Scifen

Scifen

In a materialistic industry, where most brands idea of “getting political” is screen-printing a graphic tee covering whatever the latest news issue is—primarily for shock value and hype, not because of any true desire for positive change—Scifen is a refreshing alternative. Created in 1999 by Barmak Badaei, Scifen fuses hip-hop, graffiti, and the pursuit of knowledge into their designs, offering both substance and style.

Scifen

Format: Where did Scifen originate? What’s the brands history?
Barmak: Scifen originated in Los Angeles. I started the brand in 1999 while I was in college. Growing up as a b-boy, I was very heavily into the b-boy scene and just hip-hop. Fashion has always been apart of hip-hop culture and I was very interested in it. I wanted to start a clothing company based on social-political concepts that could serve as a platform to express my ideas about life and society. There were a lot of brands in the market but none with any substance, so I wanted to fill that void.

Format: How has Scifen grown since you started the company?
Barmak: Well, that’s a tricky question. It’s all relative. I started Scifen out of my dad’s garage with six designs on a credit card with a 3,000 dollar limit. I was like 19 years old and I was too excited to really know what I was getting in to. It is now seven years later and I have an office, warehouse, and about four full collections per year. Although, we still have a long way to go, I am proud to say Scifen is legitimate clothing company, well, a small one at least.

Scifen

Format: Who is a part of the Scifen family? What role does each person play?
Barmak: Scifen is designed by myself and Ewok One. Us two are the original team. As far as roles, I am the creative director and Ewok is the senior designer. We work very closely together from research, concepts, development, design, and marketing. Kevin Sanchez is our assistant designer. Yakballz is our superstar rapper. There is a lot of work that goes into apparel design and production. We all work together, but try to handle what our titles imply. As far as family goes, there are many others: all play important roles in sales and marketing.

Format: Scifen has been described as concept based company, deriving from the idea that the sciences of life are infinite, and that by learning about the world, we advance as people. Please elaborate on your concept for those that might not have a solid understanding of it.
Barmak: It’s basically about knowledge. It’s easy to look around and realize the world is not doing so well. Crime, greed, exploitation, manipulation, murder, war, envy, destruction, hate, to name a few, are all very dominate in modern society. This is all due to ignorance, which is a virus and is running rampant. The only way to fight and not get infected is to educate ourselves — an infinite knowledge of the science of life. Hence, Science Infinite: SCIFEN. You can read the manifesto on the website.

Scifen

Format: How does the concept manifest itself in your clothing?
Barmak: This concept is the foundation for all our themes, designs and direction. It’s easy to see when you are aware of it and look and the line.

Format: How does the concept manifest itself in other areas of the company?
Barmak: Well, for me, it’s how I live my life. It is who I am. This shit is real to me, all I can do is live it. I don’t give a fuck about the fashion game or bullshit social scene that comes with it. I am a b-boy, so naturally I’m down to battle anyone who ain’t in my crew to win the battle. In this case, winning the battle would be exposing the deaf, dumb and blind. I am motivated on belief and I am the same way with all areas of the company. It took me seven years to get this far and I will go another 70 years if it means getting one step closer to my goal.

Scifen

Format: The Scifen concept is pretty abstract. Stated in a way that people can easily grasp, what makes Scifen different than other clothing companies?
Barmak: Scifen is based in substance. I honestly can’t name many brands that strive to do the same. Also, we pride ourselves on the fact that we are possibly the only hip-hop brand. First and foremost, we are recognized as artists, b-boys and writers. A lot of these brands claim hip-hop but are just fans of the culture, they don’t live it. Since when was a mother fucker in the bleachers of a Lakers game in the NBA? He ain’t. That’s them, this is us. Go make your fan shirts, we’ll make this hip hop shit.

Format: How important is it to Scifen to have an artistic quality to your clothing? How do you achieve this effect?
Barmak: It is the most important thing. Fashion is art.

Scifen

Format: What inspired the ad campaign with El-P, Cage, M-1, Yak Ballz and Cope?
Barmak: These are our people and who we support as artists. We all have each others back and we do what we can to honor and promote one another.

Format: Your brand symbol, the Scifen elephant, is said to be a metaphor for human society, reflecting the consequences of today’s social structure. Please expand on that.
Barmak: Humanity is doing to itself as it has done to the elephants. We are headed for self destruction.

Scifen

Format: Have you caught any flack for repping an elephant in the line of other popular brand animals?
Barmak: No. The other brand animals have no meaning or point to anything relevant. We didn’t just use an elephant cause we like it or think its works well for design. There is a reason. Do the other brands have a reason for their popular animal and does it really apply their brand name or concept?

