“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
The Rise of Brixton. A company that I never really understood. I never understood how Fedora’s and old style headwear fit in the world of skateboarding. Maybe it’s because I’m not a skateboarder (Despite that I still own a couple pairs of OG Chad Muska Supra Skytops). What I do understand is progression and an entrepreneurial spirit, and that’s what I appreciated most about this feature from The Hundreds on the brand Brixton. I never really understood what the brand was about. Out of all of the startup skate/independent brands that have come up over the years I wouldn’t have chosen them to have made it to this much success. The formula makes sense however. The founder David Stoddard was working for the Transworld magazine when he conceptualized the idea for Brixton. Then he left the company with 2 other partners who also had worked for the magazine and started Brixton. They pooled together $10,000 from each of them and formed the brand. This interview gave me much more respect for them. The article touched on something that I have been wondering about. To be successful in startup fashion, do you have to have had prior experience in the fashion industry?
Should I quit my day job to pick up another one working for another brand so that I can learn what it takes, and make connections with the right people to further my own brand? Should I shoot off a resume to Bobby Hundreds to see if I can intern for them. If I have some skill that they could use? It seems like a good formula for success. You get yourself in the trenches and you gleam all you can from your position until you can spread your own wings and fly. It worked for Brixon. Although he was mainly more in advertising it connected him with the right people who also had similar passions and they combined their dream into something. Why am I not taking this path
Why am I afraid to do this? Why don’t I want to take this step. Ideally I would love to make a clean jump from working my current full time job straight into working for myself. No, not ideally, in my mind that’s the only way it will happen. I don’t want to have to deal with the middle ground. I don’t want to have to give up the traction I have made in my current industry (Which isn’t fashion) to work for someone else again. I want to give this job up only to go work for myself. The day I hopefully leave my day job I want to step out into the abyss only to be caught by the loving embrace of my own pursuits. It may be my pride, it might be my stubbornness, but that’s how I want to do it. This also could be why I never make it.August 29, 2014
I’m still the law around, clean it up… and brush your teeth.
Carter, Rush Hour
This afternoon my friend Google Analytics informed me that apparently the La Mer Collection was featured on the Chinese blog Kidulty today. As a startup clothing brand, after you release a collection there is always the waiting. You’ve been sitting on the product for weeks. The designs you’ve probably been sitting on for months. You post everything and then you wait. You wait for the world to come to you. The world to herald you in your accomplishments. During the wait time you conjure up visions of greatness. How the world will just burst into tears of joy at the gift of your imagination interpreted through plush garments for all to enjoy. It doesn’t always happen that way. You check your Google Analytics and your bounce rate is still over 50%. Half of the bloggers you wrote to show your collection haven’t posted about it, and you didn’t get a bunch of reblogs on Tumblr You wonder why more people haven’t taken just a little more out of their day to view what you made for them. What you poured out for them.
The internal struggle of an entrepreneur. To stay even keeled. To anticipate, but not to over anticipate. To leave yourself room for growth. Room to do it again. Room to do it better. You have to manage your expectations. To be just real enough with yourself to identify where you could have done better and improve upon them, but not too real. To be optimistic, but not so optimistic as to ignore the pitfalls of business. You don’t want to be so depressed that things didn’t go exactly the way that you planned that you give up, but not so overly optimistic that you forgo your data and keep making products that won’t stubbornly keep making the same products without adapting to the market. You consciously manage your outlook to control how you feel coming out of things. It’s like you survey the scene. You learn the path ahead, and then you cover your eyes and immediately try to walk through it. You know what you are covering your eyes to avoid seeing.
