To â€œbe.â€ is the answer: and thatâ€™s without a question. Unfortunately, neither William Shakespeare nor Hamlet is here to witness 20-something-year-old Brian Espiritu from Toronto, Canada create brands based off his â€œinspirationâ€ and his â€œfuel drawn directly, from his life experiences.â€
The founder/designer/writer/web developer of Ideall Clothing and originator of The Legends League, is making sure that legends are being remembered and seeds are being planted in order to grow roses that break through the concreteâ€™s surface.
This is not 16th and 17th century poetry, but much more similar to Commonâ€™s 2006 album that promoted freedom, liberation and knowledge. Ideally, you have to be. You have to simply be- to become a legend.
â€œGrowing up eating sardines and rice makes that swordfish taste a lot better these days. But the appreciation is different when you know the two extremes.â€
Format: Jay-Z’s “Can I Live II” from the Reasonable Doubt album, is the song that plays on the Ideall website. What is it about that song that embodies what this clothing stands for?
be.: That track is on there for the Spring/Summer ’08 shit I put out, and outside of being a dope tune, Jay says a lot of shit that I was feeling at the time or when I decided to drop those pieces. I knew what I was about to put out. A couple of those designs were 2-years-old. The song had more to do with the climate around me and the beginnings of the brand than it did with the line as a whole. It seemed like while I was getting a lot of love and selling a little bit of product, there were still some heads out here in Toronto doing the behind-the-ear whispering shit about me and my movements and it was coming back to me. So I was on some “…don’t even hate on those who hate me…” type shit. On some, “Jeah, is ya’LL niggas finished? Is ya’LL niggas finished, yo?!” type shit. Jay’s good for that. He speaks on behalf of those who get it and stay getting it.
Format: “The percentage who don’t understand is higher than the percentage who do. Check yourself, what percentage is you?” Is a line from the song. What is it that you think, Jay-Z thought, people didn’t understand?
be.: The majority of people don’t get it. But the idea of, “it” can be a whole lot of things, man. There are people out there who don’t understand the rights of women, our Aboriginal brothers and sisters, the disabled, and visible minorities. There are still people out there who don’t understand the concept of interracial relationships. Generally those who don’t understand these things base their opinions on surface value rather than through using their sensibility and rationale. Just because you “understand” the surface of a scenario, doesn’t mean you really get what’s either going on, or how it feels to be in that position. I think Jay’s point of view was /is that the majority of the people nod their head to “it” because they understand it, and not because it touches their hearts or speaks to them. In my case, The Legends League is “it”.
Format: If The Legends League were “Anything less” it “Would be everything else.” What does The Legends League represent that everyone else does not?
be.: A relentless truth. It seems like everyone now is everyone else, slightly reinvented. Identity theft is at an all time high, as is the acceptance of biting. The Legends League is 100% reality driven. True stories. What I write on TheLegendsLeague.com about my life experiences is so candid I’m surprised I haven’t been entirely disowned by anyone who has ever been in contact with me. And there is the beauty of it, right? A blog is a blog is a blog. And a crew is a crew. The Legends League comes from the concept of showing love to your influences and inspirations, both good and bad, and growing from them, creating with them in mind, and sharing them with others for the sake of the growth of people in general. Sure, I’ll post material that I think is dope or hilarious on the blog, but I’m also doing my best to use my life as a reference point for younger cats coming up, and for the older dudes to realize that “once a knucklehead, always a knucklehead,” isn’t always true. It’s beyond crews and claiming sets. It’s a way of thinking and living more than anything.
