Tetragrammaton with Rick Rubin - Tremaine Emory

Episode Date: March 6, 2024

Tremaine Emory is a designer and creative director famous for mixing fashion, art, visual storytelling, and social issues in his designs. Emory is the founder of the collective “No Vacancy Inn,” a...s well as the clothing label “Denim Tears,” which blends streetwear with high fashion. He's collaborated with brands like Ugg, Stüssy, Champion, Converse, ASICS, and Dior, bringing themes of activism and social justice into his work. Along with brands, Emory has collaborated with some of the most influential figures in art, music, and fashion, including André 3000, Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Virgil Abloh, and Tom Sachs. ------ Thank you to the sponsors that fuel our podcast and our team: LMNT Electrolytes https://drinklmnt.com/tetra ------ Squarespace https://squarespace.com/tetra ------ House of Macadamias https://www.houseofmacadamias.com/tetra

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in College Park. And then three months after I was born, my dad got a job. Well, he had got the job right before I was born at CBS, Challenge You. Doing what? TV news cameraman. So the guys and girls that hop out the trucks with the cameras. So he'd shoot stuff, produce stuff. So he'd shoot stuff in New York, but he also traveled around the world for CBS.
Starting point is 00:00:54 He did that for 38 years. When I was three months old, me and my mom and my brother moved up to New York with him. So we first lived in Flushing for about eight years. And then when I was like 10 years old, we moved to Jamaica, Queens. And described that world. Man. You fond memories? I have all kinds, the whole cornucopia of it.
Starting point is 00:01:17 The block I lived on, Keysville, loads of kids at the same age of me lived there. So between, it was like the Boulevard, Farmer's Boulevard, which you're familiar with, from, you know, LL, who you worked with and stuff like that. So he lived on Ileon, where his grandmother lived. I lived two streets up. So he's on Ileon, off of Ileon and Farmer's. I'm on Farmer's in Keysville.
Starting point is 00:01:43 And it's literally like, I can name off like 20 guys that grew up on that block. Yeah, so it was fun growing up with like, that many people around the same age of me, I'd pull out my basketball hoop, and we'd have like more than a full squad. Like, too many people. And then people from other blocks would come,
Starting point is 00:02:02 and we'd have these wars between blocks like you know the main one was Hillburn Hillburn versus Keysville it was fun but also it was post-crack epidemic so the neighborhood was pretty dilapidated didn't have a lot of support from the city so the school sucked and there's a lot of crime not as much as it was during the crack epidemic in the member pre-crack as well I know about Saint Alvin's pre-crack, but I didn't live there during then and that's the interesting thing about Saint Alvin's was Pre-crap of academic Miles Davis lived there loads of people lived there and it was actually considered one of the
Starting point is 00:02:43 most affluent Black neighborhoods in America Like example the whole you know everyone's talking about the Rico law like even young thugs trial the Rico trial Rico law was created in my neighborhood because this gangster from my Part of town named fat cat. He put a hit on a cop and my part of town named Fat Cat, he put a hit on a cop and George Bush held that cop that got killed on news. He had his badge and was like, we're gonna stop this.
Starting point is 00:03:12 And he created the Ricoh law that had all kinds of social and economic repercussions. You know, Supreme team, South side, North side, super close, but then loads of beautiful things too. Loads of music, you know, Hollis was right down the way, Run DMC. Would you describe it as urban or not? Oh yeah.
Starting point is 00:03:32 But it wasn't like Manhattan. It wasn't the city. And it also wasn't Brooklyn. It's funny, like, I remember one time, this is like early 2000s. We went to go see Dave Chappelle in Long Island and my boy from the Bronx. I was with a bunch of dudes from Bronx and Harlem.
Starting point is 00:03:51 We went. That I used to work with at Bird-Off Goodman. We were all stock guys. They dropped me off. And I remember G was like, and G, he was just at my wedding. I known G a long time. He's like, well, fuck, I thought you lived in a hood.
Starting point is 00:04:05 Y'all got houses in front lawns. So, Queens where we're at. There's houses, lawns, backyards, and a lot of people look more suburban. It does, it does. So you've been around Hollis, it looks suburban. This house is in the center third. And that's the interesting dyad of the suburban look,
Starting point is 00:04:28 but then with the social economic downturn under belly, the crime under belly, then there's the music, the sports, the arts. Like I literally grew up between like, LL's from Ileon, Tribecaught Quest is up from Farmers in Linden, up by Grady's Liquor Store where I used to work at, running them from down to Hollis, 50 Cent.
Starting point is 00:04:56 Like one of my OGs used to hustle for 50 Cent. Like that was my, so all these things, this confluence of the music, sports. So that's why I always say like growing up there was like the Sandlot, that movie Sandlot, mixed with like Boys in the Hood. That was my upbringing. So it was like fun, beautiful stuff
Starting point is 00:05:21 that I couldn't experience anywhere else in the world. But then like some of my friends are getting killed and shot, going to jail, all kinds of stuff. A hypothetical question, how different do you think your life would be had your family stayed in Atlanta? Really different. Really different.
Starting point is 00:05:37 Or even if we stayed in Flushing. You know, we moved to Jamaica, Queens because my parents couldn't afford a house in Flushin' or Bayside or anywhere like that? And because of like redlining and just, you know, Jamaica Queens is super was, especially then super homogenous. There's no white people. The only white people were police, you know,
Starting point is 00:06:04 and the only people that weren't black were like the guys who ran the bodegas and the people who ran the Chinese food stores. Everyone else, bus drivers, black, postman, black. But even me growing up, doing those nine years in flushing, which was mostly like Asian, white, a little bit Hispanic, very few black people. Even that gave me a, those nine years gave me a different thing. And then obviously just my parents who they are and then- Tell me about your parents.
Starting point is 00:06:36 How we spent our weekends. Just great people, you know what I mean? And I also say, always say call them radicals in relation to where they came from because both my parents came from a really small town called Harlem, Georgia, which is 20 miles from Augusta, Georgia, one red light town, 1500 people. Mom and dad went to the same high school that both their grandmothers went to. Both my grandmothers were in the same graduating high school class. It was my grandma's birthday yesterday, she just turned 97.
Starting point is 00:07:07 Wow. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, so I spent my summers there. So every summer my parents would send me down there. But anyway, yeah, my parents are radicals because a lot, most people didn't move out of there. They dreamed of a better life or a different life. Different life, yeah.
Starting point is 00:07:25 Than the small town that they came from. You know what, I asked my dad this question several years ago. I said, what made you want to leave Harlem, Georgia? What made you move to New York? He said, the movie Shaft. Because he said, when he saw the movie, he felt in New York you could be who you want to be. And he didn't feel that way in Harlem, Georgia, the South that him and my mom could be who
Starting point is 00:07:55 they want to be and experience all the things they want to experience. So, you know, they had an interesting road getting out of there. You know, like my dad literally, he was a brick mason. He learned from my grandfather. And this is around when he was like 19. My dad been working since he was like six, seven years old. His first job was picking cotton for a sharecropper. Everyone's first job was picking cotton because for farmers,
Starting point is 00:08:25 because farmers liked having kids do it, because kids could pick more because they didn't have to bend over. So you could pick the cotton faster. So I was my dad's first job. My dad said he'd been driving a car since he was like eight, nine years old, real country shit. And he's 18, 19 at a burger joint, and it was his lunch break, and he went like a vanilla milkshake. So he went, and he's in line, and he heard these two Army recruiters talking about, and mind you, Vietnam is going on at this time. They're like, hey, we just need a couple more guys to sign up. We got to get out of here in the morning.
Starting point is 00:09:03 We got to try to sign up with a couple more people. Then we're not going to be back for a couple months. And then my dad heard them say that. And they were in front of a couple of people in front of them. They got off the, got their food and left out the restaurant. And he went and got offline and ran after them and stopped them and said, hey, I overheard you guys talking about the army stuff. He's like, yeah, they said, look, if you go to the army,
Starting point is 00:09:30 you'll be able to take care of your family, no matter what happens to you. With the GI bill and all this things, you come out, you get out of there, you'll be able to go to school for free, you'll learn a job, you'll be able to take care of your family for the rest of your life. If you go in there and you do what you're supposed to do. So my dad went home that night to my mom, you know, be able to take care of your family for the rest of your life if you go in there and you do what you're supposed to do. So my dad went home that night to my mom, his wife, and my older brother, who was probably one, and said, hey, these guys are leaving in the morning. They won't be back for months.
Starting point is 00:10:02 What should we do? Because they both wanted to get out. So they made the decision that night at dinner and that morning he left to go do basic training to go to Vietnam. And the story even gets weirder and more interesting. But by the time he finished training, Vietnam got shut down by LBJ. While he was there, my dad wanted to be a dental assistant. He's like, this is a job, I can be a good job.
Starting point is 00:10:30 All of the ORs, which are the jobs, were taken up except for to be a Charlie Mopic, which is a motion picture cameraman. That was the only OR. And my dad was like, there's no way you guys can get me into the dental thinger. And he's like, nope, you have to take this. And then he got into it.
Starting point is 00:10:49 And then he said his instructor's with these two rednecks. And he said, these guys have worked in TV news. I remember my dad told me, last time he told me the story, I've heard my dad cry like a couple of times in my life. And this is one in time. Like literally, I remember my dad crying this time, went to the cops that shot, Amadou Diallo got off, when my mom passed away.
Starting point is 00:11:17 I literally can remember all the times my dad's cried. Couple times. Anyway, he was telling me a story, he started tearing up. The guys said to him, they're like, we can't change how this country treats black people. We don't agree with it. But what we can do is train you so good that you'll always be able to have a job being a cameraman,
Starting point is 00:11:40 if you want to be, being a motion picture photographer. We're going to make you the best. Because normally when you begin on that job as a cameraman learning to shoot film, they have you carrying tripods and shit and holding the boom. They had him doing everything, all the main stuff from the very beginning.
Starting point is 00:11:59 And they just sat back and just trained them the best they could. Why do you think they did that? I don't know, my dad still remembers these guys' names. This was back, my dad's turning 69. This was when he was 19 years old. I just think these guys were radicals in their own way. They were just humane people. It's a beautiful story.
Starting point is 00:12:19 Yeah. And did your dad come to like camera work? Yeah, he fell in love with and he came great at it. He got a Whatever the highest discharge you can get he was in the army for six years Filmed all kinds of missions like Panama canal stuff all kinds of stuff Oh cool all around the world and then he came out and he He started working at he worked for for Affiliate Dad in Atlanta. And so him and my mom and my brother were down there
Starting point is 00:12:50 and he was shooting news and he was great. You weren't born yet? Nah. How much older is your older brother? He's nine years older than me. Yeah. But yeah, that was my mom and dad, you know, and then the whole, you know, they were a team
Starting point is 00:13:03 and their whole thing was just and then the whole, you know, they were a team and Their whole thing was just getting out of Harlem, Georgia and enjoying life, you know And even when they're Atlanta, they tell me the stuff they get into Always going to music shows always going to stuff, you know Very active and then when they had kids they started Incorporating us to all that, you know, like one weekend and my she, you know, my mom would read the newspaper from the front to the back, probably every day. She'd always see what was going on in the city on the weekends. We go to the city a lot on the weekends and on one weekend it was like we went to go see
Starting point is 00:13:40 Pavarotti for free at Central Park. I mean, the only thing I knew about opera is what I saw in a movie. You know, and then he had the Harlem Boys choir singing, he was singing like the Harlem Boys choir. But, you know, she felt that was something that her sons needed to see. That was not something that was even talked about
Starting point is 00:13:58 in Jamaica Queens. So they afforded me and my brothers a really dynamic mix of culture whether it was going to Yankees games or Going to see Poverty or going to a Broadway play going to museum Going to different restaurants or just going going around downtown and walking Would your mom take you to these places because she wanted you to see him or because she wanted to see him and you guys got to come? It was more so stuff they wanted us to see, but they'd be into it too. So yeah, I think it was both.
Starting point is 00:14:33 You know? And then also the cool thing about my mom was she would, she'd get into the things I was into or ask me critical questions. Told my wife, Andy, this story a couple weeks ago. Somehow we were talking about with someone else, my man Lee, Lee Spellman from, he has a brand called Babylon, he's in a band called Trash Talk. We're talking about Onyx. Onyx also from my neighborhood. My home girl used to date one of them. My best friend's cousin used to date one of them.
Starting point is 00:15:08 They were barbers, they cut hair in the Coliseum Mall. Anyway, my first rap I bought was Throw Your Guns. The B-side to it was me and Jack, the black vagina finder. So I was like, my, I want to buy this. I didn't know what the B-side was, right? If I knew what the B-side was, I probably would have been more clandestine about getting, I wouldn't have asked my mom to take me
Starting point is 00:15:32 to go get this thing, you know what I mean? Whatever a young age I was, so. And what do you think you were? Man, not even a teenager yet. Probably like 11 or something like that, 12. So then we go, we buy the single, and she looks and she sees the B side and she goes, do you know what a vagina is? A vagina is.
Starting point is 00:15:57 A deadpan. And I was like, I do know what a vagina is. She's like, all right, you can listen to it then. You know what I mean? So her thing wasn't like censorship It was about do you understand what you're listening to? You know, do you understand what they're talking about? Do you understand that this is entertainment or this is music in your 12 year old boy? So you're not doing that right now, but you can listen to it though
Starting point is 00:16:22 Cuz I know you're gonna listen to it She didn't say that but she knew I would listen to it anyway. You know? That's another thing too, like when they moved to New York, the guy that helped my dad get his job at CBS, he helped my dad get his job at CBS. And he's like, hey, Tracy, you're not going to go anywhere working in Atlanta. You've all grown that place. CBS has to hire black, some black people, because we're a friend of action. So they're looking for talented cameraman of color.
Starting point is 00:16:52 Right now, with your accolades in a friend of action, you could get a job. So my dad went up there, was skeptical, and interviewed, came back, got the job, went up for three months, lived in a room in Fort Greene back in the day until we moved up there so he could save up the money. I remember he told me, he said, when he went up there or when he took the job or when we moved, him and my mom had like a week's worth of pay
Starting point is 00:17:26 in the bank or something. Like that's all they had in the world or something. And it was like, it was a risk because he was moving her up during the probation period. This same guy was like, yo, I know you love film. We should start a video store. Should they open up a video store in Elmer's, East Elmer's Queens.
