As every Tuesday here we are again bringing you our newest episode of our most popular series, the #TshirtTuesday. Where we interview and feature some of the most exciting and new personalised T-shirts designers on Earth (are you one of them?).
This time around we bring you Sensei and his brand new apparel line Black Belt Level. A brand characterised by its detailed prints and rebel attitude. Definitely one of the most interesting clothing lines we’ve ever featured within the series.
I hope you enjoy our newest #TshirtTuesday!
Interviewing Sensei Lilja, founder of Black Belt Level
Tell us about you, what’s your name? Where are you from? What do you do?
Hi! My name is Sensei Lilja and I am a graphic designer from Stockholm, Sweden. I have a background as a graphic designer on various Swedish newspapers and magazines but have always been designing a little arty, geometric and typographic stuff on the side. Just for fun.
My friends have been telling me for a long time that I really should do something with these designs laying around. So, a little less than a year ago I quit my job… (in a few years from now this may well be considered the biggest mistake of my life… so far.) So I started building a site, a logo, a brand. My own brand. And now I am just trying to get my designs in front of people. And have quickly learned that that’s the really hard part. But I will learn… and have already been getting a fantastic response from people.
What about your brand? What’s its name? What makes it unique?
I am calling my brand Black Belt Level, essentially because it finds inspiration in the martial art jiu-jitsu. But this is not a mma/ufc/fight-kind of brand, though I have a few mma-oriented designs. But these hang side by side with typographic designs, funny designs, Fibonacci-pornish designs, scary horror designs, rock n’ roll design, surreal designs, etc… What makes my brand unique, or the red line in my work, is that there is kind of a dark core to it all. All my designs, even the ones on the humorous side, have a little bit of a dark streak to it.
If it were a person, what would he/she be like?
Take one part Trent Reznor, one part Louis CK, one part Emma Goldman, one part Charles Bukowski, mix these with a little, little touch of Dali, and there you have it!
Simplicity is key, describe your brand in three words:
Black Belt Level!
For how long have you been selling T-shirts? Any remarkable story you learnt on the way? Any advice for beginners?
I just launched my brand, like a few months ago, so I don’t really have any remarkable stories or advice. Everything is in front of me. But if anyone out there who reads this has any awesome advice, don’t hesitate to contact me!
Key question, why should people be interested in your brand?
We need a counterweight to all the ”Carpe diem”-, ”Stay positive”- and ”Life is beautiful”-designs. I am absolutely NOT saying they are wrong. But there needs to be a balance. And that’s where Black Belt Level comes in. And judging by the feedback I have been getting, there are a lot of people out there who seek this balance…
Are you on Social Media? Where can we find you?
I am just starting to get social. I am currently most active on Instagram where I upload almost everything I design. I am having a harder time getting my Facebook page to grow, so please visit it and like it, share it or comment on it.
Black Belt Level Clothing – Featured Garments
Beneath the Layers
The Fibonacci Sequence
God is 7
In the Balance
Not in the Mood for any Carpe
Paint the World
Team Half Empty
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