With a late spring entry just in time for you to pick up some summer tees, Loyal K.N.G. comes with some very unique releases. The themes to their tees this season have underlying stories such as a Superman themed tee, a Monkey KNG with the influence of Planet of the Apes, a Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston anime influenced tee, and more. This is how you do a release the right way. Check out the designs below. Cop some tees at http://store.loyalkng.com
By Nicole Kyser
Unique. One of a kind. Different. How many times have you read a clothing brand’s mission statement and felt this statement was ungenuine? Have you browsed an online boutique and thought “Where is all the exclusive stuff?” With an overload of new clothing brands emerging and the revamping of established clothing brands, trendsetters are looking toward fashion that has a purpose. Not only does one’s clothing have to have a purpose, but it has to speak to the wearer as a piece of art would. Wearable art is fresh and unique. Wearable art is Unkommon Kolor.
The creators: Blue and Jeremy, two artists with a shared vision to come together to create wearable art for “anyone that is cool, but not mainstream.”
Bryan Blue, one half of the Unkommon Kolor mind, started out doing one of one custom artwork with a niche for hand painted sneakers. Furthering this level of art, Blue teamed up with another party to form Unkommon Kolor in the summer of 2008, however this union would soon dissolve. It wasn’t too long before Blue would link up with Jeremy Biggers, a designer with avid experience with painting and photography.
Now with a team that boosts 6 amble members with backgrounds in design, sculpting, styling, and marketing, this Dallas, Texas clothing brand caters to people who “enjoy the essence of art, hip hop, and streetwear culture.”
They aren’t the hype beast kind you would find trying to just cop the latest fashion because they heard it in a song. Not to say anything is wrong with that, but that isn’t what we are in it for,” says Marcus Young, Unkommon Kolor’s marketing/PR representative.
As a team that acknowledges themselves as artists first, releasing seasonal collections is just one aspect of the hustle. Customers have the option of creating their own pieces exclusive to them. Hats, shoes, and other products have been custom painted with iconic figures such as Michael Jordan, Lady Gaga, and Jay Z just to name a few. Not only can customers order custom duds, but they even customize the package in which it comes. Biggers, along with team member Sam Lowry, has gained the brand quite the respect with custom sculptures, hand painted hats, and speed paintings.
Noticeably this is what separates this brand from others and makes them truly unique. As artists with different perspectives and passions, the ideal behind each concept is so uncommon, setting them apart from other brands; hence the name. With the number of clothing brands emerging rapidly, the Unkommon Kolor team are fully aware that the competition is out there.
“Every week you turn around it seems like another group of people are trying to start up a brand. For us, it keeps us on our toes. We have to make sure we don’t become complacent and that whatever we are doing sets us apart from everyone else.”
Offering tees and hoodies for men and women, the collections ranged from collegiate inspired crewnecks to tribal feathered tees with more emphasis on imagery instead of words.
Next up for Unkommon Kolor is to keep up their reputation of quality, design, and production while allowing their designs to reach a greater audience. With several great things coming in the near future, the team plans to take their brand to the next level. Maybe collaborations with artists Kanye West or Kid Cudi? The future of Unkommon Kolor is definitely from infinite and beyond. Unkommon Kolor can be seen at www.theunko.com, boutiques Shogun Boutique and Centre in the Fort Worth/Dallas area, and also at Traffic Boutique in New Orleans.
By Nicole Kyser
Loyal K.N.G. is a clothing brand that stands for being supportive of knowledge and bringing things they love and recreate from culture in a refreshing way. K.N.G ., an acronym which means “knowledge never goes,” a very true declaration, serves as the foundation for the Texas brand which was founded in 2009 by Truong Vuong. Vuong, an unsure college student with a keen interest in “doodling,” put down the biology textbooks and pulled out the stretch pad. Almost 2 years in, Loyal K.N.G. has rapidly grown since Vuong sat in lecture halls buzzing with creative flow. Now from one man to a whole crew with daily objectives, the days at the Loyal K.N.G. office are filled with design meetings, marketing. and networking.
It’s mind-boggling to think that just 2 years ago Vuong was taking steps to turn in his pencil and pad for a stethoscope and white jacket. Dr Vuong? If it were up to his parents, this would be.
“I had parents who pushed me into the medical field, because at the time that’s all they saw that someone could make a good living off of.
“At the time I entered college I didn’t have the slightest clue what I wanted to do with my life and my parents wanted me to enter this career”
Moving forward with this career path, Vuong set out to succeed at being the best student. This was not an issue; the most challenging aspect of college life was the lectures. Being bored and forced to listen to repetitive lectures, Vuong began to use this down time to doodle.
“It brought about a strange sense of [creative] flow for me.”
Once this “doodling” became more interesting than his biology courses, Vuong began to question the direction in which his life was headed. Somewhere between his desire to explore his individuality and art interest, he decided to create a brand that encompassed his individuality.
Since then, the brand has surpassed these classroom doodles and is now home to the Loyal K.N.G. crew. With siblings Thien and Tin, as well as a growing number of crew members, the brand has expanded to offer merchandise such as t-shirts, hoods, and sweatshirts with inspiration from everyday things—music, cartoons, and movies. With these elements as well as culture and design, each collection is produced to be unique and fresh for men and women.
