Hip hop fashion has always been about customizing, making something look like you and no one else! Whether it’s your fat laces, crew prints or denim jackets, customization is a way to express and represent what and who you stand for.
If we look back on the tradition there is a connection here between the gangs of New York and hip hop culture. Look at movies like Flyin’ Cut Sleeves you see gangs with their vests and rockers with the names on the back. Hip hop did the same with a non violent way and expanded the creative expression in anything you might wear. Connect that with the influence of graffiti culture and it’s a wrap.
When I asked Kid Kash of the Seven Dollars Crew to paint my denim vest I was super excited. Kash is a master of style, letters and characters so if he said yes I knew the outcome would be amazing. Here he gives you a quick guidance on how to do it.
Kid Kash 7$
There is a thousand ways to paint a jacket and this is my way. I developed it through the years by observing the pioneers and by trial and error like most things in hiphop culture. To me painting a jacket’s back piece is also a way to maintain a tradition like sign painting or wood carving. It was a part of hiphop tradition along with other type of customization and DIY fashion.
Also note that a lot of other groups/cultures have painted jackets before starting with the American pilots in the early 1900’s, the gangs in New York and the punk and hard rock scene.
Maybe the most important step is the sketch. I start by working on the composition of the piece then on the letters and the characters. I try to make the piece as personal as possible, in that case I know Focus is always rocking those cyphers! I saw him sporting the fresh mint green Kangol and adidas.
I paint the whole back in white so the colors will pop more.
I reproduce the sketch on the jacket using color pencils. The classic way to paint back piece is just the square in the back but I like to go over on some parts, it allows me to paint bigger and have more dynamic.
Steps 4, 5 & 6:
I use fabric paint to fill in. You can do it with acrylics but the paint may crack when you wear the jacket.
I use paint markers to do the outlines and the final details.
Catch Focus rocking the vest in a jam near you!