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Survival of the flyest: Black-owned boutique talks outlasting the pandemic

This year’s pandemic has tested us all, especially NYC based Black-owned boutique and streetwear brand, The New Blue Collar.

The New Blue Collar’s fifth Collection represents resilience, grit, and survival. And, surely, the fashion style and design have evolved from what the streetwear brand created just over a year ago.

TNBC is a testament to hard work and sportsmanship. The founders Felix Llanos from Queens, NY, and Alex Ewings, who was born in Texas and raised in Tulsa, OK continue to prove that in their fifth drop.

Both are familiar with the work done on hardwood floors, glass backboards, and the iron rims of basketball gyms, but the pandemic has shifted the energy toward preservation and reclamation of certain wisdom…

Wisdom acquired on the courts of NYC playgrounds. 

black owned boutique brand TNBC
The New Blue Collar Fifth Collection. Photo by Casey Brooks

“We’ll always make it a point to incorporate NYC into anything we do. We want to make sure it speaks to the city in some shape or fashion – no pun intended.” 

Felix Llanos and Alex Ewings

The Black-owned boutique brand has previously draped its models in leisurewear like crewnecks and athletic shorts and given way to the idea of an athlete’s casual attire.

As well as placing items of grit, grind and everyday work, like mechanic jackets, and hoodies on them. 

streetwear brand tnbc
The New Blue Collar Fifth Collection. Photo by Casey Brooks

The core of the brand remains the same as the pandemic looms. The outlook on the future of their aesthetic continues to evolve. The COVID lockdown allowed creatives to galvanize and strengthen their focus on what needed the most attention to survive this time.

Felix Llano and Alex Ewings explained: 

“We’re fortunate to be able to say that the pandemic didn’t negatively affect our business. If anything, it allowed us to slow down a bit and [really] take a step back and reflect on the work we’ve done up to this point. Figure out what we need to do to continue to evolve as a brand.”

streetwear brand TNBC
The New Blue Collar Fifth Collection. Photo by Casey Brooks

The streetwear brand has stuck to a low volume of production while keeping the items in each collection to a minimum of staple pieces that complete a man’s closet. The fifth collection wants to elevate that same closet with more staples of a “Big Apple” feel.

The Black-owned boutique brand is evolving their minimalist aesthetic view of the athlete to one that has now matured into gentleman status.

black owned boutique TNBC

Button shirts for casual occasions, a bucket hat that innately screams ‘functionality,’ and in addition to other cut and sewn staples, The New Blue Collar has also featured customized pairs of Air Force 1s that the founders created through Nike By You.

black owned boutique
The New Blue Collar Fifth Collection. Photo by Casey Brooks

“We started incorporating our personalized sneakers in shoots with our third delivery. It’s something we want to continue doing for each delivery moving forward,” said Llanos and Ewings.

Personalized Air Force 1s
Personalized Air Force 1’s made through Nike By You. Photo by Casey Brooks

The New Blue Collar is still fresh in its journey to being solidified in NYC closets, as well as everywhere else. Going into their second year of selling clothing can predictably be better than this year was. 

Felix Llanos and Alex Ewings went on to say, 

“As we mature, so will our taste levels. The objective will always remain the same – to provide you guys timeless staples – but the storytelling surrounding a certain collection may look a bit different than it did a year ago.”

As founders of a Black-owned streetwear brand, Felix and Alex continue to explore their aesthetic and grow their sartorial definition, they will have this year’s wisdom to always use a reference.

“Conversations with mentors have provided a fresh perspective, which is a huge help for [The New blue Collar] and [it’s] evolution.”

Felix Llanos and Alex Ewings

View the TNBC Delivery Five 2020 Lookbook

We hate the cold too! Creatives talk mental health recovery for the winter

As cold winter months are approaching it’s important for creatives to know what to do when it comes to mental health recovery.

Days are getting shorter, temperatures are lower, and sunlight is almost a distant memory. These change can have a big influence on mental health and creativity.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) affect about 20 percent of the American population in a mild form.

Its symptoms include oversleeping, social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and feelings of hopelessness. Given this, it’s unsurprising that artists often find colder months to influence their work and creativity.

winter blues mental health recovery
via IG – @damlebai ❄️ I complain about being too cold permanently but this is my favorite time of the year ~ i wish this outfit was real ~

Kulture Hub reached out to creatives to see how they deal with the winter blues and mental health recovery during this cold season.