Years ago I would’ve been ecstatic about this blog post, but now I’ve been around for a while. I know that it is going to take more than a few blog posts overseas to take my brand where I want to go. I won’t get overly excited. I’m going to do what all of us entrepreneurs are used to doing. I’ll put it in my cap and get back to my daily business, my daily grind. Hopefully one day all of these little events will build upon themselves and transpire into one big event. Until then, it’s just about the daily.August 26, 2014
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
I sit here writing to you in the warm California sunshine. Ahhh California as I write to you now sitting at round table of a outdoor patio as college youth pass by. A white Lamborghini is accelerating at, “Hey look at me” speeds as I listen to Electric Guests song Waves on my laptop. An article caught my attention today. It was an interview of Bobby Hundreds done by Tom Kirby of Breaks Magazine. There is a Part 1 and a Part 2. It was Part 2 that caught my attention. In this section of the interview Bobby discusses The Hundreds Footwear.
One of the things that first impressed me about The Hundreds brand is that they made footwear. I learned that they were making shoes back in 2009. The fact that they would even attempt to dethrone the kings of footwear, to make their own lane in an industry that was (and still is) so dominated by the big names really spoke to me. Fast forward to today. The Hundreds Footwear is discontinued. I didn’t even know they weren’t making shoes anymore! When did that happen? Maybe I don’t pay as much attention as I like to give myself credit.
In the interview Bobby states, “In our immediate market, Nike takes like 97% of the space. How can a brand like The Hundreds compete with that? Nike’s marketing budget alone is over 100 times our company’s value. Let’s be real, if a guy’s got a hundred bucks to spend, is he gonna drop it on some canvas vulc sneakers by a brand no one’s heard of, or a pair of limited Lebrons constructed of spacesuit material from the future and buttressed with a global advertising campaign? I can’t blame them.” This line of the interview was so bizarre for me to read. Mainly because thoughts like this are the kind that make you not get into clothing at all. I feel this same argument could have been said about The Hundreds making t shirts. Yes t shirts are a different market, but you are going up against strong competition and monstrous sized advertising budgets as well. In this interview Bobby talks about things that he is not able to do. The best thing I’ve found about reading their blog over the years (There’s a picture of me on it as well, but it’s terrible, don’t click it) is that Bobby manned up to fight the giants. I thought we all got in this game because we believed we could do anything? He always had a reason why he could beat the corporations at their own game. It was very different hearing him talk in a defeated voice. It’s like listening to Batman saying why he couldn’t beat the joker, or Superman saying why he couldn’t save metropolis. We are not used to our heroes talking about defeat. We want them to be invincible.
We guess wrong. I guess wrong all the time. I posted my first ever true blog post over to my brothers at Mintees and have gotten no response. I thought other creators and designers in the industry would embrace what I am saying, but they haven’t. According to Bobby The Hundreds guessed wrong with footwear. I don’t think he did. Through the trial and error of the whole process I gained the courage to try new things with my brand. Through their ad campaigns (like the one I show at the top of this article), and through their fight to make a stance in footwear I found my own courage to try to push past my limits. Am I childish? Too idealistic? Maybe I’m just a kid in his room, walls clad with illustrated heroes of fiction, clutching his battered box of comics normally stored under the bed. I still want to believe in my heroes. If my heroes can’t defeat any villain, thwart any scheme, conquer their adversity. What chance do I have?August 22, 2014
“Goodbye my love.” He doesn’t say it. There’s no room for softness… not in Sparta. No place for weakness. Only the hard and strong may call themselves Spartans. Only the hard, only the strong.
Following the wake of the La Mer release I traversed the net posting my pictures to all who will have them. First to the T shirt crowd over at Mintees. Then to my designer friends over at Behance. I’m currently trying to figure out Dribbble. Basically when you’re a startup like me you try and find all of the places you can to show your work so that someone might just stumble on by and make you internet famous. That’s the goal, more or less. The biggest and most dangerous place to go looking for glory is the Hypebeast Forums. I just finished posting the La Mer Collection on their wall of fashion brands. For the last 3 years I have prostrated myself before this community. What I have gotten for those 3 years is ignored. Which isn’t the worst response. Hypebeast is known for the most vicious attacks on the internet. The nature of these comments has sparked articles discussing their content. This is Sparta! If you are not born fit to be a warrior, your infant tenement is smashed on the rocks. If you wish to reach the courts of the castle, you must first begin in the dungeon.
