We spoke with Arlo and Rosie, the founders of Splodge, a queer screen printing business.
Q – Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
Hello, we are Splodge, run by graphic designer Arlo, and videographer Rosie. We’d love to say we have a fully fledged small business, but really
we are just two people that screen print queer clothing on our kitchen table.
We design, print and sell a range of tees, totes, stickers and badges, aimed at making life easier for queer people and making them feel proud of their identity.
Q – What inspired you to start Splodge?
In August 2019 we were trying to find the money to fund Arlo’s top surgery and they came up with the idea of screen printing and selling pronoun tees in order to raise money. Arlo had top surgery in March this year but we kept Splodge going anyway (thank god we did, who knew coronavirus was coming). Since then we’ve had nothing but love and enthusiasm from everyone who has stumbled across us.
Q – How does your queer identity inform the work you do?
How doesn’t it! We didn’t want to be ‘just another generic t-shirt seller’ we wanted to do something different and provide queer people with clothing that no one else did.
Arlo’s non-binary identity and use of they/them pronouns has informed a massive amount of the designs. From the pronouns tee, so people were gendered correctly without having to say a word, to the gender venn tee was so that people had some understanding of what non-binary meant.
Rosie, being a queer feminist and overall liberal, wanted a way to show her identity as she is normally read as straight.
Our queer identities are in every aspect of Splodge!
How will you recognise pride month this year, given the unprecedented circumstances?
This year we will be participating in virtual pride events and creating a number of extra queer designs. We’ll also feature a number of very cool people who have supported Splodge along the way.
Talk us through some of your favourite Splodge designs.
Arlo: There are so many designs that I love (could be a biased opinion though). I’d have to narrow it down to the range of pantone tees, the pronouns tees/badges, and the Dug badges.
The Pantone tees are one of my favourite because if you’re not a member of the queer community they just look like nice colours, but if you are a member of the community you understand what they mean, for instance, not everyone knows the colours of the non-binary flag so when I wear it, I think it looks pretty cool and also validating for my identity.
The pronouns tees and badges are a super simple way to get your identity across to someone without saying a word. I designed it with the ‘hello my name is’ stickers as inspiration and the tees can be printed in almost any colour.
Finally the Dug badges were made to raise money for my brother’s pup Dug who has meningoencephalomyelitis (MUO) and needs chemotherapy to suppress his immune system, but this is costly and so I thought why not use our small platform to share his story and raise money for his treatment.
The designs are super cute and who doesn’t love dogs.
Rosie: My favourite products would have to be the rainbow tee that’s just come out because it’s such a cute imperfect rainbow and is also subtly queer.
Next would have to be the ‘it’s really cool to be nice to people’ sticker just because we all need reminding of that. It’s the only sticker on my laptop and reminds me that being nice to everyone is actually very cool.
Finally I really like that ‘everything will be okay’ tote bag, because sometimes I need reminding that everything will be okay. Also it’s really fun to print, and a fun fact –
each little yellow heart is hand painted by me!
The tote was developed at the beginning of the COVID crisis as part of our survival packs, just to bring a little bit of happiness to the person wearing it and also the people that see it.
Rosie, throughout quarantine you’ve been making a documentary series- would you mind telling us a little bit about it?
Queerantine was created for my final degree project and the idea came about when we went into lockdown and everything had to be done remotely. It’s a user-generated documentary series that gives an insight into the lives of 10 queer people across 3 countries as they cope with the ups and downs of life in lockdown.
I chose to include a number of identities from binary trans to cis, and non-binary to agender as I wanted to give a pretty broad
look into the queer-lockdown experience.
You can also find me and Arlo in Queerantine because it’s a super personal piece of work and stems from our own struggles with lockdown life.
The series runs over six episodes, each of which revolves around a particular topic; including but not limited to university, mental illness, weight gain, transitioning, gender dysphoria and euphoria, looking at life post-lockdown, and hopes and dreams for the future. You can watch it all as a linear series or pick and choose what you’d like to see.
It’s been really highly reviewed by all those that have seen it and is my favourite piece of work so you should definitely check it out.
This article features
Arlo (They / Them) and Rosie (She / Her) are a graphic designer and videographer, and co-founders of screen printing business Splodge.