Cold weather’s strong grasp on our mental health

Orla Bordeaux, a writer and director, in her Junior year at New York University, has noticed the changing seasons affecting her mental wellbeing. “I’m indoors more and not able to go outside [to] enjoy the sunshine, so mentally I definitely get pretty down,” Bordeaux said.

“It’s not that I got big spikes of depression, but I feel I’m just wallowing in this kind of low, sad place.”

– Orla Bordeaux, Junior at NYU

Ana Monfared, an actor and writer, sometimes essayist and painter, recognizes similar feelings:

“I definitely see [how] winter always takes a huge toll on my mental health…”

– Ana Monfared, Actor and Writer

“There are times when I think that it hasn’t, I’m like, ‘no, I’m fine’ and then winter will end and summer will start, spring will start and I’m like, holy shit, I was so sad,” Monfared, who is based in Vancouver, Canada, said.

seasonal affective disorder creativity
via IG Caption – @anamonfared: just a happy gorl and her latest chapbook- she’s not on amazon yet so in the meantime feel free to hit me up to snag a copy !!! inside you’ll find original poetry by yours truly dedicated to the rats

Aditi Damle, an illustrator currently quarantining in Texas, “Not seeing the sun definitely affects my general well-being.”

Damle first experienced the effect of daylight savings when she moved from India to the US for grad school. “I’m a night person so I tend to work at night which means I wake up late which means I really miss out on the sun hours and that bums me out,” she said.

“There’s this general brain fog luring me into bed that’s hard to beat some days.”

– Aditi Damle, Illustrator

Weinye, a cartoonist is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, first experienced Seasonal Affective Disorder when she moved to San Francisco for six years in 2010.

While SF’s winter wasn’t as cold as other places, she was still affected. “I rarely got to hang out with my friends due to the cold, so I was mostly bored and isolated,” she said.

“The loneliness eventually crept up on me and as the saying goes, ‘an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop’ is indeed true. I started overthinking and being emotional for no apparent reason which led to physical fatigue.”

– Weinye, Cartoonist

seasonal affective disorder winter blues
via IG Caption – @itsweinye How is everyone doing? Feel free to vent in the comments. Hang in here you all 💛

The connection between mood and creativity

While all creatives we spoke to recognize a potential connection between mood and creativity, their understanding of this connection is different.

“I always used to think that my most creative places were my most painful and vulnerable and honest and raw [places] and I don’t know if that’s true at all,” said Bordeaux.

“I think when I’m in really dark places mentally, my creativity kind of halts to a stop.” Bordeaux finds herself the most creative and productive in the moments in-between when she’s “kind of bouncing back from dark places.”

Damle also struggles to create sometimes. “When you live with depression and anxiety there are days where you just cannot do it. I completely shut down and I cannot be creative, I feel like if I have to create anything when my mental health is down its just going to come out bad,” she explained.

“I personally feel like if I’m in a positive state of mind, that energy translates into the work I make and reflects positive vibes versus when it’s not so good.”

– Aditi Damle, Illustrator

creatives mental health recovery
via IG Caption – @damlebai translation : i like me 🌼 no reason to destroy a flower to figure that out 🦖and i LOVE my shoes

It’s different for Monfared who doesn’t feel like her level of creativity changes. “You know, I think I have made some of my favorite work when I’m really fucking sad,” she said.

“I think in some ways I make a specific pocket of work when I’m particularly affected by seasonal affective disorder.”

– Ana Monfared, Actor and Writer

She explained that while she’s not more (or less) creative, the time of year changes the type of art she makes. “[when I’m really affected by S.A.D.], I think, is when I’m doing more of my like really depressing, sad work that would make my parents worried,” Monfared shared.

Weinye sees some positive effects of S.A.D. on her art. “I have found myself producing some of my best work during my not-so-good times,” she said.

“I think in my case, I was using my art to lay off the pressure I was feeling. It was a way for me to distract myself from the problems I was facing at the time.”

– Weinye, Cartoonist

So, what are ways for creatives to combat the winter blues and mental health recovery?

“Set a goal and share your work, because it makes you hold yourself accountable,” Bordeaux said. “And surround yourself with people who inspire you and who inspire you to make work.”

