The Man Behind A.F.M.T
Can you share with Estér-readers who Arvin is?
This is always a fun question to try to answer. Who am I? Honestly, I don’t think I even know yet. I’m someone who enjoys beautiful things- I like to talk, and I like to express myself. More than anything, I’m just myself. Kinda cheesy, but kinda true.
How did you get the idea to start A.F.M.T?
A.F.M.T. came to mainly as a result of procrastination during exam studies. A few years ago a few friends and I were messing around while one (of many) study breaks- and started using the term “Alt for mine tjommier” as a simple response to a “thank you”. As in, if I were to ask you to pass me a pencil, you’d comply, I’d say thanks, and you would reply “alt for mine tjommier”, and eventually it was shortened to “AFMT”. I played around with putting it on a t-shirt a while back, and I even drew up some mock designs that I still have laying around somewhere. Fast forward a year or two, I was again procrastinating heavily- this time playing around with embroidering a t-shirt I hadn’t used in a while with a “catchphrase” I had been using too much: “kedegåri baby”. I was quite happy with the result, and put up a picture of the shirt on Instagram- and a bunch of people started asking about where I bought it, or if I could make them one too. I realized that there was no way I could spend 2 hours embroidering each shirt, so I started looking into how I could make more shirts, and ended on iron-on prints I ordered online. My new “brand” needed a name and as I was making shirts for my friends, of course “AFMT” came to mind. And thus, A.F.M.T. STUDIOS was born.
What’s the message behind your products?
The message behind the products began as more of a mix of “funny” local slang, and mostly esthetics and graphics I liked and played around with and edited. I have never been a fan of wearing clothing that “tells a message” to people around you. Although clothing can be used to express a message, I prefer to use clothing to express something else. Something that is aesthetically pleasing- something that you, and people around you, can enjoy looking at. It’s kind of like wearing a piece of art you like. I try to avoid too bold statements, but also embed little things in most designs- that if you look closer at, you might see something more.
How has the journey been from you started and up to now? And what are your future plans for A.F.M.T?
After I started ironing “ke´d´går´I bby” on shirts for my friends, and then realized people wanted to buy and wear them because they liked the idea- I started putting more thought and effort into the process. It’s been a lot of fun, creatively rewarding, but at times also extremely exhausting. Most of the time so far has been focused on filling orders- but also trying to improve the quality of the prints. I build my own silk screen printing press because I wanted the print to “sit” better on the shirts, and that took quite some time. I’ve also worked on growing the brand on Instagram, building a following, and building a platform where I can promote more items and designs further down the line. What’s next for A.F.M.T. STUDIOS? Well, I’m planning on FINALLY launching the webstore- and also moving on to a bigger scale of production, new designs, and I’m especially excited for some of the limited “capsule collections” I’m working on. These are mostly photography projects, that will revolve around different themes and settings, done in collaboration with various photographers and some local artists. I think this is an opportunity to showcase some of my more creative ideas, but also work with some talented people in the culture. In addition to this, I’m also currently looking into how I can do more than just print on t-shirts and clothing. I want to make my own clothing.
What is the best experience you've had with A.F.M.T?
The best experience I’ve had, related to A.F.M.T. STUDIOS isn’t just a single experience. It’s the feeling I get every time I see someone I know, and someone I don’t know, wearing the clothes I’ve made. Every time someone places an order. It’s an incredible feeling. It’s a rush!
What motivates you to keep working?
What motivates me is seeing someone enjoy an item of clothing that I made, or a design that I made. Their excitement gives me a rush. Being able to create something, even the smallest thing- and see someone appreciate and enjoy that thing is the best motivation I can think of.
How does A.F.M.T look like in ten years?
Today, the “Kedegåri”-print is the most sold print we’ve got, and although I have ambitions beyond that one catchy slogan, I’m super greatful that something so simple has given me a platform where I can do more, express myself better. But more than anything, in ten years I imagine I will still be doing my best at making clothing that people want to wear, and that I can be proud of having created.
Your best tips for fresh and new designers:
Don’t be afraid of trying, just put your ideas out there. Even though some people might not like it, the ones that do make it all worthwhile. Also, don’t be too critical of yourself. I spend so much time brooding over designs that I don’t feel are “good enough”, but sometimes I’ve put them out there, and to my surprise they turn out to be the most popular designs!
You’re from Bergen, what are your best tips for a weekend there?
Bergen is a beautiful city, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe honestly. If you’re lucky enough to spend a weekend in town, I would recommend you check out some of my favorite places. Start out by sleeping in- nothing really exciting happens before 10:00 anyway haha. Then treat yourself to a late breakfast/ early lunch at Don Pippo or Landmark, two of my favorite spots in town. If the weather is nice, head on over to the other side of the Nygaard heights and treat yourself to one of the best coffees in town at BKB Møhlenpris. Sit there and enjoy your beverage or take it to go while you enjoy the scenery of the neighboring park. If the weather is not on your side, skip the coffee and head directly to the KODE-museums. I love to shop, and what is a weekend trip without browsing a few stores? Visit me at Fresh Pepper, right next to the KODEs, and check out the carefully curated selection of menswear and womenswear at the store. I would also recommend checking out Lot333 for some curated workwear, or SecondLove for beautiful hand-picked vintage items.
I also love to drink. Stop by Hoggorm for some pizza and petnat, or if you’re feeling fancy- go to Marg & Bein for gourmet plates inspired in part by traditional Norwegian food. After you’ve filled up, head on over to Ujevnt for a drink or four, and move on to the last stop of the night (which also just so happens to be the best activity known to man): karaoke, at Lukket Selskap.
Your top three:
ONLINE SITES – SSENSE for online shopping, Adam Katz Sinding´s website (adamkatzsindig.com) for photography inspiration, and Bon Appetite for recipes and kitchen inspiration
FOOD – Pasta, Ceviché, Risotto
DRINKS – Coffee, Petnat, Negroni
ARTISTS – Always changing, but right now I would say Blood Orange, Noname, and Thundercat.
CLOTHING BRANDS – Also always changing, but right now maybe Jacquemus, Commes des Garcons Homme, and Eytys or Acne Studios
You can find all products from A.F.M.T on Instagram @afmt_co. Perfect as Christmas gifts!