The nail in the coffin, as they say. Was that a blow to the ‘STASH’ ego as well?
Dude, I gotta admit I got high on my own supply.
I don’t think it was the store in general. I think it was a combination of everything I was doing at once, it was way too much, and I couldn’t control it. Like ‘I’m the man, I’ve got this and I’m doing that and I’m over here!’ When I actually stopped it was ‘Hold up here dude, something’s not right!’ And what wasn’t right was me.
I look back and I can isolate a few things I would change of course, who doesn’t look back. But that was the period of time that was. They are choices that I made. But to my own defence, I think I was still very generous and giving to all those around me. I think a lot of my pain and frustration happened when I realised that all these supposed friends that I had were just that. It’s like being a drug dealer, the minute you don’t have the drugs, your phone doesn’t ring.
Ouch. That’s classic New York isn’t it?
I grew up here, so it’s home to me, I’m biased on that, but it’s funny how people expose themselves. The minute the lights came on it was like they were cockroaches.
You certainly find out who your friends are which was the hardest part for me. It was the realisation of ‘These people don’t give a shit about you dude!’
So how’s your relationship with Nike these days? Your association and all the things that you did together... Many people would say they made you. Do you agree?
I don’t really like that whole thing of ‘They made me!’ They opened me up to a certain audience no doubt, but I think Burton really gave me my biggest break, beyond Philly Blunt. To this day I don’t have it as the front pin on my resume, but my contribution was when we all started making t-shirts, later to be labelled as streetwear, just because they needed to categorise everything. The whole streetwear emergence was to me, very much like the subway movement, it was a New York artform. Philly Blunt was a catalyst to get my name. Then Subwear started, great reception to that, but it was when Burton started working with me that I got a real taste for industry.
This is also before the model of collaboration.
Like I said, I worked with Burton, but I am not a collaborator.
It used to be called freelancing.
Right! It was freelance work, you’re 100 per cent correct. The terminology I think really hinders the essence of a lot of these projects.
The model also means you can only work with someone with a profile. What’s the point of putting a project out if no one knows who the partners are?
That’s a very valid point and I would say that’s why I had such a good run with Nike. We developed relationships and we put product out on a consistent level. It wasn’t ‘You’re popular in this demographic that I’m desperately trying to get at. I’m going to use you!’
I didn’t have that. I had an ongoing relationship for a lot of years and I’m thankful for that.
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