She gives an example of an impromptu painting night she recently had with her sister.

“I’m surrounded by really wonderful friends and people in my life and I’m inspired by [them].”

– Orla Bordeaux, Junior at NYU

For Damle, staying creative is all about channeling what you’re experiencing into your art. “Use the struggle to inspire you to try something new.”

She also recommended trying a new medium and talking to friends, a professional, or just a diary. “Find a place to put it somewhere other than in your head.”

via IG Caption – @damlebai summer is over i guess & im getting ready to go into hibernation.

Monfared suggests not setting any expectations and trying a new medium. “That’s why painting is one of my favorite things to do because I don’t have any plans of becoming a painter in the future or selling my paintings.”

She continued: “Therefore when I sit down and paint (…) it’s such a beautiful space of free-flowing art, which then often actually leads to something else.”

Weinye also shared some advice: “Do not compare your productivity level with others because everyone is moving at their own pace and so should you.”

When it comes to combatting the winter blues, seasonal affective disorder, or dealing with mental health recovery, it’s important for creatives, to just do what works best.

“It is okay to not be okay sometimes,” Weinye said. “We are human beings. Not machines. Shit happens!”

Why exercise is essential to a photographer’s visual creativity

“Sound body, sound mind,” says Greg Travers when asked about exercise and his visual creativity. It happens that the line between creativity and discipline is thinner than what you might think.

Gregory Travers is a cinematographer, director, and digital consultant. The mastermind behind When the City Sleeps; an extraordinary film he directed in collaboration with Ten Thousand that elevates the beauty of New York while in social confinement.

Besides this passion project of his, Greg has worked with dozen of clients including Under Armour, Snapchat, Andie Swim, and more. All of which allows him to connect both his passions of film and fitness.

“Being on set is exhausting; mentally and physically. Mentally, you have to think of everything: the shot lists, talent, hair and make-up, stylist. You are coordinating so many different heads and people. And physically you are dealing with cameras and lights. It is important to be fit because the art of shooting is physically and mentally taxing.”

– Greg Travers

And in fact, countless research has proven how much physical and mental exercise improve creative output.

Just like any other muscle in the body, creativity is one that needs everyday work and discipline to stay fit. Here are three that have worked for Greg.

Running is always a good option

Although it is the most mainstream of all options, running may also be the best option to stay creative. Not only is it easy and accessible for everyone at all times, but it is also an exercise that can be customized to everyone’s ability and desires.

Furthermore, is a highly effective way to not only organize thoughts and meditate but also to distract creatives from the burden of their jobs.

Films and videos, Greg explained, are heavy on editing, which means countless hours sitting at the desk. And often, creatives use this as an excuse; long focused hours cannot be threatened for an hour of exercise.

But is it really threatening that focused time?

Contrary to popular belief, creativity is not always a free flow. And, more often than not, creatives find themselves experiencing creative blocks; sitting for hours, waiting for the idea to come.

Sometimes, execution is better than ideating. Thus, like running, getting that foot out the door, is good enough.

Nike says it better, “Just do it.”

The advantages of a 20-minute jog or run can significantly improve both the discipline and performance of the mind. You can also keep yourself healthy by taking supplements, and you can review on Phen375 fat burner on how it works, but with the right diet and exercise.

Running is perhaps the most liberating, out-of-comfort activity, and it gives the mind space for new ideas to incubate.

It establishes a higher level of exercise and visual creativity that one might not have known was attainable.

That runner’s high is a vibe…

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“It’s still New York or nowhere.“ – @gregtravers_ 🗽 ⁣ ⁣ Many turn to running as a form of breaking a sweat, keeping sane, or just getting some fresh air – Our homie Greg was one of them and he doubled down during early quarantine. ⁣ ⁣ Through running in the desolate NYC streets day after day in March, he kept having the same vision for producing a running video in these never before seen, completely empty streets. ⁣ ⁣ He pitched the idea to some friends at and they gave him the green light to create whatever he desired with their gear. Thus, here we are. ⁣ ⁣ #tenthousand #runnyc #quarantineclean #stayfitdontquit #nycstrong #baconeggandcheese #getupandgo

A post shared by There’s More To Life (@kulturehub) on

Not to mention that it has been scientifically proven to be an effective stress reliever, energy booster, and serotonin producer.

The Wim Hof Method?

