The story behind Lantern Collective
“In my opinion the main point of Lantern Collective are not the products but the story behind them. The essence of Lantern is representing certain aesthetics and a certain lifestyle.” Nejc Pucko
Who is Lantern Collective?
I (Nejc Pucko) pretty much started Lantern by myself without giving it much thought about the future.. I was a pretty lost 22 year old. The reality of not being able to just snowboard all of my life hit me pretty hard and I also hated going to school and already spent all of my university options so I was forced into doing something, but I had no idea what that something will be.
At the very beginning I did most of the stuff by myself (logo, photos, designs).
Tomaž Praunseis (Jaganath Production) helped me out a lot with the first 2 videos that were kind of the launch of everything.
After that I started to work a lot with Janez Kocbek who helped me out with photos, videos and the whole visual aspect of the brand.
We go way back with Janez (filming snowboarding clips for Yougofirst production, Different vision production and making our own snowboard project ˝Ride your way˝ ). At the time he was the guy I trusted the most with the visual aspect of things and at that point we kind of started molding Lantern into what it is today.
Along the way we pick up people who we think are compatible with our vibe and aesthetics like Matter, Urban Senekovič (YNGFirefly), Mito, Ana Šantl, Eva Leber, Nejc Ferjan, Teo Ivančič, Tadej Hrastovec, Ezav Mrgole, Žiga Rakovec. It’s mostly musicians, photographers, filmers, artists and snowboarders/skateboarders.
With the opening of our own gallery Studio 12:22 in Maribor, where we organize art exhibitions, we also started to engage ourselves more into the art gallery world.
Lantern Collective is a kind of conglomerate of people who share the same perception of aesthetics.
What is the “Lantern Collective” philosophy?
In my opinion the main point of Lantern Collective are not the products but the story behind them. The essence of Lantern is representing certain aesthetics and a certain lifestyle.
We want to give people more than just pieces of clothing – I think it’s better to see Lantern as a movement or a culture.
The products are just the merch of that movement. The apparel we put out definitely has more of a street/skate look because both of us (me and Janez) like this kind of clothes.
The idea to start my own brand came pretty random. I was kind of lost at the moment it all started, so I just followed the flow of events without thinking too much.
I randomly found a Youtube tutorial on how to sew a 5 panel cap and a drawstring backpack and when I was satisfied with the product I just started to sell them. The funny thing is I don’t know how to sew anything else than a 5 panel cap and a drawstring backpack… Besides these 2 products I know absolutely nothing about sewing.
When I started to sell the products and made Facebook page and Instagram account everything started growing pretty fast. I think it was pretty easy to promote the products. I knew a lot of people in the scene because of my involvement with the snowboarding/skateboarding world and everybody was willing to help and promote the brand. Thanks again good people ❤️
How are the products made?
Since the quality of the products is our top priority all of our products are hand screen printed in the Lantern Collective headquarters in Maribor, Slovenia. The backpacks and 5 panels are also handmade in the same place.
I am printing and sewing all the products, choosing the right garments and style of clothes. However, there is more people behind the graphics. Most of the graphics were made by Janez Kocbek, but there are also a couple that were made by me, Teo Ivančič and Ajda Sitar.
In the future there will be more artists who will have their signature lines.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
The most challenging part for me was definitely taking care of bureaucracy and making sure everything we do is legit. It was definitely harder and more boring than the process of making, promoting and selling the products.
Taking care of bureaucracy was a straight up nightmare for me. I never studied anything even closely related to economics and I had absolutely no idea of how this kind of things work.
It took a lot of time and nerves to figure out how to do everything properly.
What would you consider as a breakthrough point for Lantern?
I think I have to expose 3 main points.
- When I started Lantern I just did drawstring backpacks and 5 panels. After a while I figured out that there is no way that this will be enough so I started to learn about screen printing techniques (Thanks to Ajda Sitar – I am forever thankful for your time and knowledge). When I had the knowledge I did everything at home (prepare wooden frames, prepare screens with the mesh and emulsion, expose the screens to the right light).
In September 2016 I launched the first apparel line and this was the first turning point.
- Second turning point was when we started a collaboration with Matter in September 2017. They were all wearing Lantern on the release of their second album MRK in sold out Kino Šiška and that really had a big impact on the brand.
After that (December 2017) we also did a collaboration event in Kino Udarnik in Maribor.
The event was a part of FAK (Festival of alternative culture). It was a sold out event with the release of our new collection (Parallels) and premiere of their new video which was a transition into the concert.
I think at that point people kind of started to look at Lantern a bit more seriously because we proved that Lantern really is more than just a clothing brand.
- The third and the most important turning point I want to expose is happening right now.
It is a transformation from Lantern Handcrafted to Lantern Collective.
This transformation is happening on more levels: from changing the legal status of the company which gives us a chance to start selling worldwide and put everything to the next level. We are also changing the website, products and the visuals.
I am really excited about the future of Lantern.
Do you have any goals for the future?
The main goal is definitely to continue creating high quality content that means something.
That goes for everything we do: photos, videos, art exhibitions, events, apparel and accessories. Quality of our content and our products is definitely our top priority.
There will definitely be more collaborations and exclusive collections with limited pieces in the future.
Another goal is definitely to make a name for the brand internationally and to get Lantern to the right shops worldwide. We are currently on the lookout for interesting individuals worldwide so we can make an international collective.
Answers: Nejc Pucko
Photos: Janez Kocbek