As promised, Kix and the City presents, the much anticipated, Part II of our interview with the Reed Space’s founder jeffstaple. In this second and final part, jeff shares his vision for the future of the Reed Space, as well as, his thoughts on the global boutique scene, BBC, BAPE, and of course, Nike ID. Click more for the entire interview.
KATC: I have read several of your past interviews, as well as the posts on your world famous blog. You have mentioned that you find it weird that people care about what you do enough to actually interview you. Why do you find that weird?
JS: Because we are just working, we are not trying to create something cool to be honest, we are just clocking in and clocking out, doing our job. I think if you were to ask some of the new guys, what they do, they are really trying to be cool. Thatâ€™s why I find it weird when peopleinterview us. Iâ€™ve spoken with James at Supreme about this as well, all we do is work, to us, itâ€™s just a job. We are blessed and honored that people want to talk about it.
KATC: Why do you think that people WANT to talk about what you do and WANT to know about your life?
JS: I think that one of the reasons why people might like the blog, and some of my interviews, is because I always try to give a little bit of insight from the other side of the fence, if you will. Not that I want to alienate the companies and make them sound stupid, because they are not they are just being companies, but I like to let the kids know that they are being targeted. Like the Easter Air Force 1, to get back to that, its not happening because someone on the design team was super into Easter or they did it because they felt a strong connection to the holiday. They did because they look like BAPES. There is no deep religious meaning behind it. They did it because people will line up to buy them because they kind of look like BAPES. Itâ€™s BAPE biting Nike and Nike biting back.
KATC: I remember when I picked up the â€™05 Easter Air Force 1, which was around the time that BAPE started catching on a little bit more. I said the same thing to myself, â€œthese look like BAPES.â€
JS: The genius of BAPE and the genius behind Nigo is that hewas really able, for lack of a better term, to pull the wool over everyoneâ€™eyes. Those are bootleg Air Force1s. You can walk one block to Delancey and pick up a pair of bootleg Air Force 1s, but he really did it. I give him MAD PROPS for being able to be like â€œthese are bootleg Air Force 1s, stand in line and pay $300 for these jointsâ€. Itâ€™s crazy.
KATC: What do you think contributed to his ability to do that?
JS: If you could bottle that [stuff], Iâ€™d buy it. I donâ€™t know, itâ€™s phenomenal.
KATC: What do you think about BAPEâ€™S contribution to the boutique space, the way he designs his shops, and what do you think about the brands contribution to street wear as a whole?
JS: I donâ€™t really think he contributed anything, heâ€™s justreal Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop has always been appropriating luxury and the high life and blending it with street culture. Heâ€™s just doing the same thing. What he was able to do real well though was rather than scrape the surface of the street, he was able to dig real deep and get the KAWSâ€™s, ESPOSâ€™s, and FUTURAâ€™s and for the high end, he just didnâ€™t buy Louis Vuiton bags and cut them up, he actually didcollaborations with Louis Vuiton. Thatâ€™s what he gets props for, really legitimizing it.
KATC: What do you think about the designs of his retail spaces?
JS: Amazing. Its nothim though, it’s his architect WONDERWALL. He had the vision to hire him so I give him props for that. You have to give props to ALIFE as well for doing thesame thing. Taking something that is so simple and coveting and worshiping
KATC: Whatâ€™s next for the Reed Space, you have just expanded you space here, congratulations on that, what else is next?
JS: Reed Space Tokyo is coming in 2006. The emphasis on Reed Space in Japan will be more so on the books, magazines, and the culture. I feel like that is what is missing over there.
KATC: Will you bring American culture there or are you going to build on their own existing culture?
JS: Both. I just feel like there is so much fashion there but what they are lacking is the substance behind the fashion and the trends. After that we are doing something in Europe and then a second Reed Space in America. The grand scheme, 20 year goal, is that eventually, rather than me having to deal with the department stores of America, I would literally just sprinkle Reed Spaceâ€™s all over the land and together you
would have this network going, like a college campus idea. Each Reed Space is like a campus that they could then connect and form a University learning center. What that adds up to, is really simplified passing of information, which goes back to what Mr. Reed taught me. If some cat is the illest painter in Denver,but he can’t get his mindset out of Denver, well if we opened a Reed Space in Denver he could go there which then pushes him to Chicago, to Detroit, to NewYork and then to Tokyo. Thatâ€™s the long long term goal for the Reed Space.
KATC: Why Tokyo first?
