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14 Jan 2008

Industry News

Good Life

Good Life X Ninja Tune 1

Born out of the land of Degrassi High, Good Life has been fortunate to get itself off the ground with three collaborations that any up and coming designers would give their left arm for. In a scene filled with every imaginable design under the sun used and abused, Good Life promise to stand out from the followers and initiate a new movement among street wear designers with bold, yet meaningful imagery. They have recently even jumped into the realm of gaming with TRAXXPAD™, a portable music studio for the Sony PSP (currently only available in the states). We were fortunate enough to get a few minutes with Thau Weva, Good Life's creator to chew the fat about his future projects and which came first, the brand or the song! Welcome to the GOOD LIFE.

Give us the lowdown on your brand Good Life and where it all started.
GOOD LIFE was birthed out of our concept & design studio called MAKE (manifest-authenticity-knowledge-evolution) back in late 2003. Through MAKE my partner Keithy “KT” Antoine and I where mostly doing design & marketing projects for a variety of clientele with a lot of success but we’d always envisioned one day developing our own line of signature products starting with tees which we both had a love for, and had been having fun designing since ’98. I had used the name GOOD LIFE back in 1999 as a production label for a few parties I was doing around town and felt that it would be the perfect name for the brand as it celebrates life, street culture and the inexhaustible heartbeat of today’s youth. In March of 2004 we released a few designs at the Miami Winter Music conference and we got mad love from our circle of friends and some serious heads in the hip hop and electronic music scene… the brand has been growing steady since.

What was the thinking behind bringing out another streetwear brand to cater to the ever-growing culture, and how will your brand differ to those that are in the market right now?
The creation of GOOD LIFE // GLIFE was but a natural progression for us. Our need to express our ideas with no reservations and to continue practicing our passion fulltime was one of the initial motivating factors and the other was simply that we were somewhat tired of strictly doing work for other organizations and wished to have our own brand of products. There are a lot of other brands out there and we’ve got love for a number of them. At the end of the day we believe that it’s really about what we’re contributing creatively as a brand to push this ever-growing culture and earthwide community forward. It’s about the newness, having a good time and respecting your own heart and vision. We strive on creating not duplicating and I’d like to believe that this is not just manifested throughout our concepts, aesthetics and the attention to detail we bring to our goods but also throughout the GOOD LIFE clientele itself… forward thinking heads who aren’t afraid to step to the plate and who share that same passion for life and all the goodies it has to offer.

The timing on your launch couldn’t be better with the fact that Kanye West has had massive success with his jam “Good Life” however I know for a fact you guys came out with this brand well before the song was released. Do you see this as an extra boost in publicity for you?
HaHaHaHa!!!! It obviously doesn’t hurt. I was at a party a few weeks ago and was introduced to someone as the dude behind GOOD LIFE. As a joke the cat I was being introduced to said “Oh, Like that Kanye track right!!!!”. We had a good laugh. I guess Kanye really has a liking for Montreal, naming his song “Good Life” after us and having dj A-Track by his side…. HaHaHaHa!!!!!!

Your “Get Real or Die Lying” tee seems to be a direct stab at 50 Cent and hip hop culture. Was that your intention with the logo?
Our boy K-Styles came out with the “Get Real or Die Lying” statement and I created the design. We were having fun with the gangster title of Fitty’s first album. GLIFE has nothing to do with drugs and murder like it’s popular connotation may have it. 50 has some ill tracks out and I get down to them when I here them in the club… I like money like any other dude but I’m not gonna die for it, I hope none of my friends wanna die for it and quite frankly I don’t think Fitty would either. I’m sure if you’d ask Fitty about the meaning of the title of his first album he’d get all intellectual on us and say something like “Get Rich… is a metaphorical statement… wealth is really about what you most value and care about in life… and I’m just trying to teach the children that you have to be willing to die for what you believe in.” OK, if Fitty starts talking like this he won’t have a music career in hip hop and we won’t have any gangster beats to rock to. Keep doing your thing homie!

