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Winter 11/12


Issue No. 08

Winter 11/12

MUSIC // STYLE // ADVENTURE


Issue No. 08

In the last six months, myself and Refueled senior photographer Gustav Schmiege have traveled coast to coast exploring America. We met a lot of great folks who inspired us, who told us their stories, and who shared their souls. Each issue of Refueled is a personal journal of sorts. The people and things that I dig. I invited the people in this issue to open up their journals and share part of their America. From California to New York, and everywhere in between, folks doing their thing and living their America. Chris Brown, Publisher/Creative Director

Publisher/Creative Director: Chris Brown Senior Photographer: Gustav Schmiege Contributing Editors-at-Large: Scott G Toepfer, Cicero DeGuzman Jr. Contributing Writers/Photographers: Cory Smith, Laura Dart, Jarrod Renaud, Cari Wayman

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Letter // No. 001

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Made // No. 002

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Denim and jeans, why and how? I get asked this all the time and I never have an adequate answer. I know it disappoints Man's Search for Meaning, but I really don't know why I started making jeans. It just occurred to me one day that I could. It was either this or bending neon. "How" is much more interesting and relatable. I had a rudimentary understanding of the sewing machine and I had seen industrial ones before. My parents used to call me the wheeler-dealer when I was little because I constantly had some deal going on with someone to trade, buy or sell a bike, skateboard, go kart or motorcycle. As I was coming in the door with a different bike, my mom just loved to say "that's it, buy high, sell low..." The point is, that I like to buy and sell stuff and that's exactly what I started doing with the machines and a bunch of other crap that I had laying around. At the same time I had to learn to sew, which is pretty easy. But the

construction of jeans can be confusing. I was able to work it out pretty well and eventually got to where I felt pretty optimistic. Understand though, that this was no business venture. It was more like building time machine or a boat in my basement. It wasn't until I started showing people that some folks wanted to actually pay for them. It was really a pressure-filled experience for me, what with not knowing what the hell I was doing. Had you had a love of denim or clothes before starting Roy Denim? Clothes, yes, very much. I was a thrift store shopper. I didn't know much about vintage or anything, I was just looking for what I liked. As far as denim, no, I had little to no awareness of denim. I had some jeans, but I liked wearing work slacks better. Sears made some good ones called "Roebucks" that I wore for years. I would see other dudes on the street wearing them and we would rap about how much better they are than Dickies except for that rip that split in the seam when you sag 'em too

much. Clothes are awesome though, I love clothes. Now I like jeans, mostly because its something I envision and make exactly how I want. I make a lot of my own clothing now and since I have attained an understanding of textiles, I get more excited about the various fabrics. What part did your love for machinery play in jean making? Originally nothing; I was just trying to get the right tools. Like anything, the greater the understanding the greater the love. I spend so much time reading repair manuals and patent data sheets that somewhere along the way I turned into a trainspotter about it. I need to know about every machine ever made. Nowadays, the machines and the making are so interrelated that I don't think of them as separate at all. Its one subject to me. Honestly, if I could get paid to restore old machines, I'd probably do that and make jeans and other clothing on the side.

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Did you dive into this completely by yourself or did you seek help and advice? Well, no one exists independent of others, so its not like I invented anything new. However, I was pretty alone in trying to navigate the seas of misinformation. I would be truckin' along - trial and error - then every so often some angel would fly by and say, "You're doing it wrong." The help would always come when it was needed, but I never really went looking for help. I am always just looking for a good conversation. I would listen up when I was around the right folks. Since people enjoy talking when they're not being constantly interrupted with annoying questions, they'd occasionally spit out some gem of wisdom that I would file away for later. Seriously, that was how it went. The ratio was about 6 months of frustrating trial and error to 1 minute of The Answer. But, without the struggle, I'd have never heard them say the answer--if you follow me--which is to say that I wouldn't have known that what they just told me something kind of key. What drives your creativity? Your inspiration for the style of the Roy jean? I just make things that I would like to

