Much like our message boards are deep-rooted in Okayplayer’s history, we’ve also always had a web shop since the very beginning. Few reading this will remember the earliest incarnations of the “Okay Store,” with its D’Angelo “Smack Your Ass, Pull Your Hair” tees, or the Huey from The Boondocks donned Okayplayer Tour 2000 tees. Anyone remember Klangskwad? We’ll give one free shop item (1) of your choice (USA only) to the first person who correctly comments on this post identifying what “Klangskwad” means! Fast forward 15 years and the site, the boards, and the shop are all still thriving.
Last year, we surprised ourselves with the success of The Roots Holiday Sweat(er)shirts. A perfect storm occurred after the design was unexpectedly featured in a Wall Street Journal holiday band-merch round-up. Then Questlove was named Time Magazine‘s “Coolest Person of The Year” which also made mention of the item. The holiday sales event became known in our office as the “sweatshirt tsunami” after Jimmy Fallon wore it on an episode of Saturday Night Live. Our small office did the best we could to keep up with the demand. We wanted everyone who wanted one, to get one.
One year later, we’ve revamped our shop to make it more user-friendly and moved our products to a new fulfillment center. Today, we are thrilled to introduce to you a brand new collection of tees (short and long sleeves), sweatshirts (crewnecks, raglans, and hoodies), custom hats (campers, snapbacks, beanies, pompom, and strapbacks), and a unique selection of vinyl. Even a tank top made it into the collection (hey, it’s still warm in Miami).
Nearly all of the products are very limited in quantity and on sale NOW at shop.okayplayer.com. So have a look around and use code OKPAT15 to take 15% off your order as we close out our 15-year celebration with style. Be sure and check out the behind-the-scenes video from our photo shoot below and read our interview with designer Naghman Chaudry who both designed and produced the collection.
shot & edited by: Allison Swank for Okayplayer TV music by: Lost Midas "Off the Course" via Tru Thought Recordings photography by: Hibbard Nash, hibbardnashphotography.com models: Garvey Alexander, Sasha Schaafe studio location provided by: Leica, twitter.com/leicacraft, Brooklyn NYC
Interview with Designer Naghman Chaudry:
OKP: How did you get your start designing apparel?
NC: I went to F.I.T. for fashion design right after high school. During, I started an internship for a designer who had a small company who I was following at the time named Triple 5 Soul. It was one of the few and earliest streetwear companies but grew to become a significant New York fashion brand. I grew with the company as it became successful and designed full collections for T5S for about 6-7 years.
How would you describe your current philosophy toward apparel design?
I try to keep with classic, timeless silhouettes, updated with subtle contemporary details and I always add a slight street edge as a nod to my 90’s NY influence.
How do you design with the idea of longevity in mind?
I never try to make anything that is ultra-trendy. Having been doing this for quite some time now, I’ve seen trends come and go and I’d like to think I can recognize ones that are fly-by-night. I stick with timeless pieces that guys will wear forever and update them subtly and uniquely.
Tell us about Coat of Arms?
Coat of Arms is a boutique that I opened in 2006 in Lower East Side. Originally I sold hand-picked, iconic 90’s hip-hop vintage items as well as smaller local streetwear brands that friends were starting up. I was working full-time for and designing other brands at the time I had the store, but eventually I went off on my own and began designing and selling a private label brand for the shop. Last year I moved it to Greenpoint, Brooklyn where it stands today. Come by, 674 Manhattan Ave Brooklyn.
What do you think of the state of “streetwear” and is that even a term you endorse?
The term meant a lot more to me when it was a new concept in fashion. It was a rebellious anti-fashion movement that eventually became pretty mainstream. Back then I think “street” wear was an appropriate term because it was from the street. But like all underground movements that have an appeal, the original message eventually got watered down. That said, I still think it’s cool how big it has gotten. And I enjoy the brands that do it right and it’s also been great to see some of the original brands come back.
Advice for anyone looking to get into the apparel game?
I’d say be sure you have a real purpose or passion for doing it, otherwise it’ll show. With everything getting more and more accessible, a lot of people are putting out brands just because they can or because they figured out how to. But that doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Saturation is sometimes a good thing because it drives competition and raises the bar. There is just too much out there at this point that I don’t think anyone needs just another t-shirt or snapback brand. It’s gotta be 10 steps ahead or it’ll get lost in the mix.
Okayplayer Shop 2014 Year-End Collection Credits:
– Designed and Produced by Naghman Chaudry
– Questlove Versace (aka “The Migos“) and “Okay Slayer” graphic design by Bongi
– Art Direction by Dan “Dantana” Petruzzi
– Additional eyeballs by Miguel “Dizmology” Ovalle
– Photography by Hibbard Nash — hibbardnashphotography.com
– Modeling by Garvey Alexander and Sasha Schaafe
– Production Assistant, Anna Stephens
– Photo shoot studio location provided by Leica — twitter.com/leicacraft
– “Fantastic Forever” script by Faust — follow @FaustNewYork
– Pass The Popcorn and Slum Village photos by Mpozi Tolbert
Special thanks to the J Dilla Estate, Estate of Titus “Baatin” P. Glover, T3, RJ at Barak, and Sadki Tolbert. All thanks due to the Legendary Roots Crew.