T-Shirt labels come and go daily, many nothing more than a blip on our radar. The ones that endure are those with a deeper mission, a strong background and a true culture behind their brand name.
Sean Reveron and his partner Meghan MacRae (both formerly of RockersNYC) understand this much better than most. As such, we’ve caught up with the dynamic duo to discuss their latest venture CVLT Nation, a two-headed initiative that encompasses both a clothing line and webzine.
Why did you decide to start CVLT Nation?
CVLT Nation happened pretty naturally for us…we noticed that not only were our personal fashion tastes based in metal & crust, but that the most fun we were having was when we went to metal or crust festivals and shows – we felt a lot of support and love from those communities. They are still pretty underground and haven’t fully developed the competition and jaded attitude that you can sometimes find in fashion or streetwear. So we thought, fuck it, these are our people, so let’s start something that can be a part of those communities as a clothing brand, but also give back to the community through the webzine.
Read our full chat and check out exclusive images of their first collection after the jump.
We really want to work with and cover bands that we feel have a lot of integrity, whether they are signed or unsigned. We also aren’t into dissing people, so we only talk about the shit that we honestly like. And the support we have gotten from the art community has been so awesome – we have been able to interview legendary artists like Joe Petagno, but also artists that are more underground and doing amazing things. The CVLT Nation clothing brand itself is really art-driven; we use all hand-drawn work done by artists in the black metal communities around the world, people that that have done illustration for a lot of the bands that we cover on CVLT Nation. The idea behind our graphics is to connect people with these artists, and to offer something authentic to our audience, like each tee is a work of art.
How does your local community influence your work?
Los Angeles has a healthy metal scene, and where our office is in Boyle Heights, there are a ton of kids who are into metal/crust/punk. We work right by The Blvd, which puts on so many rad shows, so we have met a lot of the bands we cover there. Plus, L.A. is the home of the US garment industry, so as far as making clothes in America goes, we couldn’t be anywhere else. It’s an inspirational place to be – we come up with a lot of great ideas over shrimp tacos dorados.
What role does the Internet/social media/the global community play in your work?
The Internet plays a huge part in what we do with CVLT Nation…we have been able to connect with so many amazing people around the world in such a short amount of time. We have found rad bloggers, artists and bands through social media; people in Ireland and Chile who we may otherwise never have connected with. Ireland is actually a huge market for us, second to the States, which is fucking rad because we definitely want to head over there and do a tour. Basically, we have found that the global metal/crust/punk communities are just as supportive as our local ones, so we are interacting with people from South America to Southeast Asia on a regular basis.
Describe the CVLT Nation clientele.
Hard on the outside, really fucking nice on the inside.
Over the past few years, the streetwear industry has…
Gone through some major shifts…it has exploded to encompass so many looks and styles, it’s not really fair to call it “streetwear” anymore. There was a time years ago when streetwear had a clear definition, but now that definition varies from group to group. Honestly, he majority of streetwear lacks originality, but at the same time, because it has diversified so much, there is room for more originality and you see that popping up from the grassroots.
What do you feel are the most difficult obstacles in moving forward and as a brand? How do you overcome these?
Obviously the economy has made things really hard on everyone we know in this business, from the smallest guy to the biggest guy. We have seen so many brands and stores just shut down, and that has been really sad. We can’t really say for sure what helps you overcome any difficulties as a brand, because we are all kind of waiting for that “overcoming” to happen still. But probably the most important things are to know who your audience is, and to create a solid platform for communicating with them. Don’t look at what someone else is doing and just copy that – because of all the turmoil of the past couple of years, there is room to innovate and to create your own lane.
What are your thoughts on LA vs NYC style?
LA vs. NYC as a competition is pretty overblown…both of us having lived in both places, we know that both cities are massive and there are so many different people living in them that there is no real way to categorize their style. Both cities have their douchebags, and both have their real humans. In both cities, you still see a lot of plaid. In LA you don’t get to layer as much, and in NYC you have to shower 5 times a day in the summer.
How do you see the relationship between music and fashion today?
For CVLT Nation, they are completely intertwined. First of all for us, they are connected through our clothing line, because all of our artists have ties to music through their work on album covers and band merch. There are so many artists we are excited to work with, and we found a lot of them just by admiring a band’s artwork and finding out who drew it. We are trying to build a bridge between the music we love and the clothing we make, by working with the artists in the community, and by creating imagery with them that stands both on its’ own and next to traditional metal/crust gear. Second, probably the most popular fashion article for our audience is the band t-shirt or patch. The rad thing about the metal/crust communities is that so much of the fashion is DIY and is based on an individual’s music tastes, and it’s really inspiring to see people creating their own clothing to honor the bands they are into.
What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
Hearing from our readers…especially hearing that we have turned them on to a band or artist that they hadn’t heard of before. Also, doing the interviews with bands and artists – when we first started out, we didn’t know that we would get so much support from the people we admire, so speaking with them and sharing those conversations on CVLTNation.com has been amazing.
What’s something you never leave the house without?
Access to the internet and black clothes.
If you died and came back as a person or thing what do you think it would be?
Hopefully more enlightened than we are now. Maybe cats. Probably women.