CHAPTER 1: The Monogram Tee
From a young age, collecting shoes and understanding sneaker culture was always something I gravitated towards. I loved waking up early to wait in line for Jordan's and Nike SB's. Half of the time I wasn't even buying a pair for myself but rather served as a stand in to buy my brother his 2nd pair - you know, 1 to rock and 1 to stock. We used to break into malls, sit in the cold for 7-8 hours overnight, drive crazy distances and/or call any store within 50 miles, all to find a pair in a size 9 or 9.5. Camping out was such a thrill. It was almost like you had to "earn" them by braving the time, weather and people - a lot different from today where you can wake up at 6:55a and tap a button (thats a discussion for another day). I felt ushered into the sneaker culture through my experiences with my brother and his friends and I appreciate them beyond the collab, color way or silhouette.
I didn't even realize it until later in life but shoes were my first introduction into color theory and recognizing balanced tones and shades. So naturally for the first release of the monogram tee, I turned to some of my favorite sneakers for inspiration. For a long time, the Bred Jordan 1 has been my favorite. Classic, simple, quality and iconic - not much else you look for in a shoe so I had to pay homage. I wanted to do 2 color ways for the 1st drop. One to be a classic, safe option that I knew everyone would rock with and the other a chance to show my color palette and distinction from other homegrown brands. Insert the Green Hemp Nike SB Dunk. Although I never owned a pair myself, I remember them being one of the first gum sole shoes I ever saw. With the colors working together to create this distinctive look and the texture making it pop, I had my 2nd color way.
Embroidering the Monogram was always a must. I wasn't going to settle for a slapped on screen printed logo for the true introduction of the brand. Quality is always a priority. I wanted to create a texture and an element of touch and feel like when you pick up a pair of shoes. But finding the right shirt to take the embroidery was the next headache I had to deal with and the amount of shirts I went through was a bit ridiculous. Combine that with the limitations and restrictions that the pandemic provided and you really need some Tylenol. Of course, no matter how confident you are, theres always a level of nerves and uneasiness that passes through you when you have a giant box of shirts sitting in your living room and all you got is a hope and prayer that they hit. It was my first lesson to never let fear of the unknown prevent you from putting yourself out there and to trust that your aesthetic will be felt by those who understand your why. With drop #1 a success, we are able to do just that.