I paroosed the comments on the 2014 HUF Fall Delivery lookbook 2. It is a hand drawn lookbook that illustrates the clothing of the release. Something that I’ve hardly seen done and is very unique. Here are the comments I found. It starts off positive, and then….
“the most unique lookbook ive seen all summer” -SlowDays
“cool concept, but i really dont have a good idea what the clothes look like so…” – G A L A X Y
“this cool and all but” -drae
“Is this a guide on how to look broke?” -The Real
“Dope illustrations. Basic clothes.” -Mobilephile
“I understand the necessity to stand out in an saturated clothing market, but this lookbook is useless lol” -chief
This is actually a more mild version I found. I wanted to avoid examples with cursing, which there are plenty of examples of.
What these forums house is the most desired of consumers. The individuals who populate this peoples court are the most sought after customers the world over. They are the most picky, and judgmental. You would think that the whole world existed just to please them based on their comments. That all throughout their lives all anyone should do is appease their cravings. However their buying power is second to none. If you can land their attention for a year, maybe even a few months they will give wholeheartedly to your brand. They are the ultra consumers. They know every detail, every subtle nuance in your production runs. Forums dedicated to spotting fakes. They are the reason for the whole resellers market. Their existence has changed the way companies market their product. Products marketed to them will have smaller production runs, less release locations. All to peak their interest.
Jon Hundreds of The Hundreds. has an apartment that boasts 2,500 pairs of shoes, Jose Hustle will buy any random product, even condoms as long as it has a polo horse, and sneakers have become the most sought after fashion accessory. The buying power of this demographic is powerful. Where can you find them? They are in the forums. They said that in the heyday of the forums you could find Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and others on the forums. Hypebeast even did an article about this time period.
The forums function in a way that seems to level the playing field for everyone. The thread that is the most recently updated appears at the top of the forum. That’s it. Your brand doesn’t need to have a any sort of credibility. As long as you are the most recent to post something, your brand will appear higher than all of the other brands with thousands, or millions of dollars behind them. I have fervently updated my thread over and over to push it to the top wishing that the right people would see it. However I don’t get that many views. Even as I write this I posted my new thread an hour ago and I have only received 21 views. Why do we think it’s that easy. Somehow the internet, or my generation makes me think that one day we’ll post here and the right person will see it and things will really start moving. I think it’s going to take a lot more than a well timed post on this forum. Success is more derived than that.August 19, 2014
When I did ‘The Great Escape,’ I kept thinking, ‘If they were making a movie of my life, that’s what they’d call it – the great escape.’
Where were you the day the Cavalier Essentials original lookbook released? It should be like when people ask where you were when Kennedy was shot or Pearl Harbor happened (I wasn’t alive for any of those either). It was February 5 of 2011. I know where I was. I was at my computer sitting in a puddle of drool along with the entirety of the internet lusting after this brand, but it wasn’t even a brand.Cavalier Essentials was a project that was made by Taylor Pemberton back in July of 2011. In typical cool guy fashion Taylor said that he made the project for school and had no intention that it would be such a hit. It wasn’t even meant to be released. The lookbook was inspired by what Steve McQueen, “carried a beat-up leather duffle bag on the back of his motorcycle.” To me and to much of the internet lookbook was basically perfect. It was crisp, it had the car, and it had the girl. The products gleamed against a white studio backdrop yet carried a rugged manly mystique. Taylor got on interview on Complex, he got a feature on a series called Men of Distinction and a bunch of other blogs scattered across the net. Suddenly Taylor Pemberton was everywhere I wanted to be. In one day he seemed to have accomplished nearly everything I had wanted to. I was a a bit jealous, however my jealousy wasn’t full fledged. You see, there was one problem. The whole production was just a concept. None of the products actually existed.