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wear or in the case of women's styles, what I would wear if I was a woman. I'm really just starting to be creative now, whereas I've been more of a technician up until now. My past work in the building trades has mostly seen me working with designers that didn't have much technical knowledge and making their conceptual work become buildable. I'd like to think that within the parameters of the equipment I either have or know about and adjust a design to be realistically produced. Probably the most creatively fruitful practice I do is just closing my eyes and thinking about nothing. I wind up sewing in my mind, working out a tricky sequence of construction - in an almost automatic way--then have it blossom into a full design. The stream of consciousness just before sleep is a gold mine. What details sets you jeans apart from the rest? Maybe just the quality. It depends on what you are referring to as the rest. The spectrum is broad and I am doing something unique if you want to really parse the various categories. There are other individuals making jeans, but there is no one else doing exactly what I am doing in that what I produce is a "factory" product actually designed, drafted, graded, cut, sewn

and trimmed by one person. By a "factory" product, I'm referencing this thing we used to say at a shop where the two of us made almost anything you could imagine from metal, wood and plastic. We'd say, "wow, that looks factory" meaning that it was so clean that it couldn't have been handmade by one person, yet it had. These could be the ends of a scale: farm and factory. Thats what I'm trying to do anyway; make a volume of factory quality handmade goods by myself and have them show my personality in the details, which is actually what you were asking about. I sort of answered a different question there. The details vary. I usually wind up wanting to use a machine that I've been working on or fixing up and maybe it does some special stitch and I'll work that in somewhere on the jeans. That's how the shell stitch thing started. The same thing with the embroidered pockets. You're a skater from Texas. When did you move to California? Actually, I'm a skater from Arizona. I was born in El Paso and lived in Dallas in 2nd and 3rd grade, but I went to high school in Phoenix and learned to skate there. I moved to the Bay Area a few years after getting


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out of school, when the skate scene in SF was the place to be. There should really be an EMB movie one day, like that Dogtown movie. Maybe Mark Walberg could play James Kelch. I had visited a cousin in Berkeley before and I knew it was where I wanted to live. I've been in Oakland about 20 years now, so I consider myself from here now. I have more connection to this city than any other. Did you ever want to go pro? Everybody wants to go pro. I wasn't even close to good enough for that. Its a special kind of person that can skate at that level and not destroy their body. What is it about vintage sewing machines that you dig so much? I like old stuff in general because most older, metal things are made better. I can feel quality with my hands. I was buying a knife yesterday at a knife store and I came in the door asking for a cleaver that I could use like the Yan Can Cook. Like how he chops and then picks it all up like a little shovel. I have one now, but its

too thick and not really that great for my vegetables. The guy handed me a cleaver that looked right and was the size I envisioned. I sort of held it and pretended to chop. I said, "how come it feels cheap?" He ended up giving me a lesson in knife making and selling me a really expensive german, forged cleaver that was in the back. As soon as I held it, I was sold. What I'm getting at is that the old machines are really sweet and work well. They don't go quite as fast as modern stuff, but thats partly why they work well. They feel good and they feel like quality. I can't exactly put into words what I feel when I put a hand on them. Every form of matter is vibrating; there is a resonance I feel with these machines. Will Roy Denim ever expand to other goods, say, denim work shirts? Well first, it's not "Roy Denim" it's just Roy. Somebody is holding Roy.com for ransom so I had to have the web address roydenim.com. My friend warned me that people would think that was the moniker and I guess he

was right. I will definitely make other things. I already do, for myself and friends. It's all a matter of getting the fabrics and the right machines to make the items exactly as I want them to be for sale. I'm pretty slow at making shirts yet, so thats a hurdle. It was three years of listening to people around here asking me when I was going to start selling jeans before I was ready. I'm very impatient in other respects of my life, but apparently not this. I'll do it soon though. There are so many different things I'd make if I could get the fabrics and machines. It'll happen. Whats a perfect day for Roy? I would wake up and hear the din of a spontaneous parade in celebration that somebody had figured out what hell we're doing here. We'd spend the day talking about this new Great Truth and laughing at ourselves for falling for all the other stuff. Picture being overjoyed because there's another human being standing before you to talk to. It would be perfect.

