guess jeans event.
guess jeans event.
It was FUCK 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.
beastcoast tour ’19.
WS YOUNGINN x OHGESSY.
I remember looking through Active’s selection like usual. I wasn’t expecting to find anything new. I don’t even like most of the shit they have in malls. As I was walking out though, this navy blue sweatshirt that had Bricks & Wood embroidered on the chest caught my eye. It looked nice, but a lot of mallwear brands make nice little shit that doesn’t mean anything. Still, I wanted to feel the texture of the hoodie to make sure my eyes weren’t lying to me. I had never heard of Bricks & Wood, maybe it was like a Salty Crew, something white kids wear just cause it’s there(they probably got a story I don’t fucking know). When I felt it though I thought ‘what the fuck this shit, this is nice.’ I looked up it’s instagram and found it right away. I couldn’t afford it at the time, but I knew I had to come back. It was around the time the Support Your Homies tee was coming out with URLA, and I already knew wassup with FTP and that whole side of things. It was one of those synchronized moments, that all just clicked. When I got home I decided to DM Kacey, the brand owner, not really expecting a reply or anything. I didn’t have a personal account at the time so I used my brother’s. I don’t remember how long, but probably not long after, he actually did. I didn’t really know what to say other than to show my appreciation, so I decided to say fuck it and be one of those annoying kids that asks to check their shit out. Back then I only had like a couple pics up, nothing interesting really; but Kacey was cool enough to give me some words anyway.
Eventually I bought the sweater and just got to know the brand as a whole. Over the months, I started reading Active interviews where he explained his mission statement and listened to the Sneaker Lab Podcast, that was probably the most recent thing he did. I learned a lot just paying attention to his instagram page. The most important thing that stuck out to me was knowing where he was coming from and how he was trying to uplift his own community.
Kacey Lynch, Bricks & Wood founder, grew up in South Central, specifically The Jungles aka Baldwin Village, a historically Black community. A lot like where I’m from, that can be looked at as beautiful and rich in hispanic culture, also comes with some negativity. Most of the time black and brown communities get portrayed a certain type of way, and while some people concentrate on the negative, I can’t help but see the beauty in it. Places like these, that are looked down upon, have been going through changes with people trying to push the lower income communities out, taking the essence of it, and selling it back for profit. I look up to people like Kacey. Watching him inspires me to help build and support my own. Which is why when I saw that he and some of his friends were having a pop up I knew I had to be there.
When I walked into the building I saw him right away. You couldn’t miss it; his set up was at the entrance. I had relistened to his interview a few times just to see if I’d catch anything different, and wrote down a couple questions. I walked around to check out some of the brands and saw a shirt with Danny from The Shining on it with “REDRUM” in all caps around him. I wasn’t sure if I should ‘cause I was broke and wasn’t tryna spend money. So I decided just to walk over as soon as Kacey was free. I’m not good at meeting people, especially when I’m the one trying to approach you. My handshake was probably off and loud music was playing, so I had to get up close and speak louder than I usually do. I said “I wrote some questions down, cause I knew I’d forget…” to which he kinda laughed.
In his Sneaker Lab interview he mentioned coming up around the last best years of streetwear, so I asked him,
“What brands were you fucking with coming up?”
I don’t remember all of them but he mentioned Blvck Scvle which he interned at, The Hundreds and Stüssy; brands like those.
I talked to him about the difficulty of getting his hands on quality garments when first starting. He didn’t have too much though; he had some of his connections already. I know it can be hard sometimes when wholesalers only wanna deal with licensed businesses. So that’s something I’m gonna try and figure out in the future.
I opened my phone back up to check my questions and asked how he would accommodate for the increase in sales.
Something many brands often face as they grow is having to choose what route to go. Whether to go wholesale and distribute to stores, keep your quantities small and drive up demand (which would probably create a resell market for your product), or whichever other way you can go. Kacey was aware about the possibility of the brand loosing it’s essence along the way as the noise gets louder, but didn’t bother him. He plans to keep telling his story and pushing his statement the same way he does now; he basically said you can’t really control that stuff.
Finally, I asked him about something I saw he had been working on.
“I was planning on bringing some today, but they weren’t ready.”
I’m not sure if he plans on surprising people, so I won’t say; but I hope that works out and is available for people like me to get online. I look forward to that.
My last question was actually, “could I get a picture of you?”
He posed. I focused my camera, and took a couple shots. Again, I gave an awkward handshake and went back to Dumbgood’s “REDRUM” shirt.
I would’ve rather said this in person but, Kacey if you’re reading this, I know there’s been tragedies going on in your community and yet I still see you out here with your head up doing your thing. So thank you for showing us that there’s hope, thank you for showing me love, thank you for putting out fire shit, and I’m looking forward to whatever you do next.