DaW: Cleverhood & NAIL Communications
Cleverhood just moved to a new studio in May of this year. While the new place is just about a block from their previous location, it’s still new and exciting!
Thoughts after visiting the studio:
1. Cleverhood is a true local business
They try to do everything local - all components of each and every hood. 90% of their stuff is made as close as Fall River, MA (which is basically Rhode Island) and 100% is made in the US.
2. Simplicity can be fun!
According to Emmett (a member of Cleverhood’s very small team and co-director of production, fabric development, operations, and much more), Cleverhood is built around the classic cape. The classic cape is the main design tenet, and everything else is a variation. “We keep things simple and straightforward, and we never overbuild. Instead, we take things out, take out the complications.” They are simple but smart… about fabrics, seams, zippers, patterns, and all elements of their Cleverhoods.
Cleverhood’s simple, consistent business model lets the team iterate quickly and leaves lots of room to have fun! They make capes for dogs (‘Cleverpups’) and often do mini projects, including limited-release capes made from wool or fur.
3. Design process is key
There is a board behind the desk that is overflowing with pinned-up swatches - different types and thicknesses of fabrics, zippers and fasteners, magnets, mesh, pattern samples, and more… all inspiration for future Cleverhoods! This is where the designing starts. The Cleverhood team sketches, brainstorms, and works with material swatches in the studio, then they work with a pattern maker to develop the cape patterns. “We work fabric sample to pattern rather than pattern to sample,” making sure the material is perfect before moving on to develop the aesthetic.
Don’t miss the behind-the-scenes video clips of the Cleverhood studio and Emmett “at work,” live on our Instagram Stories now!
An exclusive interview with Senior Designer at NAIL, Myles Dumas. (And some photos of their colorful, quirky office below!)
Tell us about yourself.
“I went to school here in Providence, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I ended up majoring in marketing, just because the creative side of advertising appealed to me. It was only when I graduated that I realized that I didn’t have the skills to do what I wanted to do, which I figured at the time was graphic design, so I went to RISD and did night school there for four years to get my certificate. I was lucky to have some amazing teachers, and when I graduated, I found NAIL and got in as an intern. They didn’t want to let me go, and now 10 years later, I’ve worked my way up to designer and now senior designer.”
(P.S. Myles was the lead designer on NAIL’s iconic New Balance branding campaign for the NYC Marathon! Check it out here)
What is NAIL?
“NAIL is an advertising agency in Providence that started about 20 years ago. We’re predominantly an advertising agency, but we’re also strong in design. Our strengths are our creativity (the stereotypical ‘big idea') and branding - including helping our clients position themselves, creating a messaging strategy, and figuring out how that all plays out visually. We do work for clients ranging from local to global, and we have a great team of designers who do some killer work!”
WHY RHODE ISLAND?
“NAIL has been here for 20 years, and while it wasn’t really the intent of the founders to start here (it kind of just happened), what drew them to stay here was the fact that you CAN do it here. It’s close enough to New York and Boston that you can get the clients you need AND we have the talent we need.
I love Providence because it’s an affordable city with all the amenities people want in a city. It’s also easy, and it’s accessible. There’s a small community here that’s tight-knit - everybody’s very supportive, and it’s a place where you actually can find a work-life balance AND do design.”
*Videos from NAIL coming Thursday!*
Thanks to the teams at both Cleverhood and NAIL Communications for inviting us into your space. Two amazing - and amazingly different - Rhode Island design businesses! Don’t miss their videos, up TODAY and Thursday on Instagram Stories (@designisrhodeisland)!
Want to join in? Post yourself working on something cool using the hashtags #DesignIsRhodeIsland and #DesignersAtWork on Instagram, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you know a Rhode Island designer who should be featured in this series!