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Style // No. 003

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The Inward Morning by Henry David Thoreau

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Store // No. 004

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How did you get started in the vintage business? And when was your first buying trip to the US from Japan? I came to NYC to study English in 1983 and to check out America. I didn't like early 80's mainstream music and fashion so I started to buy vintage/used clothes. It was cheaper, better quality, unique and cool to wear. Not many people were into vintage at that time. One day I found an industrial fan at a junk shop that I thought was cool. I asked the price and he gave it to me for free because the motor was broken. I ended up displaying it in my apartment next to an old '50's fridge that came with the rental. Then I just ended up buying necessities such as dishes and light fixtures, etc. for my apartment since I just moved to NYC. I found all these things at the flea market, thrift and antique stores. That's when I discovered the quality of old things were more superior and had good design. In 1983, I traveled across America on a Trailways bus. I made a couple friends in L.A. and after I got back to NYC, one of my L.A. friend's friend from Japan came to NYC for the first time. He had a collectible/antique shop in Tokyo. When he visited my

apartment, he saw my fan and other old stuff I had and really liked what I did with them. So, he asked me to buy/ship stuff and send it to Japan. That's how I started my business. I didn't plan to come to America to do this at all. My first buying trip was in 1984 with two guys from Japan and a station wagon. We drove from NYC down to Florida, from there we went to Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Upstate New York and back. It took almost a month to travel through. Whenever the car filled up we would ship everything to a shipping company in L.A. that forwarded everything to Japan. We found lots of 50's Converse and Keds sneakers, 40's50's casual wear such as Thunderbird and snowflake printed gabardine jackets, Rockabilly type clothing and early 60's Ivy League type clothing such as white LEVI'S, cotton chinos, madras check shirts, etc. At the time, we saw a lot hippie type clothing but we didn't buy it because there wasn't a market for it.

I grew up in Yokohama, an international port city with US military bases. Most of western culture came through Yokohama which influenced my generation. I was very interested in American culture and clothes in 1972 when I was 12 years old. At that time, Ivy League style was still popular in Japan although this type of clothing became popular in America in the early 60's. Not many stores carried new American brands and if they did, they were very expensive. Instead, I started buying American current(not vintage) used clothing such as LEVI'S, Lee, Wrangler, Maverick, OP, Hang Ten, Sundeck, Liberty Bell and Sierra Designs. At that time, I didn't even know what vintage was or looked like. But sometimes I accidentally bought 40's-50's western shirts and 60's denim. After I came to the US, I started to recognize the difference between new and old. Most '50's clothing was made with 100% natural fibers and most new American clothing in the 80's was made with mixed blends.

Where did your interest in vintage come from? Did you collect as a child?

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EXTRA opened when?

You carry Post Overalls in the store. You're friends with Takeshi Ohfuchi, right? Yes, I met Takeshi at a flea market in NYC around 1986 before he started Post O'Alls and we became friends. He gave me a 30's US Army denim shirt and introduced me to the world of workwear. One time we went looking for vintage dead stock together. We nearly spent one month in the car together searching for stuff.

time for both? Where is your favorite surf spot? In 1976, I went on a school trip to California and home stayed for a month. That was when I bought my first glass fiber skateboard. Since then, I started skateboarding. From 1977, I started surfing until I came to the US in 1983. Nowadays, I skate with my sons sometimes. But I'm really into surfing more now. My favorite surf spots are Long Beach NY, Cove New Jersey and Kamakura, Japan, but any tropical and exotic point is nice.

What other brands are available, and how/why did you chose them?

What are you digging in the store right now?

I carry only Post O'Alls right now. I respect Takeshi's knowledge of vintage and his philosophy for making clothing. I've been wearing Post since 1993 since the company started. I don't wear replica brands or distressed madeto-look-old clothes. Even if Takeshi wasn't my friend, I would wear his clothes.