There wasn’t anything being sold. What was produced was just an idea. Nothing tangible, nothing ready for production. So Taylor and the gang saw a good opportunity and they started putting things in place to actually make these products come to life. I lurked in the shadows of the internet, watching, waiting. It was a lot like when Drake was producing his first album. People wanted to see if Drake could turn all of his unsigned hype into success. I wanted to see if Cavalier could turn all of their current promotion from their into concrete success.
I waited until November 21, and though I don’t know all of the details behind the release, I felt let down when their online shop came into fruition. It turns out they weren’t really a brand. They mostly sold products made by other brands. Also some of the products that we drooled over in the lookbook, didn’t go into actual production. I wasn’t sure whether to scoff at them, or share in their pain. I wanted it to succeed, I wanted it to be really successful because I needed to see another brand succeed. I want to see other brands come out of nowhere and make their own success with solid, quality, accessible product. Mainly because that’s what I want to do. The other side of me wanted to laugh and shun them as if to say, “You thought this business was that easy? Did you think that you could come in and join on this game we’re all playing and it wouldn’t be hard? Just because on your first day you got a lot of press doesn’t mean that you can escape this, reality will find you.” I was their admirer. I want to see people succeed in startup fashion. I want to be inspired.August 19, 2014
Being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It’s not about winning. It’s about you and your relationship with yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn’t let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything you could. There wasn’t one more thing you could’ve done.
Coach Gary Gaines, Friday Night Lights
The life of creatives. The internet makes it so appealing doesn’t it? They live in big cities, own their own stores, run their own lives. They’re not bogged down with schedules, they make their own. They don’t have to deal with bosses, they are their own boss. The internet has become the perfect medium for them to share the perfect amount of their day to make their lives seem to be just that…perfect.
How many videos has the internet produced following creatives and showing how much better their lives are than ours?
I am a creative (Translated: I like to think I am sometimes). Not a full time one. I sped my day’s working a day job, and my nights trying to build a brand. I spend roughly 4 hours of my day trying to be a creative entreprenuer and those are most definitely the hardest hours of my day. Trying to find inspiration, connecting with my customers, trying to pack up orders. Trying to wrap my brain around the fact that Hypebeast won’t post about my brand even though I feel as though they’ve posted about many less developed and worse brands. I wrestle with this for about 4 hours every day. I can only imagine what wrestling with these issues for 8 hours a day or more can be like. These things stress me out when I know that I can still be ok tomorrow because I have another job. If this was my only job, how much more stressed would I be? I fall into the trap of thinking that if I could just figure out a way that I could support myself solely off of my creativity, that would fix my life. Not only my day job woes, but my family woes as well, my, yaybe I should have gotten my masters degree woes, my I missed the game winner in last nights pickup basketball game woes. I feel as though it will solve everything. Like, “Ah man if I can just solve that one piece, everything else will fall into place.” Anything that comes my way in life I’ll cast aside with ease because I know that that I became successful off of my creativity. Somehow that is the idea that these creatives, that these videos have left me with. I need to realize once and for all that if I become “Successful” at this. That the other stresses in my life will either remain the same, or grow.
There is one instance that I feel the stress of the industry is shown.. In a video interview that has since been removed from the internet (I scoured the internet to find it again but it is gone, alas) Rick Klotz from Warriors of Radness is discussing The buyout of Warriors of Radness by American Apparel. In the video Rick who is known for his brutal, sometimes too brutal honesty says something to the effect of, “I’m not saying that I’m ‘trying something new’ like most designers say. The industry is hard.” Which seems to shed a little light on the reason the deal went down is because financial reasons, and also that when designers stat another company to, “Try something new.” It may be in place of saying that their other brand failed. It is understandable that the backing of a multi million dollar company like American Apparel could help a smaller brand like Warriors of Radness. So Rick, the owner and founder of the now defunct Freshjive. One of the original brands heralded for it’s authenticity and stance against corporate America. Rick joins the fallen to assimilate and become part of the empire while Luke Han and the gang still battle for their rebel survival.