In addition to running Travers also recommended developing a breath work routine such as the Wim Hof Method.

Wim Hof is a Dutch extreme athlete better known as The Ice Man. He has won Guinness World Records for swimming under ice and he is better known for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures.

Thus, he attributes these abilities to the WHM, a combination of breathing techniques and meditations.

The Wim Hof Method is about reconnecting us – to ourselves, to others and to nature,” he claims. It is based on three pillars: cold therapy, breathing, and commitment.

Similar to the Tibetian Tummo meditation and pranayama, the method employs breathing techniques that seek to naturally optimize the state of mind and body.

With multiple years of research, working with scientists and data experts, Wim Hof has proven that cold therapy promotes fat burning, boosts the immune system, improves sleep, reduces inflammation, and more.

It teaches breathing techniques that improve energy levels, detoxes the body, reducing stress levels and rebalance the nervous system, and strengthen your immune system. And finally, commitment push yourself out of the natural comfort zone.

Take your exercise and visual creativity capabilities to the max, fam

The method itself is a variation of three phases that include: controlled breathing, breath retention, and recovery breathing. The first phase involves 30-40 cycles of breathing, this is a form of controlled hyperventilation.

The second phase lets it all out, holding the breath for 1 – 3 min until needing to breathe again. Finally, the thrid phase is recovery, where a strong urge to breathe occurs.

For more information, here is a brief article describing the benefits and its preparation.

Use your time wisely

Finally, Greg has found a productive way to use the time it takes to export large video files and be productive. “Working in the film industry, most of my time involves exporting files which normally take a long time…”

“I like to use these occasions to my advantage and stay active by doing some pushups or literally hanging upside down.”

– Greg Travers

Hanging upside down, in fact, has far more benefits than what one would imagine. It happens that it is a perfect way to get the blood running up to the brain considering that when one sits in front of a computer for hours that doesn’t happen very often.

Let’s get weird

Once past the uncomfortable, usually after 60-seconds, the body is able to feel the benefits of the inversion. Oxygen runs to the brain which immediately gets the brain notoriously activated.

“The brain is the largest consumer of oxygen in the body, thus more blood means more oxygen and that means more function.”

It improves concentration, reduces stress, improves posture, and even works some of the muscles in the body. Not to mention, it is a perfect way to meditate and practice mindfulness. Thus not only boosting your overall fitness through exercise but also enhancing your visual creativity.

Even if hanging upside down does not feel great. Export time can also be used to brief workouts like 20-minutes of pushups. It is a time-effective way to stay active and clear your mind from any preoccupation allowing space in your mind for creativity.

Sound body sound mind

It comes as no surprise that the great creative minds have been very vocal about their relation with physical exercise.

In his book, Shoe Dog, Phil Knight literally mirrors his race in the sports industry as a running race. Notoriously talking about the discipline and values that running has taught him personally.

Louisa May Alcott was reportedly devoted to running. Haruki Murakami, the great Japanese writer, even wrote an entire book about it. And there is a misconception in thinking that the only way out of a creative block is time. Or even worse, force.

Sometimes it is about liberating and making space in the mind and body. Designing your work around a sort of creative fitness. And, more importantly, having the discipline to put yourself out there, to warm up or even allow mistakes to happen, but letting the mind flow.

When it comes to thinking visually or about anything creative, the best minds in the world have successfully created exercises or routines that free their minds. But that only happens when one is committed and willing to learn about themselves and take some time to breathe.

The most creative minds in the world have successfully created exercises or routines that free their minds. But that only happens when one is committed and willing to learn about themselves and take some time to breathe.

There must be a sense of fitness and creativity at play when the world’s most innovative minds are at work.

alexus parker

Who is Alexus Parker? The creative director making illustration fun again

Brooklyn based artist Alexus Parker infuses her work with originality, humor and overall personality.

After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a B.A. in Illustration her artworks appeared in “The Get Out,” a tabletop book. Also, she has assumed the role of art director for the covers of several EPs and albums.

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A post shared by Parker (@lexparker_) on

Additionally, she created the lyric video for Cole King’s “Get It for Two.” Still, Parker currently specializes in digital portraits, layout design, and watercolor illustrations and her favorite medium, ink.

What stands out about Parker’s illustrations however is how engaging they are. I had a chance to talk to Parker about her work and how she started as an artist and graphic designer.