Starting point is 00:17:46 It was called Just Us Video, which is also a wow too. It was my first intro to graphic design because a play from kid in play worked there, and he designed store t-shirts and stuff. A lot of personalities, street cats, salt and pepper, rock, kool-ji-rap, they come there and rent videos and stuff. Me seeing them just doing things they couldn't have done
Starting point is 00:18:13 down there or would maybe not have been exposed to. It's also interesting like a video store, much like a book store or a record store, it's just a cool place to hang out. Exactly. Yeah, and the reason I bring up the video stores is because they never censured me what I could watch. You know, I've watched thousands of films
Starting point is 00:18:32 since I was a kid. It was just cool, man. You know, whether it was like Akira or, you know, Spike Lee films. Like, even like Spike Lee knew the guy that was my dad's business partner. So he figured they had some money. He asked my dad, the business partner,
Starting point is 00:18:50 to invest in She's Gotta Have It. But all the money was tied up in the store. They didn't have any money. My mom and dad didn't have any personal money to invest in She's Gotta Have It. And the guy wouldn't allow my dad to invest the store money into She's Gotta Have It because he thought the film wouldn't do well dad to invest the store money into, she's got to have it, because he thought the film wouldn't do well because it was black and white.
Starting point is 00:19:08 He didn't like the fact that Spike was shooting a black and white film. My dad told a funny story. He said he ran into Spike a couple years later and Spike was like, he was covering a story. Spike was being honored or something. And Spike was like, man, you should have invested. But it was funny. I told Spike that story. He remembered. He remembered. He's like, man, you should have invested. But it was funny. I told Spike that story, he remembered it, he remembered it.
Starting point is 00:19:27 He's like, tell your mom and dad. I said, ah. How much you think movies inspired your level of taste? Yeah, I think it all started from the movies, you know? It's funny. A movie I'd never seen before, and it's not a great movie. It's a Robert Redford movie called Sneakers. And it's about, they do espionage.
Starting point is 00:19:50 And he has this company that teaches, shows company, they'll break it to a bank to show them where their weak spots are. It's Robert Redford, Sidney Portier, Dan Akroyd. I watched it, I was like, oh, this is a great cast, but the movie was all right right But there's this furniture piece It's like a armchair, but made of steel mesh steel Anyway, I'm working with this furniture store that sells really amazing vintage furniture
Starting point is 00:20:16 And one of the pieces that I'm curating for them, which I had already chosen Was in this film that I watched a couple weeks ago. But I'm just using that to show is that like, all the films I watched, whether it was Akira, Fist Under North Star, She's Gotta Have It, one of my favorite films is Chinatown. To this day, example, when I was getting my wedding suit made, I said to the tailor, Ralph Fitzgerald, I said, hey, I want it to fit like Chinatown.
Starting point is 00:20:45 You know, so if I'm getting the tailor, Ralph Fitzgerald, I said, hey, I want it to fit like Chinatown. You know, so if I'm getting a suit, I go back to give the tailor, the suitmaker an example, I go to a film, you know, from everything to like, I think my ideals of what I think romance is, how to treat my partner, and certain, you know, things I think you would learn that right or wrong from the films. Even like, you see a film and you see how someone's living just the way they're abode
Starting point is 00:21:13 is. And that might just be one or two scenes, but you remember it and you're like, wow, I don't know anyone that has a house like that, or a place like that. I don't know anyone that has that many books. When I grew up, I want to have that many books on my bookshelf, so on and so forth. Music, you know? Even stuff now that I didn't catch, like we just watched the film, The Last Emperor,
Starting point is 00:21:37 and I didn't realize that the Japanese musician Roy, such, I can't remember his name. He died recently, like last year. He did the soundtrack for this film. This is a film I've seen several times. You're a huge soccer motor. Yes. You know, he did the soundtrack for this film,
Starting point is 00:21:53 or like watching rumblefish. I didn't realize when I first seen rumblefish that Stuart Copeland, who was the drummer and the police, he did the soundtrack for that. But the soundtrack always stood out to me. This felt more emotive than the soundtrack of most films. And then you get older and you start reading the credits more or you learn more.
Starting point is 00:22:15 Cause when I first saw that film, I didn't know who the drummer and police, but as I get obsessed with music and learning everything about bands that I like, you start connecting the dots across books, film, music, art, whatever it is, even you know, performance art, anything. But yeah, I think my ideals of what taste is started with my mom and dad and that store. And it all, that was the seed.
Starting point is 00:22:47 It all grew from there. Yeah. And even when we moved, so when the store closed down in 87, when we moved to St. Albans, we had more space to the house, way more space than the house in Flushings. My uncle Ray or my dad,
Starting point is 00:23:02 they built these shelves in a basement. And he took all the films out of U-Haul Storage and put them on the wall. So then I became like the blockbuster in the hood. Like I remember like my man Reggie, because his uncle would send Reggie at the middle of the night to knock on my basement window and be like, Tremaine, give me a Western. I give him a Western. He go take it to him.
Starting point is 00:23:25 He'd be like, I've seen this one already. He come back, bring it back. I give him a different Western, you know? Just shit like that or like, you know, loading out kung fu films and my dad's like, where's that, where's that film? And I gotta go track it down. Now someone done lent the film,
Starting point is 00:23:40 I lent it to them or someone else. I gotta go to 20 projects to go get my, go get the, not someone's door in a project to get my VHS back, you know? Cause those things were like gold. Cause it wasn't no streaming. I wouldn't let a lot of people in the house, but when they saw that collection of VHS's
Starting point is 00:23:58 and the word got out, became a real currency. Then I started out of getting my, in my own collection of Japanese anime in the early 90s. I would go to this place and flush and call Japan Imports. I'd take my little money I saved up and buy different movies and build up my own collection. Have you ever felt dehydrated after an intense workout or a long day in the sun? Do you want to maximize your endurance and feel your best? Add Element Electrolytes to your daily routine. Perform better and sleep deeper. Improve your cognitive function.
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Starting point is 00:25:50 And stay salty with Element Electrolyte. LMNT. What was the first music that you felt like was your music, not your parents' music or your older brothers' music? Bootcamp Click and Onyx and some late 80s rap and stuff like that. It felt mine, but when like Nas, MobD, all that stuff. That was like, they're rapping about stuff and I'm seeing it happen. The Onyx stuff too, but it was just something about the sound was still harkening back to
Starting point is 00:26:35 80s a little bit for me. That's what it was. Boo can't click all day, we're rapping about the same stuff. And there are different versions of it, Monti, Wu, Nas, the sound was unto itself and that sound felt like what I was living. You know what I mean? Those drums, that felt like what was happening in Jamaica, Queens. It was a whole new wave of music really.
Starting point is 00:27:03 Yeah. It wasn't just a continuation. It really was a whole new way of music. Yeah. Yeah. It wasn't just a continuation. No. It was like it really was a new chapter in the story. Yeah, they definitely like were sons of what came before, but they definitely cut the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord was cut and they were figuring out their own, their own path. You know what I mean? They're on their own hero's journey. So growing up, was hip hop everywhere? Like hip hop was the form of music around in your childhood? As far as when I stepped out the house
Starting point is 00:27:36 and hung out with my comrades, yes. For me, it wasn't the only thing because again, I had my older brother who was obsessed with prints, love rot. My dad listened to everything. My dad, I remember he bought me a cop killer, iced tea. And my dad was funny, he's like, and you got to keep this thing, too.
Starting point is 00:28:00 It's going to be worth money, because they're going to ban this. But it's also important, because my dad was like gonna ban, they're banning this. You know, but it's also, it's important, because he has the right to, but that was like, he has the right to say this stuff. You know? I don't think he's gonna kill a cop. He's saying this to express the feeling of despair because of the interaction between police
Starting point is 00:28:18 and young black men in America. And that's why he made this song. He was important. You know, my dad kicked all that to me. I was like, sick, you know? I was a wild album. I used to hear this song, a storytelling song, about him dressing up as a Ku Klux Klan and going to like a rally and stuff like that.
Starting point is 00:28:38 Him and his man are at the Ku Klux Klan rally and they're two black guys. Like it was wild, wild shit, but like amazing storytelling and like just, I love, I listen to everything, man. Cause the thing about me was I was hanging out in Jamaica Queens all the time, but then I still ride my bike and go back to Flushing
Starting point is 00:28:59 to see my friends from Flushing. And then I started hanging out in the city on my own. I go to the city by myself and grab a village voice and just look at, you know, see what shows were happening at SOB's or wherever. Like I remember like the parties in Jamaica Queens would be like, you know, like Dancehall, Soka, or some rap shit. I loved it. I wanted to hear something else.
Starting point is 00:29:28 I wanted to hear Prince. No one played Prince. Right? I wanted to hear all kinds of stuff. And I say Prince because I went and I remember I was on first and first and it was late at night. I was under age. I wasn't 21 yet. I was walking down first and first by myself. I took the F train to the first and first stop, and this bar, her music went in, and they're playing Raspberry Beret, and I could have cried because it was like, I'm getting to hear this song with people that I've only been able to hear on my headphones. You know what I mean?
Starting point is 00:30:07 Or like, you know, cats like Prince, but we were just deep into, like, even if we weren't listening to it, we'd be hanging out, you know, on the corner and then able to hang it out and then someone start reciting lyrics from Nas, Take It In Blood, then we all, it's like, we come like karaoke session, we're all just reciting the lyrics, three verses. You know what I mean? So, you know, as I hung out in the city, started to meet people as I start working.
Starting point is 00:30:36 And that's why I always tried to get jobs in Manhattan. So then that allowed me to before the job and after the job to hang around. But I'm also making money, so I'm supporting my life. So how old are you when you start hanging out in the city by yourself? Probably 16, 17. And about what year is this? Started in like 97 probably.
Starting point is 00:30:58 Describe what the New York scene is like, like what nightclubs were there, what was the world like? I would say it was, if you're curious, you'll find fun, cool stuff to do. Yeah, everything's available, but you wouldn't know, but you gotta hunt it down. You gotta be curious. You gotta be on the search for something more. And when people saw that you were curious and interested,
Starting point is 00:31:20 they would foster that, even strangers. You know, like, even I remember my man Wilkins, he worked at Union, the store called Union, that I discovered just by walking in the city when he was working there. I remember he was eating some food from a place called 12 Chairs. Anyway, I just met him, we became cool.
Starting point is 00:31:43 He's like, yo, you ever had Baba Ghanous? I'm like, Baba Gawat? And he's like, Baba Ghanous, you know, it's Middle Eastern food, it's from the spot called 12 Chairs. I was like, nah, but I love food. So he's like, yeah, you down? And then, because you know, Wilkins's Dominican dude was not it,
Starting point is 00:32:03 he still is, good friend of mine from Brooklyn. He knew I was like, you know, a young dude from Queens. He's a couple of years old than me. So he knew I didn't know what it was. And it was almost like he's testing me to see, am I curious or am I open or closed? You know, I might be reading too much into it, but I think I'm right, you know.
Starting point is 00:32:24 So just, that's like a little example of it. It's just like, if you're curious, doors would open. Didn't matter how much money you had. What matter was were you curious? What'd they sell at Union? Clothes, but a lot of the clothing was either from Europe, Japan, and then you also showed a lot of independent brands what people would call streetwear now, which I don't think- There was no such word back then.
Starting point is 00:32:56 It was just clothing. But it was clothing that, again, why I related to so much was it was in real time. So just the way, same way, the purple tape and stuff, and it was written and, and Illmatic and Hell on Earth and all those records and all that stuff. I could see, I was living and seeing what was happening that they were rapping about and the music felt like. I remember I went in the union, the year was 1999 or 2001 between that time, and Wilkins was working there.
Starting point is 00:33:32 And I'm looking, it was a shirt with Shade on it. Now you go to Urban Outfitters and see a shirt with Shade on it. But back then, to see a shirt with Shade on it, and you weren't at a concert, it just, there was, that didn't exist. I was like, wow, this is cool. And I love Shade. I remember Wilkins being like, you like that T-shirt? I'm like, yeah, yeah.
Starting point is 00:33:56 And then he's like, and the T-shirt was like, 28 bucks or something, too much money for me at the time. Quibble into a $50 t-shirt now or something. He took it, what size do you use? I'm like a large. And he goes, got to grab the large and put it in a bag and gave it to me. And he was like, make sure you come back and see me though.
Starting point is 00:34:16 Now they call that seating. They call that whatever they call, like giving someone a free something free that in hopes that that helps promote your brand. He's just giving it to it because he saw my interest, you know, I don't forget those other store called known to gear I was a legendary store of also what people would call street wear now No, the girl was incredible It was off a Broadway near atrium in a basement my friend Angelo
Starting point is 00:34:43 Worked there and the work he did there actually Atrium in a basement, my friend, Angelo, worked there. And the work he did there actually later led to his career at Supreme for many years. But I went there one time, because they had this Kurt Cobain t-shirt. And it's a huge fit of Kurt's face. And again, that t-shirt was like 50 bucks. It was too expensive for me.
Starting point is 00:35:02 So I was like, in my head, I was like, it's been months. It's been like, it's the spring now or the winter. That's probably on, hopefully it's on sale. So I get on an e-train, take it out for an hour all the way to the city. And I go to know Nogara. I'm like, hey, you guys got that Turco Bane t-shirt? Cause it wasn't out.
Starting point is 00:35:22 And there was one girl that worked there and she went to the back and brought it out and just gave it to me. So for me being from, I felt like I'm like, I'm stealing. Like am I going to get in trouble? Because for me, like no one was giving you a discus sweatshirt at Models. No one was giving you shit for free or at Hot Wax. Hot Wax with Tremika, where I used to buy records.
Starting point is 00:35:42 They weren't giving you no free records. My fact, they charge you more if you wanted to buy the record a week early. If the record came out on Tuesday, they'd have it on Thursday. So you get to have it for the weekend and bump it. And they charge you more. They charge you 20 bucks instead of 15 bucks.
Starting point is 00:35:59 So like getting this free stuff, you know what I mean? But again, forget the fact that it was free. It was like people putting images, copy, words, lyrics, colors, things on clothing from the life that we were living in real time. So many examples of that, you know? There's a couple pieces I still have and one of them is super influential in my work.
Starting point is 00:36:25 Like there's this brand called Sir, ran by this guy named Russ, and he did this thing where he did a M65 and a sweatshirt. And one sweatshirt was black Jesus, one sweatshirt was white Jesus, and you could buy whichever one you wanted to buy, whatever, right?
