I get asked a lot for how I ever ended up in a weird niche of designing for cybersecurity. Here's the actual story.
It started through a random acceptance to the very early Merch by Amazon program (where Amazon licenses your shirt designs and pays your royalties). Seeing how my friends and I were all studying cybersecurity together, I thought it would be funny to make some parody shirts of popular fashion brands of the time like Anti Social Social Club and Adidas. Even if they didn't sell, we would have some fun shirts to wear around the campus and be the envy of our peers. If it did sell, I figured it would make for great beer money.
The first shirt I ever sold. Back when the brand was called "Hacker Culture".
But once June rolled around, the sales started coming in. I didn't realize that these shirts would end up paying for my tickets to DEF CON and conferences alike. I kept designing and selling more shirts and even took on freelance client work for some cybersecurity companies to help them design conference merchandise.
Maya Kaczorowski wearing one of our early shirts. Courtesy of Eric Chiang.
As I began to legitimize my freelancing career to help pay tuition, Miscreants became the clear winner for a business name since my goal was to only focus on cybersecurity clients. I had realized that my technical knowledge (I was still intent on becoming a security engineer at the time) and understanding of security culture let me create memorable and relevant designs.
But Miscreants grew to be more than that as I involved my friends. We often would talk about what a modern day "hacker group" could look like. So for us, Miscreants was more than just a design shop—we imagined it as a cybersecurity creative collective where tech and design informed each other. We would work to just label anything and everything we worked on as a Miscreants project.
Since then, those friends have grown up to become detection engineers, bug bounty hunters, malware researchers, and more. I kept running Miscreants on the side as a creative agency until eventually leaving my day job to pursue it full time. That same circle of friends have become a circle of advisors for my designers to help us stay in the technical know. And for a long time, I shut down the clothing side to focus on delivering amazing work for our clients. Plus, I was tired of dropshipping parody designs.
But clothing has always been at the core of Miscreants (and security culture!) and it has always been our goal to set things back up again. So now that the team has grown, we're going back to our roots.
Miscreants is not only a creative agency for cybersecurity companies, but also a lifestyle brand. One that creates wearable and thoughtful designs while using quality garments. We're moving past corporate swag and tech logos on scratchy tees. Also, we look to partner with security organizations as we try to archive and reflect on the past, present, and future of hacker culture through our designs.
Miscreants is designing new uniforms for the our generation of hackers. When you wear Miscreants, you become one of us. So thanks for hacking with us!