“I am super happy of the team of family and friends that we currently have. A lot of passionate, driven, and artistic minds help grow the brand. Each of the members of our crew has unique talents that add a different aspect and dimension to the brand.”
Growing the brand is exactly what Loyal K.N.G. has managed to do. With over, 45,000 twitter followers, social networking has been a huge factor in the spread of the brand. Using its website as a blogging platform to communicate new products, the crew connects with its audience by posting art, music, community events, and video series.
Now preparing to release their Spring/Summer 2011 collection, the crew has plans to drop something better than ever before by still capturing the essence of its culture: iconic graphics with a twist, eye catching colors, and the almighty Loyal K.N.G. logo, the Atama.
With loyal art enthusiasts behind them, it is safe to say the Loyal K.N.G. crew has surpassed its classroom doodles.
Article by Nicole Kyser
From London skies to the Big Apple, the founders of Love Brigade landed in Williamsburg Brooklyn set to take on the fashion scene. Growing with experience and embracing the times, this year the brand is undergoing a massive restructuring to retain the essence of its name and culture.
Starting out in 2005, owner and senior designer Alyssa Key envisioned a brand that would speak to “fashion rebels” with a keen understanding of art and music. Alongside Jaime Rockaway, co-founder of Love Brigade the office moved to NYC in hopes of introducing the U.S to a brand that “represented the overall thinking of the modern day thinker”. Strapped with their mission and story of being the near future, the new culture and declaring “we are one”, Key and Rockaway opted to create quality, fashion forward pieces with rocker flare at a reasonable price. Specializing in clothing for men and women and accessories, the London company has taken on a unisex approach with edgy, original graphics that could appeal to both men and women. Drawing inspiration from both fashion and music, each collection produced represents these elements in which a story is made for each design. Now working on their next 9 collections, the Love Brigade design team describes these collections as the “9 stages of the relationship between two soulmates”. The collections will reflect designs that channel a relationship from original union to separation to heartbreak, forgiveness and empowerment.
While staying busy designing for these 9 collections, Love Brigade is in the process of re-organizing their network to the control how their product is being handled. Cutting off the entire wholesale network (including the U.S, Japan, Europe, Canada and the online shops) in an effort to take over completely how Love Brigade is showcased, the brand is on a quest to keep its integrity.
“It was ballsy of us to do, but we simply had to, we were compromising the integrity of the brand. We do things best ourselves and we have some basic ground rules we’re putting into motion for anyone we approve to carry our line”, Key stated.
They have recently decided to sell the current line to a few select boutiques in the U.S.
In the meantime, the team is operating their Williamsburg, Brooklyn retail location, online store and subdivision Love Brigade Music Merchandising (LBMM). LBMM offers services of styling and merchandising design to musicians. They are also preparing to attack their target market directly via internet, parties and events.
Check out a cool brand from the Left Coast, CLSC (Classic), that combines street and a competitive mind state to bring you some great first collection. Greatly priced, they obviously know what it takes to keep their consumers happy. Read more below:
“CLSC (Classic) is a Southern California based brand started in September 2009 by two young men pursuing a dream. The dream of building a company that created its own old school, clean cut, innovative style of clothing. The clash of our separate backgrounds created a classic combination of street art and competitive ambition. Growing up in California we were surrounded by a variety of cultures and rich history. Whether it was hiking miles to find the perfect wall or sprinting down court to hit the game winning shot, we were able to learn from and respect all different walks of life. Humans are naturally drawn to routines and their comfort zones. To be successful, you can’t live scared of change. CLSC is a melting pot of staying forever young, perfecting your craft, and encouraging the pursuit of happiness. We will continue to pound where there is pavement, seize when there is a moment, and battle when there is a giant. Classic’s never die… Perfect your craft.” Check them out on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CLSCLIFE
“Clsc is going up against giants on the daily. Fortunately, we carry slingshots”
“ Pain is temporary, so are bad days. Live for tomorrow. Clsc.”
Inspiration no longer needs to come from fortune cookies, the Bible or billboards. Striving to be the best no longer needs to go unnoticed. Inspiration and the strive for excellence can come in the form of the classic T-shirt.
Founded in Atlanta in 2009, Honor Roll Clothing Group was created to appeal to those who took that extra step in life. The inspiration for the line came from Blair Caffey’s educational career. He never made the honor roll as a child and as he grew older he became frustrated with finding a clothing brand that represented him as an individual. Along with co-owner Darnell Shepard, the vision was established to bring a different kind of flavor to urban street wear culture.
Caffey then drew from his own life experiences and of those around him to create wearable art. Lacking a fashion or art background, he combined his California roots and Atlanta influence to deliver a lifestyle to share with aspiring honor roll achievers.
With an underlying mission to give others a reason to strive to be the best at life, HRCG appeals to a broad audience. HRCG wants to appeal to people of all walks of life, taking their inspiration from the emotions and the good and the bad that everyone goes through. They smacked that right into their mission statement.
