Aside from my passion for film and music I have always been involved in making garments for myself. At School I would hand paint t-shirts at collage I would create images that could be heat pressed onto shirts.
At 17 years old I was introduced to the world of screen printing and got to meet Tony from AM SCREENPRINT. He still runs the company based in Redditch. I started creating some designs which he printed and brought to life. To this day I still use his company.
Over the years I created lots of designs of shirts that I would sell amongst friends or at events, there was a time me and legendary artist A.Dee also known as the Artful Dodger would put stuff out together. Everything we did was aimed at the hip hop market. Going back into the 90s era we very influenced by Star Wars in a lot of our creations.
These were the days that I really didn’t pay too much attention to the way I personally dressed I was more interested in the creating rather than paying attention to fashion.
Its only when I got divorced that things took a turn. One thing my ex commented on that was she didn’t really like the way I dressed most of the time. Thinking that if that meant so much to her I through all my clothes away in a effort to save my marriage. That made no difference at all. So I was left without a wardrobe.
Entering that dark space most people go through I just went about re-inventing myself. I would head over to TK Max and dig for clothes. Amongst my close friends we set some rules. I could not spend more that £10 on a shirt or £20 on pair of jeans, this made things very interesting for me. I started to pick out stuff, but at the same time started to notice how the styles of shirts have changed. The days of Fruit of the loom shirts are over, there are better quality garments being offered at affordable price now.
Another thing was that I was spending a lot more time round my parents now, seeing them and hanging around. For the first time in my life I started to notice the textile work my mother had been doing and was so passionate about long before I was born. These are the things we often don’t notice and take for granted. She has this embroidery machine that she is into that she would make clothing for the grandchildren. It’s a digital machine driven by a USB stick. I had already been getting king of the beats and Diggers hats / jackets being embroided by AM Screen Print.
I just wondered if it would be possible to put my logo onto one off pieces for my self using her machine. Like I said times have changed and my tastes and dress changed. I still want to have a connection to the music and culture I love but I just want to appear a bit smarter and well dressed to how I used to be.
I would dig for garments shirts / boots in stores like TK Max that were unbranded and customize them making them my own. I now have a wardrobe full of out fits that Ive created and personalized. This went pretty far to a point where I started to create pieces for Diamond D, Break Beat Lou, Jazzy Jay, Tha 4orce and Large Pro. I didn’t do this alone, I would do these with the help of my mother.
Now that my parents are getting on, My mother in her 70’s this has brought us together, It keeps her mind active keeps her creative, plus she become somewhat of celebrity among my hip hop friends. It made her very proud to see artists wearing her creations, items she hand made for them. You can see the Biker style jackets we created inspired by the pre Hip Hop gangs of New York on my Instagram.
I have been doing this for some years now, and the reason I wanted to write this article was that in this day and age where there not as many outlets supporting creatives as there used to be, I feel like I have to document my own journey as if I don’t then no one will.
Ive offered on my site before the service of custom pieces to the public, it bothers me that people that within this scene there is such little support for this type of creativity. I can only thank the likes of Diamond D, Jazzy, Breakbeat Lou and those artists that are up on it and embrace this.
As graffiti artist and coming from the 80s I was involved in the tagging scene and putting my name all over. As an artist your always thinking about how to take things and push your ideas further. My latest creating in ‘GrandGarm Bombing’. Where I have been putting my customized items into the market place. By purchasing items, customizing them then returning them to the stores. Now some lucky person may not be even into this hip hop thing has purchased a dope shirt that infact was created by me. Now that is tagging at another level. So if you do find one my pieces consider your self one lucky DIGGER
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