For the final yr and a half, State Champs singer Derek Discanio has been constructing his personal model outdoors of the band.
That’s to not say that the New York-based pop punkers are going to be slowing down anytime quickly, however relatively that Discanio’s streetwear line, Steez, gained’t be relying on the band’s current success or trying to journey its coattails. As a substitute, Discanio is trying to broaden Steez outdoors of his current platform to succeed in streetwear followers who’ve by no means heard of his band earlier than — reaching followers new and previous via each on-line drops and an in-person merch tent for festivals and occasions that will or could not contain State Champs.
With Steez now wanting into retail distribution and increasing into internet hosting its personal occasions and different endeavors, SPIN spoke with Discanio about the place the model has been and the place it’s heading.
SPIN: How did you resolve you wished to launch a streetwear model?
Derek Discanio: It’s one thing that I’ve been obsessed with since highschool. When it got here time to resolve what I wished to do throughout my senior yr, Ii was a type of guys that was at all times a jack of all trades. I used to be a jock child who performed hockey, I used to be a skate punk child who favored to skateboard together with his associates, and I’d simply began a band with my associates and acquired a van — so I didn’t know what the heck I wished to do. The one faculty I used to be accepted to was a graphic design faculty close to New York Metropolis, so I ended up going there for one yr and realized loads about design earlier than dropping out as a result of my band was beginning to acquire some traction. Then I began working for a merch firm as the pinnacle of the artwork division whereas State Champs began touring. I used to be at all times designing my band’s merch and doing plenty of our graphic stuff, which I nonetheless do at the moment. Nevertheless it’s form of arduous to have whole artistic freedom whenever you’re in a band with 4 different guys, so the thought behind the model was to make one thing that’s completely mine, and that I’ve whole management over. It’s been actually cool to specific myself in my very own approach and construct a separate group from State Champs that I can maintain true to myself, make the last word choices on, and simply preserve constructing on the facet whereas my band is happening as nicely.
What are among the similarities and variations for you between the band and Steez?
There are plenty of similarities for me. After I design for State Champs, it reveals plenty of myself, however I’m taking in different individuals’s perspective — and my bandmates and I are completely totally different individuals — so there are plenty of totally different types that come out in State Champs designs. We want all kinds of types, as a result of we’re at all times on tour and have the webstore and such. What I’m actually making an attempt to hone in on with Steez is to search out its personal aesthetic and get a bit of bit extra particular with what the branding is, as a result of it does have a little bit of a broad perspective proper now. With State Champs, it’s like “Right here’s this pop punk band, and it’s acquired to be edgy and seem like a band tee.” However with Steez, I’ve been in a position to do some extra attention-grabbing stuff within the style trade and give it some thought extra as a designer model and a streetwear model extra than simply band merch. I’ve been experimenting with issues like making patterns for button-up shirts and making particular objects like varsity jackets, baggage, socks and stuff that simply usually wouldn’t occur with a band. It’s cool to be taught a bit of little bit of that, as a result of I do know nothing about style — I didn’t go to high school for that or something — however I do know loads about branding, type and design.
Apart from making merch, are there any expertise that you just realized via the band that you would be able to now incorporate with Steez?
What’s been cool about Steez is how it may be applied into what I do with State Champs. After we do large festivals or Vans Warped Tour, you make your individual merch tent to promote your merch all day. So I can implement Steez into these festivals and different issues that aren’t essentially even the pop punk world — like hip-hop festivals. I not too long ago designed a Steez model pageant merch-vending tent, and we simply did our first large pageant on the So What?! pageant in Dallas, the place State Champs additionally performed. It was actually cool, as a result of I acquired to arrange for the entire weekend, not simply the day State Champs performed. Clearly, I already understand how that type of merchandising works as a band, but it surely was cool for it to be my private model arrange for the weekend. I acquired to fulfill some followers and make some new followers of the model as nicely. I’m constructing a group on the facet from State Champs, and it’s simply extra of my mind itself. I can reap some advantages from being in a band and having a platform like I do, but it surely’s cool to only be beginning contemporary with one thing that’s completely mine and rising it.
What sorts of issues did you be taught from beginning Steez that you just didn’t count on?
If you happen to actually care a few enterprise and being an entrepreneur, it’s not an instantaneous cash machine that’s simply going to pump out cash for you. Whatever the measurement of your platform, it’s important to make investments plenty of your time and funds into making it higher each time. I form of misled myself pondering “Oh, I’m a cool pop punk singer, I’m simply gonna get wealthy off of this facet hustle” — however I used to be additionally actually invested in spending the time on it. Fortunately, I’ve one in every of my finest associates since childhood, Justin, as my enterprise associate with Steez. He’s been the voice of motive on the subject of not simply pumping out stuff to make use of my platform to generate income, however investing ourselves within the model to see how far we are able to truly take it. A lot of the cash and success the model has seen has been put proper again into the model to do even cooler issues. After every drop the place we made some cash, that success and revenue has gone proper again into the following drop or factor or occasion we need to do. The following factor we’re doing is throwing these events known as Steez Home Events, the place we hire out venues, have visitor DJs — together with myself — and promote merch all evening. We’re making an attempt to assume outdoors of the field and do issues that standard manufacturers don’t do.
Is there anything that you really want individuals to learn about Steez?
The identify got here from my previous AIM and Myspace display screen identify, DerekSteez, so it’s been with me for thus lengthy. Aside from that, we’re going to maintain releasing stuff on a regular basis, and also you’ll in all probability see us at an area pageant or a tour inside the pop punk group. The following factor we’re engaged on can be on the lookout for retail offers, and we’ve already been in talks with shops like Zumiez and PacSun and stuff, so don’t be shocked in case you see us there quickly.