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Coup Street 2013 Recap

As another year comes to an end, we often reflect on what took place, where we’re at, and where we want to be. This was a big year for us. Not necessarily in terms of sales, because we honestly donated more money than we actually made, but because we challenged ourselves and tried new things. We explored our market. In this game you have to figure out how to stand out from the rest. What exactly is it that makes you different from every other brand claiming to be apart of the same lifestyle? So as we learned more about ourselves (which for us generally comes from figuring out who we don’t want to be), we began molding ourselves into that puzzle piece that fits within the niche. And of course during this process you lose some followers who aren’t as interested in who you’re becoming, but you gain plenty who are down for the movement. By no means is our puzzle piece complete, but we’re chiseling away, reshaping it everyday. We have so much we want to accomplish and stand for, that finding a balance can be difficult. We want to stand for the hungry hustler out there chasing their dreams. We want to be a symbol for empowerment and education within the community. And we want to accomplish this, through art. As artists, we recognize the power that lies within the medium and we want to use it as a tool to educate and inspire. To wake people up and raise awareness of issues affecting our society. With that said, here are a few highlights of things we accomplished this year.

We started off the year doing Full Circle. We met Diego and Wale at the DTLA Artwalk, and they invited us to be apart of their event called Full Circle in the South Bay. There we met a lot of cool people and connected with other brands and artists that we have since built good relationships with. We met Dvious of Dvious Clothing from the 818. He’s been on his grind selling led light bulbs for home once with his gear and building his brand. We also met Erwin Recinos who is a dope L.A. photographer. He does coverage for several brands and blogs and covers a lot of L.A. street culture.  Full Circle, Erwin Recinos, Dvious ClothingThere we also met Fatkid Clothing and Rola Mvmt. Fatkid is another L.A. based clothing brand with a bunch of talented artists working with them. One of their members Michael Serpas painted at our first For L.A. by L.A. event. Rola Movement aka Reaching Out Los Angeles is a clothing brand that also does a lot for the community. We recently participated in their annual Blanket Drive for the homeless, where we drove around the streets of skid row and passed out blankets, food and clothing.Fatkid Clothing and Rola MovementWe did the Beat Swap Meet Los Angeles all three times this year. It is goes down about every 3 months in Chinatown. It’s one of our favorite events. It really manages to capture the essence of real Hip Hop and brings out a lot of creative, artistic, and passionate people. The audience there really likes our designs and it’s always a great feeling when people like what we’re putting out.

Beat Swap MeetBeat Swap MeetBeat Swap MeetThis year one of the biggest things we’re grateful for is the relationship we’ve built with McLogan. At the beginning of the year we brought out our good friend and talented, Danny ‘Cels’ Mateo to do a Coup Street production in the back of their store near the alley. After many weekends and spray cans later, Danny put up a nice Coup Street mural with some pigeons and the city of Los Angeles in the background. Unfortunately, sometimes business gets in the way of great things, and a few months later, an unexpected storage bin was placed in front of the mural, blocking it forever.

McLogan Wall McLogan Wall

But it wasn’t all for nothing, because by then we had established a good relationship with McLogan and they saw the quality of our work and what we’re trying to do. They gave us the opportunity to throw our first art show in their parking lot and from there, For L.A. by L.A. was born.

For L.A. by L.A. Flyer

When life gave us lemons, we made For L.A. by L.A. Last year we did the artwalk every month for almost a year until the city cracked down on it, and it became somewhat of a police state that was no longer fun. The Alexandria hotel that we used to sell our clothing at closed, along with a few other locations, and by March, the artwalk was a ghost town that wasn’t worth our time or money. But after attending many events and establishing relationships with other vendors, we decided to throw our own event, the way we envisioned an art show. McLogan had been wanting to do something for a while, so all the pieces just fell into place. On May 18th, we threw our very first event that was a big success. We had 25 vendors selling clothing, jewelry, painting nails, cutting hair, selling art, surrounded by 10 artists painting live on a 100 foot wall. We had the Jarritos truck giving away free drinks and providing the sound for 4 L.A. DJ’s. We also had live screen printing by McLogan of limited edition designs, and one hell of a great vibe. To top it off, we raised $1000, and 300 cans of food for the Los Angeles Mission that fed 500 homeless skid row residents. Like stated above, one of our goals is to use art as a tool to raise awareness of issues in the community. We’ve attended many art shows and events, where hundreds of people show up, but always felt there was something lacking. We believe that when you get that many people in one place that share something in common, it’s a good chance to educate and raise awareness. So that is why at our For L.A. by L.A. events there will always be an aspect of learning that will also benefit a cause in the community.

For L.A. by L.A. McLogan For L.A. by L.A. McLogan For L.A. by L.A. McLogan

This event really helped us show people what we’re all about. Bringing the community together through art. We established some great relationships with other brands, artists, DJ’s and began building a solid name for ourselves. Soul Siderz, Unincorporated, Unify Through Art, Fatkid, Jose Dare, JHK T-shirts, Local Clothing, DJ Pelau, DJ Nate Day are all new people we met from this event. We also established relationships with the artists that participated like Annie Preece, Max Neutra, Vyal, Man One, Sano, Aise, White Buffalo, Michael Serpas, Getoe and Sal, who all put it down for the city and left an amazing wall that has been getting a lot of fame ever since.

