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KUSHI CLTHNG. A 360° adventure into streetwear, from build a brand and make graphics to bargain blank tees and make a catalog.
Besides the images, this is a story, and you should read it, not just scroll it down.
. . . . . . 

I've worked on this project almost half of 2013, since february to september.
Initially, it was a branding commission for this client, a guy that was interested
to create a logo for a streetwear brand, no collection, just the logo.

So I made the first scraps, with different fonts.
And mockups (you know I hate them).
Then, I've shown the client a font that probably you have already seen in this gallery, EMBOSSY.
And we decided to use it for the logo, adding also the claim of the brand.
Plus some rubbish stuff done for misc. reasons (alt logos, graphic sketches for the tees,
material for the socials like headers, illustrations etc.) that I've setup as a fast gif reel
to make it more interesting. Tricks.
After all this messy start, I decided to carry on the project beyond the logo.
Because years before, right after the high school diploma (9 years ago, more or less),
I tried to make the same thing.
Few awful graphics, knew nothing about printing so thinking to spend less I did everything with vinyl transfers, opened a VAT just to buy at a stock market a bunch of extra cheap tees, bothered people at stores to put some of them on consignment, and finally surrendered.
So I've taken this chance as the payback to my old fail.

And join forces into this risky business with Alessandro Landucci,
ex client and now full partner in this adventure .
Not exactly a "collection", like the fashion heads say, but something like the first rounds
of a boxe match. You find the logo, the claim, you have a corporate font to use,
and you're totally new to this field, so the ideas don't come out so easily.
The easier, to make a logo tee, with a lot of color variants.
With a japanese quote written in kanji instead the claim.
Then I've started to elaborate the logo into more complex forms.
Done strange experiments with the claim + camo textures
(because camo is the new black, as somebody said).
Or working with the brand name + site name (that doesn't even exist at the time)
trying a first material test with cheap digital print.
I did also a sort of "street promo" making a bunch of stickers and pasting them around
into the streets of Florence. With sponsorship of Tuborg beer.
After the first messy approaches with the brand's graphics (nor me or my partner
in crime were satisfied) I've started to work on more accurate designs.

So I've tried again to work on the claim tee.
Then, I've worked on another typographic one, using the japanese quote "Rust to the blade"
that I've used before on the logo tee (but written in kanji) in a more abstract way.
With this result.
After that, I've started work on another graphic still based on the japan feel of the brand's  name,
playing with an iconized samurai character.
It hasn't ended as main graphic, but as alt.logo in the back of the tshirt between the shoulders.
Finally, it was time to go "material". Bought the garment (blank tees, 3-4 colors variants),
found after many researches into the industrial area of Florence and nearby cities.
Graphic designer and now also bargainer.

My house started to look like a domestic warehouse (and it was just the beginning).
Mockup testing, as usual (hate you from the deep of my heart).
Time to try.

Found a very cheap screenprint factory where the air tastes like death and the building looks
like coming out from a post atomic movie, and I've print some of them.

The first bunch : three graphics, too many colour combinations, strange garment colours (stone washed vintage style, said the bitch that sold me the stock), the cut on the throat was too tight for the standards we figured out, cheap costs but however spent.

It's a hard knock life.
Tried again self-promo-tees-modeling, but it's definetely not my way.
Besides this funny interlude, we did our first bunch of tees.
Then it was time to try making some proposals on clothing stores.
From designer, bargainer, producer to door 2 door seller / representative.
So you need labels.
And prepare them to be attached on the tees.
Ironed, packed, labeled, ready.
After that, we were almost ready. In fact, not.

The time was the end of june, the process to arrive there had been really hard for us (we were and we are still amateurs in this field, trying something in two persons when now who enters the market is often a team, divided into specific roles etc.).
And two things were close : Pitti Uomo, and the summer sales.
The first was/is a hyperfamous fashion event where the most important & trendy & whatever brands shows off their next collections (so, summer, you see autumn/winter, and viceversa).
It takes a week, and everybody got a clothing shop is there (not just Florence, it's an international event, incredibly full of fashionistas, you know?).

So we had no chance to show our stuff, and we went to see what shows the others.

Know your enemy better than your friends,
says someone from a quote I read (whatver).
However, some people started to see and give positive feedback about our "stuff in progress", thanks to the massive posting & sharing of everything we did throught the socials.
Like my friend Leonardo Betti aka Leonardoworx, that is also a very talented visual artist that
We decided to add a new series of graphics in addition to the first ones, still keeping the japan
feel as inspiration, but with more complex composition, not just working on the logotype typeface.
Besides that, we chose another brand for our blank tees, Mantis,
and made a big jump from our previous level of garment and cut.
Things started getting serious.
Original design by Alessandro, choice of the fonts by me.
Not sure about its grammar, anyway.
I'm not so good at photo-manipulated mockups, you should appreciate the effort, however.
Waiting to find a kushi customer that is a real sushi chef and I will give you the real pic.
That would be epic.
This is another design by my Kushi mate Alessandro, by the way.
Starting concept by him, choice of  typos and dots texture by me.
Other black and white experiment "noir" experiments we did to find some new directions.
I've made this other experiment using one of the photos I did at  asamurai armors
exhibition here in a museum in Florence.
Not a screenprinting vector concept like the previous, but for digital printing instead.
This can look strange.
Carrying on my experiments with concepts suitable for digital printing, I did also this gangsta feel
photo-manipulated illustration with two elements of the pop culture,  the hamburger
and the one hundred bucks cash roll.
I felt enough to develope the japanese concepts, other ways were possible.
Alessandro did also this side series with our camo pattern printed on a pocket patch on the tees.
And an extra label to put on the left arm on the edge of the sleeve.
Sold out, less is more.
Alessandro came to me with this idea, to create a snapback.

I'm not a hat persona, worn them at the time of high school on my hip hop period but my head
doesn't fit them right, I looked ugly so I'm not interested into caps, hats, whatever.
But caps are dope elements for the fashion world , I discovered later.
So I did as usual a series of 10-20 mockups that you can see really fast below.
This research pushed us to create an alternative logo.

The official one was too detailed for the machine that makes the 3d embroidery on caps.
So we made it.
And made also the sticker to put on the snapback.
Prototyping time.
And they came out good.
As last concept, I decided to go much more minimal than the previous series,
and merge two elements that I love, bold lettering and sarcastic quotes.
And this is the result.
Printed them on the new tees, plus some of the previous designs like the Bushi and the Squid.
Another friend of mine in the meantime had become a Kushi supporter.

He's No Curves, a very talented tape artist that works often also for the fashion world
with his art performances and tape installations.
The tees.
The snapbacks.
As you see, my still life skills are pretty bad.
The project is finished, and you have seen (read as well, I hope)
how we have developed this thing from A to Z.
I've left Kushi after those months.
Run a brand is much more complicated than work for it,
like I did just the graphics and then it wouldn't be my problem
to take care of the rest. But all the effort haven't been for nothing.
I've learned a lot from it, and now I'm more conscious of
how to move myself into the industry.
One day, maybe, I will be ready to do it again in the most proper way.

And come back stronger like Saitama of Onepunch Man.

Riccardo Sabatini | KUSHI CLTHNG | 2013

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