Starting point is 00:36:43 And to me, I was like, fuck, this is like an art concept. This is not just clothing. This is like creating a conversation. It's also even creating a choice. And it's creating a conversation. You get to vote. You get to vote. And then when you wear it,
Starting point is 00:37:00 if you get to buy Jesus one, there was a visceral reaction, negative, positive, whatever, wearing that. And I bought the black Jesus one. My was a visceral reaction, negative, positive, whatever, wearing that. And I bought the black Jesus one. My man Vito held it for me until it went on sale. And that's the first thing I ever got from the union. And I remember wearing that on a train, whether I was walking by some Israelites or this
Starting point is 00:37:18 or that person, old black ladies, white people, but people just would comment on it right because it wasn't Normal to see something like that on clothing something that was had that type of statement on it, you know It was confrontational. Yeah, and what I found interesting about it was The statement was not clear For all we know Russ could like, this is a joke. This is comedy. We don't know.
Starting point is 00:37:49 We have no idea. But because he left it ambiguous, then you get all these reactions for people. It becomes more about the viewer than it becomes about the art. Exactly. The art is the starter of the conversation. Exactly. But it doesn't finish it. And I've, you know, I held on to that piece of sweatshirt.
Starting point is 00:38:11 That shirt went from me from Jamaica Queens to Green Point in Brooklyn where I lived before. And then I moved to London. Like Mark Jacobs, I was a sales associate there, start off as a stock guy. They moved me to London, to LA, back to New York, literally over the course of 20 years. That sweatshirt is one of my towels men. Cause there's certain items I've collected.
Starting point is 00:38:41 I mean, I have a lot of stuff in general, but there's just certain couple of items that were like I keep them for reasons beyond aesthetics of how it looks in my house or my body, what it makes me think about. What was your first job in fashion? My first job was a sales associate at J Crew in the year 2000. Not far from the Virgin Records, over by 14th Street.
Starting point is 00:39:05 I used to spend my lunch break going in there listening to music. So much of today's life happens on the web. Squarespace is your home base for building your dream presence in an online world. Designing a website is easy, using one of Squarespace's best in-class templates. With a built-in style kit, you can change fonts, imagery, margins, and menus, so your design will be perfectly tailored to your needs.
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Starting point is 00:40:08 The Squarespace app helps you run your business from anywhere. Track inventory and connect with customers while you're on the go. Whether you're just starting out or already managing a successful brand, Squarespace makes it easy to create and customize a beautiful website. Visit squarespace.com slash tetra and get started today. Did everyone who worked in the stores that you've mentioned, were they all club kids? Damn, that's a good question. And yeah, that was the thing. Club kids was like, work retail.
Starting point is 00:40:54 Why? Not because you made a lot of money, but you could have that late shift. So you could be out all night, still get some sleep. And you know, because there's the two shifts. I said, there's a JQ shift where like you come in at one and you work like one to eight or something like that or like 12 to eight. So that was a part of it.
Starting point is 00:41:13 No, loads of club kids work retail. That was always the thing even before my era, probably a couple of eras before that, you know. Yeah, worked at J crew, then worked at Berkdorf Goodman as a stock guy in Saks, then went back, worked at Grady's liquor store in my old, in Jamaica, Queens, and then got a job at K-Spade, stock guy, and then I got the job at Mon Jacobs,
Starting point is 00:41:43 which that was the first job of my life that I wanted. The others were jobs to support yourself. And then Mark Jacobs was the start of what you wanted to do. Yeah. That's the first job I wanted that I got. I wanted to work at Union, but Mariette, they wouldn't hire me. But yeah, got the job at Mark Jacobs. And I remember I got that job, I knew it would change my life
Starting point is 00:42:08 because I knew it was a place of confluence. And I knew from reading books that if you hang around places that have the same values or the things that you're into and the people that care about the same stuff you care about Hanging around stuff can happen. Yeah opportunities arise. Yeah, like minded. Yeah, and it trickled down from Mark Cuz he's a cool dude, and he's a club kid. He was hanging out at studio 54 area Working, you know, he started off working at retail for name the store uptown, which is also the same store Where he sold his first pieces of clothing was the same store. He was a stock guy at Wow, so
Starting point is 00:42:53 you know I was Obsessed with month Jacobs clothing and I thought he's a cool character. You know I mean I thought I thought you seemed like a cool Dude from the tidbit to information I can get on him from magazines So I used to always go to the Mont Jacobs collection store and like check out the clothing Yeah, I got lucky It's very cool person by the name of Hadara She reached out and seen her I first met her so here's the thing I first met her at the store union
Starting point is 00:43:24 Years before and then I remember I ran met her, so here's the thing. I first met her at the store union years before. And then I remember I ran into her. We were talking, she said, sorry, I wanna talk with you. I gotta run, I gotta go to Shabbos. And I imagine her seeing me might've put me in her mind and sent me an email like, hey, would you be interested in interviewing at Mark Jacobs? And my other friend Adam had tried to get me a job there.
Starting point is 00:43:43 It didn't work. Let didn't even get an interview. And then Hadar had just become a manager there, I think, or something. And she got me an interview. And then I had a day I had three interviews with Debbie, who was the store manager, Suzy, who's the head of HR, and then Robert Duffy, who started the company with Mark Jacobs. He was the president in 1985. And you know, Robert was so deep, he interviewed every person. I was, you know, I was interviewing for the stock position.
Starting point is 00:44:13 Wow. And he was the president of Mark Jacobs. Tells you a lot about the care in the company. If the head of the company meets every single employee, it's an unusual company. Exactly. Yeah. That care reflected in the staffing and the music. They let us play whatever music we wanted at the store, which is unheard of.
Starting point is 00:44:37 In retail, we're playing little Wayne mixed tapes or people playing peaches. Fuck the pain away. You know what I mean? Like we're playing all kinds of stuff there. It was funny that all these cars argument stuff within the staff, because people, it was like people were fighting for that iPod time.
Starting point is 00:44:53 You know what I mean? People wanted to put their music on. But it was fun because I learned so much more. That's, that took my music knowledge to the next level. Just cause it was a wide variety of people playing music. Yeah, cause it was this amazing blender of kids who are from New York or moved to New York. Club kids, art kids, you know?
Starting point is 00:45:16 That's the first time I met artists was working at Mark Jacobs. You know, people that had, whether they went to art school or self-taught artists. I mean, my dad's an artist, but I didn't even realize when Dad was an artist. I'm like, look, my dad's like, he's a cameraman, it's a technical job. He's an artist. But far as me, I'm meeting someone in the same age as me.
Starting point is 00:45:37 That's the first time I ever met artists. You know, that was 2006. So I was already in my early 20s. That's the first time I met someone who made stuff that wasn't music. When you're a kid, you don't meet artists. Nah. You know, it's interesting. You think it's this rare breed of person that's different and it's not.
Starting point is 00:45:59 We're just not around them. We're just not around them, exactly. And so I was meeting these kids who make art, all types of different types of art. I remember my friend, he's still my friend to this day. He was at my wedding, one of my best friends, James Corrigan. He's from Boston, was a graffiti writer. Now he's a musician. But we had the secret Santa.
Starting point is 00:46:26 So it's my first year at Mark Jacobs. So he pulled out my name and he bought me the autobiography of Miles Davis. And that changed my life reading that book. I never read a book so fast. And once I got out of New York, I took that book, and that was another one of my Tausman's. I took that book with me wherever I went,
Starting point is 00:46:46 even when I traveled for a long time. It was like my Linus blanket because Miles is a dynamic, as you know, dynamic character, but I learned so much from that book about trusting your gut. And it was like that book gave me my spidey sense because I read the all about the Miles Davis when I met certain friends slash mentors. I was like, I got to hang out on this guy.
Starting point is 00:47:16 My spidey sense start tingling. This is because this is this is like when God when miles McGill Evans, you know what I mean? This is my version of Gil Evans. I gotta hang out with this guy and do stuff with him. So that book, you know, I read through it and it's interesting because my dad always told me to read autobiographies. He said that, Tremaine, if you wanna figure out where to go in life, you should read autobiographies.
Starting point is 00:47:43 Not because it'll tell you what to do, but it'll show you what you just said. These people seem so grandiose and special. They're just humans. They go through same things. Maybe they got lucky. Maybe they seized the opportunity, whatever it is, but you see like, oh, this isn't as far as I think it is.
Starting point is 00:48:04 And not about, and not the fame, not the money, but doing the art part. You know what I mean? And the fact that you didn't pick the book that it was given to you, it's interesting, you know? It's like the fact that you had tried to get the job at Mark Jacobs and didn't get it when you tried, but then you get a call from a friend.
Starting point is 00:48:23 Like the universe plays a role in all these things that happen where- Something, yeah, definitely, yeah. Something's going on. It's not like we have to make it happen. It doesn't work that way. Well, that's- So much of it's out of our control.
Starting point is 00:48:37 No, it's straight up. And, you know, that's the thing where I got really fortunate and I was grateful to this day with my parents. And I'll keep always long as I live, go back to them because my dad used to, I'd be brushing my teeth in the bathroom. He'd walk in the bathroom and be like, there's an art to brushing your teeth, your main.
Starting point is 00:48:59 There's an art to everything. Trust me, I mean, he'd walk out the bathroom. You know? Your dad sounds like a Buddhist monk. Little, but yeah, nah, a little bit. Or like he used to sit me down and have me watch Joseph Campbell with him. Wow.
Starting point is 00:49:12 Power of myth. Beautiful. Whenever that was on PBS. Yeah. He never made me do things. Yeah, yeah. He invited you. Invited me.
Starting point is 00:49:19 You know, and then we talk about the hero's journey. My dad, have me watch Joseph Campbell when I'm a teenager and then me as a young man getting the book from James and then me knowing about the hero's journey and then I'm like I see the hero's journey in Miles's life and then I see that everyone lives the hero's journey. It's not about if you become this great jazz player. the hero's journey. It's not about if you become this great jazz player. Garbage man, whatever your walk of life is, it's all important and it's all meaningless, equally meaningless, and we all have a journey and it's different. Like a part of your journey is when you meet the mentor. Everyone's gonna meet
Starting point is 00:50:00 the mentor. Whether you want to listen and humble yourself to be an apprentice, that's gonna change your journey. It just is, you know what I mean? And you know, for me, there was a couple people, one of them's my friend, Asa, you know? Hadar was a mentor too. I learned a lot about art from her. You know, like I learned a little bit about art from my parents and you know,
Starting point is 00:50:25 they had like Andy Warhol's diary on their bookshelf next to like James Baldwin and The Fire Next Time. And I read and looked at those books and then started hanging out with H, we became friends and started dating after that through working together at Mark Jacobs. And you know, she taught me a lot about art and exposed me to a lot of things that I wasn't exposed to, you know what I mean?
Starting point is 00:50:51 And, you know, so she was a friend slash mentor for a time and then to this day, you know, my boy A-side, he's a friend slash mentor and learned so much about music, life, and really maybe the best thing I learned from ASI is like willpower, just seeing the things he's gone through and to be where he's at now. So that was another amazing thing too, is like me being given these things and I'm taking them from Granite. I treated Mark Jacobs and Robert moving me to London to work at the Mark Jacobs collection store. I treated giving that book from James the same way. Was it your first time in London when you got to top?
Starting point is 00:51:33 Yeah, it was first time out of America, never had a passport. And what was that experience like? Incredible, man. They moved me to London in 2010. I lived there until 2000, almost 2018. Wow, I didn't know that. Yeah. Probably when we first met each other, I was still transversing between London and
Starting point is 00:51:50 LA. I see. And I worked for Mark Jacob from 2006 to 2015. I started off at the England Greenance Village, West Village store, ended up in the Mount Street store. Always on the retail side? Yeah, always on the retail side. And London was great, man. I just it took my knowledge of culture and expanded it. It just expanded my world, you know, my world, man. Just learned so much there, you know, and I still employ things I've learned
Starting point is 00:52:21 for my time in London and the stuff I make and also just my life. It's so different because like, okay, America's great, but if you drive or get on a plane for hour and a half, you're in like Philly. Whereas, which in Philly is a great town, whereas if you get on a plane or drive for hour and a half in London, you're in Italy or you're in Paris on a your star.
Starting point is 00:52:46 So it was affordable, and I'd squeeze the hell out of my weekends and vacations. Just to get on a train and go anywhere fast. And also you got six weeks of vacation. Yeah. Where in America, you start off with like four days or a week, you had to earn up and you could top out at two weeks, where customary, off-rip in Europe, you get six weeks.
Starting point is 00:53:12 But then besides that was meeting A-Side. Tell me about A-Side, I don't know anything about it. One of my best friends and just he's a musician, producer, DJ, and he's hilarious. And he's just like one of the most well-read people I've ever met in my life. And he's just like a potluck of knowledge and style. You know, I used to meet some people and they're like, okay, they're all aesthetic. Where at A-side, it's like, yeah, I'm really into punk and Vivian Westwood and all that stuff.
Starting point is 00:53:51 But then also I read, please kill me in all those books and all those things too. So it's not just like the look, it's the thing that made the look that he researches intensely. You know, he owns 10,000 records. Like any great DJ owns, I've noticed this thing. Every great DJ owns, that's the thing.
Starting point is 00:54:10 You own 10,000 of the right records. Yeah, we met at a party and he was smoking a cigar. And I never saw, I smoke cigars. And I never saw people in my age bracket smoke cigars. So that's why I went up to him and said, oh, I never really, also as I was new in London, I'm like, those are Cubans.
Starting point is 00:54:31 So you can't really get Cubans in America legally, where you can in London. I was like, oh, you smoking a Cuban? He's like, yeah. And then we, he's like, yeah, I just came back. I was visiting Cuba, and he gave me a Cuban cigar, took my number, and that's how he became friends.
Starting point is 00:54:49 I remember the first time we hung out came in his place. I was just astounded by the way his place looked and all the books and records he had. I remember he gave me, he did a thing with the artist, Chris O'Filly. They did a charity thing. So they had some leftover artworks that Chris had done for the charity. I knew Chris O'Filly was because of the sensation show in Brooklyn that Giuliani tried to shut down. There was Chris O'Filly, Damien Harris, all these artists.
Starting point is 00:55:20 And he did the Madonna with the cow done on it. The point about going to somebody's place and seeing their record collection and book collection and how you feel like, it makes sense for me to be friends with this person. Yeah, yeah. Like he lives in a way different than many people, but in a way that you would feel comfortable living.