Alexus Parker creative director 6
Pride Road: Alexus Parker

The Origin Story

Parker started making art at a very young age. At around four-years-old, she started copying her favorite cartoon characters, specifically Scooby-Doo. Her goal was to draw him to perfection without having to look at any references, and eventually, she did.

Beyond skill, and interest her drive to complete artistic goals and challenges are what got her where she is today. Parker said,

“I was always interested in art, it was a way to express myself, and also it’s therapeutic for me. However, it wasn’t until my last three months of high school where I actually considered I can do it as a career.”

She continued to reflect

“That’s when my true drive started.”

Image result for hiro nakamura heroes yatta gif

“Yatta Kid Art” is the title of her website and brand name. The origin of her site’s name comes from her obsession with Hiro Nakamura of Heroes. There was an episode where he teleported to NYC and said “Yatta.”

“When I was younger, I was obsessed with Heroes, and one of the main characters, Hiro Nakamura, said “Yatta” when he successfully teleported to NYC. Yatta, which is a phonetic English spelling of the Japanese word, “Hooray!” I loved that character, and being such a positive person in general, I thought it fit.”

The website features insanely multi-faceted and talented works of art and design with different moods, uses, and styles. Trying to pinpoint her style under any given art genre is a bit difficult.

Alexus Parker creative director 5
Artist: Alexus Parker

Parker responded with uncertainty when I asked her what style she would describe her artwork. This is understandable considering she has sought to perfect so many styles.

“I tried the Kaws style, the doodle art style, realistic portrait styles. Everything. At this point, I just wanted to pop off on Insta. Then I decided I didn’t want to do that because eventually, it would become very unfulfilling, trying to be someone else.”

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A post shared by Parker (@lexparker_) on

The Yellow Post

Being authentic is important to Alexus Parker and this shines through her art. Many of her projects showcase humor. One of these projects is The Yellow Post. This series of humorous cartoons brings forth a different side of Parker.

Her humorous thoughts run rampant and free in this series.

Alexus Parker creative director 4
Artist: Alexus Parker

The Yellow Post is a project I started because I wanted to push myself to be creative. I also have a lot of crude humor, and at the time I didn’t want to post that on my personal account where my other art was because it wasn’t similar.”

Alexus Parker creative director 3

At times, The Yellow Post can be highly political, at others purely self-reflective but always original and inspired.

“I created it so I wouldn’t limit myself, and I would say it also acts like a visual journal. In my mind, I’m just posting my thoughts that maybe others can relate to.”

Alexus Parker creative director 2
Artist: Alexus Parker

Mock Up Gems

Some of the same energy that you find in The Yellow Post shows through Parker’s mockup work. Many of Parker’s IG posts are fake TV ads, billboards, and magazines.

The artwork is both effectively pulling and frustrating because the TV show or magazine doesn’t exist. I asked Parker what inspires her to create mock pieces of art and design for things that don’t exist.

“Sometimes illustration doesn’t affect people emotionally in the same way as, let’s say a movie/tv poster or fake ad would. So, with some of my ideas, I’ll do mockups instead to really drive my point.”

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A post shared by Parker (@lexparker_) on

Her favorite mockup is a TV ad for a fictional sitcom titled “Jess & Lex.” Parker models along with mock co-star and real-life photographer and model Jessica Garcia.

Parker even created MTA AD placement mock-ups.

“I created this with the intention of simply practicing my layout design skills. Everything was created in photoshop, besides the models of course…We were created in the womb.”

Alexus Parker creative director 1

Dreams for the Future

When asking if she would ever want an ad like this to be real, Parker laughed and said she wished she could create some of the mockups in real life but it would have to be a large production.

“If I had a chance to be in a TV sitcom, I would be in a sec. However, it would have to be a comedy.”

I asked Parker who also works as the Creative Director at jewelry company Automic Gold, what projects she was working on.

“I’m actually working on doing a fake campaign for one of my mock ads actually. I plan on advertising it on Insta, I’m interested to see the reaction. That’ll probably happen sometime in the Spring.”

Whatever comes next for Parker, it’s sure to bring more original and colorful artwork into the world.

Tidal artists give advice to the next generation of creatives

What gives an artist the right to chase their dreams? Maybe it’s pressure from the environment they live in, an unwavering dedication to the craft, or maybe a deep down desire to prove everyone wrong.

