SoJones covered Rocksmith Tokyo earlier this year when we met the brand at the MAGIC Convention. If you still remember the Rok and Notorious 81 t-shirts worn everywhere by A-list celebrities, from Jay-Z to Lil Wayne, they’re Rocksmith tees, and now you can virtually meet the creators. Erik Marino of Rocksmith Tokyo talks to SoJones about this hot streetwear brand.
Introduce yourself and describe how your brand was started?
My name is Erik Marino, Co-Founder/Director of Rocksmith. My business partner Kenshin Ichikawa and myself both designed for major NYC based clothing companies and record labels in the early 2000’s, all the while learning the in’s and out’s of the game. It was in 2004 that Kenshin convinced me via ichat to quit my design job and move to Tokyo because he was out there to create Rocksmith. At the time the phrase “Rocksmith” was a staple chant on Tokyo radio, hip hop clubs and mixtapes by Japanese record label, The Life Entertainment, who Kenshin had worked with via Tokyo FM. The idea was simple: We (Kilo International), developed the visual and apparel interpretation of an audio lifestyle that was on the Tokyo airwaves. “Rocksmith” was Hip Hop before it was clothing. The year 2004 marked the launch of the full collection in Japan and shortly after, in 2005, we introduced it to the top indie boutiques in the USA. Over the past 3 years we have been building one of the most talented teams in the game.
Rocksmith is Japanese street couture blended with New York City swagger. The brand started international, as opposed to becoming international. As designers, we design our clothing to basically be your wingman. It’s that one fly detail or nostalgic graphic that helps start the convo—the rest is on you. To sample the iconic Vidal Sassoon: “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.”
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 of the brand remains the same since day one: Rocksmith is developed as “the ultimate Mixtape of classic and futuristic cuts, fabrics, music styles and attitude”. Thematically we celebrate the fusion of the Hip Hop, Skate, Punk, Rock, Dance Music cultures of past and present. The lines have blurred, this generation next, is a fan of all of the above. This particular Rocksmith Fall season consist of wovens, outerwear and knits in a earth tone palette using details like suede and corduroy for that ruff rugged and raw. The graphic tee mix is inspired by Biggie, Nirvana, Wu-Tang, Kanye, D.O.A., N.E.R.D, Gucci Mane, Onyx, Big Pun, Jay Z, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, women and Chinese beer.
Imma save it for another time, but we are also introducing this year, our partnership with The Wu-Tang Brand in the form of a Wu-Limited Holiday Capsule Collection.
Any product placements on celebs to keep an eye out for (examples: publicity photos, magazines, movies, music videos etc)
At our Brooklyn office, at least four or five celebs or rising music stars come thru every week to build and hang out. We support our homies grindin and they support us. This being said, The Product pops up all the time in press because our guests are doing their thing. When Wiz Khalifa got MTV emerging artist of the year, he was wearing Rocksmith in the interview with Sway. Terrence J constantly holds us down on 106th and Park and on the streets. Chris Brown, Diddy, Jay Z, Styles P, Lil Wayne, Raekwon, Mickey Factz, Curren$y, Theophilus London and at least a hundred others of music’s finest have been seen in Rocksmith. We have begun to shoot music videos, as well as Rocksmith Presents. The first video was Cory Gunz “Know my Name,” shot by ICU Lab.
What has been a surprise fashion hit over the last year? (a particular piece, a look or even another brand)
I’m not sure how much of a surprise it is but 90’s fashions have hit hard this year. Vintage snapback caps blew up early this year. Walking the streets of NYC or LA I feel like I’m watching MTV circa 1993 but if entire programming was mashed up. The Vans and skinny jeans, the Starter hats and satin jackets and flannels. Towards the later half of this year the Polo and rugby look are strong. Workwear, Americana, military can be seen across the board.
What current fashion trend would you like to see thrown overboard?
Tight jean shorts on men, popped collars, parachute pants on woman can all be gone.
What is/was one of your most prized fashion pieces, past or present?
My 2009 Rocksmith OG Varsity Jacket with distressed leather sleeves. It was hard to hold onto one when the demand hit. Every music artist we know wanted this jacket. Second place would be the only article of clothing I have from childhood, my Superman tee from age 5.
TuPac or Biggie?
A mixtape featuring both Tupac and Biggie by a producer from London or Tokyo or Dubai. That’s what we on, we international! No need to choose, it’s 2010 it doesn’t even need to be on hip hop beats…ha. As an east coast head I probably listen to Biggie more by default but always found Tupac to be a inspiration. We were blessed that both of them shared their art and lives with us.
If you’re loving Rocksmith Tokyo, their fantastic streetwear line is available at their official websita and on the online retailer Karmaloop, and these are the SoJones editor’s picks:
Rocksmith Apex Flannel Pullover, $84
Rocksmith Explicit Tank Top, $28
But, if you’re more into free stuff… rejoice because you can participate in the Rocksmith X SoJones.com Giveaways!
Rocksmith joins SoJones in this Friday’s Giveaway, and the label is giving out 2 (TWO) prizes for 2 (TWO) lucky SoJones readers.
The first prize is the awesome N.E.R.D. Tee in Red, made from 100% cotton and valued at $30 a piece.
The second prize is the 36 Chamber Crewneck in Heather Blue, also made from 100% cotton and valued at $68.
Here’s how it works:
1. Every SoJones comment posted on this page from November 5th – November 19th, 2010 counts as a “lottery entry”. Also make sure when you comment, have a link to somewhere we can contact you (like your SoJones account, your facebook, etc.). It makes it easier to contact you if you win.
2. Drawing for TWO winners will be held on November 20th, 2010. Winners will be announced on this page and on the forums page (http://www.sojones.com/forums/).
Article Comments Lottery Rules
One item per winner
Previous winners must wait 30 days before entering this contest
Duplicate comments will not count, like posting “I love this forum” or “hi” 50 times.
Garbage or nonsensical comments will not count, like “awr#$ASFasdfkl”
Comments hating on other people will definitely NOT count.
U.S. residents only
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