Starting point is 00:55:40 Exactly, exactly. I think you become friends with people that remind you of the positive things from your childhood, but also maybe show you the opportunities that you didn't have or see or knew were possible in your childhood. So it's the thing in the past and the future. And that's usually the people that I think become your best friends or mentors you become tight with. And yeah, they gave me this thing and it was just like,
Starting point is 00:56:13 this is 2010, I'm a sales associate at Mark Jacobs and someone's given me something, not just a value, but like meaningful to them. You know know Chris will feel he's amazing artists and it was like Just something people didn't do You know, I mean people just didn't just do stuff just to do it like there's no angle You know and uh that was interesting to me and we became friends and then like a year later. He was said to me once Hey, I think if I DJ and you host the parties It could be good because he said what made him want to do that was
Starting point is 00:56:53 One day he came to hang out with me at Mark Jacobs and a customer came in and he said he's observing she seemed quite like staunch and or like quite Kurt and he said by the end of me working with her, he said, I totally like, I don't know, this is his opinion, broken her down. And she's like, Tremaine, can't wait to come see you again the center third. He's like, I got this guy as a good partner for me
Starting point is 00:57:18 in doing stuff. So we started doing parties and honestly, everything I do now creatively business wise, the seed of it was besides like other stuff before meeting ASAAT but also me and him connecting and doing those parties. Through that doing those parties I became friends and met and started working with Serge Becker, working with Frank Ocean, became friends with Virgil, Benjy B, Jude and Benjy B from Deviation. I met Kaius my first week in London, became friends.
Starting point is 00:57:55 So that's what happened in London. I met all these really good people, but also culturally astute people. So they were just great decent human beings but also cultural deaf. You know my friend Graham Erickson, the list goes on. You know Martine Rose, Grace Wells Bonner, so many people. London was just like, I really cut my teeth far as jettisoning from working retail. Yeah. You know, I worked retail from age 1920 to age 33, 34.
Starting point is 00:58:34 You know what I mean? Yeah. You think it had a positive effect working retail? Did that inform your understanding of the world? Yeah, I think it did. It was great. One of the main things was the bookmark. The bookstore that Mark Jacobs and Robert started.
Starting point is 00:58:51 When I worked in the West Village, the bookstore was there and I would hang out there on my lunch breaks and stuff like that. I never worked there as a social shit. And Jim Baker, who was the curator for the bookstore, just had amazing books, man, I learned so much. You know, a lot of them I didn't buy, I didn't have the money back then,
Starting point is 00:59:10 but I remember all of them, and I buy them now. I continuously, I'm like continuously buying all the books I didn't buy from the bookmark store. When I moved to London, there was a little bookmark section there, by the fact, Frank, on that Blonde radio, the Iceman episode, he has a freestyle and he sings about that time in London, me and him hanging out. He, Frank would come to the store and we'd hang out and just be kicking it in front of the books and going through the books and stuff like that. Then after I get off work you wait for me to get off
Starting point is 00:59:47 work and we go hang out at Scott's the fish restaurant and eat and then sometimes the conversation would continue that we're having in the book section of the Mark Jacobs store. You know this is back in 2013-2012 when me and him met became cool and then I started working with him on Boys Don't Cry magazine and Blonde. Yeah, the working in retail the best part was those books. But then also just the people I met. Welcome to the house of macadamias. Macadamias are a delicious superfood sustainably sourced directly from farmers. Macadamias, a rare source of omega-7 linked to collagen regeneration, enhanced weight management, and better fat metabolism. Macadamias. Art healthy and brain boosting fats.
Starting point is 01:00:52 Macadamias. Paleo friendly. Keto and plant-based. Macadamias. No wheat, no dairy, no gluten, no GMOs, no preservatives, no palm oil, no added sugar. House of macadamias. Thy roasted with Namibian sea salt, cracked black pepper, and chocolate dipped. Snack bars come in chocolate, coconut white chocolate and blueberry white chocolate. Visit houseofmaccadamias.com slash tetra. You feel like you got any understanding of the consumer or was it not about that? Yeah.
Starting point is 01:01:49 I became a pretty good sales associate, but what I think sent me apart from your typical sales associate and not just me, other people too, Mark Jacobs compared to other stores, that era of retail, which is very different than the era of retail now. I tell a woman, you shouldn't buy that dress. It doesn't. Yeah, it's not for you. That's what I learned. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:02:12 And people respect that. Because you're honest and it's so rare. And you might make less money commission that day, but you end up having a customer. Because you're credible. Yeah, exactly. So, man, I just saw Mark on the design side, him and his team, take so many chances, season after season. He had his motif that he went back to, but he do left turns. Would you say fearless creatively?
Starting point is 01:02:43 Yeah, I believe so fearless. And did these shows that he were heralded to be shows that he was panned and just kept it moving. Yeah. You know, I think he didn't bask in the applause. Yep. And then he didn't soak in the booze. And I learned that from watching him and his team.
Starting point is 01:03:04 I saw him use the keys to the house at Louis Vuitton and in his own company, Mark Jacobs, to put forth the things he loved and culture through the clothing to people. So it felt like sharing. I remember the first Mark Jacobs show I went to at the Armory, Sonic Youth was just playing in the middle of the show with the models walking around.
Starting point is 01:03:30 Now you see that all the time, but back then 2006, that wasn't the typical thing for a fashion show. It was just cool. It's fucking after parties will always be dope. Like I remember one after party had Diplo and MIA DJ and then perform and there was before they, either one of them blew. It was just, it was just like right there. And I was always so, I took so many notes.
Starting point is 01:03:56 Also having the high low, having, you know, when you put intention into something, so if there's a little plastic coin purse that costs 25 bucks, or if it's a chinchilla coin purse that costs 2,500, but if you put the intention to it, they're actually worth the same thing. And they cost different prices because of what it costs to make them
Starting point is 01:04:19 and markups and all that stuff, but actually the intention makes them equal. And the customer, you can actually teach the customer that and guide the customer that you can buy this thing and this thing and neither is better. It's just- The quality is in both of them. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:04:38 One just has a different material. Exactly. And, you know, I saw Mark do that thing, that high-low thing, through different categories and different things, even like something that's quite customary. Now his brand's doing collaborations. Then when he wasn't the first to do it, I think he might have caught that from hanging out in Japan, but it was like Mark Jacobs and like collaborations with like Vans or other things, you know, those were huge back in the day, back in like
Starting point is 01:05:09 2005 and 2004, the Vans collab and just also seeing the thing, my favorite thing to do and I've learned from seeing other artists do it is putting the right thing in the wrong place, you know, putting the right thing in the wrong place, you know, putting the right thing in a place that people wouldn't expect to see it. Changing the context around something. Yeah, yeah. To make it something new.
Starting point is 01:05:32 Make it something new. And you actually don't even know what it will become, you know, so yeah, definitely working at MJ learned so much. Also, my other gigs too, learned a lot. The customer knows when're true to yourself. Yeah, like people ask me, let's say I put out something, a collection or something, and people will leave in comments,
Starting point is 01:05:51 they don't like it or do like it. And I'm not sure what you think. I'm not sure what you think. I'm not sure what you think. I'm not sure what you think. I'm not sure what you think. I'm not sure what you think. I'm not sure what you think.
Starting point is 01:06:03 I'm not sure what you think. I'm not sure what you think. I'm not sure what you think. I'm not sure what you think. true to yourself. Yeah, like people ask me, let's say I put out something, a collection or something, and people leave in comments, they don't like it or do like it. Almost 99% of the time I don't respond to either. Not saying I'm some stoic and it doesn't affect me, but in the end,
Starting point is 01:06:21 I don't control how you feel about it after I make it. Yeah, and you're making the thing you want to make. You're not making it really for them. You're making it for you. Exactly. And they can go for the ride or not. That's up to them. Yeah, exactly, exactly, you know.
Starting point is 01:06:35 Has nothing to do with you really, how they react. Yeah, because art isn't like a boxing match where like if you knock someone out, it's like even if they didn't want you to win, you knock the person out, you won the fight. Art's more so like when it goes a distance. And the judges are like, who won or Ali or Frazier? It's all interpretation, you know, like Ali, if he didn't knock out George Foreman, maybe he probably would have lost that fight. Probably so. On points. Yeah. Right?
Starting point is 01:07:08 Well, he got beat up the whole fight. That's what I'm saying. He got beat up exactly. So it's kind of like similar to that with making stuff. And that's why artists should be remiss to not get caught up in a validation index. You know. How do you think you learned that? I've learned that over time. Again, my mom and dad, my mom always, my dad always very grateful and lucky.
Starting point is 01:07:38 Always telling me like, do not care what people think. My dad, mommy used to tell me, filter even what we say and choose what's right for you. Wow. So, but I have to keep reminding myself now. Because real wisdom. The world we live in can take you away from that.
Starting point is 01:07:55 Definitely. So you have to keep, it's a practice. None of these things, these totems that I've built in my mind, they're not permanent, they're only permanent if I practice them. Yeah. And it's easy to slip into the mind meld
Starting point is 01:08:10 going on outside of ourselves if we're not careful. Yeah. An example of that is someone who reminded me of that was Yassin, formerly known as Mostav. We're talking about, I did a collection based off Alvin Ailey. And I worked with the estate and licensed images and copy. And Yassin called me, he's like, yeah, man, I'm really proud of you.
Starting point is 01:08:37 I love this collection you've done. I said, yeah, man, I did it just like, because the world needs to know, people should know about Alvin Ailey as much as they know about Michael Jordan. I said, yeah man, I did it just like, because the world needs to know, people should know about Alvin Ailey as much as they know about Michael Jordan. And then Yassin's like, how do you know that was his validation index? World acknowledgement on the level of a Michael Jordan. Maybe he was happy with just the people
Starting point is 01:08:57 who were into his art, were into it, and the people that weren't weren't. And he stopped me dead on my tracks on the phone. I was like, yo, you're right. So I don't need to do the collection so that more everyone knows and thinks Alvin Ailey is important and see him in a light day needs to be sent in. I actually need to do it because I think he's great. That's it. And that's all you can do.
Starting point is 01:09:20 That's it. You know, it's like, this is what's interesting to me. Yeah, and once you get into the trying to push the thing It becomes something else it's something else and it kind of taints it absolutely yourself. It's not pure anymore Yeah, it's not pure anymore. Yeah, it has some Trying to do some work in the world. Yeah, it's not like that You can make something and it can take on political significance in the world, but usually when that happens,
Starting point is 01:09:49 it has nothing to do with what your intention wasn't making it. That happens if it's meant to happen. You can't control that, because otherwise it feels like it's propaganda. It's something else. Yeah. You know, I design many things,
Starting point is 01:10:03 but this is one piece of design that's quite popular, and it's a cotton reef. And there's a loud minority of people who are saying, oh, this is profiting off of black trauma. And then there's people who are saying they think it's beautiful, right? And they think this is amazing. But my truth and my intention was, it makes me feel good. That's it.
Starting point is 01:10:27 Because for me, I'm like, you know, I see in other cultures, like let's say like certain cultures, they have like a family crest, a symbol or words. And that crest might have things from where the family comes from. Let's say like something Celtic and they were farmers or they were masons or whatever. That might be in the crest or something like that.
Starting point is 01:10:53 So for me, I'm like, everyone in my family's first job was picking cotton. And before that, when we were slaves, we picked cotton. That was one of the things slaves were used to do to pick cotton. And that's the thing that built this country and built capitalism and then it's like Joseph Campbell the word religio Religion comes from the word Latin where religio, which is the return to and he speaks a lot about the circle The returning to even a wedding ring my what that's why people were wedding rings the connecting that you know all that and
Starting point is 01:11:25 it all was starting connecting to me. And I started making these different art pieces, static art pieces. Cotton wreath, black Jesus, black Mojana, working with the Pan African flag, flipping polo motifs to put the black gaze on something someone would call a white institution, put the black gaze on it. I was making all these things and then I said, oh, you know, I'm going to make a clothing line and I'm going to take these art pieces and apply them to stuff. But that came second. It started with the art. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:12:06 Just made the art. Just made the art. But the thing is. Did you make the art with an idea of showing it or just to make it? I showed it a couple of times. Like I showed it in London with this artist and someone who's become a good friend, Theastigates.
Starting point is 01:12:20 He had a thing doing freeze and I showed the reef and actually it was a coffin that was covered with the Pan-African flag which was done by David Hammond in 1990 which was based off Marcus Garvey's Pan-African flag from 1920. So I made a version of it. I had a coffin built and put the coffin with the flag over it and then the reef on top of the coffin. And yeah, that's one of my first pieces I made and showed it in London. And then Virgil's made career show in Atlanta. Our institute, we had a collaborative piece and then I had a piece of work called Demo One that I showed there.
Starting point is 01:13:08 And then I actually got a couple of pieces of the clothing stuff in the Met permanent collection. Wow. So cool. Yeah. But the clothing came after the art. After, yeah. Inspired by almost like the merch for the art.
Starting point is 01:13:23 Exactly. I made, was making the pieces and even now, whenever I have a new collection or new thing, I build it in my head on mood boards, sometimes physically as an art project. The whole denim tears thing is an art project. And I just felt that clothing was to get the ideas out. I just felt the art world, it's like,
Starting point is 01:13:50 it's cool and I appreciate it. To removed? To removed, to limited, you know? Like the last two years they do this thing called Farmers Day. So me and Andy drove down there, saw a bunch of old friends. You've probably been, you've probably seen it before. You know the you know the rock on farmers Boulevard that red black and green rock You know it and I always take legendary pictures in front of there
Starting point is 01:14:13 They do a a barbecue around there. It's a big black party around the rock. They've been doing it last three years so I went I had missed it the first couple years I went with Andy and We're hanging out. My man, Smart came and met us and I was like, let's get some food. And the line was super long to get food from the barbecue. So I was like, hey, we're gonna go over
Starting point is 01:14:33 about 40 projects to this fish spot. So we're driving along the white wall and I see a kid wearing these jeans I did. And that was the whole point. The fact that I'm seeing a young man wearing a pair of jeans in my old neighborhood, I couldn't get that. That you made. That I made, I couldn't get that from the art world.
