The streets of New York City embody an unequivocal vitality. The culture harnessed within the walls of the five boroughs is palpable, and it speaks to the masses through a litany of outlets. One of the most visible, which has been an undeniable staple – is fashion. Twon clothing emblazons their products with the icons reflective of life in the “Big Apple,” resulting in garments unique as it they are aesthetically deft. One shirt boasts the infamous NewPort cigarette green and white as a vibrant backdrop to the silhouette of the skyline. Corey Ng, Sales Director at Twon, discussed the genesis of the company with Format; from graffiti riddled brick walls to Canal St.

“If someone’s bootlegging your shit that means you’ve made it, because it deserves to be bootlegged. If someone bootlegs our stuff, I’d be honored because that means that it was good enough for someone to talk it and then make money off of it.“

Format: What does “Twon” mean?
Corey Ng: Twon evolved from two N’s, the number two, and an “N.” We started back in 1999 as a graffiti crew, so we’ve been doing it for nine years now. We evolved with the name and started spelling it out as “Twon” and we stuck with it (in like 2002 or 2003). And pretty much, back then we were young, so the two N’s represented two nice, or too “nyce.”

Format: How did New York City influenced the designs?
Corey Ng: I mean, this our first season ever, and you can tell from our designs we’re very New York based right now. We’re all about New York street culture, downtown culture, LES China Town influenced us a lot- I mean, everything that’s happening in China Town and LES the whole hip-hop scene here. Graffiti, as of right now we’re straying away from it, but that’s what we were brought up on as kids. Like all the LES crews.


Format: How many people do you have working on the clothing designs?
Corey Ng: Right now we’re just starting off. I have a Creative Director named Wing Li. He’s basically generating most of the designs and it’s also a collaborative effort with the rest of the organization, which consists of only five people right now. It’s definitely grass roots, this is our first season and I think we’re doing real good. We’re getting ready for the next season to come out soon, and we’ll see where it goes from there.

Format: What message are you trying to convey through the clothes? Corey Ng: We’re not trying to convey a specific message to those that wear the clothes. We’re more just representing the New York City street culture and what we experienced throughout our lives. I wouldn’t say it’s personal, but it’s what we know, what we learned growing up, what we see and other things that are happening in the New York area. Like, the “Client 9” shirt has to do with that whole Elliot Spitzer scandal and the skull, if you see it, it’s not a regular skull and crossbones. It has an Asian feel because we’re Chinese.


Format: I noticed you have a Canal Street shirt in the new line, what do you feel about bootlegging in general?
Corey Ng: I mean, bootlegging I feel personally there’s nothing wrong with bootlegging. If someone’s bootlegging your shit that means you’ve made it, because it deserves to be bootlegged. If someone bootlegs our stuff, I’d be honored because that means that it was good enough for someone to talk it and then make money off of it.

Format: How do you think music influences fashion?
Corey Ng: I think music has a huge influence on fashion. You see nowadays, especially in the street wear, the shirts have lyrics on it they have biggie, Tupac, Wu-Tang. The musicians and hip hop artists, they’re the ones who are going to be wearing your clothes, and so it influences us a lot.


Format: Has the new line generated a substantial buzz?
Corey Ng: Yes, the two shirts which have especially got us a buzz out there and on the block are the “New Port” and the “Canal” shirts. The Canal Street lV, it got us out. I was actually watching MTV the other day and someone was wearing the New Port shirt on the artists of the week thing.

Format: Are there mainstream artists who are willing to endorse TWON?
Corey Ng: As or right now, no. But we met Pete Rock and gave him some of our shit. We met U-God. Actually, U-God was in the studio last month with one of my boy’s friends, and he was wearing the “Canal” shirt, and U-God was like “Give those dudes a call, I want that shirt right now,” so we headed over. He was in the middle of recording his album, so we had a little meet and greet and we gave him some stuff. We’ve met Just Blaze, and gave him some stuff. We don’t have any celebrities officially endorsing our stuff right now, but that’s always a possibility we’re very interested in doing things like that and of course we want celebrities to wear our stuff.


Format: Where are the clothes currently available?
Corey Ng: Well, we have a new website, we’re out in boutiques like Union New York, Union Los Angeles, in Miami at Shoe Gallery…we have two stores in Hong Kong that carry our stuff and a store in Japan.

Format: Where do you see the trends in the fashion world heading?
Corey Ng: Honestly, a few years back when street wear started booming it was all overprints, crazy ass colours. And that’s when you see people with those 80s haircuts like flattops and shit, but I think in a few years… it will come back full circle where you’ll see people starting to wear more subtle stuff, more plain stuff, without all the crazy colours. But right now, I only see crazy rainbow colours all over the shirts, crazy shit with the sneakers, but it will be back to the plain style in a few years.


Format: Are the designs going to remain exclusive to New York, or does Twon look to make clothes that reflect the cultures of other major cities?
Corey Ng: Oh of course, we’re definitely going to diversify. The thing is, we’re always going to have those shirts that are New York because it’s where we’re from and its what we represent- but we’re going to move out. We have a store in Hong Kong- in the front it’s a boutique and in the back it’s a tattoo studio. So now that we have the clothes in Asia, we’re going to continue to diversify. But, we’re always going to have those one or two things that have that New York theme to it.

Format: What can we expect from Twon in the immediate future?
Corey Ng: In the immediate future we have stuff that’s going back to the graffiti. The trains back then were the red bird trains, the all red trains, and they don’t exist anymore. So, we’re going to have shirts paying tribute to them, representing all the old graffiti writers and what we used to do. We’re going to have a Street-Tech t-shirt, because the retro Street-Tech are really coming back into play right now. We’re going to be working with other artists also, and also other companies doing a ton of collaborations and stuff. Look for bigger lines because our first line is only five designs, but we’re going to be doing hoodies, crew necks, and other stuff like that. Crew necks are definitely going to come into play in the fall, I have a lot of people asking me about that. Word.


Nils Blondon

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  1. the tee that says new york with the skyline that looks like a pack of newports… genius. i’m surprised that no one has ever thought of that b4.

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