From being a chef, restaurateur, author, food personality, producer and attorney, Eddie Huang‘s expertise in different branches offers a unique vision of the world we live in. Recently, he sat down with Grailed for a detailed interview covering a variety of topics, such as what he believes is the golden era of New York City street fashion to the threads that tie all of humanity together.
Here’s a few takeaways that we learned from the conversation.
…on his thoughts that so many immigrant kids are drawn to streetwear.
Eddie “Well, I think the thing is that streetwear has always been counter-cultural. and it’s a bit irreverent.”
…Or that’s at least what they’re selling because now that shit is very mainstream, to an extent.
Eddie “I mean, streetwear is 10 years behind the hip-hop curve, but whatever happens to hip-hop is probably gonna happen to streetwear as well. But I remember listening to hip-hop in the ’90s and then you just rocked Polo, Tommy, Nautica, and then you started to see FUBU, Enyce, Pelle Pelle, Rocawear, and so we started rockin’ all of that, and my favorite era in fashion is around 2001, 2002.”
…if he ever skated.
Eddie “No. I didn’t skate. I don’t really like the Dunk, but the culture and the fashion that was created around the Nike SB Dunk program is my favorite fashion.”
…his thoughts on then underground NYC brand Nom de Guerre.
Eddie “I didn’t like them. It was too fashion for me. It felt a little too earthy, like downtown New York vampire shit to me. But I respect it. I just stuck to Union. I’m like a one or two store dude. I’m not the type that’s gonna hit tons of stores. A lot of people are like, Hey, yo, come to this store. I work here. Whatever, whatever. Man, in the early 2000s, I just shopped at Union. I would go see Procell at Coat of Arms once they opened and then I would go to Stackhouse. That was kind of like my rotation.”
…on the brands that he wore at the time.
Eddie “Lemar & Dauley was my favorite brand because I used to collect basketball cards and Lemar & Dauley put out a lot of shirts with graphics like AI with diamonds. They looked just like the 1991 Skybox set, the graphics were very similar.”
…if the melting pot within the streetwear world informed how he thinks about culture in general now.
Eddie “Absolutely. The three streets that I would always post up were Eldridge Street, ’cause you had Bob, and you had Nort, and you had Recon. Then you had Rivington that had Alife, and then you had Lafayette that had Supreme, Clientele and Stackhouse. Everyone that worked on those stores is still in the game, whether they’re in branded agencies, ad agencies, whatever. I think that was the golden era of street fashion.”
…if the golden era of street fashion is gone now and can it come back.
Eddie “Well, what really fucked it up was the economic crash of 2009, and so that’s one of those reminders. I always tell young kids when I talk at colleges or whatever, Watch for the hook, read books and pay attention to economics and politics because you may think that music and fashion are recession-proof, or that you can just love who you love, but you need to be aware of everything going on. I’ve been telling people for a while, you vote with the way you spend your money. The only online retailer that I would buy streetwear from was Digital Gravel at the time ’cause Digital Gravel supported the culture, and Digital Gravel would put on younger artists like no-name companies who just had weird graphics and they were like, I don’t care if I take an L on this brand, I’m gonna try this.”
…his thoughts on Supreme.
Eddie “I mean, look, every single person who is in some sort of industry has tried to be the Supreme of their industry. You go to so many meetings and it’s very funny because people come into pitches for whether it’s television shows or restaurants or whatever, and they’re like, We’re the Supreme of this, and I’m like, You think you’re the only one? The two things that people say the most in pitches are: We’re gonna be the Supreme of this, and I’d like to pitch you the Curb Your Enthusiasm show. Those are the two standard-bearers. Everyone wants to be that irreverent, dominant, innovative artist or brand or force in their industry, and I think what’s funny about Supreme is people have tried to copy the look. People have tried to copy the steps they made business-wise, but what they can’t copy is the DNA.”
…how he describes himself at this point.
Eddie “I just use every tool in my toolkit to tell a story, and my goal is to create greater multi-cultural, racial solidarity, and for humans to realize we’re a lot more similar than we are different. That is my goal in life.”
Previously, we had an exclusive interview with Eddie Huang and you can check it out here.
- Photographer: Larry Dennison