Sneakers and streetwear go hand-in-hand, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t witnessed the power of the almighty box logo. In Prime Video's new animated series, Fairfax, the show pokes fun at this culture of hype with a cast of characters seemingly ripped straight from an Instagram Explore feed, all while capturing the nuances of being a kid growing up in the thick of it.
Named after Los Angeles’ unofficial streetwear row, Fairfax Avenue, the reimagined world of Fairfax revolves around four middle schoolers who obsess over every LATRINE drop — their parallel universe streetwear analogue that’s as cringe as it is coveted. The crew is convinced that to become influencers, all roads lead to copping jawns for clout, which in turn leads to more followers. Sound familiar?
“[The characters] are loosely inspired by our friends growing up, but they're representations of what we love (and also find hilarious) about Gen Z,” explains Fairfax creators and childhood friends Matthew Hausfater, Aaron Buchsbaum, and Teddy Riley. “We've watched Fairfax [Avenue] evolve into this incredible melting pot of fashion and pop culture. The block always seemed like a world unto itself, and we wanted to create a show that was equal parts love letter and equal parts satire. It's about what it means to be a kid today, trying to be cooler than you are, and all the craziness that comes with branding yourself online.”
The trio brought on Pizzaslime, the internet brand best known for turning memes into fashion, to consult, along with artist Somehoodlum who worked on the show’s visual language. We spoke to them to get a deeper understanding of the inspiration behind the show and its characters, how they made Fairfax as authentic as possible, and more.
Fairfax premiers October 29th exclusively on Prime Video.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the concept for Fairfax.
Matthew Hausfater, Aaron Buchsbaum, and Teddy Riley: It's inspired by our teenage years growing up in LA, trying to be cooler than we were, getting in trouble, and eating Canter's at two in the morning. Over time, we've watched Fairfax evolve into this incredible melting pot of fashion and pop culture. The block always seemed like a world unto itself, like South Park or Springfield, and we wanted to create a show that was equal parts love letter and equal parts satire about that world. We loved the idea of Dale coming to Fairfax and being thrown into this world of fashion/skateboarding/culture/music, looking to his friends to show him what's cool.
Whether it was Fugazi, Bape, or Big Brother skate videos, we relied on our friends to show us what was dope, and we thought that was something a lot of people could relate to. Visually, we drew inspo from the shows we loved growing up, like Recess, Rocket Power, and South Park, but we also wanted to create our own unique style that felt vibrant, colorful, and fresh, like the block. And there's no artist more colorful and fresh than Somehoodlum.
Who are the four main characters, and are they inspired by any archetypes?
The four main characters are Dale, Benny, Derica, and Truman. They're loosely inspired by our friends growing up, but they're representations of what we love (and also find hilarious) about Gen Z... like our little cousins and shit. They're the most inclusive generation ever. They're each their own marketing executives, and they'll definitely save the world from global warming. But, they also get face tattoos lol. We will say that once we cast each character, we really wrote to each actor's strengths. We wrote in a foundation for each kid, but Skyler, Peter, Kiersey, and Jaboukie brought them to life and gave them the nuances and full personality that you see on display.
Walk us through the process of making Fairfax as authentic as possible.
It's a delicate balancing act because we obviously love and wanted to pay homage to the real Fairfax, but we also wanted to create a fantastical world of our own that feels unique to the show. From waiting in line all day for a drop you don't get, to the crabby waitresses at the Jewish deli, to the mean security guards, to the resellers waiting to rip you off, there are so many nods to the real Fairfax that you’d recognize and appreciate if you know the block.
But the show is about much more than that. It's about what it means to be a kid today, trying to be cooler than you are, and all the craziness that comes with branding yourself online. The real authenticity comes from the emotional journeys that our characters go through. The show goes to insane places but always starts from a grounded place. Our writers, actors, composer/music supervisors, Pizzaslime, and Somehoodlum, everyone helped lay a foundation of authenticity, but from there we wanted to create our own definition of what Fairfax meant to us that everyone can connect with — whether you've been to Fairfax IRL or not.
While the show is satire and aimed at adults, will it (or should it) touch on the adverse effects of overconsumption?
I mean, if you're asking if you can buy too many shoes, the answer is no. Keep copping those Jordans till you have to rent a storage locker that people bid on after you die.
Will Fairfax purely be a comedy, or can it also be looked at as a sort of social commentary on the state of fashion consumerism?
We think comedy and commentary go hand in hand. We always start with what makes us laugh the most, but satire is baked into every story that we tell. Whether it's hypebeast/influencer culture, high fashion, e-Sports, branding yourself, music festivals, internet trolls, and overpriced Jewish delis — Fairfax is a comedic commentary on all of it.
Tell us a little about Pizzaslime and its trajectory from a music blog to an internet culture machine.
Pizzaslime: Early on Pizzaslime morphed from a low-key music blog into a creative project we did during our day jobs at a music management company where we were working with really big artists on the creative and marketing side of stuff. We started Pizzaslime with no real goals outside of having fun, doing creative things, and not taking shit too seriously. In the process of creatively mashing up pop culture, fashion, and internet/meme culture then digesting it through our own lens we turned into a clothing brand, record label, TV production house, and a boutique marketing/creative agency for some of the biggest brands in the world.
How did Pizzaslime become involved with Fairfax?
Teddy Riley went to middle school and high school with Stove (1/2 of Pizzaslime) out here in Los Angeles so we’ve known each other for a long ass time. In the early early days of Fairfax, Teddy and the other creators approached us to get our thoughts on the concept. We instantly fell in love with Fairfax and the characters so we dove into the project then we collectively went out to pitch and sell the show together. After hearing the initial concept pitch from the creators we envisioned the potential for branding and marketing and we began to see in our heads how Fairfax could live and breathe in the real world. We’ve been helping with that aspect of this project and it’s been a lot of fucking fun.
What’s the most exciting aspect of working on this project?
This was our first step into the TV and film world so we’ve been learning so much about the business and also the process of creating a show then marketing it. It's been an amazing learning experience and it's been rad to do it with our friends. Throughout this project, we have been having a lot of fun across the board and we're just hyped for the world to see it. The other exciting thing is that this has now opened up more doors in the space so now we’re currently developing new projects and we’re even repped by WME.
Describe your artistic process and how it inspired the look and feel of Fairfax?
Somehoodlum: I have two requirements when making art. The first is I have to make the person laugh, and the second is I have to make them want to hang my art on their wall. My subject matter has always been inspired by music and streetwear culture. Whether it's a pun about a Drake lyric or drawing “It was lit fam” on a tombstone. I have always poked fun at a community I love to the core.
Being born and raised in a place that wasn’t LA motivated me to see what that world had to offer. When I made the move to LA, the first place I had to see was Fairfax. I instantly made friends at one of the shops, Crooks and Castles. Shout out to Jenny and Maya who really accepted me into that community.
My artistic process isn’t rooted in anything emotional or overly complicated, it’s based on lightheartedness and a love for a rich culture. The inspiration for Fairfax is quite similar. Our writers just want to have some fun poking at a topic we all love and find a little silly at times. We found the best partners in Titmouse animation studios, without them we never could have created such a stylized version of my illustrations.