Some brands just know how to give the people what they want.
And Brooklyn We Go Hard hit the nail on the head this year. Bringing us crewneck upon crewneck for us clothing nerds to swoon over, along with a sensational fall/winter collection. This didn't just pop up out of nowhere, though. Co-founder David Obadia has been at this for years, just waiting to perfect his craft and unleash one hell of a brand on the world.
Combining the American love for streetwear and the subcultures involved with them with Parisian values and know-how, Brooklyn We Go Hard has created it's own lane in the game. David gives us the low down on how their past, present and future.
Interview by Nick Grant (@NicholasGrant)
So we all know the phrase "Brooklyn We Go Hard" is from a 2010 Jay-Z song. We also know how you came up with the name, with the connection to the artists in your crew and your connection to Brooklyn, but what in particular made you say "Brooklyn We Go Hard it is!"?
Choosing this name was obvious for us. It perfectly portrayed what we wanted to embody. Indeed, Brooklyn embodies an underground and a mainstream place at the same time. Also, a brand name which alluded to an American label while we are based in Paris could intrigue and make people around us think.
You have said you (and co-founder Nelson Hassan) wanted to start a brand for a long time and then finally did so in 2010. What were the prior hold-ups and what made you finally decide that it was time to get it going?
At this time, Nelson and I thought that the BWGH project had reached maturity. For us, May 2010 was the perfect moment to develop our own label. We had a good energy and felt simply ready to launch this project.
It didn't just start as a clothing label, though. It was an overall brand.
My priority was always to create a clothing label. But I've always wanted to make a label culturally minded that's why I tried to set up a brand, a magazine and a collective of photographers in order to mix all the stuff I like. In May 2010, everything was clear in my mind and it was time to set up this project but honestly there is no time when you are absolutely sure everything is OK.
How has subculture developed in France differently from the US?
To me, Paris and Tokyo have always followed the movement led by New York. Nevertheless, with the development of internet, the gap between those cities is decreasing. Cities like Paris or Tokyo today are a hub for subculture. I think that France has always had its very own way of celebrating subcultures. A lot of very important political matters were initiated by subcultural movements. I would say that France started following the US in the mid-80s when hip-hop started to arrive in France with the first rappers and graffiti artists.
What would you say about the current surge of streetwear brands in Paris? Is it ironic given Paris' history of couture fashion houses that it would also play host to so many streetwear brands?
It is very interesting to see that numerous brands which claim a streetwear legacy come from Paris. Paris is the fashion capital and what I find interesting it is that, for our part, we use this inheritance and the Parisian know-how to create a label different from the others. A label rooted in the French culture.
What was the inspiration of the latest Ourouk collection and lookbook?
Ourouk is the mosaic hometown where it was created 6000 years ago, halfway through the Tigris and Euphrates, in Mesopotamia. The symbol is heavy to carry and it’s very simply that we wanted to pay tribute to this city for the Fall/Winter 2012 collection in which both colors and cultures mix and match. By celebrating mosaic, we defend, at the same time, the multiculturalism that makes Brooklyn a spicy district where cultures coexist.
We've seen an abundance of contrast details on shirting these days, as it seems to be a booming business. How does BWGH stand out from the rest of these brands trying to bank off of this trend?
It is obvious for a newcomer in this industry to make a shirt with an eye catching detail that is rather simple and distinctive. We do not use details to use details. We make it solely when we think that one detail will strengthen the creative identity of the product and that it brings something to the product. On no account we want to trace on pre-established plans. Today we try to develop our own identity and peculiarity with cuttings, fabrics and specific color ranges which bring a really different energy.
Your crewneck sweatshirts have made a huge splash, already collaborating with fellow French brands Maison Kitsune and colette, and most recently with New York brand, Kith NYC. How did you hook up with them in particular and are there any other brands you are looking to get involved with in the near future?
We met Sarah from Colette and Gildas from Kitsuné by a confluence of events. We had already worked with colette since some time and by chance we bumped into Gildas from Kitsuné and for those two meetings it was only about an encounter and a symbiosis of good energy. Ronnie Fieg is just a good New York friend of mine and I'm very happy with how that collab sold out very quick!
We can tell you we are releasing another collaboration with colette soon, with my friend Edison Chen and Clot and finally, one with Club 75 the new brand of Michael Dupouy founder of la MJC and All Gone!