I don’t remember when or how it began. I feel like it’s just inherently in me sometimes. Maybe people tried to shove their ideologies on me to the point that I rejected everything. I’ve always been anti everything, maybe even to a detriment. Anything that went “against the grain” I gravitated toward. I listened to rock music, rap music, thought the amerikkkan government was out to keep us under control, hated mainstream shit, skateboarded, ACAB, and drew pentagrams with three 6’s on shit when I got the chance. I was anti everything before I knew what a counter culture was, and what drew my adoration for FTP in the beginning was that it was the embodiment of just that.
Zac, the founder of the brand, started his label in high school. A young kid from L.A. seeing what Kobi (DPI) and Phil (Dertbag) were doing on their own and thought ‘I can do this on my own.’ Kids like Zac and others at the time were tired of what corporate amerikkka had done to the “streetwear” scene. What was once a secret handshake amongst kids who thought alike, quickly turned into an industry filled with men in suits that wanted to exploit youth culture. Like any other small underground niche thing, once people catch on and realize how to make money off it, it becomes over saturated with lames and copycats. Hip-Hop, rock, skateboarding, and now streetwear, all of which derived from rebellion and people tired of the status quo, were things that only those who knew, knew. Slowly and maybe inevitably the world caught on and went mainstream. Zac, along with many of his disciples, were probably tired of the same corny ass shit in malls. Kids that grew up with core skate brands like World Industries or shocking graphics like FUCT and Freshjive were now left craving for something new.
Zac brought back the gritty and FUCK YOU! attitude to streetwear, a lot like what Fucking Awesome did for skateboarding. Things become stale and safe. Both Dill & Clark were taking it back to its roots. Some of my favorite and most provocative of FTP’s graphics are the Columbine collection, terrorist organization hoodie, suicidal thoughts tee, the nun with a gun to her mouth, the Rodney king/ LA riot drop, and some others I can’t remember off top.
Another thing Zac uses to reflect the nature of his brand is the people he chooses for a lookbook. Names like Fredo Santana, Cheif Keif, $uicideboy$, Antwan Dixon, Dennis Rodman, DMX, Da$h & Retch, Ron Jeremey, among others are all personalities that perfectly represent the brand and its values. I appreciate, what I feel like is subtle, pride for his people as well. Having prominent African American faces is something that encourages me to do the same for my people.
While FTP is one of the most notable ones coming up in my generation, their are so many others that go just as hard. Brands like Foulplay, Babylon LA, URLA, Heavens LA, Born x Raised, Precision Plus, Carrots, Fucking Awesome, Paisaboys, Felt, etc. I could go on and still leave out ones that I haven’t even heard of yet. The point is there’s a lane for just about anything you might be into and that’s what’s sick about today. We don’t need middlemen anymore for anything. Whatever you want to do, you can do that shit.
While FTP’s popularity has risen and gained fans but also lost a couple along the way, it has, in my eyes, still managed to keep pushing product with the same message since day 1. I’d be lying if I didn’t miss when it was my little secret too, but it can’t be that way forever. Kids on internet forums will circle jerk each other talking about “FTP isn’t what it use to be” and all this bullshit but Zac has remained consistent and has always done shit according to his and his teams way.
FTP, not even having been 10 years in this shit, fucked up the industry and single handedly left its mark. Shout out to the whole fucking team that made and continue to make this shit happen. Badfriend, URLA, & now Castillo’s Heavens; all brands that started from people working with Zac. Something I’m sure he’s grateful for; to be in the position he’s in now to help this homies out. The same way Keith helped him once.
I’m not sure what type of legal/mental issues you’ve been going through but I hope all that shit get better. Shout the whole team again. Keep doin ya shit. & uHhhh appreciate you showing me love at the DC pop up.
thank you if you read this.