The piece that I am probably missing her is the art of “lifestyle branding.” Every brand tries to market a lifestyle, whether successful or not brands are trying to push a certain way of living upon you. They are either portraying a lifestyle displaying how you are currently living, or how you want to live. The creatives behind these brands are a part of this marketing as well. How these designers portray themselves in interviews is an extension of their lifestyle marketing. They have to be living the lifestyle they are portraying of relaxed, carefree lifestyle filled with luxurious products. This is at least part of the reason that Ralph Lauren has the Double RL ranch in the middle of nowhere with influences from the old west. It is an extension of his brand, his vision. He will let us in on only the pieces of his life that extend his marketing. This is something that I myself understand. When anyone asks me if I am making money from this brand (Which they often do) I always say the same thing, “Yes” and I will always say yes. The reason is because I realize that my answer to this question is marketing. People want to support a brand that is making money and that brings joy to people. If I said to people that the brand was failing and times are tough people don’t want to support that. They want their clothing to be a sign of prosperity, not a symbol of hardship.
It is for these reason that I believe that these brand owners and founders are not going to let you into their lives. Most of what you will see will be calculated, thought out, and only what they want you to see. You won’t see the dirt and the grime, you won’t see the sweat and the tears, you will only see the finished product, because it’s all about that just that…product.August 18, 2014
And the Lord spake, saying, “First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Quit your dayjob. That’s what it’s all about. In 2014 that’s what everything is about. People who go to prestigious schools don’t go there to get a job. They go there to make a job. Movies like The Social Network only reinforce this. In the world of fashion people like Sk8thing do as well. In my opinion Sk8thing’s art in the reason Billionaire Boys Club, Ice Cream (They have the same website now? Even further signifying that they are basically the same product), and A Bathing Ape became successful. It wasn’t as much Nigo, or Pharrel. Without his art direction those brands don’t have substance. It is his artwork style that is the essence to those brands to me. Not so much to cool guy mystique of Nigo. Sk8thing is the man behind all of those brands which are basically the same product just filtered through different lifestyle mediums. What did he do? Of course he started his own brand. Then he started wearing masks interviews, but that’s another topic. CLSC Josh is currently working at the hundreds, also Benji used to design for The Hundreds. Look/See founder Kyle Yamaguchi used to work for Nike Basketball. James Jebbia of Supreme used to work for Stussy. Shawn Stussy used to work for Stussy which is the brand he founded, only the leave his own label and sometime later start S/Double. Rudolf Dassler left Adidas and his brother Adi Dassler to begin Puma which in my opinion is the Romulus and Remus story of the fashion world. Instead of being the origin story of Rome it is the origin story of corporate tensions and modern branding in fashion. The list goes on and on. It seems that everyone these days are only working in these industries just to get enough to spawn their own “vision” because everyone thinks that they can do it better. Can they? Can I?
Everyone wants to quit what they are doing to do fashion full time. This is whether your current day job is in fashion or not. Quitting to start your own brand is the holy grail. I feel like the day you do when you leave your home everyone will be cheering and laying roses at your feet. Why? Because you made it. You made it to the holy grail of startup fashion.
I just finished reading 10 things to consider before quitting your day job to start a brand over at Hypebeast. In the article Richard Liu of DSPTCH goes over a list of things that will hopefully make people not start their own brands. The most important thing that I think he talks about is adapting. That is the thing that I didn’t expect as much when I began. In the beginning I sold mostly my Les gens courageux design and my Fin design. Now my sweatshirts sell the best. Why do I think this is the case? Because people already have t shirts from me they are looking for a different kind of product now. I have to change with their consumption habits and hopefully be able to identify the new habits. I was reading some article in GQ about marriage (Terrible idea) and it said that not only are you marrying the person now, you are marrying them in 5 years, 10 years, you are marrying that person as well. The same goes in fashion if you are thinking about it long term. You have to be comfortable with making your brand what it needs to be in the market 10 years from now.
