. Keeping things different and fresh is what we are all about.
Overall I guess it would be the traditional inspired feel hybrid shorts. I feel this is because of the recent transition people are having from traditional martial arts to MMA. It is difficult to say because most of our products seem as popular as each other.
A: I see Razorstorm stronger than ever and still gaining in popularity and delivering the highest quality of product and service we can. We have achieved a lot more than other brands with very little resources and the opportunities are flying in daily so maybe you should check back with us and I can give you an update.
A: I just wanted to say a big well done to Paul Sass for his UFC contract, I hope everyone gets behind him and shows him the support and respect he deserves.
A big shout out to our new gym opening up in southern France. It looks quality guys keep up the hard work. Details to follow…
And also thanks to yourself Romeo, keep up the hard work on the site!
We’d like to thank Tom and Razorstorm for supporting us ever since that very first post on the UK-MMA forums and of course, for doing this interview. If you would like to know more about Razorstorm and their products, visit http://razorstorm.co.uk
PURCHASE: Razorstorm Clothing Products