Originality VS Ownership
Around march this year I found the brand in the middle of an internet comment war between what looked like an army of SKULLS fans calling out a european brand for “copying” my style, or the Skulls hats look. The comments were not in any way forced by me, or anything like that. I have been avoiding scandals for a couple years in my career as I have seen how easy you can live by not entering in stupid internet dramas and such. I commented after who knows how many messages stating that its all love for small brands to do things, and even if things look similar, I wouldn´t care less. Comments stopped there for some reason. Even with people attacking what I do, the brand, I never answered. It would have been stupid. I do what I do for people who like it. Whoever don´t like what I spend my time in, or what I do, their problem.
From that incident I learned how easy is to be in the middle of a scandal when you doing things, and how easy is for people to always think somebody is acting maliciously against somebody else. Well, it is NOT the case with anything that can come out from the Skulls camp.
And let´s go to today´s point: Im an avid user of Instagram (ivanskulls). Not only to check models new pics, not only to check what people out there is eating or how dogs do their thing, also to be in touch with fans and friends all over the world. I dont usually follow brands to avoid seeing too much, and being easily influenced by what others are doing.
Let me get to my point: Last friday I was having breakfast at my fave place, had my usual soy latte and a bagel and was writing this paper on leadership. I get distracted easily, and begun thinking on how to do something different with a few hats I had left from the Collection 6.5 aka “Red Bottoms”. I remembered that 3 months ago I had customized my Freshjive pants with bleach first as an accident because I was cleaning the toilet and then I went all crazy and had the whole pants sprayed. The look was amazing. I posted a pic on Instagram and ey, people liked it, so I did too, thats why Im still rocking those pants today.
After that breakfast went home and played with this bleach spray I have and sprayed a couple hats carefully to recreate the pants look I did months ago. The look was amazing. Took some hats and repeated the process over and over for two days and shot polaroids as they were done. Instagramed the first units and the response was amazing, you asked for it, and I did more.
One by one hats got customized, handtagged with the day, the time and the photo as they were done, and shipped to you. Fucking loved interacting with my own hats and transforming them into something else, something visually striking. I even did the process with my “Lilas” 5 panels from the first “Red Bottoms” and with the “Banana”, with, personally, amazing results.
Then, today got some messages, accusing the idea as a “rip off” of another New York brand, who did a very similar thing in the close past. And they are completely right, because they did. Then is when we have to go back to thinking that I deliberately copied them, and made his idea mine. Weird.
Thinking somebody did anything just to do the very same thing somebody else did, to me, its a waste of time. I respect independent brands, their processes and ideas, but its quite stupid to think somebody owns the influences we all grew up with. Can we imagine Ralph Lauren suing the 9000 brands taking the iconic designs from the 90′s as inspiration because they are rip-offs?
Lets take the Ralph lauren influence on street culture. I did a hat in 2007 with the “1977″ and the colors of the “Polo Stadium” jacket following a T-Shirt collaboration with Digital Gravel, and then I see some brand doing the same idea now…. should I call them rip-offs? Would be retarded.
The Worldwide 5 panels I did in 2007. Yes, wait, 2007.
The conclusion of this story is:
Be happy, focus on your thing and if for some reason somebody does something similar, or even too similar to what you did, accept it, because not me, you or the aliens own anything, and not the whole “streetwear” world is trying to copy you.
Most definitely you are copying somebody else, and you might not even realize it.