I'm digging my folk art pieces and old photos.

discovered the color of indigo and realized the old ones had the best color.

June 2010 Please talk about what vintage EXTRA carries. We carry some vintage flight, motorcycle and denim jackets. In addition, we carry folk art, interesting found objects, light fixtures, small furniture, sunglasses, space guns and toys, vintage skateboards (roller surfing), Whole Earth catalogs, photography books, vintage workwear signs, blankets, quilts, blackboard map, paintings, totem poles, money clips, indian jewelry, vintage photos and vintage shoes and boots. When did your interest in denim begin? In the mid-'70's, I was interested in American brand jeans such as LEVI'S and Lee. After I came to the US, I became interested in vintage LEVI'S 501XX, Lee 101-J and old painter pants, etc. I

What's in the future for yourself and EXTRA? Maybe a Koji brand? I'm a "let it be" kind of guy...something will naturally happen. I don't plan my life much.

You're a surfer/skater. Do you still find

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Ride // No. 006

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I prepare a hot cup of tea to keep me from calling up Curtis to make sure he is awake and on his way over. Gas up the motorcycle, check the oil level, warm up the gloves in a pocket...busy work. When I started doing this regularly, I only carried a sleeping bag, two cameras, some film, and a change of clothes. It was a simple solution to the limited storage space a motorcycle allows. We all owned an elastic net and a couple bungee cords and came up with new and elaborate ways of storing our belongings while still maintaining some sort of comfort. Some of our rides called for 8-10 hours of riding a day, and sometimes

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that extra bit of whatever was just not necessary. The unpredictable nature of necessity was always a wild card.

jesting is exactly what I need to start shooting and get into a groove with the camera early on.

Curtis is here finally...I always think he is late, but I check my watch and he is on the dot. Time for a quick donut around the corner, where we will meet with the rest of the guys, hopefully none of them have come up with an infinitely clever excuse for absence. The simple and childish breakfast has become a mainstay for the road trips we take. For whatever reason, the sugar puts us all at an ease and starts a conversation that will last for a few days. Comments on who has brought far too much, or too little, are commonplace here. The

Yes, there were some long and cold nights, wrapped up in the bag in everything I could wear, trying to keep from waking anyone else with my discomfort. Occasionally I would hear one of the other guys shift or shake, and remember I wasn't alone in this game. Often we'd surround the fire with the bikes, and sleep in the space between the two, solving both the elements of wind and cold. Even still I would wish for that extra blanket I left in the garage.


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We never really suffered much, you'd be surprised how fine you are once you've sat in front of the rising sun for a few minutes. Over the past year or two, we've become a bit smarter in that we've saved for some warmer and smaller bags, the occasional solo tent, and thicker socks. 75 miles into the ride, through the mountains lining the California coastline, my motorcycle dies. We are probably 40 miles from anything resembling a shop, so we all empty our respective toolbags and sort out a makeshift set of jumper cables to get my bike enough juice to start back up. The ingenuity of road necessity is wonderful, you'll find yourself becoming MacGuyver quite quickly when faced with walking a 500lb machine anywhere near the horizon. This bike is over 30 years old, and has its quirks (as we all do), but I can't imaging myself really giving this one up. The mid-sized vertical twin motor has been in my

garage for a year, transforming as cash and time allows, and I love it a little more every time I'm able to kick it to life. Even though it occasionally decides to take a break on its own, I love it just the same. I'd argue that wherever anybody lives, there is a destination worth getting to within a few hours on the road. Occasionally I'm told 'I wish I could do what you are doing,' and I always respond with 'do it!' If it is for an afternoon or a weekend or a month, via car or motorcycle, the road will take you in, guide you to a place of palpable beauty, and return you home a better individual. There isn't an excuse for putting it off. Not when our families today spend more time watching television than anything else. We wrap around the Eastern edge of the coastal range for a full tank of gas, to a place known only to those who inhabit it...The Petroleum

