Twenty-two-year-old Miami native, Julian Consuegra, stands at a confluence of genres, philosophies, and methods. His clothing brand, Stray Rats, is the product of a buffet-style sampling of youth culture via digital age appropriation of various waves and trends that have become prerequisites to understanding the 2010s: hardcore punk, hip-hop, high fashion, and graphic design.
Since founding the line in April of 2010, the distinctive Stray Rats insignia, as well as an array of visual riffs and remixes, has been an unavoidable presence for young Miamians who spend their free time in bars and clubs up, down and off Biscayne Boulevard. Check out the cut for the Stray Rats story.
Consuegra explains he founded the line while "watching Beauty and the
Beast and scratching [my] farts. I thought I should do something that
would reflect my obsessions." As documented on his Tumblr, those obsessions include collectible toys and seemingly all
manner of pop culture detritus.
For Stray Rats, Consuegra summons the
clean aesthetic of hip brands like Supreme, as well as the aggressively
youthful, friend-oriented energy of straight-edge hardcore punk. When
pressed to explain whether or not hip-hop and hardcore fashion overlap,
Consuegra takes the ambiguous high road: "They do and they don't. I know
a lot of hardcore kids in different areas who wear Polo gear, Jordans,
old Nikes, good tees, nice jeans, on their menswear tip, or on some
crossover Biohazard/Leeway style of dressing."
Though pinpointing which elements of Stray Rats are influenced by
specific genres is difficult, a safe generalization may be that
Consuegra borrows the tidy vibe of branding and pairs that with
references to hardcore content. This includes a Subhumans parody shirt
and the Stray Rats "Sewer Crew" concept, a simple branding that appeals
to the brotherhood theme consistent throughout hardcore punk.
For Conseugra, the crew rules supreme: "When I make shit, I just think
about what I would wear. I would never make something that I or my
friends wouldn't wear." That crew extends all the way to the West Coast,
with support coming from photographers Julian Berman and Lucas
Vercettii, who rep the brand and document people wearing it.
high profile model thus far has been Odd Future hip-hop collective
leader, Tyler the Creator, who Berman shot wearing Stray Rats before the
ensemble experienced their meteoric rise in attention.
The Stray Rats website is currently sharing a sneak preview of the
summer catalogue, and the peek reveals Conseugra has been hard at work
developing the brand's concept. Alongside reprints of the o.g. Rats logo
on cream and tie-dyed shirts alike, the summer line also presents a
clever series of parody/homage designs, including a graffiti redux of
the logo, a version of the brand in black metal font, as well as
basketball-style jerseys sure to keep every member of your pack looking
extra fresh in the pit.
When asked about a hypothetical anti-materialist punk response to Stray
Rats, Conseugra is unphased. Though some might decry the label as some
kind of sell-out or greedy appeal to moronic pop culture, and others
might briefly dismiss the brand as "hipster shit," Consuegra has no time
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for such lambasts. To the critics and/or haters, Conseugra says "It's
not made for you."