With the onslaught of hip-hop coming out of Chicagoâ€”most notably the posterboy of fashion doâ€™s and donâ€™ts, Kanye Westâ€”itâ€™s no wonder that Darrick Carruth believes this is his time. Sneaker Fiend tees, which is slated to release in spring of 2007, is â€œthat lineâ€ that everyone will know about very soon.
Format: What does Sneaker Fiend Tees represent?
Darrick Carruth: Sneaker Fiend Tees represents quality, dope products made for dope people; we represent the sneaker culture as well as the hip-hop culture.
Format: How many pairs of shoes do you have?
DC: I own around 97 pair of kicks.
Format: What are your favorite pair to rock and why?
DC: My favorite pair to rock right now are the De La Soul low and the one time only 360 97 Airmax — the white/blue/pink ones. I like the 97s because the way they look with jeans; they look crazy when you rock them with raw denim. The De La Soulsâ€™ because there just one of the best SBâ€™s to come out last year.
Format: Do you own more tees or kicks?
DC: I own more kicks because I’m always giving away my tees. I have a big family and they get me for my shirts.
Format: Why Sneaker tees? Are you limited to that or do you plan on doing hoodies, jeans, long sleeves; do you plan on opening a boutique?
DC: We have hoodies and jeans that weâ€™re going to introduce in our second or third season. The boutique is up in the air. For now we have to find the right location because location is everything when you open a store.
â€œThere a lot of companies out there, but over time the ones that respect the business and the consumer will be around and those that donâ€™t will despair.â€
Format: What is the sneaker culture like in the Windy City?
DC: The sneaker culture is big here and growing, we have about 10 real good stores here. There was a list of the 25 best stores in the states and we had two stores on that list. I think that says a lot about us. We’ve been wearing AF1’s for a long time way before the song came out. We are heavy in this sneaker game.
Format: What do people rock in Chitown?
DC: In the Chi AF1â€™s are king, but Nike SB’S are coming on strong. Nike Air Max is popular also. On the clothes side Girbaud runs it, but Crooks and Castles, 10 Deep and LRG are big.
Format: In your opinion, who is killing it in the Sneaker-Tees fashion industry?
DC: I think Lemar and Dauley are killing the game right now. Undr-Crown is doing their thing too.
Format: What is your opinion on the sneaker and fashion industry and what makes your company different from any other line?
DC: I think itâ€™s a beautiful thing; itâ€™s like the music industry where an independent company can do its thing and run a long with the big boys. There a lot of companies out there, but over time the ones that respect the business and the consumer will be around and those that donâ€™t will despair. What makes us different is the fact that we care about what were doing and not just about the money. Weâ€™re trying to tie all aspects together fashion hip-hop and the visual which is graffiti.
“Iâ€™ll be watching Wild Style, and maybe something in there that sparks something, then bam it turns into a design.”
Format: Why should people buy this product?
DC: People should by our product because we’re of the culture not just trying to make money off the culture. We live it, talk it, walk with, it is us.
Format: Where do you get your inspiration when designing your line?
DC: I get inspiration from a lot of different things, people and graffiti. Iâ€™ll be watching Wild Style, and maybe something in there that sparks something, then bam it turns into a design. I go to a lot of art galleries and that helps me with my color schemes.
Format: When and where are Sneaker Fiend Tees going to be released?
DC: Weâ€™re shooting for Spring 07. You will be able to get them at sneakerfiendtees.com, leaders1354 and Self Conscience in Chicago, Kulture Shop in Philly and Iâ€™m in St. Louis as well.
Format: What separates the Chi from the NY’s, Cali’s or Boston sneaker culture?
DC: I don’t think there is any separation from any other city out there because we’re all taking part in the culture were all trading with each other. The Internet has made this one big community.
“There were only 36 shirts and there were about 300 people at the event and they were going crazy over the shirt.”
Format: Do you remember the first tee you sold? Describe that feeling. Was it then you know you had a marketable product?
DC: Yeah, the first tee I didnâ€™t sell it I gave it away. There was an event at this store called leaders it was and Complex had an event. The shirt was a part of a grab bag, the responses were crazy. There were only 36 shirts and there were about 300 people at the event and they were going crazy over the shirt. It made me feel good because people didnâ€™t know that shirt was mine. I got to see their response to the product.
Format: What has the process been like getting Sneaker Fiend Tees off the ground?
DC: It’s been a lot of fun and hard work getting Sneaker Fiend off the ground. There are a lot of little things you have to do like getting your name trademarked, getting your images copyrighted, building your website and getting your business in order. Just hard work, but itâ€™s worth it.
Format: What would you be doing if you werenâ€™t doing this?
DC: I have been doing this for so long there isnâ€™t anything else. Iâ€™ve been in the shirt business for years in some shape or form.
More Info: http://www.sneakerfiendtees.com