Highway. Many California natives don't know the full extent of the oilrich history, and it is only truly evident along this stretch of highway. The major oil companies have pulled crude up through this land for over 100 years, and billions of barrels of it. The landscape is riddled with rigs of various ages, and the smell of it fills the air for the entire stretch. As we fill up, we realize that our tanks only allow ~100 miles..and round trip for our destination from the spot we stand is 104-109 miles. We fill up a couple of water bottles with gas, and hope that only 1 of us needs it. We chase the setting sun through the foothills and enter Carrizo Plain while coasting the bikes through a windy downslope to conserve gas. The temperature is a good 10 degrees warmer on the plain than in the hills, for which we are grateful as the night begins.

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Explore America.

As the last bits of twilight are on the western horizon, we race through beaten county roads towards a campground none of us has been to. This is often part of our adventures... the time when we hope that there is one last sign to help us get from the middle of nowhere to the place we

intended to camp. The roads are now unpaved messes, and we climb towards Selby Rocks, near the campground. A few sharp turns later we cruise into a half full campground. Not expecting the crowd in this seemingly deserted part of California, we are informed that it is the first

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weekend of the deer hunting season, and the early birds are ready. We settle our gear and our bikes for the night, thankful for the safe arrival, the good company and another warm can of chili.


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Explore // No. 007

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Once known as the “California Riviera”, the Salton Sea is now called one of America’s worst ecological disasters. This was one of the most barren and surreal landscapes I've ever set foot on. The scene is a stagnant, salty lake, that coughs up dead fish and birds by the thousands in frequent die-offs that occur. The water is saltier than the Pacific ocean

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and the only fish that can survive are Talapia which eventually die off and litter the shoreline by the thousands. A small town exists of mobile home parks and abandon run down buildings. Wreckage of a flood that wiped the town out in the 1950's has never been cleaned up and still exists. The heat and the offensive smell of dead fish was overwhelming.

You could literally taste the smell and the salt. A white silt coated your body, clothes, and vehicles. The place had a very bizarre energy, maybe it was the heat but I felt a similar body high to a psychedelic experience. All of my senses were torqued and although it was sadly beautiful I was very happy to leave.


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Photography by Gustav Schmiege


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Adventure // No. 008

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I enjoy the unexpected and often find myself intentionally getting lost just to discover what was down that country dirt road. It is this same sense of wonder that led me to the field of photography. Traveling with a camera heightened the experiences and allowed me to connect with the people and places I was discovering in a more intimate way. I was now

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experiencing the world, both in the everyday and the fantastical places that exist in the imagination. The inspiring souls I meet on this journey, fuel my desire to create. “These are the days that must happen to you�, is a line from the Walt Whitman poem Song of the Open Road. The celebration of time and

place are present within its verses, as well as the challenge to discover more outside of the confines of ink and paper. To him, the road represents a communal place where people from all walks of life come together to share a path of discovery. The road also signifies mobility, allowing one to travel to new places, spaces, states of mind and land.


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I scoured websites daily, daydreaming of finding the perfect one. After months of this, I finally decided to take the plunge when I happened upon a 1953 Boles Aero trailer. I had seen this model of trailer a few other times in photographs, but it was always out of my price range. The

unique feature of this trailer is it’s cedar lined interior, giving it a log cabin feel when you are inside. This trailer is pretty rare and therefore quite expensive. However, when I found this particular one at a decent price, I knew it was meant to be mine! I convinced my boyfriend to take a

few days off of work and travel with me to California to retrieve it. After a few days of coaxing, he agreed and set out on his own search for a Jeep Wagoneer to pull the Boles home to Oregon. A winning bid of a vintage ‘Woody’ on ebay and we were on our way to explore America!

