So Street: My journey from streetwear to high fashion and back. Part 1
So it was early 1991, I was taking a morning shower, the one that turns your life around.
You know how that goes, all of a sudden the warm water puts you in a trance, you are half asleep getting ready for your dead end job and your mind starts drifting as you try to keep your anxiety level in check.
I saw myself getting old before my time, married too soon, kids way too soon, Bank job WTF!
So in just that instant, not recognizing my Id under those circumstances I had cornered myself into, I decided right there and then dripping wet in the fogged up bathroom of a rented suburban home in SoCal to make a change.
I had always been creative in a quirky kind of way, I painted in a graffiti cubist style, tinkered with ceramics, I had even tried my hand at making some samples of clothing a few years back, but traded them in for a one way ticket to Europe where I revisited my country of birth (Italy) and became a vagabond for about 3 years.
The experience served me well…more on that later. Needless to say I was back in the States looking for work, needing to be accounted for and all that shit that people tell you to do when you are in your twenties.
Next thing I knew, once the hash smoke had finally cleared, I was twenty five, married with children and a job I didn’t care for.
That morning I began to construct my escape from normality which felt like a horrible life sentence, I wanted to embrace abnormality which was to me actually the new normal.
In the span of six months I had quit my job, separated from my wife and opened up shop in the back of a West Hollywood apartment.
There were stacks of t-shirts, sweatshirts and shorts some waiting to be sent out to dye, some to print and the rest just finished stock…I have actually found one piece on a Japanese site from one of those initial runs. They are asking 6372.00 Yens for it, (about $60.00) the piece is 27 years old! here are the photos.
The end of that same year I did my first show: the now defunct ASR (Action Sports Retailer) in San Diego.
It was an exciting time for streetwear. I remember Shawn Stussy And Mossimo Giannulli walking the convention floor: they were already leading the pack, Chip and Pepper the Canadian twins and their circus like atmosphere around their booth. Brands like Rag Poets, Redsands, Kikwear, Cross Colors…they were just getting started, and so was I in a tiny booth at the periphery of the convention floor, just happy to be part of it all.
Now let me backup a few years, you see before trying my hand at Big Country living (see video below)
I had been an ambiguous young man working in the marble cages of the rich (read Rodeo Dr. Gucci, Revillon, Hermes, Mr. Guy, The Daisy club at night) dating rich girls and getting BJ's from whom ever came forth...But that was L.A. back then, and it probably still is in some respect.
So streetwear was the other side of all that, exciting, immediate and new and something I could do on my own...That second day on the convention floor of ASR San Diego, I got my first order from a Japanese buyer...Japan back then was fascinated by the whole streetwear phenomenon and its biggest proponent...I think it even preceded the US market in many ways.
They were definitely ahead of the curve. So it came to pass, $10,000 order for some shorts and t-shirts bearing my funky designs and embroideries...he even cut me a check for $3,500 on the spot and told me to get them produced and call him when they were ready....I was in business. My relationship with the Japanese market lasted for well over a decade and to some extent until the present time.
The story goes on from there...there are many twists and turns along the way,
I just think it is best if I break it up in episodes, to make it a bit more digestible.
I will do my best not to leave anything out...They say fashion and comedy don't mix...but how about streetwear?
Please subscribe so you can see for yourself and keep up with the rest of the story. I promise it will be worth it.
'Till next time.
Part 2 coming November 2