Starting point is 01:15:01 I get it on someone's wall, but that guy. That guy that own the art piece, he'd have to transverse all, he'd have to transverse all the worlds, I've transverse. Yeah. To even like, maybe be able to afford or even know, forget the money. It's just about, if you know, that's the first step to acquiring something. Yes. Or acquiring knowledge. Yes. So yeah, just seeing that young dude on his own for also kind of a punk rock idea or hip-hop idea as well of like taking it out of the conservatory yeah I'm bringing it back to the street it's like this is where we are this is ours it's for us this is not meant to be in
Starting point is 01:15:43 an institution it could be there, too You know when when something related to hip-hop ends up an institution It's always interesting to me, but that's not why it was made. Yeah, Jay-Z didn't write those lyrics and make those songs To end up at the Brooklyn Library. No, it's cool that it did. It's cool that it did, but that's not what it's about Yeah, that's not what you know Never about that. Yeah, you know, he had to get the stuff out of his head Absolutely, he wanted to get out the streets But he also still wanted to do something that meant something though
Starting point is 01:16:14 I think and you know, he had this talent that he developed. It's like if you watch Star Wars Yeah, you could be born with the force But you have to develop it. You have to work your ass off. Not even just work your ass off, become fearless. Because the strongest Jedi's are the fearless ones. Not the ones you train the most. Not the ones who are the fastest or the strongest.
Starting point is 01:16:36 The strongest artists are the ones that lack the most amount of fear. Not the ones that went to yell for painting. I'm not knocking at one of my favorite painters went to yell for painting. I'm not knocking at one of my favorite painters went to yell for painting, Jennifer Packer. But I'm saying in the end, what really makes an artist great is how much fear do you lack? And a lot of the fear for artists starts coming in
Starting point is 01:16:58 once the success happens. Or if the success doesn't happen, that's the funny thing about success, and not having success, it can give you the same thing. If you don't have the success doesn't happen, that's the funny thing about success and not having success. Yeah, it can give you the same thing Yeah, if you don't have the success either way you react instead of acting. Yeah, so you can be like, okay I'm making stuff. I don't feel this it's working Damn should I just keep making the same old same old stuff? Because I don't want to not keep being successful
Starting point is 01:17:22 You let fear creep in and you're gonna get weaker. If you're making stuff and it's not selling, or you're not getting the validation or attention you want, oh, maybe I should start making different stuff. Maybe I should make stuff like the guy, like Jeff Koons, because he's successful, you're letting fear creep in and you're getting weaker. It's the same thing.
Starting point is 01:17:43 And being fearless doesn't mean you don't feel fear. It's just knowing that you have to walk through it. And knowing that your purpose is to express yourself. That's what it is. It's about self-expression. This is the thing I want to make. Check it out. Yep.
Starting point is 01:18:01 And that applies to everything who you partner with. It's all choice. And not letting those choices be tainted by the judgments of the tribe. Yeah, or expectations. What may fall within the sphere of tetragramatin? Counter-culture, tetragramatin, sacred geometry, tetragramatin, the avant-garde tetragramatin, generative art, tetragramatin, the tarot, tetragramatin, out of print music. TETROGRAMATIN, biodynamics. TETROGRAMATIN, graphic design. TETROGRAMATIN, mythology and magic.
Starting point is 01:18:50 TETROGRAMATIN, obscure film. TETROGRAMATIN, beach culture. TETROGRAMATIN, esoteric lectures. TETROGRAMATIN, off the grid living. TETROGRAMATIN, alt spirituality. TETROGRAMATIN, the Canon of Fine Objects. Tetragrammaton, Muscle Cars. Tetragrammaton, Ancient Wisdom for a New Age.
Starting point is 01:19:13 Upon entering, experience the artwork of the day. Take a breath and see where you are drawn. and see where you are drawn. Tetrachramadin.com When do you first feel like you found your tribe? I think I first felt like that, hanging out at Union. Other people who were different from everyone else but more like you? Yeah. You hanging out at Union and then my friend, you know, my friend Nigel and my friend Dre
Starting point is 01:20:05 from my neighborhood, and they're both older than me. Cause they definitely saw me, they saw me for, saw me. But I remember one of my friends, they're like, yo, you be hanging out in the village and stuff and hanging out downtown, you know, there's gay people there. Like super provincial, like just like, you know, you know, there's gay people down there, I was like,
Starting point is 01:20:26 and so, so, I don't care, like, I have no problem with issues with homosexuals, you know what I mean? I don't even consider them, they're humans. I don't even see, like I don't even delineate. It's interesting the myths that humans create. That's what separates us from other animals, humans' ability to create myths. I remember my friend was like, man, I don't hang out in the city because the food is more expensive there. I'm like, not everywhere. There's a place called Lovely Day that I'd
Starting point is 01:20:57 go to. I spent less money at Lovely Day than you guys spent at BBQs and the food's better for me. You know what I mean? And he's like, yeah, they charge more money at the Gap out there. I'm like, no, my girlfriend, Kenya, she works at the Gap. The prices are the same across, but he's creating his myth because of this fear that he has of being out of Jamaica Queens. And that's something I learned about from my parents
Starting point is 01:21:24 because they didn't have that fear. You know, my dad told me about one of his fishing buddies. The only time that guy left Long Island was when his wife got sick. He said, I don't mess with the city, I don't mess with. And I was always just like, I found it really interesting. It's a choice though. People that just stay where they're at
Starting point is 01:21:43 when they don't have to. And not see other things and learn other things. So I say that to say those were my brothers and my friends, but I met them through circumstance of moving there. Because there are other people I can hang out with. So we chose each other, but there was a wall for me because they were afraid to go and experience other things, whether it be food, music, people, and I wasn't. So that put a limit on how far our friendship could go in my opinion. Not how far our friendship could go, but just like the time we could spend. Because I'm not gonna not go there because you're trying
Starting point is 01:22:33 to make me afraid of hanging out in the village or hanging out in Soho or hanging out anywhere. So that's why when I went to Union, especially when I met guys like Angelo and Wilkins, they were guys from Outer Burrows. Now all the kids come and hang out downtown. I wasn't a thing. We all hung out and met up there.
Starting point is 01:22:57 So if you saw someone that dressed like you or looked like you downtown you'd be like what's up because you know they when they transverse the same terrain to get there. You literally far as sitting on a train for an hour and you're going to hang out late you're going to be on that train for an hour and a half or waiting for that train for an hour to get back to Queens, but also psychologically, transitioning the terrain of like your tribe, maybe being like, why are you going out there? Who do you think you are? You know? So yeah, that was the first time the tribe was hanging out at Union,
Starting point is 01:23:37 I think, me and catch over there. Tell me the story of Denim Tears. Well, the story goes back to the name came from Inside Joke. Just back in like 2013 or 2014, me, Virgil, A-side, Benji B, Kias, and Sam Ross were at a dinner before. There was this place called Addition Hotel. So the Addition First first hotel they opened,
Starting point is 01:24:06 I think was that in London. It is guiding Sceptu, Ann Ardoun, an amazing legendary London DJ. He ran a night in the basement at the Addition. So at that time, what we'd do is, if V was in Paris, I'd hit V like, yo, they'll get your Eurostar ticket and pay 200 pounds to DJ, whatever, right?
Starting point is 01:24:28 Whenever we were using Paris or something. And then I'm like, yo, Benji got V coming out, ASAP V's coming out, let's do a night. Like even we had a crew, it was called US Still. So anyway, they give us a free dinner. So we were having dinner before the gig. I had this pair of 1954 repro Levi's denim that I bought when I first moved to London. Because when I first moved to London, I got a...
Starting point is 01:24:54 My moving bonus was a month's paycheck. So I bought this really expensive pair of denim with that money. And I wore them every day for years. So eventually got torn and ripped to shit and then. I've seen you wear those. Yeah. I've seen them torn. Yeah, you've seen them.
Starting point is 01:25:11 So I posted this thing on Instagram where I would just post images of things and people post selfies, right? And I always thought it was quite funny like you're posting a picture of yourself. But cool. So I would, I was trolling, so I'd post things that gave the emotion of what I was feeling,
Starting point is 01:25:30 but not a picture of me. It'd be different things than I just hashtag selfie. So it was always, and it always would be things that only five people understood the joke or the emotion. So I posted those jeans, the back pocket looked like something. So then at the dinner, A-side and Kias or Kias and Versa they brought up that post.
Starting point is 01:25:53 And they're like, yeah, you posted the ripped denim. And then someone said like your denim was crying or something like that. And then maybe Kias or someone or A-Side said denim tears. I said oh that sounds like an R&B group so we're just cracking jokes. So then the next day Virgil wrote he had a blog on style.com where he would recap his travels. So he wrote like yeah and we had dinner and we had a party with Kyers Paulson of Young Turks fame, Binge B of Devi fame, A side of Nike marketing.
Starting point is 01:26:25 He had this night he used to do that he wrote that. And then he said, and then did him tears of Mark Jacobs fame. He just trolling me, we're joking. And so then from that moment, I just changed my handle. So when we did parties, I put did him tears. So it wouldn't be me and A side doing parties or Virgil, Pyrex vision, A-side and denim tears.
Starting point is 01:26:48 So I started from that, but then the way my mind works is, it's like, okay, inside joke, and then I was like, denim tears, that human experience is kind of like a pair of jeans. You start off brand new, and then the attrition of life makes rips, and physically and psychologically. So then I was like, oh, that's what denim tears means now. So I gave it a different meaning. So then it became a mint like the human condition.
Starting point is 01:27:16 And so denim tears, the brand is about a part of the human condition, which is the plight and glory of the African diaspora. You know, some of the stories I tell about are about the history of cotton. Some of the stories about Alvin Ailey. Some of the stories about Windrush. I mean, I designed a collection based off, there's this dude, he had a tiger in his apartment in Harlem. You ever heard that story?
Starting point is 01:27:43 There's a dude in the mid 2000s, he had a tiger in his apartment in Harlem. You ever heard that story? There's a dude in the mid 2000s, he had a tiger in his apartment in Harlem named Ming. And this guy was obsessed with animals and he raised a full grown tiger in his apartment. And then it was a huge, it was the big one of the biggest stories in New York that year. So I'm thinking, I'm like, okay,
Starting point is 01:28:02 what am I gonna design the next collection about? So I wanna, this is like great imagery I can create off that. But also that's just an interesting story. Like it's a story of a guy in the hood with a tiger. That's insane and also amazing. And I talked to the guy, interviewed him, and designed the whole collection based off that, about him and Ming, Tiger of Harlem.
Starting point is 01:28:26 So yeah, so it's like a zany, you know, I was like, I remember someone texting me like, I love the Ming collection. I'm like, yeah, I said, I tell zany black stories too. You know what I mean? So because that's a zany ass story. You know, I got a collection come out called Kiss My Grits, which is what my mom used to tell me when I had no hair. She would like, Kiss My Grits. The collection's about black food. About the foods I grew up eating in Harlem, Georgia, and in New York.
Starting point is 01:28:53 Tell me the scale of a collection. How small can it be and how big can it be? It could be like, you know, like my collection I did with Dior. There's probably 50 different items. Maybe not what made it to retail, but like in the show that happened in Egypt. There's probably like 80 items, maybe more.
Starting point is 01:29:11 But then there's collections like, I did a collection based off growing up in Jamaica, Queens, and the rock was stucie, and like that was like the jeans, the jacket, the winter coat, the scully, the belt, the bag, the sweater, eight items. And through eight items, it's just like an album. You know, so it's like, easy as it's 10 songs, you know?
Starting point is 01:29:39 But there's a lot in there. But then sometimes there's a double album. Do you have any sense of it's, it happens on an annual basis or it's not like that? It's just when you feel it. So, I think because my career started when I was a full-blown adult, but I've been thinking about these things since I was a teenager. I'm just rolling out the ideas.
Starting point is 01:30:05 Because you have a backlog from. Yeah, and probably when that backlog is out, maybe that's when I'll stop doing it, or there's so many stories, there's so many stories. So they're gonna keep coming too. Yeah, there's so many. You're as curious now as you ever was. Yeah, I am.
Starting point is 01:30:19 Why would it stop? Yeah, so, but I'm kind of do a fall, winter, spring, summer thing. But I don't wholesale. So you do four collections a year? Dimmature is only four years old. So, and then, you know, I got sick a year ago, so that put a monkey wrench in it. So it's kind of taken me out of it for like almost a year. But life willing, between three and four collections a year, internal denim tears collections and then
Starting point is 01:30:53 the collaborations around it. How do you manufacture and how do you sell if you don't wholesale? I manufacture all around the world. So I make stuff in Japan, make stuff in America, make stuff in China. And those are the relationships you developed over time? You're only good as your team and I'm not without my team. There's not enough ever done on my own. I have an amazing, amazing production director, guy named Daniel. We've been working together for about maybe two and a half, three years.
Starting point is 01:31:25 What was his background? He had owned a brand called Simon Miller. He went to art school for graphic design, got into fashion, owned a brand Simon Miller, left it, sold his shares. He's the cousin of the guy that gave James Corrigan, who gave me the Miles Davis book. Wow. He's the cousin of the guy that gave James Corrigan who gave me the Miles Davis book Wow James, it's you know, he say hey, you know my Cousin Daniels are really amazing That making clothing, you know me try I wouldn't recommend anyone unless they were of a certain elk and so
Starting point is 01:31:59 With someone like James recommending Daniel I was like God, we gotta meet this guy and then let him and And he's really helped the brand a lot. He's amazing at, he's an artisan at making clothing. So he helps take my designs and ideas and references and he helps me bring them to life. And I wouldn't, you know, denim tears would be different without them. Just like, you know, Eric films, almost all the stuff we do, stills and video. Got about eight people I work with at this point.
Starting point is 01:32:37 And how do you sell it? Online and at Dover Street Market. And online would be your website? Well, yeah, denimtears.com. Yeah, that's what. Everything is limited run? It's funny, I don't like the word limited. And I posted something today that I said limited quality.
Starting point is 01:32:52 Anyway, but I make what I can make based off what I feel the demand will be and the funds I have to produce. So as time is going and Brandon keeps going and doing well, I'm able to make more of stuff that I feel that people want to buy a lot of. The certain stuff that I feel like, I'm like, oh, you know, this Mohair string vest, maybe not 500 people will want this. But it's still very, just, it's very important to the line. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:33:29 So I'm going to make 150 of those. Yeah. And then you make an educated decision based off how things do. If you're going to, the next time you make an item of that style, if you buy more or less. Would you ever repress something if people like it? Yeah, yeah. Every design is different, but from what I've learned and read,
Starting point is 01:33:55 not just in creation, it's like certain things miss people. And then if you step off it too quick, you don't get to get your idea out. So by repressing something, the idea gets to get out. And there's nothing wrong with it. It's the thing you made and if more people want it, it's cool that they can have it. So I don't think we're making things with the idea
Starting point is 01:34:21 that they're supposed to be impossible to get. It's like, I want myself to be like, okay, like, killers of the flower moon. I just want to see it. We went to go see it a month ago when it first opened. Incredible film. Anyone can go see it, you know? Andy Wallace said, like, I want to be like Coke. Everyone could get a Coke. So anyone can go see Killers of the Flower Moon. And I think that's, to me, that's the highest level access to everyone. That's what I, that's what I endeavor towards, you know, It makes sense. It's like, again, you're not making it with the idea that I'm going to
Starting point is 01:35:02 change it so more people will like it. You're making it the way you want it. Yeah. And it's once you're signing off on the thing that you love, if more people want it, that seems like a good thing. Yeah. It is a good thing. And in my opinion, and then also, but you see it a lot of music where it's like, there's a certain sound and you go back to it.
