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Border Hopping: Benny Gold

Native San Francisco label Benny Gold didn’t start as an intended apparel brand – instead, it was the result of a series of life events that gradually steered the creative genius to own what is now an internationally distributed brand.

Still and forever a skater at heart, truly humble and straight up down-to-earth; Benny took the time to share a bit of the history of the brand and his views on his success with us – dropping down some sage advice. If you don’t already know, he’s also got an absolutely adorable daughter – you’d have to follow him on instagram to see what we’re talking about (@bennygold).

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You mentioned in an interview that Keith Hufnagel got you to start putting your own line out – why did you pick your own name to represent the line you put out?
The funny thing is, the clothing brand came to be before I even realized it. At the time, there were already a good amount of design projects out there with my name attached to it. Keith said to me, “Why start with a new, unfamiliar name?” So here we are with good old Benny Gold.

Tell us a bit about your relationship with Keith Hufnagel.
He was one of the groomsmen at my wedding! That’s how close we are. Keith is someone who completely changed the way I look at things. I used to be so focused on designing for clients and he taught me about making myself the client. I wouldn’t be where I am now without him. Thanks Keith!

As a graphic designer, how did you learn other facets of the business like manufacturing and operations once you decided to come out on your own?
Designers don’t learn any of that stuff studying art in college or working for other people. I have been picking all that up on the job as we go. There have been a ton of mistakes made along the way, but I’m a firm believer in ‘nothing happens without a reason.’

How big a role would you say photography plays in the running of a brand?
It’s a game-changer. Photography is how you present your brand to the world. The more pro the images are, the more pro you look.

What do you look for when you shoot lookbooks? What’s the process like?
A strong concept is the core to everything. We focus on concept in every aspect from the initial sketches to the finished season’s lookbook.

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What role do you play in the shooting of your lookbooks? Do you shoot them yourself, do you art direct?
Most of our lookbooks have been shot by friends of ours and we’re crazy lucky to be surrounded by tons of creative people all the time. We always look for photographers whose work we respect.

Tell us a bit about how long it took before your brand got picked up to be distributed internationally and what the story leading up to that was like. How did you feel about all this?
Honestly, I don’t remember when international distributors initially reached out to us about bringing the brand to their countries. It just happened and we’ve had solid relationships with them for years now. It’s exciting to see that we’re all growing together.

We often see photos of your really cute daughter Rumi, on instagram – how are you enjoying fatherhood and what are you like as a father?
Fatherhood has been amazing in that it really put into perspective what’s important in my life. It’s obviously challenging to run a business and be a father, but life is about balance. I can’t waste time on stuff like watching skate videos or looking at blogsites anymore and it’s definitely worth it.

Article: Major Drop
Instagram: @majordropofficial

A Close Look at: Reason Clothing

If you love fashion, music, or vintage style clothes, you should get to know “Reason“.

Reason Clothing As a native New York brand, they’re giving us another reason to love our own city. The brand offers T-shirts, caps, knitwear, premium denim, outwear and woven shirts. Every piece of clothing released under the Reason Clothing label is designed, crafted, and inspected to ensure a quality product that can be enjoyed for years to come. Check out this video and know more about Reason.

如果你喜歡時尚,音樂或是復古風格,那你一定要知道 “Reason
“Reason”是一個來自時尚之都紐約的衣服品牌,他們給我們另一個愛自己城市的原因。該品牌提供T恤,帽子,針織衫,外套和襯衫。每一件標籤著Reason的產品,從設計到出貨都經過精心製作。

透過下面Reason主理人的面談影音,你便可以更瞭解Reason

Interview with Reason brand owners/ founders can be seen below:

Shepard Fairey Interview by Gestalten

Continuing to create and express himself in a committed and relentless manner is the Obey creator himself, Shepard Fairey. In this latest interview by Gestalten, we witness why this artist is so outspoken against corporate America and freedom of speech. Not only does this video showcase his stance on important issues but also previews some of his latest works. Whether you love him or hate him, Fairey never ceases to amaze people.

Volcom Welcomes Sion Milosky

One of the newest additions to the Volcom team is Hawaiian big wave charger Sion Milosky. Although Sion has been dominating the underground for years, it wasn’t until recently he’s made a name for himself in big wave riding. Last year, Sion caught arguably the biggest paddle in wave ever as well as demonstrating some outstanding talent at Pipeline and Waimea. To learn more about the man, check out the clip below…

Sion Milosky Biggest Wave Ever Paddled into from abstractlines.tv on Vimeo.


Exclusive Interview with Estevan Oriol

As the Asian Distributor of Upper Playground, Lula Apparel had the privilege to sit down with renowned photographer/director Estevan Oriol, on May 29.

During this revealing interview, Estevan talked about his family, his relationship with Upper Playground, what inspires his art, advice for budding photographers and much more.

Estevan Oriol’s road to success as a renowned photographer and director has been filled with many twists and turns, but his hard work, dedication to his craft and natural artistic gifts has made the colorful journey a huge success.

After working as a nightclub bouncer and beginning as a tour manager for House of Pain and Cypress Hill, his dad gave him an old 35mm Minolta camera so Estevan could document his unique life experiences. And did he ever. In touring for about 13 years, he visited 44 countries and crisscrossed America multiple times. In the process, Estevan took more than 100,000 pictures – covering everything from behind-the-scenes looks at hip-hop concerts to lowriding culture, inner-city life and beautiful women from all cultures.

