Knowing I could never afford the clothes on the backs of high profile celebrities, I always thought of streetwear as the intricately hung clothes behind the storefront window in SoHo and the box logo tees that were the gates to a distinguished boy’s club that everyone else was part of, except me. Hence, streetwear was a paradoxical narrative of exclusivity and ubiquity. Brand names ran pervasive throughout my surroundings, but only those who could afford ‘preme were worthy enough to sport ‘preme. My experience as an intern at STEADY, however, suggested otherwise about my perceptions of streetwear as an entirely elitist culture. Streetwear, instead, is a community of mutual appreciation and respect for all things street. In other words, an hour-long chill session on an Ikea sofa in a sparcely air-conditioned space in 80 degree weather.
After all, you fuck with them, they fuck with you.
I didn’t just build Ikea furniture and count the inventory. I was able to interact with the community, the loyal following that STEADY had built throughout the years. From Cal’s homies to Adam’s brothers, people came to support not only the brand, but the people behind it as well. Those who may have seemed out-of-place were received as kindred spirits. The good-vibes-only atmosphere in the store cementing an inner sense of appreciation for a community so loyal and supportive, like “hey, I’m your friend and I’m here to support you, but I’m also gonna buy your stuff because it looks dope”-supportive.
So to Cal, Adam, Mos, and everyone else who has shaped my experience at STEADY: thanks for shattering those windows and tearing down those gates. I am humbled to be part of a brand that brings streetwear back to where it belongs.
Text/Video: E. Arakawa // Photos: S. Wang