Format: How has the recent explosion of streetwear affected business?
Barmak: It hasn’t affected business. Scifen is the uniform for a certain individual. It’s for those who understand it. Of course their are heads who walk into a store, see it and buy it cause they like the design of particular items. However, we are very thankful for our supporters, family and fans, this is who we do it for. So, as long as our culture is around, we will do our thing, regardless of any explosion or implosion of streetwear.

scifen_elp.jpg

More Info: http://www.scifen.com

Shane Ward

Latest posts by Shane Ward (see all)

39 comments

  1. I’ve always repped scifen since I’m a b-boy myself, but I never knew Scifen was this deep and this knowledgable about not only the “game” as it were but also the world we live in. In a culture where most people just make clothes to make a few bucks, Scifen stands out as one of the only for real clothing companies; a company with substance.

    BIG UPS SCIFEN!!!! represent for all the hip hoppers, b-boys, emcees, and graff artists out there.

  2. Well these guys been on the grind for a long time and I’m happy to see them grow because as a bboy when I see bboyz on the floor at jams and there clothing line is blowing up that’s what I call real to the culture. Scifen 07 the elephant is coming watch out.

  3. LOVE BUG STARSKY says:

    Scifen =The last Great White Whale of this hip hop branding shit. The rest got rich and fell the f*ck off. Lrg be on some stupid shit now, AKDMKS looks cheap as hell now.

    This article makes me wanna go buy some new gear and rep it hard. Good stuff.

  4. Solving world problems with a tshirt? A graphic is possible, but dropping knowledge with symbols of money? Give me a break. The aesthetic looks like some kmart/target cartoon bullshit that came out a bag of skittles. Scifen = another capitalist tshirt company, dont give me no bullshit marketing sales pitch about changing the world. Make art and good design, that should speak for itself.

  5. LOVE BUG STARSKY says:

    I don’t know what haterades talkin about. From what I gather the images of money is a play on everything else goin on out there. I dunno, i get it. Rather see this then some gold foil crest black t shirt or everyone in the projects dressing up like their on the ice cream skate team. SCIFEN is very refreshing to me, bottom line. And besides, why are you mad cuz SCIFEN aint gonna save the world? Why don’t you give me AND yourself a break, you sound silly.

  6. Yeah like I really need to be reminded about money by wearing it on my pants and displaying to the world what currency sign we do business in. Thats so ‘out the box’ how did scifen ever come up with that!?

    Who’s talking about fake diamonds, gold foil crests or over priced ice cream symbols? The focus is scifen, the content of their designs, and why the marketing pitch is relevant. Thats all I responded to.

    Im not asking them to save the world, they seem to be really concerned, as am I so I feel I might be of help in guiding them towards a different career path. I MEAN what is scifen saving the world from? Ignorance? Maybe they should be printing up books or making cartoons…all I’m saying is they push clothes, don’t insult my intelligence by telling me this company who’s overall model is to make a profit is concerned with ‘Crime, greed, exploitation, manipulation, murder, war, envy, destruction, hate’..I can think of a hundred other professions to address those issues and the fashion industry wouldnt make that list. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which
    to shape it.” – Bertolt Brecht

  7. “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”

    So, as your quote states, then Scifen chooses fashion (art), as it’s hammer to “shape” reality. Atleast there is substance, a direction to the product and not just a random t-shirt or jean.

    Don’t hate….I can think of a hundred professions for that too….how about the KKK and Nazi’s.

    You seem like a smart guy, but I dont think Scifen is using it as a marketing pitch nor are they a crusade to save the world from ignorance. It’s just a philosophy. No need to take so much offense to it, cause it isn’t that serious to bash someones belief, motivations, or career choice.

    You should really stop…..think….look in the mirror….then reflect.

  8. IMA SAVE THE WORLD BY MAKIN GRAPHICS I WANNA WEAR, FUCK THAT. AND FUCKA HATER. ON SOME REAL TALK, IF YOU CAN’T SEE WITTYNESS IN THE LINE, OR THE WINDOW OF WHO WE ARE AND WHERE WE COME FROM THRU IT, THEN ITS OBVIOUSLY OVER YOUR HEAD. GO BUY WHAT YOU LIKE. END OF STORY MOVE ON.

    SCIFEN NYC AND L.A. AND EVERYWHERE INBETWEEN.

  9. the window of who you are is the same avenue from where I criticize. the only science in your brand is mocking hip hop pop culture, and theres nothing infinite in its scope other than your own prosperity and wealth. the only substance your line carries is plasticol ink. the aesthetic looks like the line belongs in walmart. who wears that shit? oh, people who get it for free in exchange for pictures you use in advertisements…and since when did dissing scifen become equivalent to representing nazi’s and the kkk? did I wake up scifen’s p.r. team? scifen = toys. bunch of fashion boobs jockin their own ‘good taste and witt’ and callin it art. hah!!

    hate.hate.hate.hate.hate.hate.hate.
    WORLDWIDE.

  10. Someone sounds like they got pee in their pimp cup, or their brand got dissed on DBTHB.com

    You had your chance to speak like a mature adult instead you let your hatred and jealousy show. No more time spent on you now. Sit back and watch from here on out. I got kmart style art to draw instead of arguing with you.

    The funny part of all of this is you types are so conditioned to liking the “real” wack brands out there that out of the blue when something with substance arrises you don’t know how to react to it other then with hatred. Kicking and screaming we will eventually see you on the other side.

