An Interview (+ Giveaway!) with the Man Behind Explorer's Press March 11 2015
Up North in the scenic terrain of Canada lies a promising, emerging brand. Founded in 2012 in Vancouver, BC, Explorer's Press aims to help you personalize the everyday with a variety of tangible goods. Their pins, patches, keychains and more remind us to keep exploring, and have some fun along the way. By combining a vintage aesthetic with a modern flair, the designs feel current while tied to something timeless. It's a refreshing tone that's building Explorer's a strong following far beyond its mountainous homeland.
Strange Ways had an exclusive chat with the founder of Explorer's Press, Brendan Megannety.
Can you explain the history behind Explorer's Press? How did it come about?I was working as a screen printer in Toronto, making zines and shirts in my spare time, and I ended up doing a few patches just for fun. I was planning on having them to include with zines and trade with people, and they kind of just blew up. That's how Explorer’s started.
Do you have an artist background? Do you come up with the products mostly solo, or is a team involved?
I don’t have any formal training, but I’ve always drawn and painted pretty much since elementary school. I do all the art myself, unless its a collaborative piece which I’ve done a few of.
You're one of the top selling brands at Strange Ways, partly because of the popularity in flair like lapel pins and patches. I think you're one of the first brands I really took notice doing this. Can you speak to what influences you in making these?I’ve always collected patches since I was in Boy Scouts, there is something I really like about embroidery and how imperfect it is. I’ve also been in to lapel pins for a while. In Toronto, I used to always go down to this flea market on Sunday where there was this vendor that just had huge binders of lapel pins. I’d always grab 3 or 4 every Sunday. I like how simple they are.
“I’ve always collected patches. There is something I really like about embroidery and how imperfect it is.”
A lot of the mottos and imagery used in Explorer's Press relates to finding your way in what seems like the midst of a struggle, or being outcast. Is this a theme you actively try to inject into the product?
For Explorer’s my concept has always been to make things that I want to wear or use, and not cater to a theme or trend. I guess in that, the message varies depending on how I’m feeling or whats happening in my life. I think the brand is pretty loose and leaves me a lot of room to play around with concepts and ideas.
Being a self-taught artist and establishing your own company, would you say there is a sense of independence or self-discovery in what you do?I think that I learn a lot about myself from running Explorer’s Press. Running my own business has been a huge learning experience, as well as just pursuing a creative endeavour as a full time job. I’ve found that I need to have other creative outlets that are just for me alongside the brand, just to keep myself feeling fresh. I take art classes and practice different disciplines of art that have nothing to do with Explorer’s.
You're based out of Canada, a land full of scenic outdoors. Does this influence the “explorer” part of Explorer's Press?
Big time. I get outside as much as I can, and have been into camping and hiking since I was a kid.
What's up with Canada, anyway? There seems to be a lot of hip + edgy brands emerging from that region—something I'm going to call “Canadian Cool.” Is there something in the air when you go further North?
Less pollution, maybe! Or maybe the crippling winters make it easier to stay inside and design cool shit.
I suppose the simplicity and straight forwardness of design from the 80s and 90s is what draws me to stuff from that era. You thought you were a bad boy? You bought a t-shirt that said bad boy on it. I see that coming back a bit. I am really drawn to design from souvenirs from that era and even earlier. Pennants, pins, patches, matchbooks, fridge magnets and stuff like that.
You mention the aesthetic of Explorer's Press is nostalgic. What draws you to the past? Do you find there to be something missing about today's culture?
I don’t know if anything is missing from our culture—I just don’t really care about a lot of stuff that goes on. I just do my thing.
What's your goal with the brand? Where do you see it going in the near future?
Besides world domination, I’d like to get some in house cut and sew items going. I just want to keep having fun doing what I love!