The idea behind Fashion Spotlight w/ Christian ReciKnows is to reveal some low-key trend setters/designers that are doing their own thing and killin’ it.
Alex and I met for the first time at a POP NYE show for Get Real through our mutual friend Jordan. Though we had been affiliated before that thanks to the Bay Area DirtyBird Group we are both a part of.
From then on, we have run into each other at shows events, and I’ve just been admiring his style from day one. One of my most vivid memories of him was when we saw each other at San Francisco’s How Weird Street Faire and he was wearing his one of a kind Spicy Boys Club I was like alright, this guy has such unique style.
Who are you? What do you do? Where are you from?
Simple things first, I’m Alex, grew up in Manteca in the central valley, hopped around California for a bit, and now I’m living the beach life in Santa Cruz. I work at a screen printing shop in town printing shirts and things like that all day. After hours I’m working on my brand, Spicy Boys Club. I also do freelance work in web/graphic/print design, illustration, and photography. Aside from that, I’m pursuing a music career, but finding time for that has been a real challenge haha.
How’d you come up with the idea for Spicy Boys Club?
It all started at Dirtybird Campout 2017. Someone had a sriracha bottle totem and it was lost the first night. We were talking about it the next day, and then went on a tangent about eating hot sauce on everything. And since all of us that were camped together loved house music as well, it became a thing.
Alright, soooo what’s with the name? What does it mean to you?
Spicy Boys Club was pretty much thought up as a joke. The approach to the brand is very tongue-in-cheek, we don’t like to take ourselves seriously. Then people started asking to be part of the club, and I jokingly told people to give me their emails and I’ll put them on a waiting list.
At first it was just souvenirs I made for the DBC campmates. Now, to me it represents a lively approach to just about any situation in life. Spicy stuff always puts a little fire in your step, and that’s pretty much what the ethos is behind the brand. Why be vanilla when you can be spicy?
Any backlash from Anti Social Social Club?
Luckily no, but there are also a lot of other knock off designs from their signature piece, so I feel like they’d have to go down a list before they get to me. I do have contigency plans for the design mimicking there’s as well as the logo, so I’ve already put some thought into this.
Who helps you out? Or do you do most of the work behind the brand yourself?
I handle all aspects of the brand myself. Artwork, marketing, emails, online store, social media, as well as screen printing everything by hand. But there is a growing number of people showing a lot of support, really repping the brand, and that helps a TON. I also throw ideas out to the original camp group to get their feedback, I like to keep them included since this was all started because of our group.
Have you had any previous projects?
I have had a couple previous attempts at brands. Most recently was Adventure Brand (@adventurebrand.co), with the motto “Always Wander, Always Wonder.” But SBC started gaining momentum and since I keep the artwork manageable for it, it grew much faster and was easier for me to handle, so Adventure Brand was put on the backburner for now. That brand was more dedicated to my illustrations and graphics that were intended to question reality and their approach to things. So, there are some similarities in the brands, but enough of a difference to where I couldn’t handle both at the same time.
One of the most difficult aspects about starting your own brand?
Working a day job and also handling a growing brand/business has been the biggest challenge. Finances are tough as well when first starting out, having to plan products that you can see to completion but work within your budget. However, time has been the biggest setback. After work I either go home and handle orders or social media stuff, or I stay at the shop all night to print up batches of stuff. I’ve been building inventory lately, and that’s been a big relief, but I’m still on the edge of two lifestyles. I’m hoping soon I’ll be able to commit fully to the brand as well as my long time goal of opening a creative studio. Soon, very soon.
Do you feel like you will take this somewhere or is it more so like a passion?
I’m very passionate about anything I do, it kind of defines me, and I do not handle failure well, so as long as I can keep building support for this, I’ll keep pushing. One aspect that helps is having the brand woven into the music community. There’s so much love and support in it, and it gives me more of an incentive to furthering the community that’s starting to take shape around the brand.
What are some of your favorite clothing companies?
I’ve been a big fan of Benny Gold for years, that’s by far my favorite brand. I love the aesthetic, and the story of how he started with a sticker and grew it into a company. It’s exactly along the lines of what I’ve wanted to do for so long. I spoke with him in person a couple years ago for my birthday and he gave me a lot of words of encouragement, which really set a special place in my heart for what he does.
Other companies I’ve been into over the years are Mishka, Black Scale, Vans (I have like 30 pairs haha), Upper Playground, and then merch from artists.
Do you eventually want to create your own clothing line? Like big-time?
I do, it’s always been in the front of my mind. There is a whole lot of work and money that goes into really developing a clothing line, so the time is still ahead of me. But I’m always keeping my eye on it, it’s one of the prizes I covet.
Any clothing or art you want to show off?
If you take a look at the IG, that’s all the stuff I want to show off. I’m a perfectionist, so I take the work I do seriously, and I like to make each piece be top quality. There are a few limited edition pieces in there. Namely, the tie dye, which I dye myself by hand and print to match the color scheme. I would show off some of the women’s stuff I’ve been working on, but I’m putting in extra effort to really seal in those flavors, so I’m going to drop them when the time is right haha.
Do you have any cool prospects in the future?
When I opened for Option4 a couple weeks ago, he threw the idea out there of a Hotboi Records x Spicy Boys Club collab, and I was totally on board with it. I’d love to collab with other brands or artists, it’s always been something I’ve wanted to pursue. I’d like to start vending at events, and hosting more parties or get togethers.
Aside from that, I’ve been getting in contact more with artists that want to rep the brand. Buku is the first person on board with it, he’s been posting photos of him at Paradiso and Electric Forest rocking the original tee. It was such a surprise to have friends show that popping up on social media, so afterwards I contacted him, and I’m now flowing some stuff his was since he’s already helped out a lot with exposure. At Santa Cruz Music Festival this year Justin Jay had said he was down to be a Spicy Boy, but I never got a response from him (I’m waiting, Justin!).
Oh wait! One last thing that’s in the works is a possible Spicy Boys Club takeover night at a venue around here. Keep an eye out for that! I just released the first official Spicy Boys Club mix a couple weeks back to kind of stoke the fire for that, so hopefully we can soon make it a regular thing.
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