Although Estevan’s father, Eriberto Oriol, is also a photographer, he never imagined that Estevan would follow in his footsteps. And although they share an artistic eye for capturing glimpses of life in the way most of us don’t see them, they also have their own unique styles. Having a unique style is something that Estevan says is what separates the true artists from the wannabes.

Today, still shooting with black-and-white film, Estevan shoots for a number of publications. His book, L.A. Women, was published last fall, he collaborates with Upper Playground, has his own Joker Brand clothing line with Mister Cartoon, and he has directed about 30 music videos. As a photographer, director, businessman and family man, he sees new opportunities each day … and he can’t imagine ever slowing down.
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LULA: Tell us about your family.
EO: I have a wife and four kids. I drop my kids off at school and then work 10-12 hours per day. Weekends are family time.

LULA: Tell us about how you started with Upper Playground.
EO: Matt Revelli, the CEO, wrote me an e-mail, telling me he was interested in my photography. Upper Playground is like a family, so it’s been cool working with them.

LULA: Do you shoot some of your photography specifically for T-shirt designs?
EO: No, everything is pulled from our archives; if I turn in 20 designs, Matt picks maybe 15.

LULA: How much time have you spent in Asia?
EO: I have been to Beijing and Shanghai, and I’ve visited 13 cities in Japan.

LULA: Why do you think your art appeals to the Asian market?
EO: I have no idea … all I can say is I’m happy and grateful.

LULA: Would you give different advice for Asian youth who want to become streetlife photographers than you would give to American youth with the same desire?
EO: No, because even though cultures might be different, they share lots of the same things. So I say “respect where the art form comes from – you can be influenced by certain things and people, but make it your own.”

LULA: If you go to Taiwan, what would you like to do?
EO: I think it would be cool to do a show with Yone there. We like to shoot the girls from one city and then show those photographs in the next city we go to.

LULA: Do you research your subject matter before a shoot?
EO: No, if you’re really a creative person, you can improvise … and you need to go with the flow.

LULA: Tell us how you learned your art.
EO: My father gave me an old-school Minolta, and when you looked through the viewfinder, there were two needles that needed to match up to get the focus right. That was my photography lesson.

LULA: What have you and your father, Eriberto, collaborated on?
EO: We did a show together a few years ago in Shepherd Fairey’s gallery. We’re doing another next year. Knowing my dad is 68-years-old and still running around taking pictures inspires me.

LULA: What makes you happy?
EO: Getting more work, going places with the family, traveling, my cars and motorcycle, low riding … and just creating more projects.

LULA: What scares you?
EO: Not knowing when my next job is going to be.

LULA: What’s next?
EO: More book projects. Brazil in October … shooting street culture. Keeping our movement alive, creating new products. It’s a hustle.

Read full interview here.

USUGROW Profile by Huck Magazine

For those who are intrigued by his macabre yet elegant Japanese fused writing, Huck Magazine caught up with Usugrow at his latest venture in London. The brief interview touches bases on the artist’s striking illustrations, skateboarding background, and his newest collaboration with VANS. This is some great insight into the artists life that will go great with our Monday coffee. Be sure to stick around for a more detailed interview in the following weeks.

The REBEL8 journey

From the $500 that printed some T-shirts, to the well established street brand that have supporters like Lil Wayne, REBEL8 has come a long way. In the past seven years, with Mike Giant’s art work and Joshy D’s business mind, REBEL8 has a rising popularity that is spreading all over. The commitment, the effort, and the passion make them keep things consistent, but always reaching for something creative and new. Let’s take a look at REBEL8’s journey through Joshy D’s interview with BallerStatus.com- a website that dedicates to covering urban lifestyle like REBEL8, to get a feel of REBEL8’s journey thus far.

Read about the journey HERE!

REBEL8X LIL WAYNE 59Fify Fitted Cap. (REBEL8.com)

Estevan Oriol: Fotografias Unicas Y Todo Lo Que Viene Con Ellas

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Por medio de sus fotografias, este talentoso artista a capturado la esencia real de las calles y llegado a varios logros…..

Desde los 90’s, y en un periodo corto, Estevan Oriol se a convertido en unos de los fotografos mas codiciados de la comunidad Urbana y de Hip-Hop
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En el ’95, Estevan creo su propia linea llamada Joker Brand Clothing. Desde entonces, la marca a sido tan solida como una piedra. A comparacion de otras marcas que han desaparecido atraves de los anos, Joker Brand a madurado, y recibido reconocimiento a nivel mundial. Una decada despues, establece SA Studios Agency, un compania multi-cultural de arte y diseno.
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En el 2006, Estevan unio fuerzas con Upper Playground, una de las marcas lideres y especialistas en lineas de playeras inspiradas por artistas. La linea de Estevan, expresa su fotografia en una forma real y sin censura en playeras de edicion limitada. Ahora en su quinta temporada, la marca continua creciendo rapidamente.
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Hoy, ademas de ser dueno de Joker Brand Clothing y su carrera como fotografo, Estevan dirige videos musicales para grupos. Entonces…hay que contar…fotografias, ropa, peliculas, videos musicales, y fotos para revistas….esto si que es impresionante.

Los dejo con este video de Estevan, parte de la serie de entrevistas de Upper Playground: