By Jackson Connor
10:35 AM EST, February 20, 2013
Feb. 23, Factory Underground, 16 Isaac St., Norwalk, (203) 275-8672, factoryundergroundstudio.com
On Feb. 23 three of the tri-state area's most promising young streetwear designers will gather at the Factory Underground in Norwalk for Everythang Wavy, a one day pop-up shop featuring previously unreleased apparel by Dertbag Design, Death Precision Inc., and The Unico 1990, and the first area performance by Florida rapper Robb Bank$. Curated by Dertbag Design owner and Norwalk native Phil Post (you might have seen his clothing on the backs of Odd Future emcees Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt), the event is a rare opportunity for fans to grab a limited edition T-shirt or hoodie from brands that do their business almost exclusively through the Internet.
"I'm trying to make the pop-up who I am in a sense," says Post, who turns 18 the day after the event. "When you come downstairs you're listening to music that I listen to. You're looking at the clothing that I like. You're going to be in the atmosphere that I wanted to create."
While Dertbag Design has enjoyed the most success of any of the brands — thanks in large measure to Post's relationships with a slew of up-and-coming, fashion-savvy rap stars — Everythang Wavy is an opportunity to showcase two other talented, like-minded designers: Bridgeport's Elvin Roman and Edgewater, N.J.'s Jakobi McLemore.
Roman, 22, is the owner of The Unico 1990, an edgier streetwear label influenced by '90s hip-hop culture and Roman's childhood spent on the streets of Puerto Rico.
"Unico is a Spanish word which means the only one," explains Roman. "I was the only one that was kind of ahead of my time…I was the only one that liked fashion, the only one that liked art. I was actually the only one that became a little successful from my family."
Having moved from Puerto Rico to the U.S. when he was 16, Roman met Post last year at Elite Soles, a streetwear boutique on Madison Avenue in Bridgeport, and the two quickly bonded over their shared love of clothing.
"What [The Unico 1990] brings to the table is actually what streetwear is. They're just kids from Bridgeport who really like clothing, and really like the clothing that I grew up on," says Post, who Roman now refers to as a "little big brother." "I feel like they need to get more recognition than they're getting right now, and hopefully from the pop-up shop more people will recognize their brand as it grows."
While Dertbag Design and The Unico 1990 will have special, select items on sale at the event, McLemore's Death Precision Inc. plans to have its entire new line, Death Sport (a play on Polo Sport), available two to three weeks before it drops online. In addition to their own designs, Post, Roman, McLemore and Bank$ have also all collaborated on a T-shirt for the pop-up shop.
"I can't really speak too much on [the collaboration] because it's not really finalized yet," says the 18-year-old McLemore, "but it's definitely a mix between all of our styles. If you're a fan of any of us, or any of our brands, you'll like it."
The designs, though unique to each company, are all stylishly understated and share a certain artistic sensibility. T-shirts, sweatshirts and long sleeve tees are screened with the brand's name across the chest or the arm in various fonts, sometimes accompanied by a photograph of a rapper, or a phrase like Dertbag's "Keep It Gutta" tagline. The result is a type of clothing that exists somewhere between high fashion (a hoodie can go for as much as $100) and sportswear, the projects and the skatepark.
Ultimately, Everythang Wavy is a chance for Post to showcase the work of his friends, watch one of his favorite rappers perform and, perhaps most importantly, breathe life into a part of the country that does not always celebrate hip-hop and skateboard culture.
"The main reason why I did this is because Norwalk — or Connecticut in general, and New York City, too — has been very not turnt up. It's dead," says Post. "I realized last year if you want to make a place poppin' you need to put your best foot forward and do something about it. I feel like I should put on for my city before I put on for somewhere else."
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