The apparel industry is one of many moving parts. For every high-profile designer, there are thousands of photographers, marketing professionals and independent designers who quietly do their part to keep our community vibrant and relevant.
These individuals deserve their recognition. In an effort to ensure that, RSC’s Industry Intelligence make sure you hear from these unsung heroes who keep it real each and every day.
Name, rank and why we should care?
Bryan Sotomayor, Ruler of Doctor Hazmat.
You should care so you can say “PSSSHHH! I knew him before he had his first store.”
Before you continue reading go buy a shirt or four:
I’ll wait…good choice! That’s an excellent tee. It matches your eyes. Ok, on with the interview.
What are you working on right now?
My latest tee is “Happy M.A.C.”
Mostly, I’m just trying to promote the brand. As it grows and orders increase, I have ideas of things I’d like to add. Packaging in the shape of a beaker, giveaways, meet-ups in different states, setting up booths at different events.
What future plans are in the works? More tees. MOOOAAAARRR!!!
I recently finished work on some custom hang tags. I’m still looking into affordable mailers. I want my products to look just as professional as they are fun.
I would love to put out a vinyl or resin toy *COUGH* Argonaut Resins *COUGH* Steve Talkowski.
I’m also giving M.A.C. an upgrade. If you don’t own a M.A.C. tee, get one now. He will never appear on a shirt in his current form again!
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your work?
I honestly can’t pick one single thing. I’m using everything I love to drive my ideas behind Doctor Hazmat.
I love looking at comic book cover art. Notice the first two tees “The Doctor Is In” and “M.A.C.” They both have a slight comic book cover look to it. That’s why I had the name look the way it does on the top of the shirt.
Now take “Super Doctor Hazmat”. I love pixel art! The first console I ever owned was NES. I could not stop playing Mario Bros.
I’ve gotten a bunch of emails asking if I would be printing more “Super Doctor Hazmat” tees and the answer is yes. I just wanted to release another tee first.
Now for the latest shirt “Happy M.A.C.”. I can’t tell you how much I miss old cartoons. To this day I try and find Steam Boat Willie and Wacky Races on all of the internets. I wanted to imagine what M.A.C. would look like with a little influence from old cartoons.
So I guess if I had had to narrow it down, I would say curiosity and fun are my influences.
What is the hardest lesson you have ever had to learn?
Sometimes you have to evaluate friendships and cut people loose. It’s best to go your separate ways if the people around you are doing negative things. It will only drag you down.
Last book read, movie watched, record listened to?
I very rarely read books, but the first two Harry Potter books were the last. I’m more into magazines.
Last movie watched was Transformers 3. I loved it! Thought it was waaaaay better than the second movie.
I’m such a HUUUUUGE Kanye fan. “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is still in heavy rotation on my iPhone. Ego aside, I think he is an artistic genius. He’s designed an amazing Nike sneaker, amazing album, amazing glow-in-the dark tour and amazing painting. He is definitely one of my idols.
“B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray” is another favorite. The entire album is great.
Fill in the blank: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without _____”
A positive attitude, never excepting “no” for an answer, my extreme curiosity, strong work ethic and my mother.
When I want something, I get it. It may take a very long time and lots of hard work, but I get it. Once you accept “no” or “can’t,” you’ve already failed yourself.
Most people are too afraid to take a risk. I’m too afraid to work for someone else the rest of my life.
I have a need to excel at things I love. That’s why people know Doctor Hazmat will be here for a very long time. What’s the point of doing something if you’re not going to do your best? In the words of Ricky Bobby, “if you’re not first, you’re last.”
As for my mother, she always encouraged me to pursue whatever I wanted to do. I borrowed the money to start Doctor Hazmat from my parents. I guess I owe them a house when the brand gets bigger. =o)
If you don’t mind I’d like to give a few shout outs.
Derek Deal/The Black Axe has designed my first three shirts, website background, logo and icon. Thank you, and Kevin, for not losing your minds dealing with me. They’ve done an amazing job.
Thank you Greg Abbott for designing my latest tee, “Happy M.A.C.” He got it done from concept to finished product in less than 5 hours! The man is a machine.
Huge shout out to every brand that comes up with an original concept. Stop ripping other brands!
Last but certainly not least, thank you Nicholas and Regan for this interview. I love the brand and had a great time hanging out at Renegade!
(Walks off stage)