You probably recognize the iconic red and white snowcat silhouette. Maybe you’ve seen stickers depicting the image stuck to street signs, bus stops, and Subarus throughout Seattle, or maybe you purchased a handmade beanie adorning said logo at Zumiez, SnoCon, or Evo. Either way, you still may not be privy to just how unique Seattle’s Spacecraft Collective really is.
Spacecraft is truly artist driven. Apparel brands usually start with a name and idea, followed by a logo and a few base designs. Spacecraft had unknowingly developed their logo before the idea of any product had materialized. Their artwork and designs far outnumber the amount of t-shirts or accessories they have available. While art is often created to print on a shirt, they make shirts as a medium to present their art. In fact, the name was thought up last minute on the way to a vendor meeting in a Bangkok taxi, but their history began much earlier when founder Stefan Hofmann snapped a photo of a snowcat at the base of a backcountry run.
“I became fascinated with the idea that an object could contain intrinsic value.”
The photo was made into a sticker and became a catalyst in one of the Northwest’s most successful guerilla marketing campaigns (whether or not it was intentional).
“For me, it is an effective and fascinating way to mobilize design and idea,” says Stefan. “I have seen (Spacecraft stickers) from Hong Kong to Bangkok, LA to New York and on the back roads of Washington.”
Currently Stefan is living in Bali, where he is putting together a studio, working to learn from the Balinese culture, surfing, and “striving to become better at living and making.”
The majority of the company’s featured product, beanies, are created in Bali–people knit them in their homes in the mountains. The process these popular beanies undergo is an involved one.
“From initial concepts of theme and sensibility for the year’s themes; this will frame everything we do that year. Then on to design and CADs to making samples.”
Next time you’re shopping at one of the aforementioned shops, consider how many of the products are handmade by Indonesian natives. Though many of those brands are unique and important in their own way, few captivate art and embrace culture the way Spacecraft is able to.
“When you choose to buy from Spacecraft,” explains Stefan, “you are supporting a movement, not a brand. You make it possible for us to interact and create to give back to the culture we are a part of.”
They strive to offer products they themselves use and love. Good design and minimal waste are at the forefront of their focus. The art is first however, and is predominantly created by Mr. Hofmann. Literally tons of stickers are produced yearly–in over 200 designs. Their artwork is even shown in galleries.
“We work to create dialogue for change and positivity through the art.”
Browse through the art showcased on Spacecraft’s website to get a feel for the passion and talent behind this collective. One piece, entitled “Mad Cow,” depicts a giant cow and tank combination. “Camper Corn” is a galloping unicorn with a truck camper on its back. Many of the pieces include bunnies and/or monster truck tires. There is a reoccurring exploration of the relationship between nature and industry in Stefan’s work. And while a lot of the pieces are done in comical pop art fashion, they are certainly all amazing. Spacecraft is a globally active, organic Upper Playground.
Check out their products and designs at spacecraftcollective.com
Many thanks to Kate Sweeney at Spacecraft for facilitating the interview, and to Stefan Hofmann for taking time to participate all the way from Bali.