Starting point is 01:35:23 And you know when this move on from the sound yeah, and you know when to keep doing it What was the first collaboration you did the first collaboration I did was with? Callie DeWitt Ed and B Fowler they had a brand called somewhere And I did a it was a somewhere denim tears collab that was like 2016 or 17 and then yeah that was my first one and then my second one was with online ceramics third was with Levi's and just rolled from there yeah how different is it doing a collaboration versus doing your own stuff? When it's a collaboration with another creative artist, it's a different dance.
Starting point is 01:36:11 But when it's a collaboration with a brand, it's more like they become the manufacturer and you get to design it? Yeah, so like, for example, I did the Cotton Reef art piece, then converted it into an AI file, and then Levi's reached out to me, they wanted to do a collaboration with me, some denim. So when I went up to San Francisco, I had to sheet of paper with the AI file printed out. And I had it on my phone computer, and I opened my computer and was like,
Starting point is 01:36:40 this is what I want to do. You know? So it's more so when I do a collaboration with the brand, I'm putting different ideas, stories, and or motifs with their products and doing intervention. You know, so to me, I was interested in like, ah, this story I'm tying with this wreath and cotton and then doing it with a brand denim brand, Ah, the story I'm tying with this wreath and cotton
Starting point is 01:37:05 and then doing it with a brand, denim brand, which obviously uses cotton. That's interesting. And then telling the story through this American brand was interesting. But then also it was interesting of what Levi stood for. Shout out to Jonathan and Hector. Hector's a guy who put me forward for Levi's. It was pretty
Starting point is 01:37:29 unprecedented for them to work with someone like me. I wasn't really known like that. Hector's the one that convinced them to do their collaboration with Virgil and then I was the next one after that. But I remember Jonathan telling me how Levi's during the AIDS epidemic, they're like, if you work there and you had a problem with working with someone, if your co-worker is at AIDS, they just fire you, which was unprecedented. Because obviously, if you've seen the movie Philadelphia,
Starting point is 01:38:02 it was the opposite of that those days. People were pushing people with AIDS away. People were getting fired from the jobs. They were being demonized. So me, when I learned that history about Levi's, I'm like, we're in the same mind state. And also they were down to do it. They weren't like scared.
Starting point is 01:38:18 They weren't like, ooh, this feels controversial. They're just like, this is beautiful. Let's do it. So. Have you ever been censored? Yeah, I've been censored and you know had different situations with different collaborators Converse I did a ped-African flag converses and it took a lot to get those out originally a guy named by the name of curtains. He used to work with converse and
Starting point is 01:38:48 Told them the idea he didains. He used to work with Converse and told them the idea. He did it. He was down for it. And I worked with this amazing designer, Amy. What would be the pushback on that? They felt that it could be seen as disrespectful to the American flag, putting the Pan-African flag, Pan-African Marcus Garves, these colors on the Pan- the pan African flag that David Hemmins did and doing that on sneakers They said it felt like it could be disrespectful to the military The shoes almost got canceled and yeah, because it seems like
Starting point is 01:39:20 There are lots of flags Yeah, you know, yeah, that's yeah, exactly lots of flags. There's lots of flags exactly I wouldn't have guessed that you know, it's funny thing too. I said to them This is me one of my favorite designers is Japanese diner designer talky talky hero He used to have a brand called number nine. They had a brand called the soloist. He put out a sneaker Whilst I was working on mine. was American flag but a black and white one. I was like, what's the difference guys? You know, so then it got a bit choppy. We pushed back and forth about it and then George Floyd happened. You know, I spoke out
Starting point is 01:39:58 publicly about my feelings about the support of Converse of certain movements that are going on during that time. And I was like, I can't really put out this shoe if I don't see more of a, more of them just just donating money. Because intention does more than money. And then they were super responsive and emailed me right away. And we had a great talk. And then we decided to still put out the shoes, and all the money from the shoes went to Black Voters Matter. We donated the first release of the sneakers, donated all the money, and then we worked with this artist, Hank Willis Thomas, to make infographics,
Starting point is 01:40:42 to try to get people to vote. Not encourage them to vote who they should vote for, but just to get them to vote. Just to participate. Participate in states where African-Americans didn't normally vote. So that's what the sneaker became representative of. So in the end, we had discourse and it was great.
Starting point is 01:41:06 Yeah. Tell me about the difference between street wear and luxury fashion. For me, there's four terms that exist, categories of fashion. Ready to wear, sportswear, couture, and accessories. Streetwear, still waiting for someone to give me a definition of that.
Starting point is 01:41:30 All these years later, I don't personally excite to that, that title. Luxury, there's a great book called Deluxe, written by a woman that, I don't know if she still writes from the New York Times, but it says, how luxury lost its luster. I think one of the only luxury brands that still exist is Hermez. I love Hermez.
Starting point is 01:41:50 Yeah, same. You look at the way they go about making the stuff and the intention behind it, you know, that's luxury, you know, Phoebe Philo, she just put out a luxury. Her new brand that she just put out, that's luxury. So the difference between luxury and, let's say what I do, ready to wear and sportswear, luxury is artisan base.
Starting point is 01:42:16 And it's small quantities, not because you're trying to make it worth more. You could only make so much. Yeah. Because there's only so many artisans to make it worth more. You could only make so much. Yeah. There's only so many artisans to make it. Yeah. Fine, crafted, handmade. One time I was in Paris with my friend Willow,
Starting point is 01:42:32 and we're at this guy Pierre's restaurant, which he's no longer working there anymore. And the food is incredible. And it's like the size of that recording console with tables around it. So 12 people, 60 people could sit. So if someone sets up here, why don't you franchise this and make more? He says, there's not enough ingredients that are the quality that I make my food with
Starting point is 01:42:59 to be able to franchise this. I can't get that many tomatoes of the quality to make what you just ate that she thinks so special. So that's what luxury is. It's like, there's only so many of these women or men who are alive to make this sweater in this way. And there's only so many people that are apprenticing at it that will be able to do it when these people die.
Starting point is 01:43:25 Yeah, because a lot of them, a lot of these skills are getting lost now. Exactly. So that's what luxury is to me is items made by artisans based off access to the best materials. Not just materials, the way it's crafted. The man hours. Not just materials the way it's crafted the man hours it takes to Stitch or so something you know, so that's what luxury is to me. You know, so people could say luxury is desire So that's the case Whatever has desire of said customer as luxury, but for me luxury is how the thing thing is made So I've made a couple items that are luxury. So a lot of items in the Dior collection,
Starting point is 01:44:10 like there's this amazing mill there that I got to work with. My highlight of the collection working with Dior was working with Stefan Jones, who's a mill there, that works a lot with Kim Jones. He's worked with Mark and other people. And it's just a dad kind of cap, but then it has the denim tears, Dior tears logo,
Starting point is 01:44:31 but it's all hand-done work. And I forgot, I think it took 48 hours or something to make that part of the hat, you know? And it's beautiful. Not just about how long it takes, but it's beautiful hand work. And then that's what it's fun about certain certain I Like certain artists and designers they take Like Mark Jacobs dad has done it like remember Mark Jacobs collection
Starting point is 01:44:58 He'd always do the cashmere hoodies and be like cashmere mixed with silk But they were just zip up hoodies and be like casimir mixed with silk. But they were just zip up hoodies, sweatpants, cut just like old champion sweatpants, but in casimir and silk, that's luxury, you know? That's the difference to me. Tell me about your experience with Supreme. I think the last time I reached out to you was been graduating you on-
Starting point is 01:45:24 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, you're like, I like Supreme a lot. Yeah, when I got the last time I reached out to you was congratulating you on yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah Yeah, you're like I like supreme a lot. Yeah when I got the job my experience with supreme was Learned a lot not so much learned a lot working there, but me Being in that situation Working at a company that's like gotten that big. A big corporate company. That came from the roots of this thing. You know, someone say this thing of ours.
Starting point is 01:45:53 That people call streetwear or, you know, sportswear with. That's funny. It's called this thing of ours. I've never heard that. That's what I call, to me, that's what it is. It's this thing of ours. I've heard that's how the mafia refers to the mafia. Yeah, to La Costa Nostra. You know what I mean? This thing of ours. But Stucey, Forty Acres and Emuel, Denim Tears, Supreme, Serr, you know, fucking awesome Babylon, so on and so forth.
Starting point is 01:46:25 fucking awesome Babylon, so on and so forth. You know, we're all Nego, Bate, human made. There's a line, you know, the company got sold and a couple of times and then James fully sold all of it. So- Oh, is that true? Yeah, to VF. I didn't know that. And when you sell a company, usually the person that bought your brand took a loan out.
Starting point is 01:46:49 And there's a thing you call interest. So they took a loan out, there's interest on that loan, and it's just a math problem. How much time you have to make the money back on the loan. And then if you're not making back the money that they spent on top of the interest, you're at a loss and they're poking around. And that changes the intention of making things. So that's one of the main lessons I learned. Also I learned is it's not, for me, it's not great working at a company where the founder is still there.
Starting point is 01:47:26 That's the creative director. That's interesting. Yeah. Because James is the creative director supreme. Then I came in as a creative director. First ever creative director. Yeah. Did you feel second guest?
Starting point is 01:47:38 Yeah. I was like creative director in his pocket. In a sense of I'll pull out Tremaine's what I want, his idea or opinion, but in the end it's my what I want, which it wasn't presented like that. You know, it was in it was in like hey I'm trying to write off it right off into the sunset and you're gonna run the show and work with the team because the Crave director doesn't do everything you work with the team. Because the Crave director doesn't do everything, you work with the team, the whole thing is a team sport. So that was difficult, you know,
Starting point is 01:48:09 not really being able to make decisions, but then in the media, when numbers come out about how the brand is doing, Tremaine's doing something wrong, where I'm like, James still making the decisions. So, but so you're kind of take you're kind of taking the Bullets, so then you start to feel like a a mascot instead of a complete star put star player, you know, and because that's the thing it's like LeBron, he's trusted to take that last shot or
Starting point is 01:48:40 fake like you can take the last shot and Pass it like, you know Jordan Jordan would do with John Paxton or Pippin. So it's not always about you taking the last shot, but you're making that decision and working with the coach. Whereas this was like, I'm not making the decision or taking the last shot, but you're taking the blame. Taking the blame.
Starting point is 01:49:02 So I learned that there. I was just the outsider there Taken the blame. So I learned that there. I was just the outsider there the way I thought. It's funny. I was like, okay, I'm going to continue the legacy of Supreme, but also modernize it in a way that I think would be meaningful to the people that Supreme wants to be attached to young people. I don't think that was really understood, you know,
Starting point is 01:49:25 completely, but then some things were. So, you know, it didn't work out. Cause then I started just getting put in compromising positions with artists and people I was working with that we were working with. And then things would change and then opinions would change. And then it got just really kind of convoluted in my opinion, my experience there.
Starting point is 01:49:52 Did you keep denim tears going the whole time too? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I kept denim tears. That was part of my contract. You know, James always said denim tears is important. You know, he always said he felt it was one of the best brands out there. Even in the last conversation we had, he said that. It got really difficult there too because there's like things me and James discussed or what we're trying to do. And then his C-suite, which I was a part of, they're trying to mitigate keeping him happy, but also keeping VF happy.
Starting point is 01:50:31 And none of it's out in the open, nothing's clear. So now this causes conflict. It's like a family, right? That's why, all the times I've talked about it, I've compared it to like secession. It's like, you got Logan Roy, and then you have people fighting for who's gonna get the, get the keys to the throne, which isn't my thing.
Starting point is 01:50:52 Yeah, I think anytime something gets big, yeah. It changes, it's just the nature of things getting big. It's impressive that Mark Jacobs is able to get as big as he did Staying cool Yeah, I think that's more the the exception than the rule. Yeah, definitely definitely and then also I think for me my ideas I give you an example
Starting point is 01:51:20 So the first thing I did for Supreme was like Andre 3000, you know, we shot Andre. That's part of the thing too of being creative director. It's like you're influenced with people, not influenced, but like our relationship with Andre that's just based off friendship and we have worked together. So I don't know if the answer would have been yes if I wasn't involved. Of course. You have relationships.
Starting point is 01:51:43 Yeah. Yes, if I wasn't involved. Of course you have relationships. Yeah so then Andre's down to do it and then there's a ray of images that we've shot and The images that I felt were the best with him with the flute because the reason I felt they're the best because they were Where he's at right now and the images we went with were you know? Not that much different. It was same clothing, not such, not different poses, but no flute. And the discourse from James and was, well, would you rather hear him rap or play the flute if you're going
Starting point is 01:52:19 on a show? And my response to them was, I'd rather hear him play the flute because that's where he's at right now. Has James ever heard him play the flute? So no. So then how do you know? Exactly. Yeah so it's interesting because for a brand that's so like we're cool, we're cool and we're genuine, we're real. For me it was a bit of a cosplay thing, because it's like, we want to present something that feels like Andre is a rapper. But me, I'm like, let's present him in his realist form. Which is, he walks around with that flute all day, every day, it's an appendage.
Starting point is 01:52:57 So, end of the day, James the boss, we did the image without the flute. People loved it, cool. Bobniz using that as an example of that's how everything kind of went. Which in situations where the stuff was more charged or there's more discourse about images or stories we should be telling ideas,
Starting point is 01:53:20 it's the same kind of thing where it's like, I'm presenting it, if you wanna do do it do it. Don't do it and Then but then it's still kind of all falls on me But I'd actually don't have any control Yeah, and then that just puts me in a compromising place with the artists that we're working with and just more most importantly Compromising placement within myself where I'm just like well, why am I even why am I even here? And so We just got really political there with Project with Arthur Jafa, which was kind of the boiling point for me, resigning from there. I had pitched in February or March 2022 to do a project with Arthur Jafa.
