Leroy Jenkins is a label for the sophisticated gangster that appreciates the finer things in life, like polka dots on their hoodies or floral brocade on their hi-tops. From past involvements with Ecko clothing to the dearly departed, J Dilla, these cats have had a lifetimesâ€™ worth of experience in the game and even more to show with their label.
“Leroy is not the brand to chase you down and send you a package like, â€œRock us in your video please!â€ Weâ€™ve been approached by cats who appreciate what weâ€™re doing you know?”
Format: Who is Leroy Jenkins?
Ron: Itâ€™s a name we made up. A joke, back in the day, when we worked some place else, when we decided to come up with a name for a company , it just felt right so we ran with it.
Format: How did your experience with Ecko prepared you for the launch of LJ?
Ron: It gave some background and experience, with graphics, syntax, talking to vendors and everything, it was a good foundation. To start anything you got to learn from the inside out.
Format: What defines LJ from other labels?
Pen: LJ is defined by its uniqueness and originality. Weâ€™re the thorn birds.
Ron: Weâ€™re not trying to base ourselves off of anyone. We donâ€™t give a hell about what everyone else is doing. Weâ€™re doing what weâ€™re doing and what we like to do!
Format: What goes in to the creative process?
Ron: Travelling, hanging out, thatâ€™s the vibe, thatâ€™s the process right there.
Pen: Staying open to different types of inspiration. Weâ€™re inspired by everything in our daily lives. Not just one particular style of music. People are really inspired by us and what we see and how we bring it back and translate it in to our product.
Format: What direction do you want to take street fashion in?
Pen: Street fashion for us is going to do what itâ€™s going to do. Iâ€™m not going to put a label on what we have going on even. Iâ€™m going to let the masses define that for themselves. Weâ€™re going to keep driving with our style and our vibe of fashion.
Format: What do you like thatâ€™s out there right now?
Ron: Me personally, I really donâ€™t go towards one style of one period. I like different items from different periods of time.
Pen: If someone dresses different from my tastes, but theyâ€™re rockin one item that I think is cool and I like it, then I might pull that one item for myself. Thereâ€™s not just one particular style of dress that is current. I like how people pull items from everywhere and make them their own.
Format: Is there anything out there that you donâ€™t like?
Pen: Hoodies with polka dots on the inside. That kind of ran its course. Itâ€™s over with, but people keep putting them out! About a year ago you couldnâ€™t find them, and someone capitalized on what we started.
Format: Youâ€™re launching a new website (www.leroyjenkinslimited.com) and a new Leroy Loves Dilla tee this summer, Can you talk about your connection to J Dilla?
Pen: Dilla came about when I was in L.A., and I was approached by the cats from BBE and another good friend of mine to do the cover, the album artwork, of his last album. And bait came about from a cat, Eddie from the label, had seen Dilla with the LJ hoodie on before he passed. Iâ€™m not sure exactly how he got it, but Dilla was basically on the same page as I was at the same time. Our vibes both came across right, itâ€™s definitely something that happened to us from up above, so it was really a pleasure. I was meeting with Miss Yancey, and doing the album artwork. It was a once-in-a-life-time experience. It was great.
“Or even worse than that, you have motherfuckers who spend $300-400 on a pair of shoes and then say shit like, ‘oh, I canâ€™t go to Brazil, or Europe.’ Why not motherfucker? You got a 400$ pair of shoes on! I donâ€™t understand that shit.”
Format: How do you feel about copyright and knockoffs?
Pen: Shit man, it happens every day. We canâ€™t really do anything about it to a certain point, but I personally donâ€™t like it. If youâ€™re going to do it, then do it in a way that you can define it yourself.
Ron: Make it your own, donâ€™t just blatantly copy someone elseâ€™s shit. One for one, you know? That shit is just fucking ridiculous.
Format: What about bootlegs? How would you feel if one day you saw a fake Leroy tee downtown somewhere in Chinatown?
