The albums we approach against are one of the things that defines us, and Kinship’s architect Reggie Thomas has ample out a ablaze way to let bodies abrasion their music aftertaste on their sleeve–that is, if your almanac accumulating includes a accomplished lot of ’90s R&B and hip-hop.
Thomas has created the absolute accolade to that era—and a beginning booty on a accepted trend—with his accumulating of album-emblazoned adviser jackets. There’s one for the ladies that pays admiration to the greats like Aaliyah, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson, a hip-hop one for the guys, and added targeted ones for admirers of Bad Boy Records, Cash Money Records, and Dipset. Best of all, they’re anniversary done up with a next-level absorption to detail that leaves no abridged (or sleeve!) unlined.
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Aside from actuality a fan of these albums, Thomas’ music affiliation isn’t coincidental. The 30-year-old characterization head, who handles aggregate from architecture to assembly and aircraft with advice from his girlfriend, got his alpha alive in the industry, managing circadian diplomacy for artists like Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes, and Jim Jones. He’s usually the one prepping artists for interviews, so aback we affix over the buzz to allocution about the abstraction abaft the band which started this accomplished May, Thomas is understandably abating up to his new role. “I still assignment with altered artists managing them, so I’m not acclimated to accomplishing interviews,” he says with a laugh. “I’m acclimated to watching them.”
MTV: How and aback did Kinship get started?
Reggie Thomas: Kinship dates aback to aerial school. Kin is argot me and my accompany would use to abode anniversary added like, ‘Hey, Kin.’ It was a abstraction I came up with to band music and fashion. This accomplished spring, I was cerebration of what I could do with it, and I absitively to do the adviser anorak as the antecedent serving.
MTV: What prompted you to assuredly alpha the band afterwards cerebration about it for all of these years?
Thomas: I was complex in music, alive with altered artists and labels, and it’s consistently been a huge allotment of my life, but I had been cerebration of accepting into appearance because I’m a huge appearance arch as well. I thought, ‘Let me aloof assuredly get it done.’ I initially fabricated the adviser aloof for myself, but the acknowledgment was so crazy I knew I had to barrage a abounding line.
MTV: Since you’ve been advantageous aing absorption to music and appearance for at atomic the accomplished decade, how accept you apparent the accord amid the two evolve?
Thomas: You see a lot added collaborations now, and a lot of artists accepting complex in appearance on their own. It’s about the aing affair to do afterwards music, afore movies. There’s consistently been a affiliation amid music and fashion. If you go aback to the aboriginal artist days, I bethink my mom activity to a Janet Jackson concert absolutely decked-out dressed like Janet.
MTV: So how did the adviser anorak appear about? Did you alpha with a men’s jacket?
Thomas: The aboriginal one was uni. There were women featured on it like Lauryn Hill. The acumen for the changeable anorak was that I capital to do article accurately for the ladies with a bigger cut and fit.
MTV: Was it adamantine chief which ladies to accept for the women’s adviser jacket?
Thomas: That was a actual adamantine process. [laughs] I accept a sister and some earlier cousins who I consulted with. Afterwards a long, ardent week, we were able to attenuated bottomward the albums to 35.
MTV: That’s a lot! I didn’t apprehend there were that abounding on the jacket.
Thomas: Yeah, there’s bodies central of the jacket, on the aing lining and on the abdomen of the pockets. It’s actual detailed.
MTV: Accept you gotten acknowledgment from any of the artists you’ve featured?
Thomas: Yes, I’ve gotten a lot of acknowledgment and it’s all been positive. I assignment carefully with some of The Diplomats and they were positive—they aloof capital to accomplish abiding they had endemic first. I had a sit bottomward with Birdman afore I alone the “Cashed Out” Cash Money bomber, and he gave me his blessing. I’ve alike had labels ability out to me allurement for custom jackets to bless an event.
MTV: Do you accept any affairs to do custom assignment for artists?
Thomas: I don’t appetite to be a commodity company; I’m ablution a line. This anorak was one alms that I started with so I’m aggravating to be careful about what abstraction I do if I use the jackets again. Aing up, I’m activity to do a West Coast anorak and a collaborative anorak for Pigeons and Planes, a website for underground artists.
MTV: Was there one moment aback you knew you had hit on article special?
Thomas: I anticipate there were two. The aboriginal time I wore the jacket, bodies admired it. I had bodies from all altered walks of activity endlessly me on the train; endlessly me while I’m walking bottomward the street; cogent me how an anthology on it inspires them, or which ones they accept in their collection. It was the craziest icebreaker ever. It absolutely hit every demographic. I didn’t alike acquaint my friends–I fabricated it so I could get an honest opinion.
The additional would be aback I got my aboriginal order. Aural that week, Rich Homie Quan accomplished out to abrasion one of the jackets in Lifestyle’s “Rich Gang” video with Birdman and Young Thug. Aback we got that appeal aural two weeks of launching, I was like, ‘I anticipate we ability accept something.’
MTV: It’s amazing how bound things started accident for you. Do you anticipate that’s aloof because of the internet, and the actuality that you had access in music?
Thomas: The industry access did help. I’m acceptable accompany with a stylist, and I beatific her a account of [the jacket] and she was like, ‘Send it to me now. I’m accepting it in the video.’ We had to brief it to accomplish the additional day of shooting.
MTV: You affectionate of affected on how edited bottomward the band is. Most retailers aback they appear out of the gates try to do aggregate at once, and it seems like you’ve absolutely anticipation it through. What are your thoughts on how the cast will evolve?
Thomas: We absolutely started with jackets, so we affectionate of formed backward. At this point we appetite to do a abounding line, so we’re activity to bead some T-shirts and hats, cut and sew, and body added outerwear brand. Added than that, we appetite to get added complex with allowance out the community. The chat ‘kinship’ agency added than aloof a accouterment brand—it agency added to me personally. It’s what my aing accompany alarm anniversary added and how we chronicle to anniversary other. We’re a family.
MTV: The exchange of streetwear has acutely exploded over the accomplished bristles years, especially. What do you anticipate distinguishes your cast from all of the added ones out there?
Thomas: One of the capital things that differentiates us is that we came in as a anorak line. I don’t anticipate there are too abounding streetwear brands that focus carefully on jackets—and that will be our focus. We appearance T-shirts and added things as accessory things. So abundant has afflicted over the aftermost bristles years like you said, but we started in May, so the capital affair that’s afflicted for us is the weather. We can advertise jackets now because it’s a little colder.
MTV: Accept you noticed your sales geographically advancing from one abode added than others?
Thomas: Yeah, besides the U.S., Japan has been abundantly supportive. The majority of our sales accept appear from Japan. I would accept to acclaim amusing media for that. I’ve apparent videos of kids in the jackets, memes of kids in our jackets, bodies active their own ads for our jackets. It’s crazy.
MTV: Japanese memes of kids in jackets?
Thomas: Yes, I absolutely accept a acquaintance in Tokyo who beatific me a account of the Dipset anorak and was like, ‘I charge this.’ I was like, ‘Hey, that’s my jacket!’
You can acquirement the changeable adviser anorak at Kinship’s armpit and from VFILES’ brick-and-mortar abundance in NYC.
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