Shane Gonzales’s Midnight Studios fuses the best elements of brands like Undercover, Yohji Yamamoto and Vivienne Westwood alongside elements for today’s fashion-obsessed youth, and the LA-based brand is simply one of the favorites on the Highsnobiety radar.
Touting a resume that includes collaborations with Virgil Abloh and A$AP Rocky’s mysterious AWGE collective for a label that’s only three years old, Gonzales recently sat down with online lifestyle purveyor GRAILED to speak about his impressive career and more, while a few of his personal archive pieces that have influenced his signature blend of punk, streetwear and modern art are also listed for sale.
Check out a preview of the insightful exchange below:
To start, can you tell us about who you are, where you’re from, and what got you started with Midnight Studios?
“Hi, my name is Shane Gonzales and I’m an alcoholic. That question always makes me feel like I’m at an AA meeting. Well, anyways, I’m 22-years-old, from the self-proclaimed “paradise” that is Canyon Lake, CA. Canyon Lake is basically where people go to raise a family, ride motorcycles and retire or do meth and heroin. It’s a small town with nothing to offer really, but I’m proud to be raised there. The best times of my life were in Canyon Lake causing trouble and skateboarding. Long story short, skateboarding and music went hand in hand. I’ve skateboarded almost my whole life and the skate games and videos I watched always had the coolest soundtracks. It would be like Black Sabbath, Dead Kennedys and Notorious B.I.G. in one video and I loved it all. Eventually, revisiting that history turned into Midnight Studios and putting the feelings that it gave me onto clothes. It started with some T-shirts and then blossomed into fully developed collections and I’m hoping to expand more and more over the next several years.”
At the moment, what are your three biggest influences?
“At the moment: Daft Punk, Martin Margiela and Piss Drunx/Baker Skateboards.”
As a young, but clearly lifelong fashion fan, what is your take on once-niche designers like Raf Simons, Jun Takahashi and Takahiro Miyashita broadening into the wider consciousness? Does it cheapen the things you love about fashion design?
“I’ll never stop loving the work of Raf, Jun or Taka. What they’ve accomplished throughout the years is godlike. Not many can touch them. It’s exciting that more and more people are opening their minds to design like theirs and falling in love with it as I once did. It does take a bit of pleasure away buying and wearing it now that so you see it so much more often compared to a few years ago. But that’s the goal of owning a brand, right?”
You’re someone who’s created several incredible collaborations, including work with brands like Off-White and G-Shock. Aside from a cross-exchange of ideas and aesthetics between two parties, what draws you to the collabs you choose to take on?
“I don’t have any certain requirements for collaborations. I kind of just go with the flow. They always come pretty naturally—I never force it. With Off-White, it started with me having an idea and just texting Virgil a photo of a sample I made, saying, “Yo, we should make these together.” He loved it so we made a few more and they ended up on his F/W 16 runway. My F/W 17 collection is in collaboration with Bauhaus, one of my favorite bands. I reached out to a shady email I found online and about a month later, Daniel Ash (Bauhaus guitarist) responded to me saying they were all for it. I usually choose to visit things that impacted my childhood when it comes to collaborations. Like, I really want to do a full collection with Baker Skateboards right now because that’s what I grew up with—that team, the videos, the boards, all of it.”
To read the interview in its entirety, head on over directly to GRAILED.
- Photographer: Jeremy Gonzales