Either way, if you believe in yourself and spread positive vibes all things will come to fruition. Don’t doubt yourself, fool. You can make it to the top of the pyramid too as long as you heed to the advice of those who have come before you and are already in the limelight.

This is why Kulture Hub pulled up to the Made in America festival this year and asked artists at the TIDAL stage advice for YOU, the next generation of creatives. We want you to keep flexing and doing whatever it is you love to do.

Do you like to rap? Then keep going. What about taking pictures? You know the answer… believe in yourself and keep pushing. Whatever you want is obtainable and only you can unlock your true potential, homie.

Do you think Lil’ B would be where he is today if he gave up on his dream because of someone’s, lame ass, opinion? Hell no. Look at how far the rapper Trouble has come, my guy has been rapping since the age of 14. At 30, that’s 16 years of believing in a dream that can change within a coin toss.

Let’s not even get started on how difficult it is to gain respect within the music industry as a female rapper (we need to fix this problem BTW). Still, Saweetie didn’t let anyone blur her creative vision. She took NO SHORTCUTS!

Shit, even when everyone told Jay Park to chill with rapping because he’s Asian, the young OG kept it movin’ and is now one of the most poppin’ Asian rappers to ever sign with Roc Nation.

Listen, there’s no reason to stop hustling within your craft. Continue to push forward and everything will fall into place. If you don’t believe me at least trust those who you idolize.

Stay positive, one love!

SLUMS is the streetwear brand pushing the next generation to live different

“Simply. Living. Under. My. Standards.”

That’s the message SLUMS founder Big Slummy wanted to get across when he first launched his Bay Area brand back in 2014.

But that message has grown to be much more than an acronym.

It now stands for a mindset of kids everywhere who know they don’t want to conform to the lives waiting for them if they just settle for mediocrity. SLUMS represents the next generation of creators who understand one thing: there’s more to life.

But even more than that, it’s about doing what they love and leaving an impact.


This is a movement that’s looking to push street culture further by making events and shows for the people, by the people. Where gentrification continues to grow they are staying true to their roots and holding on to their culture.

They ain’t your average start up streetwear brand either. They got some character. SLUMS is not trying to be another clone. Just a quick glance at what they have on offer proves that. We spoke to Slummy and found out a bit more about them.

We know what the acronym SLUMS stands for but what does it mean to you?

The whole acronym gave me direction and helped me realize life is lived at one’s own accord so please yourself, not society. Growing up it could have been easy to live the whole peak at high school life and live the routine zombie life after it, but I wanted something more out of life and to leave my impact. I didn’t fuck with the whole trying to fit in and morph/mold into people’s expectations or what other people wanted because at the end of the day it’s you left with your decisions so I choose for myself not off anyone else’s standards.


Do you feel like kids in the Bay Area are represented well enough when it comes to music, style and overall culture?

The Bay area fasho supplies a lot to the culture and barely gets any credit for it, the youth out here be getting slept on. The Bay area is having its lil creative renaissance right now a lot of the shows being thrown be all independent no men in suits paying for it. It’s still developing and growing but it’s becoming a battle against gentrification making it so hard to find spot to throw these events for shows/artshows. 

Your Grimey Hooligan design is clearly based on early cartoons so do you plan on making that a staple of you brand?

Yeah the Grimey Hooligan is damn near the mascot of the SLUMS. I want to have him drawn in so many different styles, the old vintage cartoon style is just one of his iterations. I have so many versions of him in the vault just waiting for the right time to drop them. Regardless of the style it can be anime version, Simpsons, etc. You can tell it’s the Grimey hooligan ’cause the essence of him from lil traits, for one you’ll always see the shit head. It’s a little timeless thing to do I kind of learned from Babymilo and KAWS there’s certain characteristics they did that can be remixed with all these different variation of characters.

Are there any brands that you look up to or would like to work with down the line?

I always told myself that my idols are either gonna work with me or work against me, be my friend or be my enemy type shit. I grew up watching that Team Ice Cream volume one skate video so that’s what sparked my interest to this whole streetwear shit so I’ll say BBC and Ice Cream got a special place in my heart. Other brands I really fucked with are shit like Old HUF when Benny Gold did graphics, Mishka NYC, BAPE shit but like early BAPE shit like 2011 and earlier. Collabs from brands would be cool but that’s something I haven’t really thought of. I’m more for getting them licensed from my favorite things (shows/games) or artists that I favor.

