Nostalgia, as it relates to sports apparel, has always been a tricky subject. Remember when throwback jerseys were all the rage? Wearing one now would get you more side-eyes than having "Chippy D" in your Google search history. (Seriously, don't look that up.)
But if you're looking to be sporty without looking like a relic, UndrCrwn quite literally has you covered. Supplying the public with freshness since 2005, UndrCrwn has built a strong catalog with shirts featuring a multitude of caricatures and sports-themed witticisms to pair with their other creatively designed garments. The line is NY-based, but they just came out with a signature LeBron shirt.
We chatted with the imprint's founder and creative director, Dustin Canalin, and discussed the brand's history, his favorite designs, and the sudden nationwide surplus of Miami Heat hate.
New Times: How did the company get started?
Dustin Canalin: UndrCrwn was an outlet for me to create products that
didn't fit into the normal basketball company box. Working for larger
companies, I was part of a machine. It was more about putting things in a
box rather than a vehicle for creativity. I wanted to blur the line
between fashion and sport. This was at a time when other companies
didn't focus on it. Now there are hundreds of sport culture based
clothing lines. I consider Undrcrwn a trailblazer in this market.
What would you say is the overall design philosophy of UndrCrwn clothing?
UndrCrwn's overall design philosophy is creativity. We pride ourselves
on our distinct eye and point of view on sports culture and fashion.
Which shirts are your bestsellers?
From the signature caricature-style tees (De La Soul, Bruce Lee, Donovan
McNabb) to the "Encore" line which is a series of re-introduced vintage
styles. Commercially, our "Obama" and "Your Swagger Sucks" tee would
have to be amongst the most popular.
Undrcrwn shirts have made references to sports, music, and even politics. What, if anything, dictates where you draw ideas from?
Everyday culture sparks conversations, ideas, T-shirts. There is no set
formula. A lot of references come from us trying to re-create the
nostalgia that we grew up on in the '80s and '90s. Today's marketplace
is a lot different. Everything is strategic and readily available, so to
try and create what happened in the past is a lot harder than it was as
it was actually happening. We have to be extra creative when creating
things that are based on memories of the past.
The NBA is a prevalent theme in your clothing. What are your thoughts on being a basketball fan in this era?
It's tough to be a fan these days. Too much business and marketing, and
less game. There are too many teams and too much marketing behind
players that don't deserve it. Maybe I'm old and cranky, but it's not
the same as it was growing up. I will say this, with the recent
LeBrondamanium, I will be watching Miami's every move. I like that
people are hating on Miami. It makes me want them to win even more. Go
Heat! Go Warriors!
Which Undrcrwn item is your favorite?
The caricature tees. I've pitched that idea to a few companies, and they
didn't bite. Before we came out with the Biggie and Tupac caricature
tees, the caricature tee was extinct. These caricature style tees with
athletes were everywhere in the '80s and '90s. Everyone thought they
were too juvenile, and they eventually stopped producing them. Now I see
them everywhere again. I feel like we injected life back into the
What companies have you collaborated with? Any dream partnerships?
Adidas, Nooka, Mos Def, and Jazzy Jeff to name a few. Of course we'd
love to collaborate with Apple. And a real dope collab would be with
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You can find UndrCrwn gear locally at Shoe Gallery (244 NE First Ave., Miami). Follow @UndrCrwn on Twitter and visit undrcrwn.com.