Europe has a huge hip hop fan base, and this time, our spotlight goes all the way to Stockholm, Sweden. We came across “I Do It For Hip Hop”, a streetwear brand taking its initial inspiration from Ludacris’ song. SoJones chatted with Faisal Khan, founder of the brand.
Introduce yourself and describe how your brand was started?
Hello brothers and sisters my name is Faisal Khan and I’m the Founder of “I Do It For Hip Hop”, I’m from Stockholm, Sweden which is in Northern Europe. I lived in London, UK between 2002 – 2009 where I studied Business and Marketing for three years and worked in various Marketing/ Sales job for four years.
The idea for “I Do It For Hip Hop” came to life after hearing the Ludacris song of the same name from the 2008 “Theater of the Mind” album. If you recall Ludacris raps about his love for Hip Hop with Nas and Jigga and this song was on repeat 24/7 on my sound system when it was released. Beside bumping it relentlessly I was thinking it would be a cool thing to have on a tee, I remember when Busta Rhymes dropped his song “Arab Money” some cats were quick to capitalize of it, there were numerous home made tee’s available on the web. So naturally I thought someone would have put out “I Do It For Hip Hop” tee’s already, I rinsed Google but to my astonishment no one had done it so I started to ball the idea in my head of printing my own tee’s just for myself to rock. This was at the end of 2008 and after visiting my native Sweden over the Christmas holidays I made the conscious decision to actually pursue it fulltime.
My idea for “I Do It For Hip Hop” is more than a tee, it’s a concept based brand that is well thought of and like all designers their brand is an extension of themselves and so is “I Do It For Hip Hop”. In the summer of 2009 I quit my job as a Marketing Coordinator in London and moved back to Sweden with a one year plan to develop my brand. I started by visiting the Mecca of Hip Hop, New York where I spent about six weeks studying the Hip Hop market and also get a vibe of the Big Apple. See here in Europe Hip Hop is an alternative culture where as in America it is popular culture, Hip Hop in Europe is more of a secret society while in America it is literally represented everywhere. Just to be exposed to this gave me a thousand ideas.
The “I Do It For Hip Hop” concept is simply – Food for Thought. I didn’t want to create another “cool” brand, I could easily taken the “money, guns, hoes” route but choose not to out of moral reasons and my values for Hip Hop. I like Hip Hop that stimulates the mind and it’s in this manner that I wish to brand my products.
The 2010 t-shirt collection consists of clean cut white tee’s with quotes that captivates people’s eyes. I’m really focused on getting the message across and if you look at the
“Word Up” tee there is a big statement saying “Hip Hop is so much more than words and beats without heart your soul is incomplete”, the idea behind this particular design to catch people’s eyes and maybe even start a discussion and I’m sure people will have something to say when they see this tee.
On another of the tee’s, “Word Is Bond”, I use quotes from rappers and even Obama. The Obama quote is quite self explanatory and powerful, “Hip Hop is not just a mirror of what is, it should be also be a reflection of what can be”. One of the many other quotes are “Feed the youth knowledge not guns and crimes” which is from an unnamed retired rapper. I think the words say it all.
Describe this season’s theme for your line. Include any sources of inspiration (examples: 80’s punk, muses like Amber Rose, 70’s disco bands, Kanye, etc)
The theme is best described – clean cut. White tee’s with bold text all over it, at the moment it is less graphic but like I mentioned earlier this is done to get the message out, I really want people to raise eye brows. I don’t have any particular sources of inspiration in terms of fashion, but I do have musical influences. I’m a 90’s head and that was my era in Hip Hop and this is clearly noticeable in how I design my t-shirt collection. To me the perfect song is an ill rhyme on an ill beat (preferably a cut up soul sample) similar I wanted the tee’s to be easy to comprehend.
Any product placements on celebs to keep an eye out for (examples: publicity photos, magazines, movies, music videos etc)
The brand is less than two months old so you are witnessing it at a very early stage, actually this is my first press interview so big up Sojones.com on that one! So far I have been able to place it on some Swedish rappers and have French and German profiles on the way, but that might be less relevant to the American market. But take my word for it I’ll be out in the States soon making my mark on Hip Hop! After all my motto is “5 Boroughs 5 Continents”.
What has been a surprise fashion hit over the last year? (a particular piece, a look or even another brand)
Everything in fashion is a surprise and innovative for the time being but as I see it fashion is all about going back to the future, figure out how to do that is the hard part.
What current fashion trend would you like to see thrown overboard?
Well something is always nice in someone’s eyes. Fashion is fashion it’s all about the creativity of the mind. Fashion like music is all about expression so if people accept it then it’s trendy in the eye of the beholder.
What is/was one of your most prized fashion pieces, past or present?
Thing with me is that I’m not an over fashionable dude when I do shopping I almost go for affordable and regular clothes, a few nice tee’s, regular denims, and cardigan’s in the winter. Honestly I don’t dress to impress sounds contradictory as I have a clothing line but I keep it simple. Style is all in the mind everything else are accessories.
TuPac or Biggie?
Damn this question put me on the spot! Being a 90’s cat I hold Pac and Biggie dearly to my heart. I can not take sides but what I can say is:
Tupac: The highest selling rap artist, and also the most marketable rapper of all time. Whether you are in Cali or in Sao Paulo, everyone knows Tupac and feels Tupac, because of his message. You can go to Cape Town or even Dhaka it’s the same thing. Now these people have no idea about Hip Hop as a whole, but through Pac’s message, Hip Hop has reached more people and influenced them. Tupac was a brother with a lot on his mind and he had the guts to express it to the world and that is why people respect him. Tupac R.I.P
Biggie: Lyrical genius. His rhymes, content, flow, and character all made him an artist and a man many people still can’t catch up with. Even till this day rappers are light years in back of him. I wish he had more recorded material, but Ready To Die is an all time classic. Biggie Smalls R.I.P.
If you are interested in learning more about “I Do It For Hip Hop” and purchase tee’s please visit www.idoitforhiphop.eu US orders are available. T-shirts are priced from $22 up to $26.
Be on the look out for the “I Do It For Hip Hop” blog dropping end of October. But in the meantime, you can win I Do It For Hip Hop gear, by participating in our giveaway!
I DO IT FOR HIP HOP GIVEAWAY!
I Do It For Hip Hop is excited to give away FOUR t-shirts (two men’s tees and two women’s tees) for FOUR lucky SoJones readers!
Here’s how it works:
1. Every SoJones comment posted on this page from October 15th – October 29th, 2010 counts as a “lottery entry”. Also make sure when you comment, have a link to somewhere we can contact you (like your SoJones account, your facebook, etc.). It makes it easier to contact you if you win.
2. Drawing for FOUR winners will be held on October 30th, 2010. Winners will be announced on this page and on the forums page (http://www.sojones.com/forums/).
Article Comments Lottery Rules
One item per winner
Previous winners must wait 30 days before entering this contest
Duplicate comments will not count, like posting “I love this forum” or “hi” 50 times.
Garbage or nonsensical comments will not count, like “awr#$ASFasdfkl”
Comments hating on other people will definitely NOT count.
U.S. residents only