Lo and behold, Champion‘s sole responsibility for supplying us with sweatshirts and sweatpants has wandered into streetwear territory and we can’t wait to get our hands on some of their 2014 Street Active Collection. This past Friday, we had the absolute pleasure of co-hosting Champion USA’s pop-up-slash-launch party on Fairfax’s vintage threads shop, Tried + True Co.
The launch party had every inkling of hip-hop present: classic rap jams (no semblance of “Who is Outkast?” in this jawn) provided by DJ Hapa and DJ Seano, b-boys and b-girls servin’ the floor and Hennessy pouring. To top it off, artist Mike Norice was in full effect, conjuring up a dope live painting piece featuring the illicit Wu-Tang Clan; we talkin’ “C.R.E.A.M” — Champion Rules Everything Around Me. Dolla-dolla bill, ya’ll.
Once upon a time, a walk down Fairfax Avenue yielded a line-up of antique Judaica shops and bakeries, a stream of rock-and-roll luminaries composing their LA debut at the Kibitz Room, and a tangled, hodge-podge of Hebrew, Farsi, Russian, Arabic, and Yiddish chatter among the post-war immigrant population making their rounds at the open-air stalls. Today, the backdrop of this once old-world street has evolved into the epicenter of skate-punk loitering, Supreme x Nike SB collabs, and OFWGKTA-sponsored palm tree arson.
Just beyond the foot traffic and the sanctimonious pledges of cool, tucked away behind a lush, ivy-coated patio and modern French doors, lies the hidden gem that is Martha Otero Gallery. Since 2008, Otero has been curating a finely tuned palate of unique talent, carefully selecting artists through an extensive network she has developed over the years. Between Jacob Hashimoto’s three-dimensional kite installations, Tim Biskup’s whimsically weird, geometric canvases, and Pedro Matos’ multilayered and ephemeral paintings, Otero’s instinct is ahead of the curve, carefully cultivating a new generation of artistic whiz kids.
READ THE FULL FEATURE PIECE ON MARTHA OTERO GALLERY HERE.
With its mission for creative forward-looking innovation and competition in the clothing industry, it was only fitting that Crooks & Castles teamed up with the game, and brought together the finest names in the music and fashion world to celebrate its release. With attendees like Russell Simmons and Joel Madden, music executives, colleagues, and select friends alike came together to view the new collaboration and see competition done right.
The star-studded event boasted three tables of familiar players, all battling to be crowned the coveted holder of the most multicolored paper dollars. Table one consisted of street wear figureheads Supreme‘s Javier Nunez, Bobby and Ben Hundreds, and Fairfax neighbor Diamond Supply Co.‘s Nick Tershay — top designers setting trends in the industry and creating wardrobe staples of the streets — while, table two composed of the leading tastemakers, bloggers, and commentators of fashion: from the beautiful Karreuche Tran, Crooks’ own primary female model for the Monopoly line, to Hellz Bellz’ Miss Lawn, JazzyBelleForte, and JoyfulClaire.
The final table was reserved for celebrity guests, gathered together to steal a glimpse of the new game and show off their luck and skill at property owning and community chests. With Omarion, Jo Koy, Dom Kennedy, Casey Veggies, Rick Gonzalez, and Crooks’ own Dennis Calvero himself, the celeb table was surrounded by buzz from friends watching from the sidelines, and immersed in intense, and joke-filled, competition from within.
Upon arrival, each guest was greeted with an immediate welcoming photo taken at entrance, and was free to explore the store room, with meticulous Monopoly board game tables set up for the competition, and displays of the collaboration collection around the room. Guests mingled and met while sipping drinks and snacking on shrimp cocktails, ahi tacos, and hamachi-and-pickled-watermelon bites from celebrity chef Thomas Ortega’s Amor Y Tacos.
Yet with all of the artists, food, and talent, the main showcase of the event was the collaboration itself, integrating the two brands into both the game and the clothing collection. Each additional aspect of the game was tailored with some symbolic representation of the brand, as the background centerpiece of the Monopoly board itself donned the iconic Crooks & Castles bandana, while Classic game tokens were updated with quintessential images of street culture — replacing the old-style shoe piece with a stepped up sneaker, and the clean-cut Scottish terrier for the equally familiar pitbull. Similarly, Park Place and Connecticut Avenue properties were swapped with Ala Moana and Fairfax — a personal homage to the two Crooks & Castles retail locations in Hawaii and LA.
All in all, from the tournament to the talent, Crooks and Castles left us with messages from their collection itself, from the Passing GO Entrance arrow directing us toward that “Go Getter” mentality, to the Luxury Tax diamond ring highlighting all wearers’ personal wealth and royalty — the Monopoly man salutes us off, reminding us to “Make it Rain” on a daily basis.
Peep more of the photos from the event on our Facebook here.