Last week Reyn Spooner soft launched their beautiful, limited-edition Ultraman Hawaiian shirt to celebrate 65 years of spreading the vibrant energy of Hawaii worldwide. This week we got the chance to interview Reyn Spooner’s creative director, Doug Burkman, who also happens to be the mind behind the shirt’s epic design.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your relationship to Reyn Spooner and your role in the creation of the new Ultraman shirt?
I am the Creative Director at Reyn Spooner - Hawaii’s heritage aloha shirt brand that has been around since the 1950’s. Before I worked here I was a customer and collector, wearing the shirts for the past 20 years – living in New York City and frequently traveling to Hawaii. My job is really art curator, bringing ideas to my design team and watching them bring concepts to life.
What is your relationship to Ultraman? When did you first encounter the franchise?
I’ve always been fascinated by Japanese pop culture since my early years. I can still remember when I first got connected to the Ultraman universe by stepping into a store in Tokyo’s Akihabara district and being mesmerized by the collection of colorful monsters. That was my first encounter with Ultaman’s Kaiju. And now I’m even a proud collector of a few vintage ones – Garamon, Goro, Baltan, Pagos.
What motivated you to design the shirt and what went into that process? How do you get it to look so good?
Every Reyn Spooner Shirt is meticulously researched, sketched and painted. Our art department is staffed with some truly talented artists. The design team had the pleasure of re-watching many episodes of the original series to make sure we captured all the key elements that made this franchise so unique.
It was really the vintage kaiju toys that inspired us to create the shirt – the perfect combination of cool, weird, and unexpected. The hardest part was narrowing down the scenes – there is only so much space to work with in textile design. There is a lot of storytelling to squeeze into a 12” x 24” box!
How does Ultraman as a character ideologically fit into the Reyn Spooner brand message?
Reyn Spooner has a deep history with Japan. It has served as inspiration for numerous shirt designs from florals to sushi to Godzilla. Our fabric production takes place in Japan, near Osaka. And many Japanese customers like to visit our retail stores in Hawaii. We are Hawaii first, but we are also Japan and California.
Any final message for Ultraman Connection members and potential new Reyn Spooner customers?
Reyn Spooner is the most collected Aloha shirt in the world and each design is limited-issue. I hope this shirt design makes every Ultraman fan excited and a future collector themselves – it all starts with one shirt!
The shirt is a short sleeve button down available in multiple styles and sizes up to 3XL. The pattern is elegant and light-wash and features classic and dynamic images of Ultraman in various altercations with Kaiju printed on crisp, high quality fabric.
Reyn Spooner and Ultraman have come together to create a product representative of the importance of bonds, whether that’s between a brand and a franchise, Japan and Hawaii, human and Ultra, or even between fellow collectors.
Make sure you start your collection with the Ultraman Shirt available now: https://www.reynspooner.com/products/ultraman-spooner-kloth?variant=40044655345748¤cy=USD&utm_medium=product_sync&utm_source=google&utm_content=sag_organic&utm_campaign=sag_organic&gclid=CjwKCAjw5MOlBhBTEiwAAJ8e1rdPkxkgl7cDoalgw-vZPd5W92RYmfqHHlty7muKxu10TkwuerppgxoCihQQAvD_BwE
And stay tuned here at UltramanConnection.com for more updates!