Interview: Saint marmalade
By Hannah Green
Saint Marmalade is first and foremost a clothing brand - how did it come to be?
The idea was centered around the relationship between students and charitable causes. Local charities tend not to market towards students because of the misconception that students don’t spend money. The result of this is a lack of charity branded clothing and events which appeal to the younger generation. It's no secret that students around Bristol spend massive amounts on both clothing & events. So why not use this trend to the advantage of local charities? As we see it, Saint Marmalade could act as a direct link between charities and students.
Where did the idea to combine selling clothing and putting on events come from? Has it been easy to make a reality?
It actually happened by accident! We were originally just looking into a student clothing business, but were struggling to find the perfect event to sell at. We decided to begin hosting our own events around each release. This opened up a completely new world of artists for us to promote and showcase.
I think Bristol has to be the best city to start ideas like this. Venues like Crofters are incredibly supportive of student start-ups and have really helped to smooth the process.
Aside from the obvious t shirt/event combo - there’s been a real boom in student run nights recently - what sets yours apart?
We're so lucky to live in a city like Bristol with so many student run nights. I feel like I take it for granted sometimes. The people who run these student nights interlink and draw inspiration from each other, which has really helped us progress. It's a very inclusive and vibrant community full of great people.
What sets Marmalade apart is its interaction with the student body and its connections to local charities. Each event features new artists, who all have a say in how the event is run. The push and pull between voices has helped to shape an awesome event with its own personality.
Why is it important to work with student artists rather than booking big names?
Our main goal with Marmalade is to act as a springboard for students with artistic talent, irrespective of whether they are pursuing a career in the arts or not. We want to give them a platform to showcase their work and have fun doing it. As we progress, we want to involve more of the student body for more specific jobs like lighting, sound engineering, marketing, modeling, photography, website/clothing design, etc.
Everyone who contributes, as well as having a good time, will be developing many valuable, transferable skills which could be included in a resume and provide a great talking point in interviews.
What kind of music are you hoping to promote?
We don't want to mould artists into our own idea of perfection, but instead to support them as individuals. Therefore each event will have its own unique identity, carefully constructed by the artists. For now we're sticking to Disco // Techno // House events as its what we know best, but we're looking into starting some nights which feature completely different acts suited to different genres.
What can we expect on Tuesday night?
PLAY is our launch event, and we're super excited for it. Every artist involved has put their heart and soul into their work and its really shown. Expect a high energy, exotic night designed by some of the best rising talent Bristol has to offer:
Zoe Andrews is our first feature artist. She's responsible for the print on the t's & all over our socials. An awesome artist with a great eye.
Riley, Helix, Josh and DJ Factor 50 are incredibly talented DJ's, all providing their own personal flavours of the selected genres which will mix and evolve as the night progresses.
Max Parker will be providing superb projected visuals to accompany our acts.
Elliot Williams is creating his own vision as lead photographer.
Our supported charity for PLAY is FoodCycle, who welcome over 1400 people through their doors every week. FoodCycle serves nutritious 3-course meals, at 40 weekly projects, to those who suffer from malnutrition and mental isolation across the country.
I know you guys are just getting started, but what direction are you hoping to take Saint Marmalade in in the future?
Currently, we donate 50% of profits to the chosen charity, and reinvest the other 50% to be able to run larger events in the future. As the business grows we want to shift to 100% donation and become a licenced non-profit.
The long-term goal / dream is to see Marmalade-esque type societies running at other universities across the UK. Each branch would support its own local artists & acts, create their own identity and fundraise for causes which are most relevant to them. It has the potential to become a movement which encourages students to donate more freely and actively contribute to the community they live in.
My own work is self-labelled as documentary photography, out of a lack of a better title. By carrying a camera daily, I aim to embody the spirit of the Brownie in making the means to photography ready to me at every moment, without obstruction – by doing so, I can take a photograph of anything that captures my eye and interests me enough to preserve. Any of us can do this these days, with a camera readily available in our pockets around the clock – and many of us do so without even thinking about it. Next time you take your phone out to take a photograph, whether it is of your friends or of something that caught your eye, think about how you are participating in the act of documenting your life through photography. Make prints of your favourites, display them on your walls, share them with your friends and family. Follow the tradition of those who came before you and took their own snapshots documenting their lives. Everyone is a documentary photographer today, and this is a good thing.