Rum Knuckles: The Portrait of London Streetwear

British streetwear brand Rum Knuckles, designed by artist Rugman, has expanded its Autumn/Winter 2011 range by introducing sweatshirts, hooded tops and new graphics transforming the T-shirt into a canvas for original artwork. This collection, the second in the history of the label, continues to draw influences from 1950s naval tattoos, pop art, occult symbolism, and dress codes worn by subcultures as diverse as new age anarchists and skate punks.

The printed T-shirts portray religious and iconic figures defaced with skulls’ heads and tattoo artwork, and are juxtaposed with Rugman’ s signature ‘Disney twist’ characters, expressing a fascination with mysticism and mortality. Classic crew neck sweatshirts and zip fastened hooded tops are tagged on the chest with either Rum Knuckles’ trademark Smoking Skull or the graffiti graphic ‘Crown’ motifs. They are offered in black or grey marl, with the hooded pieces available in contrast colour sleeves and pockets with a print on the back.

Rum Knuckles came to the fore in April 2010 and is the creation of London-based artist and designer Rugman, who adopted his great uncle’s nickname for his brand. Rugman paints mainly from his studio in Hackney, in East London, and has been known to on occasion stencil or paste the streets where his art came to fruition. Alongside his commercial art and graphic design career, Rugman has maintained his own studio where he has been painting for the last 10 years. As a painter he has exhibited in the UK, Germany, Ireland, Spain, and the US.