Everyone sees what is public. Every one sees what is meant to be seen, what has budgets propelling the work into some sphere of social consciousness in whatever stream or vertical it may exist in.
I often feel my greatest shit is the stuff that never sees the light. The concepts that hit me at 4 am that were totally left of what the prior history of what one assumed a brand, or a concept or whatever should or could be presented.
I don't see things for what they are - I see them for what I can be.
Sometimes, the results are magic. The paradigms get shifted, the lens refocused, and cultures converged. Sometimes, months of wildly detailed, highly nuanced and conscious narrative are just not understood.
If I had a fucking dollar for every time I crafted something that a client responded to with a sentence akin to "just copy my competitor." I'd be Bezos and Zuckerberg's boss.
Here's the shit no one ever saw that I fucking love. If nothing more, I just wanted to share what came from the soul.
FIOR- The Death By Designer.
Fior is fuckin dope. She's super talented, and her mother, Michelle Berk, is legit one of my favorite humans ever. When I was approached to Creative Direct her debut project and I went down a wild rabbit hole. This project could not be run of the mill bubblegum pop shit. Given her story, her mother's story, her level of talent and the current state of packaged and processed Top 40 twin shit, I wanted to disrupt the fuck out of the entire landscape. Her debut single "Let Me Go" was a brooding ballad with sweeping minor chords, but I also heard all the shit that was in the tank to come, and knew positioning her presentation in this hyper surreal, upside down dollhouse world was not only authentic, but a slap of raw surrealism, and I'm aware those two terms typically juxtapose.
Also, with a name like Fior and a wild history in relevance to her mother's relationship with luxury and couture, I had to almost imbed that mood in her DNA.
Here are my original notes from the rabbit hole.
From the shoot in Brooklyn.
Fior, with a dramatic look by the brilliant and wonderfully sweet and talented Georgina Billington. I told her she was my favorite Aussie since Steve Erwin got iced by the stingray. Her visionary work has graced everything from Vogue to Harper's Bazaar to Grace Vanderwall and PFW. Styled by the homie Bruce Estevez, (Paper Mag, too many fashgods to mention) who's dedication to the history of fashion is inspiring and I still have the OG flip phones you bought on set for the dash of 90's. Holler at me bro.
My scribbling ranting of a lunatic led to this. All roads lead to Rome when you don't believe in road blocks.
The Liverpool New Balance jawns are undefeated. RIP Virgil.
SNOW- No Colonizers Brand
Hiphop artist SNOW and I were inseparable for over a year. Both New Haven troubled youths, we bonded over Saki and a secret love for 80's dream pop around Christmas of 2021 and spent most days and nights of 2022 together. She blew up with the Young MA featured single "Yank Riddem" several years prior, and was one of the first MCs to ink a major deal. I loved her eclectic and wholly artisticly driven spirit. When I was offered the oppurtunity to co-host Def Jam's NBA All Star Weekend in Cleveland, I took her along. We tag teamed the Barstool Radio interview with crude one liner after crude liner.
When we discussed her concept for merch being way more elevated and purposeful than typical fuckin tour shirts, she was adamant as a Jamaican that it embodied the spirit of rebellion and rightousness.
Enter "No Colonizers."
She just said it in my unregistered 3 Series driving back from a wild ass hood adventure in Bridgeport. It hit me in the heart. As a Sicilian-American, I felt it deeply. My own ancestors island was colonized, brutalized, and then villainized. I loved the spirit of Jamacia. I wore a fuckin Reggae Boyz kit for half of 1998 when they qualified for the World Cup. Years later I was blessed enough to make frinds and business partners with soccer icon and former Reggae Boyz captain Robbie Earle.
I wanted to nod to the spirit of both Vivienne Westwood, punk energy on luxury fabrics, and use the line as a wearable narrative that was a huge fuck you to any colonizer of the voiceless marginalized. We started with the British witch Thatcher for season one. Sadly, it never dropped.
Russ x NYCFC
I partnered up with two English soccer legends in early 2022 in Robin Shelley and Robbie Earle, joining their agency BoxToBox Sports in a CD capacity on projects,
First of all, as a huge lover of the sport and culture of global football, even getting to know the legend of the sport Robbie Earle was a fucking honor. I've watched him on every Premier League broadcast for years, and like I mentioned in the Snow previous post, I fuckin loved the Reggae Boyz national side at World Cup 98 and had his number 15 kit. Life is ironic, on God.
So, Shelly and Earle kinda turned me loose to pursue any creative activation concept, so after noticing the MC Russ turning up after NYCFC won the MLS Cup on the homies The Cooligans page. I DM-ed Cooligans co-host Alexis Gurreros and was like "Yo is that Russ wildin for NYCFC?!" and he confirmed it.
Robin Shelly has probably the most impressive contact roladex out of anyone I know across the globe so of course he was in with MLS and the club NYCFC.
With pop and urban culture's new found love for soccer, I saw this an opportunity to converge cultures. See below, its still aa work in progress.
LAWSON- Creative Direction (Album)
One of the most talented new trap soul artists in the last few years, Kieth Lawson came across my plate at the top of 2023. I loved his sound, and more importantly sought to craft a very almost high street avant-garde aesthetic for his sound that was somewhere between 6lack and Roddy Rich.
Here are the first two single covers that have yet to be released. Fuckin major labels man.
The Graduate Hotel Franchise - Brunch Series
Anyone who knows me from New Haven knows I spend alot of time working at the vintage architectural masterpiece that is The Graduate Hotel. If Wes Anderson was an Ivy League interior designer in the 30's- he would have created The Graduate.