Together Ryan Reneau and Travis Drake have brought some definite originality to their graphic line 3rd ID Clothing. Self-proclaimed rejection of the existing market high-rollers, they create the kind of tongue-in-cheek graphic t-shirts that make the wearer stop and think. If you are looking for freshness, 3rd ID is the place to go. And these guys donâ€™t stop at imaginatively providing new attire options, they co-design projects with a number of their music industry supporters and provide proceeds to the cancare Cancer Support Network. With plans to expand in the apparel market, 3rd ID really is a complete package. Format chatted with the guys recently to get the scoop on thingsâ€¦
â€œRestriction is anti-creative, so we like to keep the rules minimal.”
Format: Please state who you are and what your role is within 3rd ID.
Ryan: My name is Ryan Reneau — Iâ€™m one-half of 3rd ID — I handle the business end of the company, including sales and accounting. I also play a large role in the design concepts and creative direction.
Travis: Yeah, and Iâ€™m Travis Drake – the other half. I handle marketing and all the execution of our ideas, from graphic design to production.
Format: Fresh on the scene, what inspired you and Ryan to create 3rd ID?
Travis: There were many inspiring factors to launching 3rd ID. As clichÃ© as it sounds, I would say it all started with the overall want and need to express ourselves as artists. Both of us have that creative blood running in our families, so there has always been that need to release it. We also found ourselves not liking the unoriginal styles that were being provided out there. Our solution was simple – create our own.
Format: The name 3rd ID stems from Ryanâ€™s time in the 3rd Infantry Division of the US Army. How did that experience influence you in starting this new business?
Ryan: My time in the Army showed me the definition of hard work. Besides giving me a strong work ethic, it gave me the re-appreciation of being a part of an all-around creative process when I got out – there isnâ€™t much appreciation for art in the Infantry.
Format: Now in your sophomore collection, how has the response been thus far?
Ryan: We have had a great response. Since we are a small company, we receive a great deal of support from our friends. Also, the continued support from our vendors must mean we are doing something right. Shout outs to all the supporters rollinâ€™ with the 3rd.
Travis: I agree. I feel that the response thus far has been amazing. Hard work is a given, but I also give all the credit to the strong push from the customers, vendors and all of the 3rd ID supporters. Our promise to these groups is to get better with each drop and to keep providing quality product.
Format: Where do you draw inspiration for the unique graphics used on your t-shirts?
Travis: This is a commonly asked question that is really tough for us to answer, mainly because our inspiration can come from anything really. Someone might tell you something that sparks a great idea, or you might notice a dope color scheme on a wall somewhere. We are surrounded by so many triggers, narrowing it down is tough. Overall, when designing, we just like to let it flow and see what happens. Restriction is anti-creative, so we like to keep the rules minimal.
Format: Youâ€™ve said that the line aims to target complacency of creativity in the market, how do your designs represent this outside-the-box approach to design?
Ryan: When we speak of complacency, we are talking about the lack of creativity in the pursuit of the all-mighty dollar. When you go to the mall there are so many brands to choose from, but you canâ€™t discern one from the other.
A perfect example is Ed Hardy and all those knock-off brands that just copy-and-paste. Throw a skull and some rhinestones on it and itâ€™s good as gold. Gimme a break! We have also said that â€˜nothing is originalâ€™ and â€˜most everything has already been done.â€™ So understanding that, we try to keep it as fresh as possible and not regurgitate what we see in the market.
Travis: To piggyback on Ryanâ€™s thought, we like to think of our designs as having more to them than just a flashy design, or that follow trends everyone else is pushing. We want there to be a message behind our garments, giving the wearer and/or viewer something to think and talk about.
Format: Do you feel the statement-making nature of your designs help set you apart for the competition?
Travis: Absolutely. As for the designs, styles and colors, the messages behind them are very much different to a lot of brands out there. Sparking interest and causing intrigue is a big part of what we want to accomplish. If youâ€™re flipping through a rack of shirts, a 3rd ID piece will definitely catch your eye.
â€œThrow a skull and some rhinestones on it and itâ€™s good as gold. Gimme a break!â€
Format: Which styles have been your best-sellers?
Ryan: The â€˜Assault Rifle Loverboyâ€™ shirts (1 & 2), â€˜â€™62 Cover Upâ€™ and the â€˜Ratchet Kids Clubâ€™ pieces have been flying off the shelves.
Format: 3rd ID cross promotes with a number of urban music artists, including downloads from DJ Kid Slyce on your web site. Has this raised awareness of the brand?
Ryan: Music and fashion go hand in hand like chicken in a chicken container! Word to Tracy Morgan. It definitely raises awareness. Along with Kid Slyce, we have had the privilege of working with Curren$y, Trademark da Skydiver, and Suburban District, among others. The best medium of advertising is word-of-mouth. When you do good work, people tell their friends, and a referral is the highest compliment.
Travis: Yup. The cross-promotion work we have been doing within the music industry has been great for building the 3rd ID brand. Along with fashion collabs, weâ€™ve been working on numerous design projects alongside artists that support 3rd ID. Most recently being the cover art for Fly Society and Curren$yâ€™s debut album, â€œThis Aint No Mixtape.â€ Be sure to cop that if you havenâ€™t already.
Format: A portion of 3rd IDâ€™s proceeds is donated to the cancare Cancer Support Network. Tell us about this great cause and your passion for it.
Ryan: Travis and I both lost our mothers to cancer in the same year. Companies these days have a greater responsibility to society as a whole. If your thing is eco-friendly products, donating man-hours, or donating money to benefit your community, it all boils down to the same thing – giving back. We chose cancare since both of our lives weâ€™re directly affected by cancer.
Travis: We know the benefits of having support networks to fall back on when something like cancer hits a family. Cancare is a great organization that provides individuals and families the support they need during the tough times of a cancer battle. And if our contributions can make any sort of difference to a family out there, then we could quit now and still be satisfied.
Format: Do you have plans to expand the line beyond graphic t-shirts? What would you most like to add to the collection?
Ryan: Most definitely! T-shirts are just the most affordable medium to work with. We donâ€™t have any investors (this is not a plug looking for one either!) So we plan to keep working hard on new concepts and products to continue to build our brand.
We have already designed some womenâ€™s gear that is scheduled to drop in the next few collections. The natural progression for us is to expand into cut-and-sew, button-downs, hats and so on. The most immediate piece we will be adding is a 3rd ID jacket this winter.
Format: Where do you see 3rd ID in five years?
Ryan: Hopefully shooting dice with Bun B, Jonas Bevacqua, Bobby Hundreds and Rob Heppler.
Travis: Sitting right here where I am now with a sports almanac from the future – maybe Iâ€™ll open a casino later.
More Info: www.3rdidclothing.com