The hypebeast world is just a culture compendium. Maybe compendium is the wrong word. That word suggests it’s almost a collection of similar things. The hype beast world mashes different cultures, and is equal parts hiphop, street art, high art, skate culture, and more. It’s high class and low brow all at once.
It’s both elite and open, but it all somehow works. It reflects subculture’s revolver picking up turnstile speed, launching into mainstream society. It’s convergence culture in a capsule that’s far more expansive than the term capsule suggests, and can be scumbag luxe TMZ fodder and Greenwich art show catered by Wolfgang and Mario all at once. Bringing all this together is what “streetwear” reflects. My homie Greg Selkoe calls it “Verge Culture” – crafted by the kids brought up on the internet, born in the 80’s, raised in the 90’s – and progressed by it’s second wave of millennial babies.
In this world the 4 eyed man is king, and the Gods have more in common with Dr. Frankenstein and Andy Warhol than a traditional “white bearded one”.
The lines have been blurred. Warhol’s “pop art” movement that started decades back is the only genre of art that exists, because it’s so fucking expansive.
Graphics have always been a key ingredient in this mix – it began with skate lines sold in CCS in the early 90’s, stickers and patches and one off rad shit you couldn’t even get unless you got it. Supreme was one of the first of this wave, made by and for the Manhattan and borough kids who grinded the rails and listened to punk and rap. Asia set it off in the late 90’s with BAPE and EVISU, NYC’s hiphop wave went next, with rappers putting out lines and drops pretty frequently. The graphic T-shirt has eventually become synonymous with streetwear. Sneakers, especially basketball ones, were the next wave of this, with humanity clamoring for the rarest Jordan sneaker across the globe, and paying top dollar for the ideal set.
Enter designer Jeff Cole. Cole, from the Chicago area, is exactly the kid I’m talking about. He is bringing pop culture references into the fold in a new way, blending sneaker designs with the most recognizable characters from movies, television and video games. And a lot of it is 90’s based.
A designer and artist by background, he’s been responsible for Dr. Frankensteining Verge Culture in a way that evolves Warhol’s “pop art” in the perfect way. YEEZY Lamborghini – the final results are intricately made, visually compelling, and completely perfect for Instagram. Cole’s account is garnering quite a bit of attention from kids who love seeing his original Air Jordan x Superhero mashups, but also celebrities who want to hang his work in their walls, and brands like Nike / Jordan who are interested in how he is re-imagining their products.
Cole and I chopped it up this week. Now you can be a fly on the wall of that discussion. He’s dope as hell, and this is just the start with us. Ladies & Gentleman, here’s the official interview with the mad scientist himself.
1. Cole! what’s up brother? Give me a little backdrop capsule on you- where are you from, and how did you grow up?