Swedish skate brand Poetic Collective have been gathering momentum recently with two full edits and designs that have become synonymous with European skateboarding in 2018. Founder Tom Botwid and his brother and partner, Paul both come from arts and design backgrounds and Poetic Collective base their graphics around art history, architecture and design.
Please give an overview on how and why the company began?
Poetic Collective started from the will to do something with friends and to bring a different kind of aesthetic and way of looking at things into skateboarding. I have a background in fine arts and felt like most companies were looking to skateboarding for inspiration.
During my art studies, I wanted to do something where we could look beyond the skateboard industry and in that way also bring something fresh, visually into skateboarding. So instead we try to draw our inspiration from art history, architecture and design.
As for as how it started, we began with just one board and a shirt graphic, and with the help of a few good friends that pitched in by buying a few decks to reach minimum quantity, we made a video. At this point, my brother came in and added his digital expertise and sense of aesthetics to help shape the brand and slowly it started growing. It is still a really small scale brand in the way that it’s only the two of us and we both have other jobs, but we hope for to grow so we can have more time to focus on the company.
Tell us more about you and your brother’s backgrounds and duties for Poetic Collective?
Me and Paul being the only two people handling the larger part of it, we both have a lot of roles. We work on designs and edits together, I do social media, go skating with the team, film, talk to shops and handle orders etc. Paul does a bit more on the digital side. I studied fine arts at the Weißensee art academy in Berlin and Paul studied digital design at Hyper Island in Stockholm. He has skated all his life too but isn’t as involved with the scene as I am, so the combination of me being a total skate nerd and him knowing about skating and understanding it, but not being influenced by it is a really good combo.
How are you distributed throughout Europe?
We mostly work directly with shops, I like the connection of actually speaking to the person in the shop but in some countries, we work with distributors that we trust. We just look for shops and distributors with a similar outlook on skateboarding that present their brands in a good way.
Why’s it so important to be selective with your distribution?
I feel like it is important that we can identify with the shop and /or distributor. There are some places where I don’t think that our brand would fit.
Which skaters are you working with?
The team consists of, Sarah Meurle, Amandus Mortensen, Simon Källkvist, Samuel Norgren, Nils Lilja, Peter Johansson, Klas Andersson and then I fit in on a corner there too. I think that’s important too, for me to be out there with the team, skating with them, not just being some dude telling them to go skate. I’m in it too, we are a group and it’s up to all of us to make it happen.
We also have a flow team that we support and a goal is also to provide more support for the female skate scene. We have Sarah on the team and two more girls on flow so I hope in the future we can make videos and collections with an equal amount of men and women.
Any artist collaborations to talk of?
Sarah Meurle is not only a team rider but also a talented photographer and has designed two signature boards. We want to do more to work with other artists, there are some classic Swedish painters that we would be really excited to work with. Time will tell!
What are Poetic Collective’s goals for the future?
For the coming 12 months, we are dropping two new collections, a few new video projects and articles in print media. Our goal is to get more established in Europe. In the future, we want to reach the US and Asia too and develop our apparel into a full head to toe clothing line. We want to take it slow though and keep doing things we believe in, work with people with similar values and do a whole lot of skating!