This is why you have to be sure about doing this. In my own life I’ve seen people try and fail at this. However I am still here. The hardest thing is that for the 5 years I have had this brand I have been feeling like the world has been telling me no. They haven’t paid as much attention to my designs and my work as I expect/hoped they would. I need to hold out for a yes, but I’m not sure how much longer I can hold out and if I can endure the waves of change was I wait. I question my dedication. Am I willing to lose my arms, my legs, and maybe even my head over this?August 15, 2014
Has cradled them
Along the shores of clear bays
And with a love song
Has rocked my heart for life
La Mer (Translated from French)
Today is the day. Release day. The day I’ve been waiting for La Mer is now available in our Online Store. You see currently I only release new products twice a year so it is a pretty rare thing for me. Today is the day that my La Mer Collection is released into the world. To fill up email inboxes, be the content of blog posts the world over, and hopefully the collection will work its way into your heart, and your closet.
What is La Mer. “La Mer” is French for, “The Sea” a nautical themed collection that my brother and I conceptualized after a particularly relaxing Christmas vacation. As my brother and I drove through by snow spotted harsh Midwestern homes of Chicago on the way to Midway Airport we were in the dreaming up ideas of beaches and boats. Even though the vacation was relaxing, I was not relaxed. My brother could tell as he drove me to the airport to fly back to my sunny California abode. I didn’t know what to make the following year and how my brand should change. So over the next hour and a half he helped me get where I needed to go. Our minds clicked together so efficiently during that drive that I thought that if my brother and I were given enough time we could accomplish anything. It was exactly what I needed at the time.
It started with a classic French song that he had emailed me years prior. One that he scrounged the internet for to find the best version. It was from Julio Iglesias…not the Julio Iglesias that you are thinking of. “La Mer” was the name of the song and he said, “You should make that the name of your collection and use that boat that you used on the Seafarer sweatshirt.” After that a lot of the pieces came together and I started brainstorming what I would make. The collection that I am releasing today is honestly only about half of the pieces that I designed because after 5 years of doing this I learned that you have to optimize. For example I had a tank in the collection, one that I think was pretty great too. I was going to use some embroidery on it and it was going to have a contrasting trim along the sleeves. However tank tops (Or A shirts for you Europeans) do not sell that well for me so I had to cut it out of the collection. What’s the sense of making something that won’t sell? It’s the balancing act that designers and all creative types have to deal with. What do I want to make vs what will sell? If you read most designers interviews they will all say that they just make what they love. This is a lie, or at least not the entire truth. In this industry you have to look at your trends and cater to the buying patterns that your customers have given you. To ignore these patterns is absurd. However it sounds cool so designers say it. They make it sound like they have no concern whatsoever for business, when the reality is that they must.
The downside is that you can guess wrong. You can accidently pull one of your better selling garments from production and never know. I almost did. At one point I had removed the Petit Bateau sweatshirt from the collection. I had subbed in another garment. Then at the last minute I added it back because the other garment was going to cost more to produce. Once I received all of the pieces of the collection in the mail my favorite piece was clearly the Petit Bateau sweatshirt. There is a large disconnect from viewing a design on a screen and finally receiving it after you’ve been designing it for months. It quickly rose to be my most coveted piece in the collection. The story behind the collection is that when my parents French friends saw the Seafarer sweatshirt, the first thing one of them said was “Petit Bateau.” It stuck with me and I created this new sweatshirt. I have to thank her because she inspired my favorite piece.
