I can remember a time where brands and cultures didn't really merge or transition into each other, it did take place sometimes, but there was still somewhat of a divide. A lot of skate brands were for a crowd and other brands like Ecko, Enyce and Karl Kani etc were for another, you rarely saw a mix.
I've seen a lot of change in the last 15+ years, from making flyers for bands, clothing for Grime artists in the early 2000's and many more ventures. I have especcially noticed that almost everyone has dipped into the clothing game and it is no longer compartmentalized. It has brought us together and all these styles, trends and looks are often overlooked and rarely spoken about.
I can remember seeing Lil Waye wearing a Misfits t-shirt and thinking to myself "things are changing, this is great." Cultures were combining and all through "clothing". I have had friends now for over 20 years, and our friendships started over something as simple as a shirt graphic in the 1990's, and still to this day I am forming friendships the same way. Growing up we bought into brands that we could be a part of, seeing someone across the street wearing the same shirt brand as yourself was an awesome feeling, it was like a secret handshake or a badge of honuor.
Certain brands that were cool for us to wear when we were younger were cool because they were "uncool", now they sell out in seconds, with people from every background, race and culture. There was a time when the word "streetwear" wasn't even a title, so to hear people like Virgil saying "it's dead.", or saying it's about queuing and fighting store employees just shows that you were never a part of this, and more importantly, saying and hinting that people should not be a part of something together, indicates that people should not form community with one another. For communities do make a difference and people need one another despite differences.
It's back to spreading messages and raising issues and money through my work as usual, as I have always done and how I will continue (if you are unsure of this, then do your research). I applaud the monies being released to various charities and organisations over the years as good deeds not for self-gratification or trend. I urge other brands not to do this solely for financial gain, but to take the so called "trendy" issues seriously and to do the same. If you are just in this for the money then I will not take you seriously. It's all very well making a "Fuck the police" or "End Racism" shirt now but I do hope that energy continues, and for communities, no matter where or who, to unite our respect for one another and not merely for financial/capital gain or brand awareness.
I learnt about people, cultures, race, film, music, politics and many other things all through shirt graphics growing up, it was probably my biggest influence and source of information. These current issues we are facing have always been there and I have always expressed them, I urge you to do the same through whatever platform you choose, because shit has got way to safe and soft and I'm tired of seeing hearts, butterflies, stars and words like transmission, psychic, fortune, cosmic, energy etc on shirts. I'm not quite sure what I am trying to say in all this, writing has never been my strongest point, hence why views etc are always printed on shirts, but I guess I am trying to say that we all have a responsibility and that we should all be looking at the bigger picture and more importantly tomorrow.
Lets not forget that many have died due to ignorance, stupidity, and lets realise that even something as simple as a t-shirt can bring people of all races, cultures, backgrounds together, without provoking dissent, animosity, hatred, violence etc. Let us take a break off social media, talk and share with our friends and family during this time, whatever their ethnicity. Memories, experiences, scenarios, outcomes, projects, whatever.
At the end of the day I'm just a 33 year old who enjoys motorcross, music, film, comics, Arsenal and a good beer and punch up, but one thing I do know is that the world needs some love, unity and less ignorance and more harmony.