Throughout history, contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol to more modern street-artists like Shepard Fairey, have made the leap from art to fashion. And with the rising popularity of urban streetwear and apparel it’s easy to see why some of today’s biggest artists have started to brand themselves.
Long Island artist/designer Spencer Stown, 25, has painted graffiti for more than ten years. But, in the last five years, he has dedicated most of his time to work on his independent clothing line—STOWN Ltd.
AWM recently caught up with Stown for a one-on-one on how the 25-year-old artist went from tagging to trendy.
What was it that made you decide to take the leap from art to fashion?
Honestly, I definitely have done graffiti, but I wouldn’t consider myself a “street-artist.” The transition came from me wanting to sell my artwork but not undersell it. When you first start, no matter how dope your shit is, people want to give you bottom dollar for something.
I went to a lot of music festivals and not everyone has the same amount of money. So, I wanted to create something that was a little bit more tangible and easier to go around with.
Where do you see yourself taking STOWN Ltd. in the next few years?
I want to make it a full-on lifestyle brand. I’m trying to do a lot. Recently, I got accepted into this really cool program that is being organized by some big names in the streetwear industry. I want to expand the brand and I want to sell it to distributors.
Urban streetwear is definitely an up-and-coming market.
Yeah. I’ve been getting into a lot of undiscovered brands overseas. Streetwear has become this whole new thing.
So, tell me more about some of places you’ve been and people you’ve met through your work?
One of the coolest things that has happened to me was I got asked to sponsor a Jim Pla racecar. I managed to get my logo on a Porsche Turbo and I was blown away by it. It lasted for about a season and then the guy went pro.
I’ve maintained a good relationship with this racing company, and I want to design some type of collection… like some type of racing collection.
The music scene was huge. I started five years ago, when I was 20. At that time I didn’t have a large sum of money to fund all this and had just sampled this hat with Grassroots California.
I was sleeping on making the hat for like a month, when I got a call from them saying “we’re going to produce the hats. Let us keep half and we’ll sell half the hats for you,” which gave me some time.
It worked out great for me. Not only was I able to give them half the hats myself, [Grassroots were] at every music festival I was at. That year, I was going to Electric Forest and ended up seeing five… ten… 15 people rocking my hats.
It’s cool when your friend buys something from you, but when it’s a complete stranger. It sparks that thing.
Who would you say were your biggest influences as an artist/designer?
Growing up on Long Island, I’d have to say this dude Phetus. There are a lot of designers and other artists who influenced me. The graffiti writer CERN, I love his work.
What are you working on next?
I am actually working on doing this really dope jacket with Jeff Hamilton, the founder of Guess? Jeans. I found him through Instagram and told him [I was having issues with my distributor] and how the quality of leather was not really what I wanted. So, he told me to send him over some stuff. In two months time, I’m going to be flying to L.A. [to meet with him].
To find out more, check out stownltd.com or @stown_limited on Instagram and Twitter.