Looking for a career in design, but you’ve found yourself rolling burritos instead?

As the year of Irish design continues, it’s important to place emphasis on new and emerging designers to promote the wide diversity and talent that we have here in Ireland. 
Design is a key component to what keeps Dublin ticking, and is an excellent catalyst for change and innovation: not to mention it’s a highly transferable and sought-after skill. 
Perhaps design isn’t a career path you’ve chosen, or have yet to choose, but you want to turn your passion for design into a profit? Meet Extra Meat Apparel: like much of life, it’s about taking the initial leap and risk.
Conor, Jake and Lucas are three hardworking graduates who have successfully created their first capsule collection – Extra Meat Apparel – by harnessing their love of design with their natural flare for creativity, art, urban living and food.
Jake is a multimedia graduate from DCU while Conor is a chef. Through a mutual part-time job in a popular burrito eatery, they came together to realise their potential to create something that was a combination of sustainability, profitability and good quality.
Established in 2014, Extra Meat Apparel is a new venture in terms of street style – a hugely evolving subculture here – and Jake, the youngest of the trio, accentuated the importance of supporting young Irish design:
“It’s important to encourage and promote young creatives. We were able to achieve this without financial stability, but I think many young people with the same creative ambition and goals as Extra Meat Apparel feel restricted because of money. 
“I believe that entrepreneurship is blossoming once more throughout Ireland, but younger people still need that extra support.”
Many of us feel that we cannot achieve our goals, because we don’t have the monetary support to do so. However there are many programmes and scholarships available for students interested in entrepreneurship and design; such as Enterprise Ireland’s ‘New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme’, which offers financial and executive support for young start-ups.
Seeking help through your student welfare office is also a good place to start. Jake emphasised that if you have a passion for it, then it’s always achievable: 
“Design is design – it doesn’t matter if it’s on a phone, a tablet, a 20 foot billboard, food or clothes.”
The duo believe that it is their designer Lucas that separates them from other emerging brands in Dublin. 
Lucas is a qualified and talented art teacher from Brazil who specializes in intricate illustrations, and uses mediums in such a way that are not typically used: creating a unique and eye-catching vantage point for Extra Meat. Lucas created their first design using free-hand and an IPad.
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Upon meeting Conor and Jake, it was obvious that they are both very different individuals – one relaxed and laid back, the other firm and stern; but their mutual love of urban life and creativity has driven them forward. 
Conor explained that everything they design and work at ultimately originates from the things they collectively like doing; whether it’s skating, cycling, surfing or eating.
“We are a unisex brand aimed towards people who enjoy the things we enjoy,” he said.
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Quality over Quantity
Once they got talking about their brand, it was clear that their emphasis lies in the quality of their product, as opposed to quantity or profit: 
“Quality has been at the forefront of what we are doing from the start. We’re not skipping on quality in terms of design and fabric. It took us months to nail down designs, and took even longer to find a fabric supplier that could do the job at a high standard,” said Jake. 
He continued by showing his support to local business; finally setting with a reliable and local firm on the North Strand:
“We print only on gildan-quality printable t shirts at the moment. We use pre-shrunk cotton that is ideal for printing and retains its shape and fit even after washing. We are trying to be a transient as possible and not be stuck by a certain gender or size. Quality over quantity.”
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Creativity knows no bounds, but realising goals and bringing creativity to fruition is often restrictive financially. 
Extra Meat Apparel would like to see more support across all aspects of the industry; either from shops, investors, grants or bursaries.  
Conor, Jake and Lucas are currently working on their next collection which can be bought via their social media platforms. 
For more information on scholarships and bursaries visit your student welfare office and Enterprise Ireland.

For more information about Extra Meat Apparel, why not visit their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.