Within the last year, artist merchandise has grown rapidly from personal concert mementos to being restocked at your local PacSun (e.g. Bieber’s Purpose Tour gear). Whether collaborating with major luxury retailers or setting up exclusive pop-up shops across the world, this megatrend across streetwear has been a great financial move on the artist’s part. But do their stans genuinely ever receive classic merch that embodies the high-quality substance and timeless connection an artist or album represented during that monumental time in music?
A “child of hip-hop” growing up in New York City is ensuring this void in streetwear is fulfilled. A new up-and-coming, anonymous designer going by the name of Mr. Easter of EasterxSunday has garnered strong social media buzz for producing custom classic hip-hop artist-inspired merchandise that he had a connection with growing up. His vision of starting the brand was to deliver apparel that allowed individuals to “wear the emotions of how an album made you feel”.
Launching the brand in April 2016, his production started with the Bunny Collection, which was comprised of dad hats, trucker hats, and a bomber jacket with a satin bunny logo sewn on. Following the brand’s debut, Easter released a homage collection, including an embroidered dad hat, graphic t-shirts, and an embroidered bomber jacket for the 20th anniversary of Tupac’s death entitled the Makaveli The Don Killuminati Collection.
Kylie Jenner in the My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy Bomber
The label arguably garnered a majority of its attention for utilizing George Condo-inspired artwork from Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album as embroidered patches for a selection including dad hats, hoodies, sweatshirts, and the infamous red bomber. Co-signs from social media queen Kylie Jenner generates brand recognition on a global scale for a brand still in its growing stages.
“I feel that our current generation is so concerned with looking ahead at the next hyped thing, that we don’t take the time to look back and appreciate the classics.” – Mr. Easter
In an interview with Highsnobiety, his perspective on the current state of artist merchandise is that there’s no real creative direction with many artists due to a strong focus on hype rather than meaningful substance for the culture. “I think it’s cool but there’s no real cohesion. I don’t think there’s a real vision, at least one that I see. It just seems to be based on hype. I feel that our current generation is so concerned with looking ahead at the next hyped thing, that we don’t take the time to look back and appreciate the classics.”
Tupac Makaveli The Don Killuminati Bomber
“That’s why I released the Makaveli collection for the 20th anniversary of Tupac’s death. Hip-hop and music overall should be about the culture not the hype.” It’s always refreshing to hear someone from the younger generation paying homage and recognizing the classic artists and albums before or during their time. Educating the youth on legendary projects and artists that were an integral part of influencing and shaping various eras throughout hip-hop is a beautiful thing.
Within the past few months, a minor lapse in production was expressed in an open letter from Mr. Easter a week into the new year. An influx of orders started flooding in after the exclusive interview with Highsnobiety went live. During this time, Easter lost access to a prime manufacturing location that possessed four working machines necessary to run the company. A decision between fulfilling the brand’s promise of guaranteed quality or outsourcing production to ensure customers on-time delivery was at the forefront for the label.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Hoodies
The brand selected to outsource production, which ended up being not being the best solution to this problem. The intricacy of the embroidered patches required vigorous, highly-skilled labor that Easter couldn’t continue to produce without expanding (he makes EVERY single patch by himself!). After three months of waiting for the factories to send the apparel, he discovered imperfections that ultimately culminated into unsellable merchandise. Customer complaints of receiving product with mismatched hoodie strings and poor stitching details were not ideal reviews for a company in its early stages.
In response to this untimely issue, he decided to change their production process to only outsource to factories for their cut and sew garments. Easter is hopeful that this maneuver will increase time-to-market and higher quality control for the label.
Preview of the upcoming Kid Cudi: Day ‘N’ Nite Collection
In terms of the immediate future, a Kid Cudi-inspired collection hitting their online Shopify store appears imminent. The brand’s Instagram has been teasing black and white bomber jackets that feature album cover art embroidery from Man on the Moon: The End of Day and Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager. Consumers can also be expecting to see more bunny merchandise throughout the next rounds of releases.
To purchase pieces from any of the label’s collections, visit their online shop.