    SIDE NOTE: When NAS raps about livin the lavish life and money, that’s not real Hip Hop? It’s only when Young Jeezy or Jim Jones talk about it that’s it becomes corny. It’s all context my crabby friend. Get your glasses fixed before you look at my work. Figure out which direction is up before you try to come down on my work, you probably own gear I’ve done for other brands and don’t even know it.

    Happy New Year.

    http://WWW.MR-EWOKONE.COM

  11. get over yourself broh, save me the predictable nostalgic underground hip hop ego guy who never had his work criticized. you deal with yes men all day son. the world is bigger than rap, graffiti and bboys you doofs. hip hop is dead you crabby crab. go eat a cracker you bourgesie hip hop spoof. circus clowns should be your next tshirt design.

  12. as a true nyc hip hop head ,and original member of 5MH,scifen stands for what we stand for as a crew..HIP HOP in it’s TRUEST form…no waterdowned substances or tainted visions,,,our styles are ALL original and you can see that in everything we do,,from our music to our fashion to our designs and flows,,,its all about REALNESS and that’s whats SCIFEN is all about…
    So dont be a slave to fashion ,,,Be true,,
    ROCK SCIFEN…!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. THE CLOWNS THAT WEAR SCIFEN ARE PRETTY ILL KID. I’D LIKE TO SEE THAT CAT COME UP WITH SOME SHIT.

    SCIFEN….NEEDS TO HAVE HOODIES IN SMALL FOR THE B GIRLS NAHMEAN?

  14. SCIFEN YALL NEED A SPOT IN THE CHI WHEN WILL THAT POP…..? I NEED SCIFEN IN MY LIFE…..

    PEACE

    BRIBERS ICE CREAM MUL BBOY/ DJ NICKTRACY

  15. yo as hip hop connoisseur, the brand is dope, it is exactly what hip hop represents, when you take a look at the game now you see hip hop aint what it used to be, back then everything was original, creative, and niggas could relate everywhere, now when you look at the game it’s all a gimmick, when nas talks about stacking his paper and what different type of chick he has, he’s doing something that tupac was doing, they are contradicting themselve’s, but, they are real at the same time,when wack ass niggas like dip set come out all the talk about is crack and polluting the streets which are already infested with ill’s of a poverished life, scifen is defing the hip hop culture as a whole, they say they grew up with hip hop and were b boy’s since day 1, you can see clearly that what they are doing……they are representing something that has been forgotten about, abused and dismissed, that is hip hop in it’s truest form. It’s good to see ya’ll boi’s on the west coast reppin’ like that, philly backs ya’ll all the way, fuck the haters, haters are only people who delayed there dreams and now somebody has the same idea as them but the only difference is they actually are doing it. Hip Hop is dead and the game is a gimmick right now, people who are trying to ressurect it are real niggas. real recognize real, and real appreciates that.

    Teddypop (hip hop artist/ ceo of innovative music)

  16. Design and fashion aside, I am wondering what type of labor Scifen sources it’s clothing from. I bought the Iced Out teeshirt and the tag says Made in China, which obviously does not necessarily mean the garmet was made under un-fair labor practices, but it’s a possiblity with an outsourced product of any kind. Also, does any of the profit go into charity/community programs/non-profit work? Are there plans for an organic cotton/hemp line to promote some sort of sustainability and social responsiblity, or is Scifen not interested in these topics?

    If Scifen’s target market is in fact, more of an open-minded and intelligent market, then I would assume people interested in their products have asked the some similar questions.

    P.S. I’m not hating on Yak or Ewok, they are both talented and influential artists in my book. I am simply just another person asking legitiment questions and wondering where my and other folks’ money is going.

  17. When you were in high school going to college and that crap, did you get your bachelors in fashion or apparel design? Or did you just pave the way from your creativity with the help of others. I’m tryna start something, I got my A.A. but college is wasting my time, all i do is think of ideas in my sketch pad any my computer, when i goto class, im doing the same thing. How did you do it when you first started. I would appreciate it. Thanks

  18. Sounded for a second like an old debate I had with a dude about breaking hip hop down by sub-genres. But the gear is official cuz it takes me back to my Puma baskets Lee suits and Scott goggles. Old wine in new bottles, or maybe old wine dusted off bottles.

    hot though

  19. Wow, I love how EWOK haandled that hater, like a catr playing with a mouse. I envy that silly shit. Im always arguing with nuckle heads on message boards, ha!

  20. I kind of agree with some shit haterade said, but not in a negative way. I like the scifen shirts, and I like ewok’s shit, but its true that there are more valiant efforts could be made to truly go after your theme of inspiring knowledge in the masses.

    Like it or not, you have to step outside of your brand sometimes and see how others perceive it, in order to go back to the drawing board and see if the masses get your message – I think you can make a stand and do your thing through clothes, just make sure you monitor your message through someone else’s window.

    My 2 cents. But on that note i do need some scifen tee’s.

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