ComplexLand Brands to Watch: Check Out the NYC-Based Streetwear Label Brigade
As a designer, Maldonado aspires to match the production quality of brands such as Supreme and Ralph Lauren. Like these labels, he hopes to one day work with technical fabric labels like Pertex or luxury fabric suppliers like Loro Piana on clothing. Maldonado also isn’t afraid to praise other young designers like Steven Mena, who is behind popular and up-and-coming Los Angeles label Menace.
“Honestly, I was inspired by Steven from Menace because he brings together collections where every piece is a hit, but they all work together,” says Maldonado, who hints that Brigade’s upcoming fall/winter collection will unveil the brand’s own Gore-Tex. -sque fabric. “For Fall/Winter, I’m going to try to test this idea of making every piece of clothing a piece that makes you say ‘Oh shit!’ Because usually, the way I design, there’s always a climax and everything else complements it.
While Brigade is expected to be stocked at Concepts this summer and is currently stocked alongside Off-White, Louis Vuitton and Rick Owens at R3bel in Richmond, Va., its goal is to expand its distribution to at least 10 stores by next year. He laughs at the idea of attracting an investor and thinks he can be successful in the business while remaining strictly independent.
“My goal is that we want to stay small forever, internally, based on what we need. You never want to have an unnecessary number of 200 people for no reason,” says Maldonado, who adds that Brigade is a small team. led by himself, his wife and many of his closest friends like, leading the design and creative direction where I point the ship in which direction it should sail while designing a lot of crap although my main focus either to improve myself as a designer, I would also like to have a team of designers with me who have their own points of view.
When talking about his label’s success, Maldonado doesn’t dwell much on how viral SoundCloud rappers like Krimelife Ca$$ or Lil Xelly wore the brand’s early pieces in their music videos and seems to care little about co-signatures. of celebrities that the brand has received. years. And in addition to collaborating with Hidden.NY on accessories and Zippo on a lighter, he turned down offers to collaborate with bigger brands, simply because it didn’t feel authentic to Brigade.
Despite the love he’s received over the years, Maldonado says he still struggles to see himself as “a designer with a capital ‘D'” even though the brand’s fans constantly ask him to let it go. some cut and sewn pieces he published years ago.
But one thing Maldonado is comfortable talking about is the creation of the Community Brigade. He loves when brand fans become friends after meeting at certain events or getting to know each other on his own online forum. That Brigade-built sense of community was alive and well and it’s the newest pop-up on the Lower East Side this year, where many shoppers stayed on a cool spring day to relax and unwind with old and new fans of the brand.
“Anyone could come in, people were laughing, vibrating with people and smoking together. From my perspective, I felt like anyone could stop and everyone was like, ‘Yo, what’s good,’ Maldonado recalled. “Whereas in other pop-ups, I feel like people just wanna be really cool. Yeah, you might look cool, but it’s not a vibe to be sitting around in a corner and not talking to anyone. I think that’s part of the secret sauce of how we’ve run Brigade. We make people feel welcome and we don’t judge anyone or anyone. trying to be too cool for ourselves.