You managed to also collaborate with Ninja Tune with your Good Life x Weapons House tee, which is a pretty dope coup for a new brand. How did that come about and explain to us the meaning behind this exciting venture and what it means to your brand “Good Life”
Ninja Tune is one of my favourite labels out there and it’s an honour to work with them. In the recent years we’ve had the opportunity to work with some of their artists including Mr Scruff, DJ Vadim & Kid Koala doing some killer parties and art shows in both Montreal and NYC. Our friend Six Vicious (sixtoo/weaponshouse/megasoid) came to us with the project a few months ago. We’ve always admired and supported each other’s work and had been discussing on a collaboration for some time now. Six wanted us to design the limited edition tshirt to go with the release of his upcoming LP on Ninja Tune, Jackals & Vipers in Envy of Man. The cool thing is that Ninja Tune had these individually PIN protected download credit cards which would come with each tee enabling anyone who purchases the Jackal tee to download the full album with all the album artwork in hi-res. Not only is this download card / tshirt concept a genius response to the transformation the music industry is overtaking at this very moment but it is also a beautiful contribution to streetwear as music has indisputably always been the most influential common denominator in the game. This collabo has been a lot of fun and totally parallels our desire to push the envelope. We’ve got some dope GOOD LIFE collaborations lined up with both Ninja Tune and Weapons House, which is Six Vicious’ new house of artillery for all his visual art & music projects.

You’ve also been causing a stir with your James Brown tee “Say It Loud” which is personally one of my favourites. There has been a truckload of JB tees floating around for years, yet yours really captures the heart of what James Brown was trying to say in his music and his message to the people. Do you take inspiration from his words?
James Brown is an all round legend, a revolutionary entity whose rhythm, charisma and lyrics earned him the title of “SOUL BROTHA #1” amongst many many others. His whole being is inspiring. He was at the same time both classic and contemporary. Just speaking of him in the past tense seems strange as I feel that although he passed on a year ago, he is still very much alive. What I admire the most is how he was always at the verge of his times in music, culture and society, from funk to the sampling regulations in hip hop to bringing peace & pride to a nation during the 1965 Watts riots. That future-revolutionary energy he harnessed is alive today within street culture & our earthwide community. We proposed the tribute project to our friends at WEFUNK radio last summer. KT and I wanted to capture James Brown’s spirit through this design and his words “Say It loud” seemed to embody more to us then just black pride but rather the essence of what moves us all in the pursuit of change and in the pursuit of our dreams.

One great thing about “Good Life” is that it also caters to the women and you make sure to keep the ladies laced. It’s refreshing to see in a streetwear brand because the reality is a lot of the ladies that are into the scene want the hot tees that guys get to rock but rarely can they find them in their size. How important was it for you guys as a brand to cater to both genders?
The female apparel market is huge but does lack when it comes to premium tees and streetwear. When we originally introduced the line we didn’t have anything for the women and our lady friends were still supporting us and simply resewing the tees to their size and fit. It quickly became quite apparent to us that we needed to supply them as well. Having a woman as a creative partner also helps in the development of our ladies goods. Although the selection of what we currently hold for women is much smaller then what we have for guys, that side of our brand is naturally evolving to meet their unique needs. Being able to lace both genders is fun and we’d like to even do kids stuff one day.

You recently launched your online store. GOOD LIFE can already be found in select stores in Canada, the US, UK and Japan. Why an online store and not a physical shop?
Although we’re a hard to find type brand whose focus is premium distribution we love the endless possibilities the internet arena has to offer. We’ve been getting several requests from kids around the world who would like to get their hands on our goods but can’t so the online shop became the first priority. The physical shop!!!! In due time… I’m still designing it in my head or should I say my dreams.

What does the Good Life entail for you?
Gratitude. It’s a love thing. It’s about expressing a genuine appreciation for what you have regardless of what or how much the next man has. My list includes music, art, travel, knowledge, growth, creativity, authenticity, my wife, my kids, my homies, my fam, getting back on my feet when I fall, walking instead of running, noticing the hidden blessings in each lesson & the hidden lessons in each blessing and the opportunity to practice my passion as a profession.

Where do you want to see your brand in 5 years?

Still getting love from the streets.

14 Jan 2008

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