How do you feel about exclusivity in the streetwear world and how do you plan on working that idea into your brand?

Sometimes the concept sucks because shit be so overpriced cause of this whole “limited” stock shit but designs/production don’t even live up to the price. But it’s pretty vital to have in a clothing brand the whole exclusive shit makes people feel like they in a secret club, so far for exclusive shit I just don’t restock so you get that one chance while it’s out. I’m trying to throw more events hosted by the SLUMS brand soon so making exclusive merch for the events is something that’s on my mind.


What is the vision for SLUMS?

Shit all I know is 10 years from now I want a flagship store that I can throw shows at, a getaway for creatives to get shit done, and be settled with life chilling. 

SLUMS is all about community and while they’re local now, Slummy has the vision to make this something that blows up and stands the test of time.

Check out some of the lookbook for their latest collection below.

Peep the SLUMS store here to cop now.

alec monopoly

How renowned street artist Alec Monopoly painted his fantasy into existence

“CHA-CHING!” should’ve chimed every time someone walked through the front doors at Alec Monopoly’s “CA$H CA$H BANG BANG” celebration at the Eden Fine Art Gallery in SoHo.

Outside the gallery was a red carpet rolled over a sidewalk to protect Alec’s Balenciaga sneakers, his motorcade of Ferraris and Lamborghinis decorated the intersection of Broom St and Mercer, and the gallery’s windows were lined with scattered balloon letters spelling happy birthday.

Eden Fine Art

It’s easy to understand why the atmosphere felt almost heaven-like. Alec was in a room full of his creations and amongst people that put a price on what he made with his hands. Eden’s four-level gallery was separated by glass staircases – each having their own bar, curated sounds by DJs Alexandra Richards and Alix Brown, and unique artworks at the event.

This was all while a gorgeous waitstaff served pink grapefruit Bellini champagne cocktails and food trucks made cheese covered french fries in miniature Monopoly-inspired top hats.

Eden Fine Art

Guests on the bottom floor were entertained by a virtual graffiti board as they weaved through two sperate rooms trying to get a grip on what to do next.

The main floor was filled with gold and black balloons which were blown up in celebration of two birthdays Alec’s 32nd and his new gallery-artist partnership with Eden Fine Art.

On the third level, people waited for the B-day boy as they stood in a room that had an illustrious graffiti-covered cake topped with a Monopoly man and handheld cash counters loaded with Alec Monopoly money.

The top floor is where I met Alec, as gold chains encrusted with diamonds swayed around his neck, keeping Alec’s body balanced with his aristocratic aura.

Kulture Hub caught up with the graffiti artist to see what he had to say about how far along his artwork has come, the Eden Fine Art Gallery partnership, his Robert De Niro inspired art installation, and what has kept him hustling.

Imagine selling your first piece of art at 12-years-old for $500 to having your works priced at $250,000 20 years later. This is a destiny Alec dreamt daily.  Every birthday he would blow out his candles wishing for one thing — to become a famous artist.

Eden Fine Art

From day one, he believed in himself. Alec explained,

“I’ve known ever since I was a little kid. Every birthday I would blow out the candles and wish that I  would be an artist, a famous artist. Now I’m living my dream…”

In a way, Alec has painted his reality. His depictions like that of the Monopoly Man playing “Goyard Golf” with Richie Rich is definitely a representation of a fantasy he’s always wanted to live in. Alec spoke of painting his reality into existence. He said,

“I’m living my dream and I’m creating a fantasy world with my artwork that I live in as well.”

Even though Alec has developed himself into a world-renowned street artist painting his depiction of American socio-politics on many foreign urban spaces, he hasn’t forgotten his NYC graffiti roots.

Eden Fine Art

That’s why he felt “very grateful” and had to “bring it back home” to one of the best art galleries in NYC after a whole decade. He’s so NY and his show which was inspired by Robert De Niro’s films proved that an upbringing in the Big Apple is apart of your soul that is really hard to shake. Alec vocalized how he was inspired by the Taxi Driver actor and how important his NY roots are to his art. He said,

 For me, I’m just inspired by Di Niro. I think he is an NY icon and he’s done a lot for this city. So, this is me honoring him as one of the best actors of all time…

Alec continued,

I’m blessed and I’m very grateful to be showing here [NYC]. Graffiti was born in NYC and to be a street artist that has developed since then, it’s amazing. I’m very grateful.