Format: Ideall Clothing has a “Michael” t-shirt with “LL” and “Ideall” in replacement of Jordan and the Bulls. How are Jordan and The Legends League similar outside of the assumption of greatness?
be.: I remember watching Mike in the early 90s. I had a red Bulls hat and a Jordan tee that I’d rock when they’d have those crazy triple-headers on “The NBA on NBC” with Marv Albert and Mike Fratello. I’d bet my older god brothers that he’d beat the Pistons in the playoffs, and the Bulls would always lose. But every Saturday morning I’d catch NBA Inside Stuff and see the “Like Mike” Gatorade commercials and I’d go to the basement and practice my ball handling skills and turnaround jumpers on a mini-rim. He was something to aspire towards that I was fortunate enough to watch on a weekly basis as a kid. He was the pinnacle of persistence paying off. He dominated the game, but didn’t use muscle or machismo to gain his greatness. He was good enough to pursue another career, and tried it for the sake of the personal challenge and the fulfillment of his life. He retired at his highest point, and returned because he missed the game. I’m not trying to say that I’m like him, or the equivalent of him at any level. But those that know my story know there are many parallels in my life/career that make me look at him and nod my head. He, by example, allows for a pursuit of greatness for the otherwise average individual to be considered seriously as an extraordinary threat.
â€œThere’s fuel in the pains that we’ve suffered, and that fuel needs to be used towards the progression of our lives from here on out.â€
Format: The brand was conceptualized in 2006. What made you get up and say, “I’m starting this clothing line and concept today”?
be.: I had a conversation with my homey Gavin Sheppard about the concept of it. I felt at that time, having been sober for a year and a half, my mind was incredibly clear and I was prepared to shine some light on the things that influenced and inspired me. My want to create spontaneously resulted in me designing The Legends League logo out of sheer experimentation with the idea, and the branding started from there. After a few months there was a small, loyal following on MySpace, mostly for the writing, and then I decided to put out a test shirt. I sold out of “The Jameses” tee in a day and a half, and decided this might be the right time to pursue the clothing line thing.
Format: How did you guys come up with the concept for the two “ll”s in Ideall, and did it have anything to do with the Legend League?
be.: It had everything to do with The Legends League. Ideall stands for a couple of things: The creative concepts brought to you by The Legends League (“IDEA + LL”), “Ideall”, as in the best case scenario, “Inspiration Driven Esthetic Apparel by The Legends League”, and “I’ll Die Enormous And Live Lavish.” It’s an extension of the umbrella concept.
Format: In regards to quality, what separates this line from other urban clothing lines?
be.: At this point, let’s be honest, I’ve only released tees, crews and some toques. The question of quality can only really be placed in the design and attention to conceptual detail. I get a lot of people asking me if I was aware that “Opin” was spelt incorrectly on the tee. They obviously don’t get the reference and see no connection to the song when they see the photo or the shirt. Outside of aesthetic quality, the strength of the concept of The Legends League and what it stands for is the truest separating quality of Ideall Clothing.
Format: Who are the legends that made an impact on your life?
be: The list will continue to be written, but for the sake of saying the obvious few:
Aaron Mathis – I met him in 1993 in a youth center when I was 12 and he was eight. My father – he raised me with long leather belts and wooden sticks and short ass explanations. My daughter – she’s nine now and makes me at nine, look like her, at three. My lady – who stuck with me day in and day out while I was on house arrest, and was the inspiration for me to get off the hard liquor and take control of my fucking life- and four failed suicide attempts – enough said.
Format: Why is it so important to recognize the importance of both negative and positive influences?
be.: There’s fuel in the pains that we’ve suffered, and that fuel needs to be used towards the progression of our lives from here on out. Growing up eating sardines and rice makes that swordfish taste a lot better these days. But the appreciation is different when you know the two extremes. That’s why I got so much respect for Garry Bone of Livestock. He’s a real dude. Some people don’t know what it’s like to suffer real life, human pain, and I can’t hate them for that. But there needs to be an understanding that true suffering is happening on a daily basis to people that you can’t just turn your back on. There’s a difference in being fed and learning how to hunt. One teaches you to act quickly to avoid bad outcomes while the other teaches you to rely on all the good that will come to you. I’ll stay steady hunting.
More Info: http://www.ideallclothing.com