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September 30, 2023

“There is no wrong way to wear it“ – Dave Ortiz for American Giant

Susanne Barta

Dave Ortiz ist Designer und Künstler. Er ist das kreative Mastermind hinter einigen der bekanntesten Streetstyle Pieces von NYC. Und er ist der langjährige Partner meiner Schwester Ulli. Seine Persönlichkeit, seine Arbeit, sein Stil haben mich von Anfang an interessiert und inspiriert. Vor allem auch, weil ich diese Welt bis dahin nicht kannte. Am Donnerstag hat er seine limitierte Kollektion „INSIDE OUT“ für American Giant in Soho, NYC gelauncht. Ich habe die ersten Samples heuer im Juni, als wir bei Ulli und Dave in Delhi, NY, waren, gesehen und probiert. Sweatshirt und Sweatpants sind nur sehr angenehm zu tragen, sondern auch von einer entspannten Coolness, die nur jemand hinbekommt, der Streetstyle seit Jahrzehnten im Blut hat. Die Stücke gibt’s in Kupfer, gedecktem Weiß, Schwarz und einem kräftigen Grün. Dazu Beanies in Kupfer, Orange, Pine Mist und Zebra. „Er habe schon immer Sweatshirts gerne umgekehrt getragen“, sagt Dave im Launch-Video. Und ja, man kann die Teile auf beiden Seiten tragen. „There is no wrong way to wear it.“inside_out_2+3 (c) Torkil Stavdal_AGAmerican Giant produziert in den USA mit dem klaren Fokus, lokale Communities zu stärken und zu unterstützen. Fabriken werden revitalisiert und so Arbeitsplätze zurückgeholt, die vorher ins Ausland verlagert wurden. Oberstes Ziel ist es, qualitativ hochwertige Kleidungsstücke herzustellen. „Durable not Disposable“, „Community powered Supply Chain“ and „Made right. Right here“ sind die Richtlinien ihrer Produktion. Die verwendete Baumwolle stammt ausschließlich aus den USA, die Lieferkette ist rückverfolgbar und es besteht der Anspruch, die Baumwolle von möglichst nah zu sourcen.

Dave, you grew up in East New York in the 70s and 80s and were one of the protagonists who shaped the skater and hip-hop aesthetic back then.  Please tell us about that time.

Things were a lot different from today. A lot simpler. A lot more visibly violent. East New York, even today, is one of the toughest neighborhoods in NYC. My family always made do with just barely enough. Both of my parents were Puerto Rican immigrants who worked really hard to provide for me and my three brothers. We, the kids, had to work from early on as well. My first job was in a Mafia Laundromat aka Video store. They called me Chocolate bar. But we did not know anything else. And there was lots of music, and good food, and a large extended family. I was always the weird kid. BMX, skateboarding and street art presented a way out for me, a way out of a place that most of my friends from back then only survived becoming a cop, postman, fireman, athlete or going to jail. inside_out_4+5 (c) Torkil Stavdal_AGLater you opened a store on the Lower East Side, “Dave’s Quality Meat”, designed the Air Max 90 “Bacon” for Nike, among many collaborations, and the shoe was relaunched two years ago. What drives you as a designer?

Curiosity, and to be honest I pretty much design things I want to have for myself. This is how I ended up designing a small capsule collection for American Giant. 

You are very creative, have been working as an artist for many years, how are art and design connected for you?

There is not one without the other. I draw my inspiration for design and art from the same place. My crazy mind. And music. And things I observe in daily life. I love perspectives and colors. And cubism. And any art. 

What role does clothing/fashion play for you today?

I am very simple that way, fashion doesn’t “play a role” for me. I wear what I have, or I make what I envision. It also helps a lot to have many friends who are pretty great at what they do, and coming from skateboarding and the sneaker culture world, we are used to hook each other up. So, I get a lot of free things.inside_out_6+7 (c) Torkil Stavdal_AGYou just launched your collection for American Giant. What did you want to realize design-wise?

I wanted to make a set of how I already wear most of my sweatshirts. INSIDE OUT. And that’s what it is – The Inside Out collection. All good. AG.
The looped terrycloth on the outside, labels on both sides, no wrong way to wear it. The Capsule came out perfect and I am very happy with my sweat suit. Check it out.

Is (more) sustainable fashion an issue for you?

I am a pretty terrible environmentalist. My partner, Ulli, pushes me all the time to become more aware, more responsible and less lazy about sustainability. So, I am trying. I would love to save the world, but I am really busy painting these days.inside_out_8+9 (c) Torkil Stavdal_AGYour style is eclectic and unique. How would you describe it?

I don’t think like that. I wear things that make me happy that moment or day, or that accommodate a task (like wood chopping or bike riding) and I don’t care what other people think of it. At all.

What else?

THANK YOU.inside_out_10+11 (c) Torkil Stavdal_AGAlle Fotos © Torkil Stavdal for American Giant

>> Supported by CORA happywear (M), Kauri Store (M), Oberalp Group (XL), Oscalito (L) und meiner Freundin Kristin << 

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