Execute Exist is an Irish clothing brand and print studio. Taking inspiration from Irish culture – including local history, design and music – their hand-made screen prints are an amalgamation of both modern and ancient stylistic features. Here, founder Greg Hall tells us more about his business.
Tell us about you and your brand
I’m a screen printer and graphic designer based in Limerick. My brand is called Execute Exist. The name comes from executing creative ideas that you have, allowing them to exist rather than bottling them away or being afraid to create because of external factors like other people’s opinions. I make screen-printed clothing and accessories, drawing influence from Irish culture, history, design and music.
This brand is a pretty personal project so rather than being very focused on one style or idea it can be a bit all over the place at times! I like that though. It feels more honest than trying to stick to one cohesive style always. The fluidity is the cohesive style. We sell our products online and at a weekly market stall in Limerick city.
The brand has been active since I started screen printing in September 2020. I still feel like I’m only at the beginning of finding my style and improving my craft so that’s exciting to me.
What is your mission?
A hands-on DIY approach to executing creative ideas and bringing them to life, but also to encourage this in others who see and wear the clothing.
My personal mission is to keep learning about printmaking and design and to create a sense of community with other artists I work with along the way. The community aspect you get from making art in Ireland is great. Everyone is sound and helpful to each other.
What kind of items do you specialise in?
We make all kinds of clothing with hand screen-printed designs. Mainly tote bags, t-shirts, hoodies, crewnecks, tracksuit pants – all made from organic cotton or recycled polyester and GOTS approved.
I’ve always taken inspiration from everyday design, like road signs and shop frontage. The Execute design style is mainly graphic-based and most designs relate to Irish culture or language – from Celtic design 3000 years ago to country nightclub signage from the 1980s.
We also make some Irish rapeseed wax candles.
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer?
Not at all. I liked drawing but I was always more into playing music than design growing up. I think being into music is what first exposed me to design – graphic design specifically –and lead me to start making my own. It also got me into music production software and I feel like this actually helped me, or at least encouraged me, to learn design programs shortly after.
Was money/funding a concern when starting out?
My instinct was to take a very DIY approach when starting the brand. The first printing press I used was home made from some hinges and scrap wood and I even stretched my own wooden screens. I was lucky that some of the first products I was able to make with this basic setup started selling online and this funded the next stages, rather than having to invest a lot at the beginning to buy equipment and get started.
Printing myself also enabled me to make small batches instead of having to bulk buy a larger quantity of each design if I was outsourcing. Since then, it’s just grown naturally and has been self-sustaining. It’s a bit of a slower and more tedious approach to starting a business but I’d recommend it to anyone who’s at an early stage in learning their craft like I was.
Best business advice you’ve gotten
This question is making me realise I haven’t gotten much business advice! I need a lot more. I learned a lot about not being afraid to take risks and backing yourself from my previous employers Ben and Robbie. They would never be afraid to try something even if it was new to them or required putting money and time into it.
I try to take the same approach when developing new products or when new opportunities come up – don’t let fear hold you back from going for them.
Favourite fashion/design accounts you follow
Emmett Walsh @Diabhal666 – he makes unreal modernised drawings of ancient Irish goddesses, druids, historic sites. The Celts but with airmax.
@Spicebag.exe – if you’re not following spicebag what are ya at?!
Mona Thomas – her designs look like real life versions of 2000s cartoon character outfits, I love what she does.
Aoife Cawley @aoifecawleyart – Celtic Bimbo core.
Best fashion purchase
Nike Total 90 astros in 2005. Otherwise probably a Robyn Lynch teletext scarf more recently.
Most useful learning since setting up a business
Finding all of the best suppliers for everything you need takes some time so I’m glad to have a lot of that figured out now. On a larger scale, I think being conscious of what the motivation behind your decisions and actions is. Make sure what you’re doing comes from a place that’s authentic to you and don’t let short term things like sales or trends or external opinions shape what you make too much (still learning this one all the time).
Proudest moment so far
I’m quite proud of the DIY approach I took to learning design and screen printing at the beginning. Everything I’ve learned has been self-taught and through my own experimentation. I don’t mean that this is the best way to go about learning printmaking, but it was just the only way I thought of doing it at the beginning so I’m still pretty proud of what I learned to do alone just through many hours of trial and error and practice.
I also made 50 Ukranian flag t-shirts which sold in 24 hours, raising €1,000 for the Red Cross. I’m proud of the group effort between me and everyone who bought a t-shirt on that one, it was great to see peoples’ support.
I want my brand to be remembered for…
Creating a community of designers and printers working together.
If I could have anyone wear my designs it would be…
This is something I haven’t thought about much and would only like to happen naturally/organically… but Rejjie Snow, maybe Hector Bellerin. I’d like to work with the FAI and design the Irish 3rd kit. Actually Lil Mequila or another AI/virtual person, that would be sick.
What do you have planned for your All Together Now workshops this year?
I want to make the printing workshops a collaborative experience for everyone that’s there, so I’m planning to do some quick tutorials and advice on how screen printing works and how to make a print. Then everyone can come and have a go making their own printed t-shirt or tote bag. It’s gonna be a DIY hands-on approach to festival memorabilia which is pretty fun.
I’m buzzing for this, live screen printing is so fun and I can’t wait to meet people and for them to have a go making their own bits to take away!
Jameson will be opening the doors to its brand-new stage this year at All Together Now (July 29-31) called The Circle. Along with a line-up of Ireland’s leading artists and performers, The Circle area will be home to a host of immersive workshops – including one by Execute Exist – that are open to the public and available to book via the Jameson Connects platform.