Starting point is 01:54:03 Everyone's excited about it. AJ's an amazing artist. But talking about him being this big blue chip artist, any artist that's allowing us to work with them, in my opinion, should be their discretion, which works they want to do. So AJ made his discretion of the imagery he wanted to use. James was into it and said, yeah, this stuff's really important. The imagery was So AJ made his discretion of the imagery he wanted to use. James was into it and said, yeah, this stuff's really important. The imagery was visceral, some of it. One image was of a freed slave.
Starting point is 01:54:35 His own back had the wounds from when he was a slave being whipped. And another image was a diptec, which was two images together, which is basically, you could call it the Guernica for African Americans. And you know, the Guernica is the Picasso painting, which is of a war, image of killing of war. This image is an image of two black men who have been hung for, they're accused of rape, I think down in Memphis, but they were never tried. They were hung. And there's were accused of rape, I think down in Memphis, but they were never tried, they were hung. And there's a bunch of people, white people that hung them,
Starting point is 01:55:10 standing around them, looking at the camera, taking a picture. And then the next picture is Grape Street Crips with guns. So the name of that piece is called, I don't care about your past, I just want our love to last. AJ's intention in that picture is to show this got you this.
Starting point is 01:55:34 It's connected. There's that documentary, The Bastards of the Party, saying that the blood and crypts are the bastard sons of the African-American political parties that fell apart post-civil rights movement, post during the crack epidemic. So there's that piece. There's another image, Leraige.
Starting point is 01:55:55 And so anyway, those images got approved. The clothing got made. I get sick. You know, that stuff's supposed to come out. It was supposed to come out spring 23. I got sick in fall 22. I'm in hospital for three months. When I get out of the hospital, I'm on medical leave in total eight months.
Starting point is 01:56:23 When I come back, the project is in stasis. And I'm like, oh, what's going on? And before I can even ask, an email sent by an employee, we had two employees raise concerns about the imagery, which they have the right to. So they raised concerns about the imagery. The first employee, we had a discussion, me, her,
Starting point is 01:56:48 and the other C-suite team, and I explained to her AJ's intention, and Supreme's intention. I'm a conduit for both of those intentions as the creative director in the artwork. And she's like, oh, is this stuff gonna be explained? The artwork, I said, yeah. And then she like, oh, is this stuff going to be explained to the artwork? I said, yeah. And then she said, I'm cool with it.
Starting point is 01:57:09 And then the next employee saw April 1st, which was a, coincidentally, the day I returned back to work for medical leave, eight months of medical leave from having the lower aortic aneurysm. The employee sent an email to the C-suite saying he felt wise, supreme, thinks it's okay to profit off this terrible energy. And he's a black dude, so then he sent me an email saying, hey, Tramaine, I'd like to talk. So I thought he was gonna talk to me about the AJPs.
Starting point is 01:57:44 And we talk, and I say, hey, you want to talk about the AJ piece? So I'm ready to give him, again, repeat AJ's attention with the work and Supreme's attention. And then he says, no, I talked to James about it already. I want to talk to you about stuff for me working here as a black person where you seem to be flourishing here. How do you flourish here when there's, it bothers me that the clothing and the stuff we make
Starting point is 01:58:10 is largely based off black culture, but there's not a lot of black people in the design team, right? And I told them, I haven't worked anywhere where there was a large amount of black people around working in these type of institutions. Only place I've worked where there was a lot of black people was at Grady's liquor store. So it's something that I'm used to,
Starting point is 01:58:36 and it's something that within reason and within my power, not just for black people, for all people, I try to diversify work it places that I'm in based off people with talent that can do the job. And I also try to make it diverse for as women, but it's all the same to me. Having women involved, having working class people involved with any color, having people of any gender,
Starting point is 01:59:04 it's all the same to me. Yeah, just people who are good. People who are good at their job are going to make the team a better team. Yeah. Yeah, I want to make it diverse with talented people. And I said, I'm doing what I can. I've had discussions with HR since I came here. They told me they're trying to make things I haven't seen have happened yet.
Starting point is 01:59:22 Let me know what I can do to help you. He's like, well, just this conversation's helped me. And we had a great conversation. And then a couple of weeks before I resigned, he resigned. He resigned for feeling disgruntled about filling his upward trajectory supreme and filling there are some racial insidious there. Those are his opinions.
Starting point is 01:59:46 I've had conversations with HR about that. They said they were addressing the stuff. But he decided to resign. And also, he had his other reasons. So from April 1st to August, it's four months. No one talks to me about the AJ project. So I was building my strength back up. It was a surprise.
Starting point is 02:00:11 What happened to you? Tell me what happened physically. I had a lower aortic aneurysm, which was true. Did you know it was something? No, it was hereditary, but I didn't know it ran in my family. I see. I found out after the fact that I had an uncle
Starting point is 02:00:24 that died from one in his 20s. So my main focus was my recovery. So I was, How did it reveal itself? Like what was the event? The event was started to feel a sharp pain in my chest first. Then I felt a sharp pain. Actually the chain pain, I felt my chest was actually my aorta. So I was feeling it from my chest, felt short of breath, thought I was having a heart attack,
Starting point is 02:00:51 and then I felt this is a screw shading pain in my back. Upper back? Yeah. Between the shoulders. Like, yeah, between the shoulders, which was my aorta dissecting. It was splitting. And then that pain kind of subsided, and then I had my leg went numb because the lower part of my aorta,
Starting point is 02:01:14 that dissection ended there and it ripped apart. And that's usually when people die from it within like three or four minutes. That's why it's called the nickname for it, it's called the widow maker. John Ritter from Thieves Company, he died from it within like three or four minutes. That's why it's called the nickname for it's called the widow maker. John Ritter from these company, he died from it. But some reason it ripped, but a little piece of it held on. So I was bleeding internally, but not full out bleeding.
Starting point is 02:01:40 So my leg went numb. And that's when my wife, my girlfriend at the time, called the ambulance, went to get the ambulance and you know saved my life. If I wouldn't have been with her, I definitely would have died. And then we got to the hospital. It took them a long time to diagnose at the first hospital. And then about eight hours later, an amazing doctor, she came on and she immediately started asking me certain questions and got me to get a scan.
Starting point is 02:02:11 And then she realized I had suffered an aneurysm and she called up to Cornell, which is one of some of the best doctors for that type of cardiac things. I went and had an emergency surgery that was supposed to be three hours, ended up being eight hours, spent a month in the ICU. Yeah, I mean, I almost died three times
Starting point is 02:02:35 from the initial thing and then had got pneumonia. Then I got a septus, blood infection. And then also I was on dialysis for about three months. So I did a month in the ICU, and then they moved me up to Baker unit. I did rehab for two months, and then came home December 28th, and recovered at home doing PT three times a week
Starting point is 02:03:01 with my amazing physical trainer, Jacqueline Paylor, doing my doctor checkups. And I had an amazing, but yeah, miracle recovered me. I mean, my doctor said it was a 5% chance of me living. But I got very lucky and then, you know, have a very important person to live for, which is Andy. So she was there with me sleeping on a lazy boy every night for three months, which I think that helped me, really gave me the strength to, you know,
Starting point is 02:03:38 when you're recovering, there's medicine and then there's willpower wanting to be here, pushing with that, I don't know if it's your molecules, your soul, what the energy is, but it takes the mix of all those things. And I had a lot of love, mainly Andy and my dad and Anthony and A-side and Chris, other people too. Just, you know, I got this friend, Cactus, she'd be flying in to visit me from Hawaii, you know, coming to visit me in the hospital,
Starting point is 02:04:12 my brother, other friends coming to visit me and all that love mixed with the amazing work from the doctors helped me get me back. But definitely the main protagonist is Andy. Definitely, she get out of work and she comes straight to the hospital, hang out with me and then stay the night, go to work, come back every day for three months.
Starting point is 02:04:38 I don't know how I would have done it without that support. And me, I'm so happy you're here. Me too. Yeah. Me too. So happy you're here. Me too. Yeah. Me too. So happy you're here. How has that experience changed you? The only way it's changed me is when I met Andy from the day I met her, she was special.
Starting point is 02:05:04 And then she became an amazing colleague and then became an amazing friend. And then we fell in love right before I got sick, like a month or two before I got sick, a month before I got sick. And once I got better I just didn't waste any time where before I was like, I should have just actually had a marry me.
Starting point is 02:05:23 I knew when I first, literally the first month dating I should have just actually had a marry me. I knew when I first, literally the first month dating, I should have just asked her. But you know, you tell yourself, oh, well, let me wait and see. I'm not saying that's wrong either, but that's what I was thinking when I was waiting for the ambulance in the hallway in my apartment. I was like, if I got to survive,
Starting point is 02:05:44 I'm gonna marry Andy. That was my thought. My last thought was my little brother McCoy. My dad had a kid, he had my brother, three years ago, with his amazing wife, Shelly. And what I thought before I went into surgery was, well, I need more time with Andy and McCoy. So when I got survived, that's what changed
Starting point is 02:06:12 was just me trying to spend as much time with the reason with Andy and people I love. But I did that before that, because that's what, again, this whole talk, my dad and my mom always like, hey, we're not parents tomorrow, we gotta have fun. People might consider it morbid. My dad talked about death a lot because both my mom and my dad, my mom talked about death a lot because she lost two of her brothers when she was a kid. One to the aneurysm, and one came back sick from Vietnam.
Starting point is 02:06:45 One to the aneurysm and one came back sick from Vietnam. So at a young age, she had a lot of loss. Of two people she loved very much. She would speak about that. She always said, Tremaine, I'm not gonna be here forever. Take care of you, you gotta figure it out. You gotta figure it out. I said, you gotta look out for your little brother
Starting point is 02:07:02 when I'm not here. And then my dad, his sense of mortality came from, he was a TV news cameraman. So he saw, he was like basically a coroner. He saw death every day. So yeah, he get to do cool things like cover a Yankees game on a Super Bowl or go to the White House, but mainly they're selling death.
Starting point is 02:07:21 They're selling that fact that, you know, a lot of, and so he'd cover all kinds of stuff. And're selling the fact that, you know, a lot of it. So he covered all kinds of stuff. And that just made him say, hey, man, this guy died from a crane falling on him. This person got murdered. And he tell the stories, but the end of the story was always like, it's why we gotta be nice to each other and have as much fun as possible.
Starting point is 02:07:38 Cause we are not guaranteed a second. So it didn't make me more like, oh, I appreciate my life more and I'm gonna go for it more. Actually, it made me like, you know what? This work stuff's cool, but that's why it's like me and Andy went on, we went on a month honeymoon. I'm like, we were like, I survived, you were there with me, we got married, we're going away for a month honeymoon. I'm like, we were on, it's like, I survived. You were there with me.
Starting point is 02:08:05 We got married. We're going away for a month. Great. You know what I mean? Great. We're going away for a month. That's what I learned from it's just spend as much time with Andy and McCoy
Starting point is 02:08:16 and other people that I love. But I already knew that. And also just maybe, maybe just this work shit is not as important. It's just not. It's art's important and it's important for me to be fulfilled because I won't be the best husband or father. I don't have a, we don't have a kid yet,
Starting point is 02:08:37 but I won't be able to be the best husband or father if I'm not fulfilled. Same for Andy, same for McCoy, same for everyone. So that is important, but not at the expense of, in my opinion, what I've done with people you love. You know what? We talked about fear a lot. It put not the fear of death for me it put the fear of Not spinning
Starting point is 02:09:05 But what I feel is an adequate amount of time with people I I respect that care about and love I understood that's so because before I never feared death Come like why would I have like it's gonna happen and we my parents raised me but I Still don't fear death by fear not having enough time and Andy Yeah, because she's like the most amazing, one of the most amazing people I've ever met. So I have that fear and the way I meet that fear is by letting her know how much I value her,
Starting point is 02:09:34 what she's done for me, and even letting her know what she means to me, and then spending time having fun. Just, yeah. So that's what I learned. Same thing with McCoy, same thing with Asa, same thing with Frazier and David, Chris, the friends, you know? Even like with you, you know, it's like, we're cool, man.
Starting point is 02:09:54 Like, I can show you someone that I'm really cool with, a friend, and it's like, you know what? I was like, I'm gonna hit Rick when I'm in LA. And if we can meet up, we can meet up. So, might not see you for a year again. Maybe we'll never see each other again. But we may tire on to see each other on this one, like we've done in the past.
Starting point is 02:10:11 So that's what I try to do. You can't see everyone all the time, but within reason I rotate it. And then I have my, you know, my main concern is Andy. That's my number one thing. Do you think of yourself as a spiritual person? I don't, but then even when I'm about to say,
Starting point is 02:10:27 might kiss them could say could be considered spiritual. I think life is meaningless. And we put the meaning, you put the meaning into it. And then you're like, love ones that you think you want to give to meaning to life. So maybe that is spiritual. I'm not rail read in all the religions, but I know stuff from some, from, you know, the Bible, from Buddhism, Joseph Campbell, you
Starting point is 02:10:54 know, Miyamoto Musashi, five rings, the book of five rings, Tao, Jikundo, can go on and on comic books. That's what I think, you know, those are biblical to me, comic books, that stuff I've learned. You learn from comic books, you know, like the X-Men, Professor X was based off Martin Luther King and Magneto was based off Malcolm X. And it was a Trojan horse to tell that story
Starting point is 02:11:20 through these mutants, the mutants represented African-Americans in America, you know what I mean? So I've learned more from that than I learned from the Bible. But just only because I've read more, I've read more comic books than I've read the Bible. So, you know, I'm agnostic and when people hear that, I think they think atheists and it's not.
Starting point is 02:11:41 I don't subscribe to any religion or that there's an omnipotent being with human- Or that there's not. I don't subscribe to any religion or that there's an omnipotent being with human or that there's not or that there's not yet or that that omnipotent being has human traits. Because that's the thing about humans were like humans as a whole were narcissists and were like, you know, it's like someone sees an alien, it kind of looks human. Yeah. When we look at clouds, we see faces.
