Depending on what street you turn on in North Brooklyn you’ll see scruffy versions of Andrew McCarthy’s character in Less Than Zero, neon ‘90s kids looking like In Living Color audience members, urban hikers and token goths. Take a sneak peak at Victory Press’s Fall 2013 lookbook and it’s as if 70% of these lurkers collided at a skate park and came out as a cohesive look.
Unlike many labels that cull their designs from trend-spotting sites or by following “it” brands at trade shows, there’s an authenticity and originality to the Vinegar Hill-based brand’s designs. Jessica Humphrey’s design background with Ralph Lauren and Denim & Supply compliments Jon Cammisa’s work with skate brands Zoo York, Altamont, and Vans to create a colorful wash of denim, corduroy, print and pattern. It’s Brooklyn by way of vintage suburbia.
We spoke to them ahead of Victory Press’s launch Thursday at 7 p.m., at the Barber & Supply pop-up at 101 N. 8th Street.
Jessica Humphrey: Jon and I met at Vinegar Hill House one night through a mutual friend. He ran upstairs to his apartment and grabbed a small package wrapped in brown paper. Inside was about 40 cartoonish dick drawings on small white pieces of paper. At that moment, I knew Jon was someone I wanted to work with.
One day we went to the Patagonia super stoked, but left really uninspired. Victory Press was sort of born that day. We wanted to create something that we wanted to wear that also has the integrity of the iconic brands we grew up loving.
Jon Cammisa: VP was born out of our shared interests, obsessions and criticisms of art, music, fashion, design, food… everything! We agreed instantly that there was a huge gap in the market for the clothes we wanted to see, so this was a natural and excitingly ambitious way for us to put all of our solid vibing into an ever evolving collaborative effort.
JH: We are big flea market and vintage heads. We collect mostly late ‘80s and ‘90s vintage, and you can see it in use of vibrant colors and jazzy prints. The environment in New York City also dictates a lot of the design decisions. We ride our bikes a lot, so our anoraks are breathable and waterproof with lot of extra pockets and our jeans have reinforced knees. Even our black denim jacket has a waterproof nylon canvas cell phone pocket.
JC: Coming from downtown Philadelphia in the ’90s and being fully immersed in a “golden era” of inner weaving street subcultures was monumentally influential to me. Now in New York, we live in a creative cultural melting pot. There are virtually no limitations to access and inspiration. We see the combined inspiration of these subcultures as the natural forward thinking progression of the cross-cultural inner city street style of today.
JH: I grew up in Virginia Beach. My dad was a surfer… I don’t really remember wearing shoes or being away from the beach. I got involved in the hardcore punk scene when I was a young teenager, which led me to live in DC and Boston. In Boston, I hung around a vintage clothing dealer named Bobby who introduced me to some designers from Polo. They convinced me to move to New York to work at the RRL store.
I met so many awesome people working at that store including David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Bruce Webber, but more importantly, someone came along and told me I should really design clothing. At that time, I had zero concept of what designing clothing involved. I’ve been in New York for 11 years and since then I’ve worked for Converse, Elizabeth & James Mens, Ralph Lauren twice, most recently for Denim & Supply. I’ve been very lucky.
I was starting to get recognition and a few skate and snowboard brands were reaching out to me for work, when I found myself living at Gonz’s for a month to cat-sit for him while he was away. He asked me to go with him to Six Flags for his birthday and after that I pretty much became in charge of everything art, design, and production for him.
A lot of that time was spent fucking around in the streets while I’d yell at him for us to go get work done. He’d spend hours trying to do some ridiculous impossible shit like kickflip his mountain bike off a bench (it didn’t work out). That went on for about 4 years.