Streetwyze is redefining the saying “Your clothing speaks for you”. Painting worded messages on clothing per request, the line has already ran into the closet of a few Hip Hop artists and rising in demand daily. Known for hanging out in the Urb1 fashion forums, it was only proper the clothing label’s owner spoke to the public about what they are doing. From Oakland to the world, take the stunnas off and read.
( URB1 ) WHAT’S GOOD RENCE? STREETWYZE? LETS START BY INTRODUCING WHO YOU ARE, WHAT YOU DO FOR STREETWYZE CLOTHING, AND HOW THE COMPANY IS DOING.
( STREETWYZE ) What’s up, Rod. My name is Clarence Nathaniel, also known as Rence. I am the founder, sole owner, and lead designer for Streetwyze. I started the company in Oakland, CA when I was a 16 year old high school student. I am now an 18 year old college student, and Streetwyze is still going strong. It’s already very popular in the Bay Area, and now it is becoming well known around the world. I’m just tryin to work hard and keep everything goin.
( URB1 ) GOOD TO HEAR YA’LL MOVING MAN. NOW LETS START OFF WITH THE NAME OF YOUR LABEL. WHAT EXACTLY DID THE NAME COME FROM? DOES IT HAVE PERSONAL MEANING TO YOU OTHERS MIGHT NOT RECOGNIZE?
( STREETWYZE ) When I first started doing custom clothing, I knew that I would need a name that would look good on the clothes, but also be a reflection of me. I’ve always been a pretty intelligent guy when it comes to school and fashion, so I started off by flirting with words like savvy, smarts, and knowledge. Eventually I came up with streetwise. To helped give it a more ‘urban’ look and set it apart from other companies using the name ‘streetwise,’ I changed the spelling to Streetwyze. For abbreviation purposes, I began using ‘SW,’ but don’t get it confused, the official spelling is still Streetwyze and not StreetWyze. As far as the meaning, I like to think of it as having a keen knowledge of the streets, yet being wyze enough to run a business at the same time.
( URB1 ) WHEN YOU STARTED YOUR LINE, DID YOU HAVE A VISION OR PATH YOU WANTED TO STAY WITHIN?
( STREETWYZE ) Absolutely. I’ve always admired clothing lines like Sean John and Rocawear, but a lot of the major clothing lines that you see in major department stores are lacking variety when it comes to colors and sizes. To avoid this, and to make clothing that was personal to each of my customers, my plan was to keep Streetwyze a custom clothing company; however, as the company grows and demand gets higher, I can see myself doing both custom work and mass productions of items.
( URB1 ) OVERALL, HOW MANY PIECES HAVE YOU DONE? I KNOW YOU CHANGE YOUR WEBSITE LAYOUT, AND ROTATE IN A WHOLE NEW SET OF PHOTOS, WHICH MEANS YOU HAVE AN EXTENSIVE PORTFOLIO OF WORK.
( STREETWYZE ) Over the years, I’ve done numerous pieces. I’ve done hundreds of men’s shirts, about 50 different jeans, and about 20 different shirts for the ladies. Many of the clothes pictured on the website are things that I’ve made for myself or close friends and family. I’ve done many other creative shirts for customers who elect not to have their designs shown on the site because they want it to be truly one of a kind.
( URB1 ) HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE A CUSTOMER TO GET THEIR PIECE AFTER THEY PUT IN THE REQUEST? AND HOW DETAILED CAN THE PIECE GET? I KNOW A LOT ARE INTERESTED IN CLOTHING WITH WORDS ALL OVER IT… CAN YOU MAKE THAT HAPPEN?
( STREETWYZE ) Most shirts take anywhere between 1 and 3 hours depending on the amount of words and the detail of the design. The volume of orders I have at a given time will determine the turnaround time. If I only have one item to make, I can probably create it and have it shipped the next day, but if I have numerous orders to fill, the turnaround time could take up to 3 days.
The clothing can be as detailed as the customer wants. The clothing you see on the site is not limited. It’s all made from scratch, so for just about every item, the wording and colors can be changed. For example, a lot of people like the shirt that says “F*ck Bush, and F*ck You If You Voted for Him.” If you want, you can replace “Bush” with “Kerry” and you could even choose to have every letter a different color. Some customers even send me pictures of shoes and hats that they want their item to match. I have paints and fabrics in every color you can imagine, so the possibilities are endless.
Oh and I’m feelin the style with the words all over the shirt. I think I saw Mase in a magazine with a shirt like that. I’m gonna have to brainstorm so I can come up with some wording that will look good and have some kind of meaning.
( URB1 ) WHAT’S THE MOST MEMORABLE PIECES YOU HAVE DONE? GIMME LIKE YOUR TOP 5 AND WHAT THE MESSAGE ON THE FINAL PRODUCT SAID.
( STREETWYZE ) I think the most memorable shirt I’ve ever done would have to be the $50 Reward Shirt. A lot of people put flyers on bulletin boards to offer a reward to people who may find their lost cat or dog. I took that concept and switched it to a reward for anyone who could dress better than me. When I first wore the shirt, the response was tremendous. I had several people come up to me trying to compete, then others just wanted to pull off the tabs.
Some of my other favorites are the “Go Down South” shirt (inspired by Ludacris, but remixed and improved by Streetwyze), the Lady Streetwyze tank top with the matching backpack, and the Wordsearch tee, where I put different words to describe myself in the form of a word search.
( URB1 ) WHAT LIMITATIONS TO CUSTOMERS HAVE ON THEIR CREATIONS? CAN THEY ADD GLITTER, RHINE STONES, DIAMONDS, OR WHATEVER THEY WANT?
( STREETWYZE ) There are really no limits when it comes to colors and sizes. I haven’t gotten into diamonds and rhinestones yet, but I use glitter very often. A lot of customers ask me to add glitter to some of their words to give their item that extra shine.
( URB1 ) ARTIST WISE, I KNOW YOU DO CLOTHING FOR A FEW NAMES IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY; WHO ARE THOSE PEOPLE? WHAT ARTIST(S) WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO SOME WORK FOR CURRENTLY?
( STREETWYZE ) The list of artists that I’ve worked with is getting longer and longer. The most notable people that I’ve done shirts for are Fat Joe and Chingy. The connection to Fat Joe was actually encouraged by good friend and urb1 model, Jehsikah Green.
A lot of people that I grew up with are making moves in the rap industry, so it’s only right that I do work for them. Some of those people include 4Deep (one of the most popular groups out of the Bay Area), Un Just (a nice MC out of Oakland), and his producer, Relly Rell. In exchange for clothes, they do promo songs for the website that also appear on their mixtapes. This helps spread the word for both parties. I’m also going to do some work with a new Bay Area group called “The Team”. They just signed a big distribution deal with Universal.
I think all the urb1 fashion forum members know that Jay-Z is my idol and favorite rapper, so even though he’s into the “grown man” look, I would be honored to make some shirts for him. I would also love to work with Ludacris, Lil Wayne, and 50.
( URB1 ) WELL, YOU KNOW HOW URB1 DOES… THE SHORT I-VIEW SO PEOPLE DON’T HAVE TO SCROLL DOWN 2 PAGE. THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME OUT TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS RENCE, AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO HITTING YOU IN THE FUTURE AS WE BOTH MOVE FORWARD.
( STREETWYZE ) Before I go, I just wanna say thanks to you Rod. You’re doin it real big wit the website and magazine. I really appreciate you lookin out for me and Streetwyze, and I look forward to working wit you in the future.