Starting point is 02:12:05 We see faces, because it's like, you know, whereas does the dog see a face in the cloud? No, maybe probably not. I'll tell you this. I felt spiritual the first time I saw the sun after being in the ICU for a month. Yeah. I realized that the sun that I hadn't seen in a month
Starting point is 02:12:22 from being in my hospital room, and the sun that I thought't seen in a month from being in my hospital room and the sun that I thought I'd never see again was the same that sun that's shined on every living being that, everything that's lived in the Milky Way, this universe, our galaxy, the earth, the dinosaurs, my mom who's no longer here. Same sun. The same sun. It's shined on every living organism that has ever spurned from the earth to the last one. The sun, that same sun that I hadn't saw,
Starting point is 02:12:53 that I took for granted. Yeah. I felt that connection when I felt the sun in my wheelchair, with my shades on, and I took my shades off and I started crying. Chris was there, and my other friend Chris was there. I remember texting Andy to picture and my dad. So I guess I am spiritual, maybe not by the textbook definition.
Starting point is 02:13:21 You know, for me, my religion, like I find religion in people, you know, like, people that I connect with, I find religion and like, in the relationship. So I found religion in relationship with Aesop. I found religion in my relationship with Fr. Frasier. And I think I found my highest religion in my relationship with Andy. So I guess religion ultimately is about connection. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Connection. You know what though? The one thing I'll say, which hasn't been said about the whole thing with me and Supreme, when I really think about it,
Starting point is 02:14:01 and a friend, my friend Jimmy, illuminated to me, to me was the issue between me and Supreme was I don't really get uncomfortable about talking about anything. And the top brass there was uncomfortable to talk to me about that imagery and them wanting to change it out or not use it. And when people get uncomfortable and have fear gets in them That's what mistakes and miscommunications and and feelings and you know shit goes awry and you know they
Starting point is 02:14:35 Didn't I guess they didn't have an end. I'm to even have the conversation which is all Again go back to the Congress thing the discourse Because even the accident if I ever have been censored, yes. There was another show I was going to do a converse with my friend, artist, Dan Colon. And he has a farm called Skyar Farm. And we're exploring stuff with food and design and black food. So we're going to do a converse of a watermelon rind, the skin of a watermelon.
Starting point is 02:15:08 So converse felt that was controversial and they felt it could be interpreted as racist, right? Because of menstrual imagery in the past of blacks and watermelons. But the thing is, I never- Were these white people who were concerned about it being racist? Both.
Starting point is 02:15:27 Okay. Black and white people. Okay. But the difference in the situation was, they called me, they told me, they weren't down, they didn't wanna do it. Mm-hmm. They were uncomfortable with the imagery.
Starting point is 02:15:39 Yeah. And they didn't wanna do it, but they weren't uncomfortable with having the conversation. Right, they were straight. Straight up, and we had the conversation. They said, we're not gonna put these out. I was like, you guys are kind of wasting my time. And I think you guys are aiding and embedding,
Starting point is 02:15:57 which you think you're protecting. But, cool. And that's why I never posted anything like, Congress has done something wrong. Do you ever get the feeling when something like that happens? Do you ever feel like I'm gonna find another way to get these shoes out? My whole thing was it was like That silhouette of the truck and then working with Dan and sky high forum and telling that I have art and things I've made with that imagery of the watermelon. It's going to come out in different places. Okay.
Starting point is 02:16:26 Yeah. So it will come out. But again, did they censor me, I guess, but they talked to me. And we were able to have discourse. We disagreed, but it was fine in and because I respected that they have a right to make a choice as a company to not want to put it out. And they respected me by hearing me out why I feel we should and we talked about it and moved on. You know, I guess because we had that situation with the pit African shoes and it went well
Starting point is 02:16:54 and we you know I was happy with the outcome of that and donating the money to Black Voters Matters and so that's the thing where it's like, I'm about, not about getting my way, I'm about discourse. And then wherever the chips fall, I'm okay with that. As long as the talk happens, you know? Yeah. Tell me from where you sit, describe the fashion industry and paint a picture of what the fashion industry is and how does it work? The fashion industry currently is no different than the film industry in a sense of Paramount or Caron Group, they're a bank, and they invest in directors, creative directors.
Starting point is 02:17:41 So whether Matthew Blase or I think Apple did Kill Is The Found Moon, Apple invested in Martin Scorsese and they want you to give the world clothing, tell a story so it can sell and they can make more money than they did last year. That's the fashion industry. That's where it is now. That's not how it started. Where do you think it started and Where do you think it started? And when do you think it changed?
Starting point is 02:18:09 Fashion really started with the creation of the bourgeoisie. Right? When people had a superfluous amount of money. Before that, people just wore work clothes or base standard uniform. Everybody dressed the same. Yeah. Actually, I would say fashion started in tribal times.
Starting point is 02:18:35 Really, when I really think about stuff I've read, tribal times to signify different things and to signify hierarchies or this and a third within tribes. You know, you'd see it across different indigenous things. But then once agriculture happened and humans were able to make a superfluous amount of food, they were able to do other things, become musicians, make clothing. Because before that, everybody had to hunt together. All your time was spent was finding food.
Starting point is 02:19:09 So you didn't have time to make a flannel shirt. You had time to be like, okay, I got something to wear for my feet so I could chase down this animal. You know, everything was purposeful. So then once agricultural revolution happened, and agricultural revolution happened, and agricultural revolution happened because people wanted to be stationary to go to church. So to do be stationary, not to be moving at all the time as hunter gatherers, you had to make a
Starting point is 02:19:36 superfluous amount of food. So once that happened, made a superfluous amount of food, people were able to become scientists, soldiers. And once the barter system stopped and money, then it was like that's when the bourgeoisie of any type of civilization created, whether it's the Egyptians, the French, whatever, and they started having clothes to represent who they were. It was like the haves and the have nots. And the haves wore fashionable clothing
Starting point is 02:20:12 to separate themselves from the masses. Yes, but then the have nots, the proletariat, they wore clothing to get a job done. Denim. Denim was created because the other cotton fabrics that were worn would get torn, and then they would have to bring in loads of pants to change into as the tanments got torn.
Starting point is 02:20:36 So that was more work, bringing in these extra pants. Once denim was created, you didn't have to bring all these denim with you because your denim would last you for a couple months or something that was function, but then Eventually denim became fashion. I feel like that might have been as recently as the 70s when denim Yeah, yeah, cuz even like you know, you Vanderbilt. Yeah clothing was originally not originally, but there was like couture So you had the same Christian Dior
Starting point is 02:21:05 He was designing couture dressings and stuff, right? And only a certain amount of people could afford it, but not just the money, it goes back to the artisan thing. There's only a certain amount that can be made. Then the advent of ready to wear happened, where it was clothing that was still made well, but not couture, so it could be made in higher quantities and it could cost less.
Starting point is 02:21:30 So more people, it was still a bourgeoisie thing, but more people could buy it. Then ready to wear went to the level where then the industrial revolution, they were able to make clothing cheaply at higher numbers. So then the fashions that let's say a mom or a dad saw someone wearing, you can go buy it in the Walmart, a version of it. And then it all trickled down to where we're at now where like you see something on TikTok and you can click on it and it takes you to a link
Starting point is 02:22:01 and you can buy something. But it's a long history, but like you said, kind of recent. It's short. It's short because businessmen are like, hey, people wanna be like Elvis. What if we make shoes that look like Elvis' shoes? You know, I remember the last page of the book, Please Kill Me, the book goes through
Starting point is 02:22:24 the whole oral history of the punk scene. of the book, Please Kill Me, the book goes through the whole oral history of the punk scene and the book ends in Hawaii to this guy who had died childhood. And his first show he went to was he saw Elvis and he said, all he remembered from the show was his shoes. That's where fashion really started. When the proliferation of celebrity culture and then people wanting to buy needle boots.
Starting point is 02:22:48 Yeah. Buy shirts like James Brown. Like my dad, my grandfather got so mad at my dad because my dad's first check, $99 that he got from my grandfather for making bricks. He went and bought, Augusta Georgia bought some pants and a silk shirt and some stack heels to look like James Brown and spend all his money. That's really where...
Starting point is 02:23:08 You got it at the place where James Brown got him probably. Probably, yes. In Augusta. Yeah, in Augusta. Yeah. And that's where I think when celebrity culture hit with the music, that's where I think fashion really took off, was with musicians. Cause you know, actors, cool, you see the actor wearing it, but back then you didn't really see actors.
Starting point is 02:23:32 Only in the movies. Only in the movies. But musicians, you see the musicians and they're on stage and you see David Boyle or McJigga or whoever and you're like, oh shit, I wanna wear that. And then brands start making stuff, not just based off that, a lot of it was ushered in by Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent.
Starting point is 02:23:54 You know, there's this book called The Beautiful Fall. I haven't read all of it, but I started reading it and it's about how the explosion of, like you said, it's the 70s of fashion in Paris in the 70s, and the competition between Yves Saint Laurent and Carl Lagerfeld, and Yves took over to Yor, worked there for like three seasons or three years, he got fired, then eventually started his own label,
Starting point is 02:24:22 Carl was working at a bunch of different places, and then eventually got to Chanel and then it just exploded from that. Just like shit exploded from fucking Chuck Berry and Elvis and a couple people and then rock and roll exploded. Same thing with fashion. To the point now where you have companies that, you know, did them tears. There's so many bootlegs out there. So they're selling- where you have companies that, you know, do them tears.
Starting point is 02:24:45 There's so many bootlegs out there, you know? So they're selling- Can you always tell what's a bootleg? Yeah. Can most people tell? If they want to. Tell me about it. Tell me about the bootleg market.
Starting point is 02:24:57 The bootleg market has existed for a long time. And especially if you're poppin', you're gettin' bootlegs. It's funny, I remember a talk between Virgil had all these activations happening in London. Him and Kim were doin' a talk, and I asked the question, I know you guys both, but Kim, how did you know that Virgil had made it?
Starting point is 02:25:21 He says, when I went to China, saw all the bootlegs. So bootleg is really kind of like, let's you know, you have pierced culture if you're stuff being bootleg. If you're not being bootleg, you're not. It's not hot. It's not hot. It's not hot.
Starting point is 02:25:37 Some people don't know, but people do know, and it's just like, they're bootleg and they're selling for like 40 bucks. 99% of the time the bootleg is way lower quality than the original. And there's no R&D that goes into it. It's just a straight up copy. Exactly. So I got to pay Daniel.
Starting point is 02:25:56 I got to pay my whole team, my time. Got to have the ideas. Got to have the ideas. You got to make it. You got to make samples where the bootlegger just buys your piece. Copies it. Copies it.
Starting point is 02:26:08 It makes it. So that's part of why they could sell it a lot cheaper. And then usually the quality's horrible. That's not a reason why they could sell it cheaper. But it's interesting. Like this era of bootlegging, it's new. Because now people are bootlegging your stuff and creating their own versions, designs, and then they feel the bootlegged feels, well, they take
Starting point is 02:26:33 your IP and they're like, it's my IP now. So there's the thought of that there's no, everything's open, kind of like open source. There's no IP anymore. Yeah, it's interesting. And I'm like, interesting, you know. It's just interesting to think about. Yeah. I had a conversation with James Purse and he started as a grateful dead bootlegger.
Starting point is 02:26:51 Wow, sick. Yeah. Wow. That's amazing. And now he's done collaboration with them, you know, all these years later. That's incredible. Yeah. No, yeah, that's the funny thing about the bootleg. It's like, it's not like
Starting point is 02:27:07 bootlegging liquor back in prohibition days, where it's like, they're bootlegging that because it's illegal. And also the bootleggers are like, they're feeling in the gaps of, okay, I can make a certain amount of jeans. I have a certain amount of money that I pay to get it made. And then once they sell out, they sell out, it might take me three months. Actually it does, like, for me to invest and remake the stuff, if I re-release it, it takes months.
Starting point is 02:27:36 You know, like my sweatsuits, their puff print and their panels. It's not like I could take a blank and put the print on it, it's paneled so that it's seamless and the print looks good and it's paneled. It's not like I could take a blank and put the print on it. It's paneled so that it's seamless and the print looks good and it's not shitty. That takes three months, so two, three months for me to do it.
Starting point is 02:27:52 So people want this stuff. The bootlegger is doing a much, not as good version, but they're getting it out to the people. So maybe the person just doesn't want to wait, plus it's cheaper. they don't care. So that's kind of the bootleg game. But it's interesting now, like people bootlegging and doing it and putting their spin on it.
Starting point is 02:28:17 It's interesting, it's funny. And it's almost like the bootleggers would be mad at you. Like, you're copying us. It's like, I created this, but cool, man. You know, my thing with the bootleggers is like, have fun, but I'm going to keep putting my stuff out. Of course. So it's almost like, and then the choice is up to the customer.
Starting point is 02:28:40 How do you handle fulfillment of sales? Okay, these flannels, there's these flannels that I have made in Japan. They get made, we ship them over on a boat, hopefully, because it's cheaper to ship them on a boat and more environmentally sound, ship them on a boat, then fly them. They get to the port, clear through customs. They don't come to my studio, they go straight to the fulfillment center. Fulfillment center, and then they get packaged there. And then when someone buys it on Demeterres.com, it gets fulfilled from there.
Starting point is 02:29:18 And my one whole cell account, Doberty Market, it gets fulfilled from there too. So that's how that works, yeah. Tell me something you believe now that you didn't believe when you were younger. Mmm. I didn't believe that I'd be like living like so much of my adult life without my mom. I was ignorant and I didn't listen to her and my dad about mortality.
Starting point is 02:29:47 I thought I was gonna have her as long as I had my Nana and my grandma who I just said her birthday was 97. My mom died at 58. So when I was younger I was, you know, I was still a mama's boy and I just thought I was gonna have my mom a lot longer than I did, but we had great times. So, you know, grateful for all the time we did have, but I thought I was gonna have her longer than I did.
Starting point is 02:30:13 To lose that 33 was pretty like, I was like, man. But then, you know what? I think your compassion comes from when you realize there's someone that never knew their mom. And then that's how you circumvent grief. Not that I don't miss my mom, but then I just. Could have been worse. Could have been worse.
Starting point is 02:30:34 Could have been worse, you know. And like my, the union of my mom and dad and our little family, I assume my mom, daddy got shattered. Not shout, like we don't talk to each other, family, I assume my mom died, it got shattered. Not shattered, like we don't talk to each other, but we kind of all went off on our own paths. My little brother, my dad, you know, a dad got reburied. I went, you know, just kind of like tunnel vision would work.
Starting point is 02:30:57 So did my little brother. So I just thought I'd be go visiting my parents down south where they retired to. Yeah. So, which is kind of the same thing. So that's the thing that's different in my adult life that I thought it would be that way when I was a kid. Music

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