â€œStop snitchingâ€ became a North America-wide fashion phenomenon in the early 2000s. Iconography including gats, skulls, and dope had been prevalent upon tees for some time before that. As the popularity of the Bloods and Crips began to decline, blood brothers Brett and Scott Baldwin grew One People Project. Community, positivity, and One Love are the foundations of the brand, OPP (One People Project). A successful departure from the typical facetious street-wear copy (e.g. â€œYo, MTVâ€™s Wackâ€), OPP brothers tell Format how to find profit in positivity.
â€œAs our name is One People Project, we have always wanted to make it abundantly clear that you donâ€™t have to be part of any specific subculture or group to wear our clothing.â€
Format: Brett, youâ€™re the Marketing and Sales Director, and Scott, youâ€™re the Creative Director for the brand. Do you ever try and tell each other how to do your jobs?
Scott: The dynamic between Brett and I is a little different than most partnerships, seeing that we have grown up with each other since day one. Weâ€™re not too worried about egos or each otherâ€™s pride. When either of us has an idea that we think will benefit the company, thereâ€™s no hesitation in letting it be known regardless of whose duties it falls under.
Brett: We donâ€™t always see eye to eye, but we always compromise and do whatâ€™s best for the outcome of the company.
Format: Who falls into the demographic that buys your brand?
Brett: One People Project has a fairly large demographic. Iâ€™ve seen everybody from eight years old to sixty years old wearing our brand. Our line has a piece of clothing for every demographic. The younger market really likes the graphic tees and shorts, while the older demographic goes for the knit sweaters and khakis.
Format: One People Project is all about positive undertones. How do you react when people hate on your products?
Scott: Regardless of what you do in this world, there are going to be people hating on you. Thereâ€™s nothing that can be done about it, and honestly I donâ€™t have too much extra time to spend worrying about the haters.
Format: How and when did you get into cut-and-sew?
Scott: Our first season was only four pieces: two hoods and two tees, all cut-and-sew. When Brett and I were discussing starting the brand, we knew that we had to do something to set ourselves apart. So we decided to produce high quality, material centric, cut-and-sew clothing.
Format: On your new burgundy cardigan there are five buttons. You bring in one purple button with four burgundy buttons. Why did you choose to make one button a different color?
Scott: With the cardigans being such a timeless and classic piece of clothing, we knew that if we were going to do one we had to put our twist on it. At the same time, we wanted to keep the classic appeal that has made them a staple of the fashion world throughout the years. We used our colors and aesthetic combined with the classic fit and materials to create our rendition of this classic.
Format: There is an anti-fascist organization called One Peopleâ€™s Project (OPP) that was founded in 2000 to monitor and publish information about alleged racist and far-right groups and individuals. Were you aware of this group when you gave your brand its name?
Brett: The first time I became aware of One Peopleâ€™s Project was when we were registering our domain name and the One Peopleâ€™s Project would come up in Google. It was too bad the name was so similar to what we wanted, but they werenâ€™t engaging in a similar business, so we moved ahead with our name.
Format: Being blood brothers in business, what are the pros and cons?
Brett: Scott and I have a six-year age difference so he has always just been my older brother. Because of the age difference we havenâ€™t really ever fought or had any brotherly competition. The pros are really knowing each other well and being able to work together as brothers. The only con is seeing a bit too much of each other. We work together all day five-to-seven days a week, so we donâ€™t spend too much time together outside of work anymore–or we end up getting really sick of each other which leads to conflict.
Format: Describe fashion in Encinitas, CA, where you are based.
Brett: Fashion in Encinitas is all across the board. You have the hippies wearing their eco-friendly clothing and hand-made beanies, skateboarders wearing all the local skate brands, surfers ranging from twenty to fifty years old in flip flops and surf gear, and then the tight denim fixed gear riders. When we started One People Project, one of our goals was to bring something new to Encinitas. We hope to cater to the styles above who are a bit more fashion conscious and want something new and exciting to wear.
Format: Why do you think that youth are so drawn to negative imagery such as guns, drugs, skulls, etc.?
Scott: The youth has always been attracted to movements and imagery that are anti-authority and not aligned with the mainstream. One of the easiest ways to express this sentiment is through negative imagery and messages. We are trying to achieve the same result, but through positive imagery and messages. We would like to unite people through positivity, as opposed to negativity.
Format: What are the positive images that your brand is promoting?
Scott: Every graphic that we use is intended to have a positive undertone, and more importantly convey a message–all in a way that gets people to think, as opposed to just coming right out and saying it. Like our â€œYou In Eye Tea Whyâ€ tee shirt. It expresses a timeless message in a new way.
Format: What types of not-for-profit and community projects are you involved with?
Brett: The most recent non-profit community project we were involved with was a charity fashion show we did in Encinitas with a Local Salon called Detour. The event was to raise money for domestic violence and the local community resource center.
Format: What do you mean by â€œa complete lifestyle companyâ€?
Brett: As our name is One People Project, we have always wanted to make it abundantly clear that you donâ€™t have to be part of any specific subculture or group to wear our clothing. Thatâ€™s why we say a complete lifestyle company, no matter what lifestyle that happens to be.
Format: How has the brand evolved in the past three years?
Scott: Weâ€™ve gone from a first season of four pieces, to a full line of denim, pants, shorts, jackets, sweaters, and various tops, totaling twenty-two pieces.
Format: â€œOne loveâ€ is an expression you state in various promotional materials and is quite a timeless statement. What makes One People Project timeless?
Brett: One People Project is our way of spreading the message of One Love. Love and Community are timeless themes and we hope to highlight those themes with One People Project.
More Info: http://www.onepeopleproject.com/