Streetwear isn’t a new phenomenon, in fact, the streets have long been a fruitful source of inspiration for designers. Originally, streetwear was a way to describe comfortable clothing worn by people following skateboarding and surf culture in Los Angeles. After California, the style became popular with youth culture scenes, especially within hip hop and skateboarding circles in New York.
Staple clothing is one of the most recognisable New York streetwear brands. Known as well as Staple Pigeon, it reflects great energy and gritty style and this reflection translates to styles in sports, fashion, art and music.
So, What’s All the Fuss About Staple?
Staple Pigeon started as a small T-shirt business brand founded by Jeff Ng aka Jeff Staple in New York City. The story behind it is very interesting and inspiring and it starts in 1997 when Jeff Staple walked into a boutique in New York City. He was wearing a shirt he printed in his silkscreen class at Parsons School of Design and walked out of the place with an order of 12 shirts.
It started as a small T-shirt line handmade by Jeff Staple, grew organically and began to gain visibility in New York City. Today, Staple Pigeon is a world-renowned brand and a positive social contagion. You can find an extensive range of Staple clothing, the New York-based pioneering streetwear brand with the infamous Pigeon logo and embrace the energy of New Yorkers and all urban dwellers across the globe.
The most interesting part of the story is the collaboration with Nike. Nike asked Jeff Staple to create a special commemorative sneaker that would represent New York. Designed in 2003, the Pigeon Dunk Low took two years to be released in a limited run of 150 pairs exclusively released in New York City.
When the shoe came out in February 2005, the brand received large visibility and was widely acclaimed by the sneaker culture in New York. The ensuing frenzy to obtain a pair was dubbed the Pigeon riot and introduced the public to the sneaker craze. The original price of the shoe was $72, but today you’d be lucky to find someone willing to part with it for $20,000.
However, the brand doesn’t only exist as a representation of New York, but the Pigeon is the influence behind Staple’s wide apparel range and collaborative items across the world as well. Staple Design has created design work for The Gap, Converse, Dr Martens, Burton Snowboards, Levi’s, New Balance, Puma, Timberland, Uniqlo, HBO, Kangol, Housing Works, Kid robot, Cole Haan, Google, Sony, New Museum of Contemporary Art, LVMH, NYC&Co. and more.
The founder, Jeff Staple, better known by his handle @jeffstaple, is a creative visionary with work encompassing graphic design, footwear design, fashion design and brand marketing. He is the founder of Reed Art Department aka Staple Design and in 2001 he also founded an experiential lifestyle boutique called Reed Space. He has worked on creative projects ranging from start-up brands to Fortune 100 companies.
These days, he oversees US Creative Operations for HBX New York, Hypebeast’s retail banner, he is a host of a podcast called The Business of Hype on Hypebeast Radio and is one of the most prominent teachers on SKILLSHARE. Jeff Staple is a frequent moderator, lecturer and keynote speaker at industry panels and conferences. He has masterfully created a world of communicating through design.
Born in New Jersey, Jeff attended New York University to study journalism. While in college, he worked in a design firm as an entry-level data clerk. Even though he didn’t have previous experience with design software programs, he learned quickly and in less than six months he became a class instructor at the firm. Then he discovered his passion for graphic design, which made him drop out of NYU and enrol himself at the Parsons School of Design to study communications design.
Then he took on an internship with the pioneer streetwear company, PNB Nation and worked as a graphic designer. Coincidentally, in 1997, on his birthday, March 7, he walked into a boutique wearing a hand-painted T-shirt, which the manager took notice of and placed the first order of 12 T-shirts from the line. He had no intention of starting a brand, but at this moment Staple was born.
Today, streetwear, sneakers and Staple make the perfect trifecta for urban dwellers that hustle their way through life, arts, music, fashion or sports. Staple Pigeon is a fusion of collaborations and creative designs, cut across its funky and colourful T-shirts, tees, hoodies, sweatshirts, hats, bottoms and accessories. The Pigeon logo takes inspiration from the bird’s reputation as the unofficial mascot of New York City and is a representation of the Big Apple vibe.
Like any subculture or genre, things evolve and change. Streetwear may have hit the mainstream, but its cool, comfy and edge history will remain always. Streetwear has always been of the moment and whether it continues to be a burst of high-end brands producing clothing lines or it goes back to the streets and the streets and people starting their own small streetwear brands again, it will certainly come back around one day.
Finally, if you want to check some local brands, go for AS Colour, a brand that was started in New Zealand in 2006 and expanded to Australia in 2014.