Since 1989, Los Angeles clothing company, Freshjive, captures swagger in its clothing that satisfied customers wear with the candor a Freshjive T-shirt design may project. Recently, Freshjive released its Chicken and Waffles line, a line that Freshjive owner, Rick Klotz, 40, says is an, â€œabsurd special edition group of T-shirtsâ€ that are inspired by what else, fried chicken and waffles â€“ oh yeah, fine black women, too.
Freshjiveâ€™s advertising is unique, however, Klotz feels indifferent: â€œFor the most part, I donâ€™t care to advertise clothes. Itâ€™s fucking boring,â€ he says, adding that he, occasionally, uses Freshjive advertising to distribute amusing â€œcultural propaganda.â€
“For the most part, I donâ€™t care to advertise clothes. Itâ€™s fucking boring.”
Format: Currently, streetwear is a buzzword that several brands have either adopted or been labeled. Is the Freshjive brand specifically designed with the streetwear community in mind?
Rick Klotz: Well, now I design the line and keep to what I consider a street-style aesthetic. Iâ€™ve been all over the place as a designer over the years. I have many interests that, at times, I tried to incorporate into the Freshjive line and didnâ€™t work out. But now Iâ€™ve created a few other lines for other types of vibes â€“ Gonz!, Warriors of Radness, the Fairfax label, Reserve, RMK Signature Series.
Format: Freshjive prides its self as a Los Angeles based clothing company. How does Los Angeles influence Freshjive’s clothing?
Rick Klotz: Mine and the company’s existence in L.A. is the whole soul and cultural backbone that influences the company. It wouldn’t be any other way. Me and the company were born here, so the purest form of influence, naturally, comes from L.A..
Format: On the Freshjive blog, you address Holocaust chic: clothing brands modeling their designs after garments concentration camp victims had. In your opinion, do clothing companies sincerely believe consumers want a Holocaust chic?
Rick Klotz: The Holocaust Chic post I actually did not write myself, though it is something I would have. I found it on a certain blog before it was mysteriously taken down. I thought it was a funny observation. The most striking point to it was how I found Japanese designers, sometimes, utilize influences as aesthetics, with a naÃ¯ve disregard to how these aesthetics might be seen to the non-Japanese community: usually with no ironic wit, without any message or point or sarcasm or satire. The old article about Rei Kawakubo and her Comme Des Garcons Holocaust-inspired runway line from the mid `90s was brilliant. Only problem was there seemed to be no satire about it. No point to make, except, she says, to elicit the aura of sleep!
Format: Do you feel a moral responsibility for the designs Freshjive releases to the public?
Rick Klotz: Well theyâ€™re my designs, and I am responsible for what I put out, and there is always an underlying point to some of the graphics. I am not sure if I feel a moral responsibility for what we release, but Iâ€™m definitely putting out an opinion I believe in. Hereâ€™s an interesting point to consider: though we do not put out art, though it might be artistic, should art be concerned with being moral? I tend to believe art to be amoral, non-moral.
Format: In a previous Format interview, Married to the MOB’s Leah says men in the streetwear community have feminine characteristics Â trolling blogs for clothing, taking photos of their clothing and lining up outside stores for clothing. What is your opinion on these feminine characteristics that she is referring to?
Rick Klotz: She makes a good assessment. This other designer in streetstyle recently said to me that men are the new women! Generally, men having feminine characteristics is not an issue. What is suspect is men into streetstyle fiending for gear – characteristics generally associated with women – lining up and wasting time to get the latest limited edition gear, yes, trolling blogs to keep up with the latest gear. It’s like it’s become a lot of gear is just feeding off of itself, rather than the real life someones leading as an influence.
It’s another generalization, but there’s a lot of truth to it. I’ve been into gear all my life as well, it’s part of the reason I started the company. But there’s other things of interest in life. I don’t hang out with guys like this. I got my own crew. We troll town for new and fun things to see and do, not troll for the latest gear – we also troll all over town for female trolls! I could be a bit wrong. But from what I see in the niche streetwear media sure does appear this way. It is what it is, it’s part of business, but why do all these streetwear blogs only post gear? Why don’t they post other things of interest? It’s like all gear all the time! I know it sounds like I’m shooting myself in the foot, but this is what I think.
