Interview for breaks magazine
During a recent trip to the states London based magazine Breaks stopped by our office to talk about the brand, design and streetwear. You can read the full interview on Breaks Magazine HERE. Thanks Tom - it was a pleasure!
As I understand it, when the Benny Gold brand started you had the logo and you put it on stickers based on the Stay Gold brand and the mantra behind it and you were sticking them everywhere in the city, while out skating. How did it grow from that to a t-shirt line and what made you think, “Actually maybe there’s a brand here and maybe I should do this”? What was the thought process?
It was just stickers and then I bought a little one-colour screen in my studio apartment and I screened this shit for me and a friend,we went to a party and Barry McGee was there, Twist (graffiti/street artist)? And he told my friend Will, “That shirt’s awesome!” and Will came back and he was like, “You won’t believe who just told me he liked my shirt!”, so I was like, “I gotta make more of these things.”
I went home and screened a couple more, gave them to friends and then a couple years later I met Keith when he opened his store and he told me to put some shirts in the store, and they sold. So he told me to put more shirts in the store and they sold. So that’s when I thought I should take a crack at this thing. It was never a big master plan or anything, it all just fell in place.
How long has it been going for now?
Officially I started in 2007, but it’s really hard to say because I’ve always kind of made stuff. I mean, even in college I was making stickers and shirts — with the Stay Gold and Benny Gold stuff, 2007.
I’ve recently noticed you can now get your entire outfit from Benny Gold. You can get selvedge jeans, socks — last year you could get collab trainers with The Hundreds. How important to you, do you think it is, to offer that full option for customers?
I think for a brand to grow… I think everything has to evolve. Everything changes. I want it to grow and have a life that’s capable. I don’t want me to hold it back with my own ego or whatever you know. Just because I don’t know how to do something, I don’t want to hold it back. I started with stickers because that’s what I knew what to do. Then I figured out how to screen a t-shirt – make a t-shirt – and when I figured out how to make a hat, I made a hat. That’s how it goes.
What percentage of the graphics do you still do now? Is it very hands-on and very involved or is it more removed?
I still sketch a pretty good portion of the whole season and this is the first year that I hired a designer to help me. It’s been interesting, it’s been a learning process for me that — of letting go I’d say.
How difficult is it to let go?
At first it was hard, but now it’s getting easier. The first — the other designer that I hired is amazing and I couldn’t be happier with it.