Pen: Thatâ€™s how we know that we made it, shit! You know, when they start knocking off our shit, at that point, Iâ€™ll be in a boat somewhere, you know what I mean? Iâ€™ll definitely have made it once they start knocking off my shit in China.
Format: Who do you respect right now in the industry?
Pen: Respect? I canâ€™t say I respect a lot of people in the industry right now. Just because theyâ€™re cool guys and they got the dough, Iâ€™m not necessarily respecting them like that. Thatâ€™s just a powerful word. But there are companies that I tend to gravitate towards that I like a lot on a personal level and a visual level that are really fresh. Red Clay, Pegleg, Mishka, Michael B, Modern Amusement, Levis.
Ron: The Gap!
Format: I hear you have a bit of a celebrity following with your clothing?
Pen: Yeah man, Jean Claude Van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenegger, they both rock our shit, but seriously, we got some cats thatâ€™s down with us like Robin Williams, he actually bought tees from us. Sam Jack, we got stuff for Denzel, all of them celebrities. But, Leroy is not the brand to chase you down and send you a package like, â€œRock us in your video please!â€ Weâ€™ve been approached by cats who appreciate what weâ€™re doing you know? Those are the cats that I wouldnâ€™t want to be down with. Thatâ€™s the type of respect that thatâ€™s given right there not just someone who, you know, is force feeding celebrities. Not like â€œhereâ€™s a cheque for $5,000, rock us in your next videoâ€ all that fucking crap.
Format: Can you speak a bit about your new clique, the Cheque to Cheque Millionaires?
Ron: Check to Check Millionaires is the new clique. We live large, we play hard, we work hard, we spend our money, but weâ€™d rather spend it smart and not stupidly. Weâ€™re millionaires but weâ€™re always waiting for our next cheque to come.
Pen: Yeah man, thereâ€™s a lot of Cheque to Cheque Millionaires out there. The clique is large, worldwide.
Ron: Usually they donâ€™t do anything with it. They donâ€™t go see the world. Thatâ€™s what I donâ€™t understand, how they can go and spend $200 on some beer and some herb.
Pen: Or even worse than that, you have motherfuckers who spend $300-400 on a pair of shoes and then say shit like, â€œoh, I canâ€™t go to Brazil, or Europe.â€ Why not motherfucker? You got a 400$ pair of shoes on! I donâ€™t understand that shit. I donâ€™t get it. Sneakerfiends!
Format: So, where do you think people should be putting their money?
Pen: Into experience and life. A pair of shoes ainâ€™t going to show you shit. Itâ€™s just going to have some dude staring at your feet. What, you going to go home with that dude? You can do that, but you donâ€™t have to have no spiffy ass sneakers on! I donâ€™t know, I guess it has value, but I just donâ€™t get it. I just donâ€™t get those cats.
Format: What kind of sneakers are you rocking?
Pen: Nike, Converse, Adidas, but I really donâ€™t go overboard.
Ron: Everyone makes fun of me because Iâ€™ll get a new pair of sneakers but two weeks later theyâ€™ll be ruined because like, Iâ€™ll be rolling around in the dirt with them, or Iâ€™ll want to paint something and I donâ€™t really care about what I got on my feet.
Format: Where do you see streetwear going?
Ron: Hopefully people will start being a little more creative and not just pushing out 20 shirts at a time, and making some real products. I know some people are doing that with hoodies or fitted hats and leather jackets but really, take your time, and develop some real products. Not just, â€œI know some graphic designer who can pop out like 20 t-shirts.â€ It should be something really special.
Format: Future of LJ?
Pen: Diversity is the future for Leroy Jenkins. We want to diversify with everything. Starting with potential retail buyers. We also want to diversify our market and line. Keeping that classic aesthetic that has a little bit of something for everyone.
Ron: We make clothing for every tax bracket.
Format: What advice would you give to the young street designers of the world?
Ron: Do what you like. Stay creative. Donâ€™t let anyone else define what your creativity is. If you catch a vibe, then run with it.
Pen: Get it how you get it.