JS: I think it just makes the most sense. We are big there, most of our business comes from there, the customers there are really open minded. It wouldnâ€™t make sense to open our second shopin, no offense, Memphis, because they arenâ€™t as open minded there.The other parts of America are much more closed minded, they need more verification that it is cool. We are also trying to bring the vibe of Reed Space NY to
Tokyo, it is going to be an exact replica. We donâ€™t want that real Japanese aesthetic.
KATC: What is the major difference between the boutique scene in Tokyo as compared to ours here?
JS: Itâ€™s so much doper out there. Itâ€™s incomparable. They do it so much better out there.
KATC: Do you feel there are any specific cultural factors that attribute to that?
JS: Of course, they are just more on point then we are. We are just lazy in comparison, that’s the bottom line. We are lazy and we donâ€™thave the patience. Even A Bathing Ape, I was very interested when BAPE opened in New York to see if it would be as on point as it is in Japan,and itâ€™s not. Itâ€™s nowhere near it. If I was Nigo I would be driving myself insane. Walls are scuffed, the upstairs carpet is filthy, there is lint everywhere, its disgusting. I mean its beautiful on an American level but if you looked at any BAPE store in Japan, the New York shop looks like a junk house, its crap in comparison.
KATC: Interesting, along the same lines, what do you think about BBC?
JS: I donâ€™t know. I think again, I donâ€™t know. Sometimes I look at some of the stuff, like those ICE CREAM shoes, are so bad. They are so bad that I almost wonder if Pharrell is making a social commentary, because he is smart enough to do it, and it would be genius if he did. Like, I am going to take this piece of manure and put a BAPE head on it just to see how much we could charge for it. If he did that it would be cool.
KATC: I agree it would be crazy if it were a some sort of social commentary. Do you have any pearls of wisdom for the readers out there that are interested in creating their own boutique or clothing line?
JS: Itâ€™s a clichÃ© to say keep it real, but honestly, keep it real, just be honest with yourself. Donâ€™t do it because itâ€™s the trend of the moment, do what you love and live your life. I think one of the problems now is that a lot of the brands look so similar, but by virtue of us all living different lives, things should just come out different. A good example is Aron from aNYthing, his lifestyle and my lifestyle could possibly be the most opposite ways of living that you could possibly have, but I respect him because he, hard-core, lives and loves his lifestyle and he doesnâ€™t front on that. He exposes that through his creations as well. Thatâ€™s why there is room in the world for a STAPLE and an aNYthing. Just keep it real.
KATC: You know I have to ask you, Nike ID, not feeling it?
JS: Well, the 255 space, I really like a lot. I just think that for sneakerheads or sneaker connoisseurs if you willâ€¦
KATC: I have developed a new term, I call it â€œsneaker illuminatiâ€…
JS: Wow, whoâ€™s that? Thatâ€™s like seven dudes in the worldâ€¦
KATC: Well I consider people like Hiroshi, yourself, Bobitto, obviously Tinker…
JS: Wow. You should coin that phrase I have never heard that before.
KATC: Well there is a difference between a sneakerhead, a sneaker connoisseur, and the sneaker illuminati. The sneaker illuminati can break it down from multiple perspectives, historical, design, etc. Not everyone can do that.
KATC: But back to the question, Nike IDâ€¦.
JS: I feel like its great for some people, like my mom. Nike ID is great for my mom. I donâ€™t understand when sneakerheads get amped off of ID. Even if you manage to make a great colorway, I just donâ€™t get it. I would go to 255 for the experience. I just donâ€™t feel like that feeling when you put on an ID, people being like â€œyo whereâ€™d you get those?â€ And your like, â€œI made them at home, you can make them to!â€
KATC: I myself have a huge beef with recent Nike ID â€œcollaborationsâ€. Anyone could come up with those 10 of 10 designs at the studioâ€¦
KATC: What do you think of artificially limiting sneakers?
JS: Itâ€™s dead. To force a limit was an interesting concept 10 years ago. People are going to stop collecting, people are going to want to rock their [sneakers] again. I am friends with AirRev, who used to be a moderator at Niketalk, and he said it best â€œI donâ€™t care about the Supreme Dunks because they made 300 pairs and I guarantee that right now that there are 298 mint supreme dunks sitting somewhere in the world, two kids have decided to wear themâ€. The things that they are putting out now, are going to stay mint.
KATC: So we know the past, the present and the future of the Reed Space do you have anything else you would like to tell people?
JS: I just hope that the kids realize that itâ€™s not about the products and the commodities. At the end of the day, and Bob (Bobbito) says it â€œItâ€™s not about the shoes itâ€™s about the peopleâ€, and it is, itâ€™s about the people.
I again would like to thank jeff for sitting down with me for this interview. Vive le Revolucion!
If you missed Part I Click Here.