Format: Several clothing designers are designing for spring 2008 and beyond! How does Freshjive forecast what consumers will find appealing, several months in advance?
Rick Klotz: I have a crystal ball. No, really, itâ€™s hard. All designers are in the same rut.
Format: Recently, Freshjive released its Chicken and Waffles line. The video sample for Chicken and Waffles has a chubby, naked woman shaking her ass and wearing the T-shirts. Why a chubby girl?
Rick Klotz: Well I donâ€™t consider her chubby, though she is thick. But she has the biggest fucking ass Iâ€™ve ever seen, and she knows how to do some tricks with it. This little absurd special edition group of T-shirts was influenced by chicken, waffles and hot black chicks with big asses.
Format: Freshjive’s Flake series is great! Why did Freshjive decide to expend its line to children’s wear?
Rick Klotz: We were approached by the designer of Hysteric Glamours childrenâ€™s line from Japan. He wanted to start a line called Flake, which incorporated Freshjive, Fuct and some other brands that have been around since early `90s.
Format: When Freshjive designs Flake does it have to take special considerations of its designs, being that its end users are children?
Rick Klotz: Thatâ€™s really a question for the Japanese designer. Related to my comments on Japanese designers, previously, here is a situation which weâ€™ve taken advantage of the Japanese use of aesthetics with disregard of meaning and used it to further communicate our message. For example, we put out a T-shirt earlier this year, a cartoon of Sid Vicious chasing two little kids who were dressed up like current, crappy pop-punk band members. It was like the ghost of OG punk rocker, Sid Vicious, coming out of his grave to chase down and kill two posers â€“ a commentary on useless crappy pop music disguised as the aesthetics of old punk rock. Flake just liked the graphic, visually, and went ahead and used it.
Format: Freshjive’s advertising campaigns are classic examples of how to brand a company. Specifically, how did the Happy Sausage advertising campaign materialize?
Rick Klotz: For the most part, I donâ€™t care to advertise clothes. Itâ€™s fucking boring. I do feel we should, at times, `cause thatâ€™s what weâ€™re selling and thatâ€™s what pays the bills. Itâ€™s great to be in a position to commercially put out and promote anything I want. So over the years, Iâ€™ve utilized our company to put out cultural propaganda that I find amusing. Some people ask me, â€˜Well it doesnâ€™t specifically promote your brand and the clothes you make!â€™ I say, so fucking what? Is there a rule to how I am supposed to run this company?
The Happy Sausage, Happy Life campaign was a campaign utilizing found photos from abandoned storage facilities. They were storage units abandoned by the renter. The contents were bought up by some junk dealer and sold off at flea markets. My friend obtained about 2000 of these personal photos years ago from one of these dealers. So I ran them as an ad campaign. These are peoples personal photos that they had in storage and probably didnâ€™t want anyone to see. Itâ€™s a birdâ€™s eye view into the behind-closed-doors life of someone. Life is truly stranger than fiction.
Format: As the streetwear industry becomes more popular, its products are bootlegged. How does Freshjive protect itself from bootleggers?
Rick Klotz: I donâ€™t worry about it at the moment. Weâ€™re just not big enough yet, to have too much bootleg stuff out there.
Format: In June, Freshjive reissued its Resurgent Series. To you, what is special about the four T-shirt designs that are the Resurgent Series?
Rick Klotz: These four graphics are the first four designs I did for Freshjive. I did them in a design class, taught by Mick Haggerty, when I was attending Otis College of Art and Design in downtown Los Angeles, in 1989.
Format: The House33 and Freshjive collaboration is fantastic. What qualities does Freshjive look for in the companies it collaborates with?
Rick Klotz: I donâ€™t like to do many collaborations. Collaborations, in general, come off like mutual masturbation sessions: I stroke you, and you stroke me! But we do, occasionally, with some people I really like and admire. People really need to see the level of design, craftsmanship and integrity, and history coming out of the House Industries company. Itâ€™s really amazing. We also did a T-shirt design, recently, for Dave at Addict. I love that guy. But I donâ€™t want to get on the collaboration bandwagon. Plus, I can stroke myself.
More Info: http://www.freshjive.com