Brand Exclusive: Fatal Clothing
The SoCal based clothing company, owned and operated by Bill Gaylord and Mark Atkins, Fatal Clothing, “specializes in traditional tattoo influenced art.” From creating T-Shirts in a basement to becoming a worldwide product that’s in popular demand, Fatal has come a long way. Bill and Mark take some time to tell Inked about their journey.
Inked Magazine: Tell us a little about how you got into clothing.
Bill: Both Mark and I have always been involved in Action Sports. I used to be a professional motocross rider but, unfortunately, my future in the sport was cut short due to a serious accident that left me with a shattered hip. For the next two years of my life I was in and out of hospitals. As a result of the accident and my injuries, I realized I would have to go back to work at my family’s business (Gaylord’s Custom Trucks founded in 1950). That wasn’t so bad considering I always enjoyed working on custom cars and making something from nothing but Mark and I always had a dream of expressing our way of life through a clothing brand.
Mark: Initially, I was interested in starting a screen-printing shop but I didn’t have the funds to buy the machines. My friend’s dad owned G & G Quality Case (guitar cases) and needed shirts. I told him that I could do it for $2400 and he agreed. The profits from that job were the funds that bought my supplies and the machines I needed to print my shirts. I worked directly out of my mom’s garage, printing small runs for other brands. After several years of talking and planning, both Bill and I decided to go forward with FATAL CLOTHING.
Inked: How did you choose the Name?
Bill: If you look Fatal up in the dictionary it states that it means, “influencing or concerned with Fate”. Given our past experiences, we both could relate to this name.
Mark: We wanted a brand that through the expression of art could portray our way of life in Southern California. The Fatal Brand represents living life to the extreme. Our company moto says it all… “LIVE LIFE HARD”
Inked: Are there Any Tattoo artist that you borrowed inspiration from?
Bill: I was always into 1950’s pin up art. Back in the day, my Dad was a greaser and my Mom was a pin up girl. My family has been involved in the custom car culture for over 70 years, which is the influence of the pin up girls we use in the art. Fatal is an art driven brand with inspiration coming from the new and old lifestyle of southern California.
Mark: We don’t necessarily use a specific tattoo artist. We draw because we love it and are inspired by art in general. Some of my closest friends work, create and live at Fatal.
Inked: You feature everything from posters to shoes, shorts, stickers, what inspires your product choice?
Mark: I try to outfit the consumer from head to toe with Fatal. Our fans, or the “FATAL CREW” as we call them, are die-hard fans. They always want more and we strive to make everything they want.
Inked: Are you a part of the designs featured in your line?
Mark: The designs come from my art team or myself. I can always be found doodling ideas for new designs and concepts on a pad. I am very involved in all our designs.
Inked: So tell me a little about your own work and about yourself, your ink… is it similar to the designs on your line?
Mark: I started getting Tattoos when I was 15 years old … they are all reminders for me. Like permanent sticker notes, HA! On my knuckles I have “get money,” bottom knuckle I have “Cash Only”. It’s taken me a long time to get where I am today. I took a lot of risks and made some mistakes along the way but I always knew that money doesn’t “grow on trees”. Keeping focus and not stressing on the small stuff helped me for long-term growth. I have a lot of traditional art on me, mostly done by my buddy johnXceleb at Goodfellas Tattoo. He Kills it!
Inked: Tell us a little about the riders, musicians that rock your clothing.
Mark: Growing up I rode for a clothing line and the owner was like a big brother to me. He taught me a lot about clothing and the branding aspect that action sports has on clothes. I started in this industry when I was only 15, so it’s been a passion from the very start. I never knew we could take it this far; I was just trying to make enough money to live a life of doing what I love.
Bill: The brand has grown organically; we never went out and aggressively sponsored athletes. It’s truly a compliment when you see your brand on hip hop stars, athletes, and superstars (i.e. JUICY JAY (36 mafia), TY$, Audio Push, Yaboy, Pricks, MasterP, the Millionaires, Derek Cook (PRO FMX RIDER), etc. etc.) We currently have a “grassroots” program where we have “up and coming” grooms in surf, skate, motto, and BMX.