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Then, a return trip with a scenic drive back up the coast. It is adventures like these that bring a whole new meaning to exploration for us. The marriage of past and present allowed us to create new stories with a piece

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of history. The eve before our trip began, I sat amidst a plethora of memories already made. A beautiful vintage trailer and jeep were purchased for an adventure comprised of desires. A time of leisure left room for

collaboration and companionship to be free. This meant little preparation in destinations and maps to be full of surprises. With cameras in tow, an adventure of discovery awaited us out on the open road.


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Made // No. 009

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Who is K/LLER?

M: Yeah way weirder than we do now.

Michael: My name is Michael Miller (the LLER), I make jewelry with Katie Maguire deGuzman (the K).

K: Michael had a short faux hawk, that was always bleached down the middle. And she was always sewing up her ears with all kinds of crazy threads.

Katie: Just deGuzman. M: Just deGuzman. So congrats on your first year. Pretty exciting. K&M: Thanks! We're stoked. Lets do some of the basic stuff, how long have you two known each other?

M: I would run a needle and thread though the holes in my ears and it would create a pattern. K: And I had white girl dreads. Not hippy dreads, more punk rock dreads, though I wasnt punk rock. They were multi colored and I wore shoes the size of volkswagon beatles. M: You always had hover crafts on!

M: We've known each other since 2002. We met at Parsons through a friend.

K: Fuckin huge shoes. The bigger the better.

K: I think it was Becka, my best friend, she said, "You seen that Michael?" She was dating the hot tech. So all the girls were like, who's that girl dating the hot tech? 'cause all the gays were trying to get on him.

When did that end?

Did you guys look weird back then?

K: After college. After I growed up. Once I finally decided you needed to kinda look pretty.

K: Yeah. My first apartment was in the west village with like a thousand girls. M: I lived in Queens with my sister. I didnt have a bedroom. I slept on a lofted bed in the living room with my little dog, Harlow. I like hearing stuff like that. Because everybody starts the same way, you know? M: Yeah, it was awesome though, living with my sister. You two weren't jewelry majors at school were you? How'd you two get into jewelry? K: No. We studied furniture design, and I did a semester learning silversmithing in Glasgow. Early on, I got a job with a goldsmith and that's when I really began learning something about the jewelry making process. I also did some bench work for Philip Crangi.

You guys were in the city at the time?

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M: In school I had zero interest in jewelry. Never wore it growing up. Hated earings, the whole bit. I think the first piece of jewelry I ever made were these thick vinyl bracelets, and the hot tech worked at a print shop and a guy he worked with printed on the vinyl. I just wanted something I could make and wear. A little instant gratification. Later, I fell in love with metalsmithing. Katie knew I was interrested in metals, and put me in touch with this girl, and I got a job metalsmithing and restoring furniture. The two of you went out there and started working, designing for some pretty influential brands, and then what happened? K: There's really been something crazy

to it, because Michael and I have lost touch alot over the past 10 years, but something out there keeps pulling us together. M: Yeah definitely! We'd sort of come in and out each other's lives, then last year we ran into each other, and we were both out of work. We didnt really know what we were going to do. No direction. No plan. We met up one afternoon had some hummus and wine... and said, "Lets just make some jewelry and see what happens." K: We had been hanging out making jewelry for maybe a month, with no idea where the jewelry was going. Then I went into this store in Soho, and this chick liked the jewelry I was wearing

and I told her my partner and I designed it, and we were just about to launch a line. I was basically talking out of my ass. And then she was all, "Cool, send me a lookbook." M: So suddenly it was like, "Shit! We need a lookbook!" So we picked a name, made a logo, and produced a book. What's funny is the actual deal didn't even go though... but it was that conversation that stimulated the launch of our line, and we literallly made K/LLER happen in 3 days. That's rad. Cheers to that then.

Now, K/LLER Collection is available at over 20 stores worldwide, including Eva Gentry, Sucre, Ten Over Six, Grange Hall, Need Supply, and coming in January, Helmut Lang. To find a stockist near you, visit KLLERCOLLECTION.COM

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Made in the U.S.A,

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Made in the U.S.A,


Refueled Issue 8