Being established in an emerging city, HRCG takes advantage of Atlanta’s growing fashion scene and media influence.
“There are a lot of street wear influences here and a lot of people migrating here for college. Therefore, there is a lot of individuality and influence,” Caffey stated.
Because of the high school and collegiate influence on Atlanta, the clothes are designed with people ages 17-25 in mind. To appeal to such a diverse group, the designers keep their fashions organic. Organic in the sense of being original, creating longevity is more important to the brand, said Caffey.
Inspirational words or phrases are on every design. Some of the brands most popular are “Breathing with a Purpose” or 9 to 5’s For Those Afraid to Fly.” The designs help encourage those to pursue their dreams.
Recently, the designers just unleashed their first crewneck sweatshirt, “Pardon my Excellence.” And, in for the upcoming spring, the pair hope to bring expand their product assortment including T-shirts for the female consumer.
“It is my duty to give back to the consumer because just living for yourself gives you so much more to live for; we inspire to inspire,” Caffey stated.
HRCG isn’t his full-time gig. While Caffey works his day job as a personal banker, he derives a lot of inspiration from his work environment. During this time, his mind is able to wander freely and is also generating new, creative ideas. When he isn’t creating during his office down time, Caffey takes a different approach.
“I spend hours listening to music, a lot of concepts originate here. There is a strong marriage between fashion and music. Street wear is definitely influenced by music,” said Caffey.
On a path to success, Caffey hopes to keep building the brand and continue to find new ways to network. With recent publicity and opportunity to work with twin eyewear designers, Coco and Breezy and R&B artist Sammie, HRCG is humbled by the experience. Humbled, but consistently working to get their products out to the world.
“It’s the satisfaction from helping others that’s gonna count in the long run.”
Follwo Honor Roll Clothing Group on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Honorrollcg
“Breaking Locks on Open Doors – Boundaries Are Through Habit”. Bloodbath Clothing lives and breathes this self proclaimed acronym and mission. Founded in 2008 in Los Angeles, CA after a simple clothing label was misread at a KRS One concert, Bloodbath was created to reach an audience that was “against the grain, but had a clear understanding of details and the hidden values of subtlety”. Generally targeted towards the younger generations transitioning into their post college lives, this clothing brand provides a functional quality allowing consumers to wear Bloodbath Clothing anywhere! Today Bloodbath has evolved into a clothing brand known for its unique appeal and clean designs, carrying men’s screen tees, hoodies, woven tops, sunglasses, scarves and hats. With an astounding online following, distinctive cut and sew designs, Bloodbath Clothing is a force to be reckoned with.
The brain child of two unique young women, Pistol Etiquette is a street savvy women’s clothing line for the sharp minded go getter. Not your everyday traditional women’s product line, PE is edgy and bold mixed with an obvious amount of humor both creators share. PE is creating its own lane in a highly saturated male street wear industry. So let’s meet Brass and Jazzi.
You are two multi talented women, how did you pull together to do a clothing line?
BRASS: Thank you. We met randomly at a Christmas party. Shout out to JBC! [laughs] Then from there we found out we had common interests in fashion. Fast forward a month later, Pistol Etiquette was born.
This is the life.
Meet Gina Mae and Milena, the dynamic duo of Luv Sicc, an LA based contemporary women’s apparel company with a quest to introduce high fashion to timeless street style. Providing quality hometown threads for consumers between the ages of 14-35, Luv Sicc aims to deliver versatile cut and sewn t-shirts with a “mixture of sophistication and elegance with an unfrilly and outspoken fashion.” No matter the age, “if you like, it roc it, and if you don’t, they really don’t give an f***”. Their motto: “We’ll make you LOVE it”.
These women are BAD…however with that comes a BUSY schedule. We were important enough to be penciled in for an exclusive interview with the dynamic slash duo (founders, owners, creators, and directors).
Now meet the ladies, learn the business, and love the BRAND.
Founded in 2007 by Brandon Jones and Mike McBride, Art and Life Clothing is for the individual that desires something new, edgy, and distinct. Mixing southern grown style and urban art, Art and Life Clothing is fresh. A level of fresh that exudes a lifestyle of quality, fashion, and intense attitude. A level of fresh that embraces culture, art, and most importantly life. With stakes in both men and women’s clothing, Art and Life Clothing delivers t-shirts, jackets, tops, and dresses: Atlanta’s fresh kept secret. Just a few weeks after the brand’s official Fall collection launch party, CEO Brandon Jones adjusts his busy schedule to discuss staying independent, Atlanta stylist Olori Swank, and gearing up for Spring.
JENESIS: B Jones, it is a pleasure to sit down with you as you have been pretty busy with the launch of the Fall collection. If you could, please tell us where Art and Life Clothing originated.
B Jones: Having a clothing line was something I wanted to do for a long time but I never had the know-how to execute it properly. My brother Christopher actually thought of the name Art of Life and we loved it because of all of the potential ideas, and one day Mike and I went to the Candleler Road Flea Market to get some blank tees for printing and we [saw] the worst hoodie ever that dawned the name Art of Life, so we wanted a similar name to what we initially thought of so we figured that we could sub the “of” for “and” and still stay on course.