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KUSHI CLTHNG. A new updated layout, enlarged and heavily-gif-injected for my 360° adventure into streetwear. NOTE: volume ON, and since it's damn… Read More
KUSHI CLTHNG. A new updated layout, enlarged and heavily-gif-injected for my 360° adventure into streetwear. NOTE: volume ON, and since it's damn long, give it the time to load (15-20 seconds before scroll). Thanks. Read Less

Besides the images, this is a story, and you should read it, not just scroll it down. Thanks.
And sorry in advance for my very poor english.

You also know that personally I hate silence and tell a story with music makes it a better story.

Or just click pause. Cheers. Let's go.

I've worked on this project in 2013, almost half a year, since february to september. At first, 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 in 2004, 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 (and then cried over taxes), bothered people at stores to put some of them on consignment, and finally surrendered.
So I took the chance as a payback to my old fail.

And joined forces with my client, becoming partners in that risky adventure.
Not exactly a fashion collection, just a bunch of initial shy approaches. Ideas hadn't come out so easily at first. So I took the easiest way to start making 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.
Tried some experiments with the claim + camo textures (because camo is the new black, as someone said).
A first material test with a cheap digital print. Actually, kushiclothing.com didn't even exist at the time.
I made a bunch of stickers and pasted them around the streets of Florence.
With the unwitting sponsorship of Tuborg beer.
After the first messy approaches with the brand's graphics (nor me or my partner were satisfied) I've started to work on more accurate designs. So I've tried again to work on the claim lettering.
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.
Kushi is a japan word, so I started working on that element too. And played with the iconic figure of a swordsman (i'm not here to explain th e differences between a samurai and a ronin) making these sorts of coat of arms like it was a sports team.
It hadn't ended as main graphic, but as alternative logo to put 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 buyer, bargainer, and store manager. My house started to look like a domestic warehouse (and it was just the beginning).
Time to try. Found a very cheap screenprint factory where the air smelled like death and the building looked like coming out from a post atomic movie, and I printed the first bunch of Kushi tees ever.
Finally, habemus prints! The first bunch: three graphics, too many colour combinations, strange garment colours (stone washed vintage style is the new black, said the bitch that sold me the stock), the cut on the throat was too tight once we realized it, sleeves too long, prices were cheap but however they took off money from our small bank.
Tried again self-promo-tees-modeling, but it's definetely not my way.
Besides that funny interlude, we did our first bunch of tees. Then it was time to propose them to the clothing stores. So from designer, bargainer, producer I become also door-to-door seller and representative. And we needed also labels, plastic bags to put the tees, that should be ironed before. I felt like a one man chinese manifacture.
After that, we were almost ready. In fact, not.

The time was the end of june, the path to arrive there had been really hard for us (now 99% of who enters the market is a team, divided into specific roles, we were two fuckin virgins in front of Jenna Haze). Stores said to us "time for show stuff is spring, you arrived one month before the sales, morons!" And that was true.

With no chances to show and sell our stuff, we went to see what shows the others.

At Pitti Uomo, an international super famous fashion event where the most important & trendy & whatever brands of the world shows off their next collections (so, summer, you see autumn/winter, and viceversa). It lasts five days, and everybody whom is into fashion, clothing and debauchery is there. 

Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. (Sun Tzu - The Art of War)
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.
This time I did the designs in collab with Alessandro, my partner. He designed the first draft and then I worked on choosing on fonts, colors and details.
Best mockup I ever did.
I'm not so good at photo-manipulated mockups, but it's the idea that's important, someone said. The best would have been to find a real sushi chef and make him wear the tee for real. That would have been epic.
Other proposals by Alessandro with a bit of type direction by me, keeping the asian feel we were developing at that point.
I've made this other experiment using one of the photos I did at a samurai armors exhibition here in a museum in Florence.
Total change of direction, this time 100% by me. At Pitti we saw a lot of photo illustrations on tees, so I decided to try design one besides that samurai joke. So I played a bit with some elements of pop culture, the hamburger and the cash roll. I got enough of developing other japanese concepts, other ways were possible.
Even if this is not gonna be produced, I'm gonna print it anyway for me. I love it.
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 high school during my hip hop phase but my head doesn't fit them right, I looked ugly as fuck so I'm not interested into caps, hats, whatever. But caps are dope elements for the fashion world, it seems, as 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.
By the way, the two morons on the bottom right corner are me and my custody agent.
As last concept, I decided to go much more minimal than the previous series, and merge two elements that I love, classic bold letterings and sarcastic quotes. And this is the result.
We printed these last ones, plus some of the previous designs like the Bushi and the Squid.
in the meantime one of my contacts had become a Kushi supporter and a sort of testimonial. He's No Curves, a very talented tape artist that works often also for the fashion world with his art performances and tape installations.
First of all...


The project is finished, and you have seen (read as well, I hope)
how we have developed this thing from A to Z.
I left Kushi in 2013, not long after that summer.
Start and run a brand is much more complicated than work for it. You can't just do your duty and then switch it to the next in line to take care of. You have to manage a lot of things, and take care of everything. It could happen that you lack experience and skills. Or that you missed the right timing or the right contacts. Or that your stuff wasn't what the market wanted. For these and other reasons I decided to admit my errors and quit this adventure.
But all the effort was not 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.
Hope you liked it, cheers!