The most fun part of this collection was shooting on site. Prior to this I had always shot in a studio, or a studio like setting inside where you can control all of the variables. Shooting on the beach was so much fun. One of the most fulfilling things since I’ve started this brand, I honestly want to make my next collection just so I can shoot it somewhere. The added variables are such a joy. The sun, the wind, the sand, the boats, the water, all of it. Before I received the results I already had a great feeling walking away from the shoot. As apposed to feeling drained when I left my in studio photo shoots. I was energized and I wouldn’t shut up. I hope all of your enjoy La Mer.August 13, 2014
“They seek him here, they seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere
Is he in heaven or is he in hell?
That demned elusive Pimpernel”
― Emmuska Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel
Anonymity. Can it really exist today? Can people truly remain anonymous? I am skeptical. I feel that if you search hard enough you can find the information that you need about anyone. What has brought this to light is the recent unmasking of the head designer of Maison Martin Margiela. Business of Fashion did a piece discussing how this secrecy has been one of the main pillars to this brand and how it is one of it’s biggest strengths. The Hundreds say “Maintain the Mystery.” It appears that for many people in the industry they believe that withholding is more powerful than sharing. There is an allure to it. A calling to the unknown. A secret admirer, twisting off a bottle cap to see if you’ve won, opening a box of assorted chocolate and hoping that you don’t pick the one that is filled with toothpaste.
I feel I have seen some people play this secrecy game well. One of them is Supreme the brand that everyone’s brand wants to be. They release products out of nowhere and it feels like they didn’t even intend to. James Jebbia the founder of Supreme has a quote from an interview he did with Business of Fashion that I feel really identifies the brand, “Let me put it this way,” he adds tellingly. “We work really, really hard to make everything seem effortless.” This they do better than anyone. When their website isn’t releasing new product they shut it down. Almost as if to say, ” We don’t need to give you anything to hold you over. We don’t need to give you content, a blog, or sales. We know you’ll be back” In typical cool guy fashion. That is what Supreme is to me. A bunch of cool guys standing around, seemingly doing nothing and then all of a sudden they release the most coveted products on the market.
Another master of mystery is the almost household name Banksy. He is the truly the epitome of modern anonymity. The new Scarlet Pimpernel. Saying, “You don’t know who I am, but I will have a website, gallery shows, and even a movie made.” It seems pretty counter intuitive to value the secrecy of your identity so highly and release so much content. If you want to be a secret then do things in secrecy. He doesn’t. Everything he does seems carefully calculated. That is why to me his secrecy is simply a moneymaking tool. He only keeps his identity hidden to make money. His identity is of no value to him besides that. There is no other goal to his allure than profit.
So the question to answer for me is that if all of these people have made great money or success off of secrecy why would someone like me who is looking to make a brand volunteer everything? Why wouldn’t I subscribe to the same ploy, why don’t I use similar tricks. My answer is that I thought that secrecy and anonymity should be used and held for a greater purpose. Maybe it’s because of all of my comic book heroes , and Sunday morning cartoon watching that I did in my youth (Actually I haven’t stopped) but I feel that you should be only be allowed a secret identity for greater goals. You should have a secret identity when you’re trying to stop the Joker from destroying Gotham, or trying the thwart the Kingpin , or saving undeserving patrons from madame guillotine during the oppressive French Revolution. Not to sell art and clothes. To be clear I am not talking about naturally private people who don’t share. I am speaking about those who give minor details just to tease interest out of us. Just to get an ounce of desire from us. One of the reasons for this is because when you try to share information while keeping details hidden it makes you sound very self absorbed. How many brands and people have you seen post, “Coming soon.” With some shadowy or cutoff version of their product displayed (This blood stains my hands as well…I mean I used to do that).
And to prove that even I am not immune to this.
Why do we all do this? As if to say that what we have hidden is so great that it demands secrecy. That if we were to show you everything that we had planned it would overwhelm you. That is the problem that I have with the mysterious/anonymity thing. To me it says that I stay anonymous and in the shadows because I am so great. What I am, and what I offer is too great for the world to know. I must hide it under a bushel. I do not want that to be the message that I am sending.August 8, 2014
- August 8, 2014