McLogan Wall For LA by LA

The following month we provided an Adopt-A-Meal at the Los Angeles Mission with the money we made at For L.A. by L.A. Our friend Josue Zeta Rojas had a Skid Row project he was working on that we intertwined with the dinner, providing a photo gallery in the cafeteria. With 8 volunteers we helped prep the food, serve it, and provided dinner for nearly 500 people.

LA MissionLA MissionLA MissionLA MissionLA Mission

This year we also released our limited edition Fight For Your Farms shirt (still available online). It is a collaboration we did with DweebKid to show our stance on the fight against Monsanto and GMO crops. As stated, one of our goals as a brand is to educate our demographic, but with flavor. It’s cool to dress fly and be on your hustle, but know what’s going on around you. Don’t be a sheep.

Fight For Your Farms - Collectors EditionIn July, we joined a few thousand people Marching Against Monsanto in downtown L.A.

March Against MonsantoMarch Against Monsanto March Against MonsantoMarch Against MonsantoMarch Against Monsanto

As a brand we are passionate about healthy living. Treating your body right so that you can be 100% at all times and ready to take on what lies ahead. Exercising and eating right is directly related to feeling good and confident. This year, one of our biggest inspirations was seeing Ron Finley on Ted Talk. If you haven’t seen it, you really have to check it out. What Ron Finley envisions is the exact type of mission that we want to be apart of.

“Igniting a (horti)cultural revolution! Ron envisions a world where gardening is gangsta, where cool kids know their nutrition and where communities embrace the act of growing, knowing and sharing the best of the earth’s fresh-grown food.”
 

We decided that our next For L.A. by L.A. event would be to raise money for an organization that Ron Finley works with to build community gardens in Los Angeles. We also wanted to tie it in with GMO awareness. So that brought on For L.A. by L.A. – The GMO Show.

For L.A. by L.A. The GMO Show

For this show L.A. artsits painted the other McLogan wall. We wanted to leave up the artwork from the previous event. We will be alternating walls every show. We had another 25 vendor booths, an organic juice truck, an organic food truck, 4 L.A. DJ’s, and 5 dope L.A. artists painting live. We had LabelGMOs.org there educating our audience, and spreading the word on the importance of labeling our food supply and knowing what we’re eating. The turn out wasn’t as big as the first show, but we still raised another $1,000 that we donated to the Los Angeles Community Garden Council that will help to build more community gardens in Los Angeles.

For LA by LA GMO ShowFor L.A. by L.A. The GMO ShowFor L.A. by L.A. The GMO ShowFor L.A. by L.A. The GMO Show

For L.A. by L.A. The GMO ShowFor L.A. by L.A. The GMO ShowFor L.A. by L.A. The GMO ShowFor L.A. by L.A. The GMO ShowFor L.A. by L.A. The GMO ShowFor L.A. by L.A. The GMO Show

The money that we raised went to the Los Angeles Community Garden Council. The following month we helped out one of their partners, the St. Johns Well-Child & Family clinic with a community ‘Dig-in’. We brought out 6 volunteers to help plant garden beds for families in the South L.A. community.

Coup Street Dig-In with St. Johns Well Child and Family CenterCoup Street Dig-In with St. Johns Well Child and Family CenterCoup Street Dig-In with St. Johns Well Child and Family CenterCoup Street Dig-In with St. Johns Well Child and Family Center

This year we also got our first look at Agenda. We didn’t participate in it, but we checked it out and “put a face to the name” so to speak. It was definitely inspiring to see all the leaders of the game in one place. But honestly as far as the style level, we weren’t too impressed. Everybody seems to copy each other. I wonder if they send out a memo and say “this is what’s going to be cool this season,” and then everybody hops on the wagon. We promise to always be original and put out what we want. If everyone is making floral patterned hats, that doesn’t mean we are going to start copying everyone in the industry just because something is trending. If we feel like dropping some hoodies in the summer time, we’re gonna do that. The best part of Agenda was the recently added Agenda Emerge. It’s a panel of established brand owners speaking to the audience about what they’ve learned and how they approach the game. It was full of valuable information and very inspiring. We got to listen to Johnny Cupcakes, Jeff Staple, Bobby Hundreds and Marc Ecko speak.

Agenda Emerge Johnny Cupcakes

Agenda EmergeThis year we also released our first batch of Coup Street hats. Which are available online.

Coup Street HatsCoup Street HatCoup Street Hat

So those are the main highlights of 2013. There’s definitely a lot of work to be done in 2014. New ideas to explore and plenty of room to grow. We are going to start experimenting with cut & sew and do a lot more collaborations and video interviews. So stay tuned. We truly appreciate everyone’s support, our new followers and fans, and look forward to a new year! Below is a quick collage we made of all the artists, DJ’s, supporters and people we met this year that helped make 2013 special.

Coup Street 2013

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