TEDDY KING OF LAFAYETTE CREW, JAPAN
Teddy King Interview:
Hey Teddy, how are things? I’ve actually been aware of your presence in the NY music and fashion scene for quite a while now. I’m thinking your background, as a DJ must have led you into the streetwear game in NY. Can you explain a little bit about how this all went down and how you became involved in these scenes/industries?
I’m great thank you. Well naturally I began djing in 1997 after being interested in Indi Hip Hop that was coming out at the time. I was always going to Fat Beats & Bobbtios Foot Works for all the new records that were coming out. A lot of these songs only came out on vinyl. So it eventually progressed into me DJing. I was brought into the streetwear fashion scene in 2006 when my two old friends Nick Langella & Peter Leonard invited me to join their King Stampede & Boundless NY team. They were already on the forefront of the whole NY movement at the time. So it was a very special time in NY where lots of brands were working more closely and things were just getting started. Our good friends were brands like SSUR, Mighty Healthy, Mishka, 10 Deep, Reason, Acapulco Gold & more.
As an avid follower of the global streetwear scene at large; I was a big fan of both of your prior fashion projects King Stampede and Boundless NY. I was especially impressed with most recent product images that I saw circulating the web out of the BOUNDLESS houseline about 2 years back. Is a future comeback in the cards for BOUNDLESS or have you moved on fully to new ventures?
Yes we had a chance to reset and launch the Boundless brand. After taking a pause with King Stampede. We had a few incredible collections. Actually if your on tour with the Grateful Dead you can actually find some brand New King Stampede Tees being sold strictly on the lot. People have been asking for the return of King Stampede, so I’m sure it’s in the works. I will always be there to rep and support KS & Bless. Keep up with @Kingstampede on Instagram.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned through all of your past challenges and achievements in the streetwear scene in NY?
I never strived for something so hard, and so long in my life. It taught be how to be passionate and always strive to learn new things. It really prepared me to get where I am today. I learned so much.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned through all of your past challenges and achievements in the music scene in NY?
I think to be yourself and a well rounded DJ. I started off at a turntabalist in my early years; always competeing and doing DJ battle through out the tri-state area.
After that I got really into Beat Digging and Record collecting. Then I moved on to making lots of Mix Tapes & Djing Parties. Later on a started working with some artist and performing on shows etc. So now im kinda just DJing on the side. That’s the way it’s been for me the past 16 years for my whole DJ career. I never did it full time. I always did it on the side as a hobby while working full time. I have lots of respect for DJs that work full time, 7 days a week.
As the current manager of US Sales & Press for Lafayette, how’d you become acquainted and affiliated with the Lafayette team?
Back in 2010 DJ Clark Kent introduced Lafayette to the Boundless Movement and me. Clark Kent has always supported what we were doing and was also a big part of the Lafayette movement worldwide as well. So instantly I became a big fan and in love with the Lafayette line and brand mission. So we started supporting each other and I did a few music projects with Lafayette and traveled to Japan to DJ and started to build the relationship. Shortly after that I was offering the brand to wholesale account in the US, acting as a salesman and marketing. As things progressed we then worked on launching a US web-store. Privilege New York launched this past April and has been on a roll ever since. So now I am currently working full time. We now have a home base here in Brooklyn NY. We have an office and started a brand new US company side. I’m running and managing the Privilege website from the office and also using it as a Lafayette showroom and warehouse.
The Paid Vaca team is definitely a big fan of the Lafayette line and the homage that it pays to NY culture at large. How would you describe the strength and uniqueness of Lafayette as a label?
Well it has lots of history with the crew. It started with just a few tee shirts and now it has grown into a full collection. We have just reached our 10-year anniversary. Which is a big mark. So I think Lafayette has lots of knowledge and experience. And you can see that with in its collections.
Would you say that Lafayette’s Japanese origins positively effect the quality and image of it’s product and if so, in what ways?
Yes it does. The Japanese culture works very hard and takes pride in it’s craft. You can see the time that is put in to every single piece from our collections. Especially in our cut & sew program.
What region/city is home base for the Lafayette team? Would you say that this city has a significant influence on the creative process behind the Lafayette line?
The first Lafayette store was opened in Fujisawa, which is the country beach side out side of Tokyo. The next Lafayette store was opened in Yokohama, which is like the Brooklyn of Tokyo. Each store has different styles and people with in the cities. The Fujisawa store has a big section of used goods, which is like a Thrift store. The Yokohama store has 2 floors and one floor is dedicated to brands like J crew & Polo. And the other has brands like Acapulco Gold, Deadline & am AfterMidnight.
At this point in time, are you throwing down creatively on anything fashion related in terms of actual product? If so, can you reveal anything about it?
Yes I just launched my own brand ANTHEM. You can view and purchase online at Privilege New York. It’s very different and refreshing. Inspired by sound, the idea behind each graphic is a loose representation of noise. Keep up with Anthem on Instagram @anthem_newyork
What are a few of your favorite streetwear labels and why?
Neighborhood, Wtaps, Acapulco Gold, Stussy, Supreme & Brooks Brothers.
(Not including Anthem, Lafayette, Privilege & Flying Coffin). I just think they are all purely authentic and all around top-notch.
To Teddy King, what is NY’s legacy to the streetwear universe? As a culture, what has NY contributed to the global streetwear scene?
Everything, NY is where it all started. Just like hip hop and a million other things. It’s the city of dreams. Im just 1 person, trying to reach the stars. Skys the limit!
What is streetwear in NY missing right now? What could it use that it currently lacks?
Street wear is missing education. Brands should be aware of what graphics and things have been done before. Using this knowledge to work on there own craft with in their own brands. Lots of brands don’t have this. There has been talk about doing a T-shirt book with Eddie from T-world magazine of all graphics done by certain brands. Just to showcase and show people the works of art that have been printed on T-shirt for the last 10 years.
As an independent team of 3 newcomers to the industry, what advice would you give to Paid Vaca?
Work as a team, family and make sure you all have the same vision and dream and you can all be happy with the success of your creation.