If you’ve ever stopped into Bellwether on east Colfax, you’ve most likely been served coffee or whiskey by a tall, bearded man named Marcus Goodgaine. The man behind the counter might make a mean cold brew but he also sports eye-catching shirts and has artwork recognized throughout Denver, including being featured in a local coloring book. The man of many hats sat down with us and told us about making his own shirts with distinctive fabrics, how he found a passion for art, and what makes up his personal style.
303: Tell me about your personal style.
Marcus Goodgaine: My personal style is very individual. It pulls inspiration from a lot of places and other cultures, but previous styles like old formal cuts or interesting east-vs-west collars [are] what I’m looking at right now. I’m also function-driven. I like small things that have use, that aren’t just for the fashion but that ideally have a reason or use.
303: What inspired you to make shirts?
MG: I’ve always had a want to create interesting pieces. Shirts are a main one because it’s something that you change every day and you have the outer shirts I really like. It’s actually not just me that’s creating them, it’s also my mom who is the seamstress and she’s done amazing work since I’ve been a kid. That’s how we’ve used all these patterns. We’ve done pants as well, I’ve created seven pairs of pants with her. They’re different, fun things that we get to create, and craft and tweak. It’s also a fun way for us to connect and have something that we can show off.
303: You recently collaborated with Lawrence & Larimer and made a t-shirt using one of your own drawings. What was that like?
MG: John Chapman is a great friend and he’s always willing to do something new and fun and he reached out on collaborating on a shirt. He saw a graphic that I did, it’s a cop car up on blocks and was inspired. He asked “Do you want to do something? We can do a shirt.” and I said “Definitely!” So he printed it up and we sold a few through his site. It was great to see something I drew on paper come to life on a shirt. I’ve mostly done cut & sew and it was fun seeing him engage in something that was screen printed.
303: Can you tell us about the shirts you’re wearing today?
MG: These are all recent shirts, within the last year. My mom and I pick up fabrics together. We have one with Pendleton fabric, one with batik fabric, and some flannels. All the shirts are aimed at combining cultures and to have the function of warmth during the winter. When I spotted that awesome wolf print fabric, I thought, “I have to make something with that!”
303: Bellwether carries a coloring book that features drawings made by you and other local artists. How did that come about?
MG: The “Colors of Culture” started out as an idea I had and through it, we got to create art, we got to host an art show, and we got to stir up some interest in the comic book community after it came out. It was fun that we got to push it through a Kickstarter and through the support of our community. It’s available for purchase here at Bellwether. The artists featured are either friends of mine or friends of some of the Bellwether staff. It’s also a community thing in the sense that the featured artists are people we know at Bellwether or that have a relationship with us and we were able to reach out to that family to create something fun.
303: How did you find a passion for art and drawing?
MG: I’ve had a passion for creation since I was a kid. My parents got me to start drawing and painting before school and it stuck with me. It’s something I’ve been trying to incorporate more and more into my life whether it’s clothes or doing more paintings.
303: Can we expect more designs from you in the future?
MG: No pants or anything this season but Christmas is usually when I get new shirts. I have three new shirts coming again and planning on working on a few small pieces as well.
303: Is there somewhere people can buy your drawings, shirts, coloring book?
MG: The coloring book is available at Bellwether. We have toyed with the idea of making select tailored garments for interested people, since the current shirts are tailored to my measurements, but it’s still being thought about. Drawings can be either bought through my etsy page or through email at [email protected]
If Goodgaine’s shirts strike your fancy, feel more than free to reach out to him. If you’d like to meet him in person, stop into Bellwether and say hello.
All photography by Noah Berg.