With all of this success, my guy, Alec should retire soon right? No way! He is perfecting his craft every day.

Eden Fine Art

He can’t give up his addiction to seeing vibrant colors quickly escape an aluminum can cage onto a canvas. “Spray painting is instant gratification,” said Alec. He won’t ever let clout get to his head either. In regards to becoming a product of American greed, Alec thinks that staying humble, getting out there in the streets, and continuing to graffiti keeps him grounded.

This is definitely a path young artists should take — painting your fantasies into existence. But in order to paint the perfect portrait, it takes practice, dedication, and self-confidence. Alec had a message for up and coming artists across the globe. He said,

“Just keep working… Working works. You have to be dedicated. You have to work every single day, all day at it. That’s what I did!”

Pull up to Eden Fine Art Gallery and check out some of Alec and other talented artists’ artworks. Who knows? Maybe the Monopoly Man swag surfing on a dollar sign might inspire you to go out there and get what you want. Stay inspired!

alec monopoly

Alec Monopoly is the most fire anonymous street artist since Banksy

Art is second nature for Alec Monopoly. As he was learning to write he was learning to draw. He grew up in NYC and is the son of a financier and an oil painter. His mother was the artist, who serves as one of his greatest inspirations.

Monopoly is a true artist, constantly creating new pieces, as long as he is not eating or sleeping. Alec showcased his talents at a very young age, selling his first painting at 12 years old for $500.

His passion turned into a career when his street art and graffiti in the Meat Packing District caught the eye of NYC real estate developer Todd Cohen. When Cohen offered to buy 10 of his pieces, Monopoly’s success began.

Alec took inspiration from Bernie Madoff, the financial crisis, and the Monopoly board game, creating pieces exhibiting his depiction of capitalistic greed.

It’s amazing how he put all of his inspirations together to create art that would convey the corrupt American banking industry. Check out what he said in a Forbes interview back in 2015,

“I was playing Monopoly and watching the news, and I saw Bernie Madoff being arrested. And it hit me, it was like a light bulb and, that night, I started a canvas of a Monopoly guy that I never finished. It’s a Monopoly guy half-painted, and I went out on the street and just started tagging the Monopoly guy. The response was so quick. It was picked up on the Internet and in magazines, so I just went crazy with it.”

Alec made the world his canvas, tagging his images of the Rich Uncle Penny Bags all over the globe from NYC…

To Paris where he finds a lot of raw inspiration…

And you already know he had to get it poppin’ in Miami too.

It was Alec’s big move from NY to Cali that established him as a unique artist, bringing his Wall St. influenced art to places like Melrose and Sunset Blvd.

Monopoly’s art is a hit with the rich and famous. He has won the attention of actors and artists alike. Miley Cyrus, Snoop Dogg, Seth Rogan, Benecio Del Toro, and Robert Dinero have all bought pieces from him. Back in 2013, he also collaborated with Justin Beiber where he created a mural live on the red carpet for Beiber’s hit film, Justin Beiber’s Believe. 

Alec Monopoly’s creativity doesn’t stop there! The street’s prophet also sprays images of other wealthy pop-culture figures from childhood to join the Monopoly Man…

Like the homie, Richie Rich…

And Uncle Scrooge.

Monopoly draws inspiration from pop culture as well. Peep his interpretations of celebrity icons such as Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Jack Nicholson, Goldie Hawn and Muhammed Ali.

It’s interesting to see how his brand extends way beyond just his huge murals and tagged up pieces. Monopoly has teamed with hotels, jewelry companies, and clothing brands showcasing his talents.

Here he collaborated with W Maldives Retreat and Spa.

Alec is also the art provocateur of TAG Heuer.

Just killing another runway show because he really does this.

He has managed to do all of this while concealing his identity, either with a hand over his mouth, a dust mask, or a bandana. Even while I was watching him in an interview with his mask off he never revealed his true identity.

The craziest part is that Alec isn’t even his real name.

Want to check out some of his latest work?  You can find it at the Eden Fine Art Gallery. Alec’s art will be showcased through Dec. 30.