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Inspired by a recent fashion delivery of a graphic T from "The Ice Cream Man", this week's blog spotlight goes to Streetwear, a genre and culture of fashion that is the added flavor to the ultra-glam industry of style.

Here, I sit down with the "Streetwear Kings" of Charleston, as I have suitably nick-named them, for a fun Q&A on this movement cultivating right here in our fine city!

Meet Matthew Dukes Hanna aka Ice Cream Man, creator of DiptNYC clothing brand and blog...

q: How do you define Streetwear and how does it apply to Charleston?
a: Streetwear to me is just being in your own state of mind in a certain sense and doing what you like regardless of what the general public thinks.  It is heavily influenced by your major cities, hip hop music & the like.  Honestly, it's a bit of a shame, but the "streetwear" scene here has really been lacking in years past but not to worry we have a strong, weblike connection between myself & some select up & comers (KJ of H1gher Learning) on the blog end & Bad Jon Stout) of Bad Jon Photography to name a few in the area leading a resurgence to the years back when Shep Fairey used run around these streets on a skateboard (we saw how that ended up).

q: What's is the mission, focus, message of DiptNYC and how are you getting your brand out in the universe?
a: DIPT NYC Brand® A Revolution Of Personal Expression bringing cultures and races together to form an undeniable revolution in the streets! We have four pillars really.  The emphasis lies in individuality, originality, sense of self, & a general happiness with a throwback of youthfulness in there as well.  I'm a colors and design guy & I find analogy's in everything & it all ties in with color.  1. Say you have a color, just a color, it isn't doing much out there is it?  Exactly, BUT you get that ray of color mixed in with a few others working cohesively towards a goal what you you have?  A beautiful rainbow! And where does that lead...to the pot of gold, but all jokes aside this is true that pot of gold can be riches, happiness, fulfillment whatever you are trying to achieve.  And that my friends is where it ties into bringing the cultures & races together for the common good. 2.  Many people say that you can tell a person's personality by the type of ice cream they like and vice versa. What's more original & shows your individuality more than ice cream? Exactly. You want chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, sprinkles, fudge coating, m & m's & it never ends.  This is where the ice cream theme ties in with being yourself and an individual. Say you had a dentist or doctors appointment, etc. and we all know you hated it. What did your parent's do to make you feel better? ICE CREAM. It didn't take long after that to feel a little better now did it. AND full circle that is what it is like when you put on some garments of DIPT NYC.  

q: Tell me the #1 fashion statement you wish to recycle back in to the current state of street style?
a: "Do what ya like & do what ya feel" as far as a quote.  Snapback caps (in the matter of those of STARTER caps) as far as an article of clothing.

q: Describe a streetwear look you would style me in?  
a: Why are you gonna go and do something like this to me Ayoka. We know you don't wear t shirts! Ha. I've only seen one on your before. I don't know the exact name for these shirts but I'm diggin' em {forgive me ladies} these new shirts that are kinda blown out and on the short tip & when it is hot time summer in the city we might just have to skip the t shirt and get you on a tank top for the summer.  For the feet we gonna have to put you in some of those new gladiator looking sandals. I dig these as well on the ladies.
 

q: What's next on the horizon for DiptNYC?
a: The takeover!  People don't really know but I have been on this grind for about 3-4 years now ever since I moved back from New York and this DIPT NYC X' SUMMER Shirt line, SEASON 1 is the first to go to print (aside from the highly successful DIPT NYC Haiti Relief Effort T Shirt we did). The Summer is coming and The Ice Cream Man is on the move.  As far a getting the brand out I am constantly promoting it via word of mouth and I have two very successful blogs (diptnyc.com) (diptnyc.tumblr.com) that provide a nationwide presence.  People will want to get on with this movement to be in at the start of something to come for years on. Hopefully by the end of the month or the first week of June we will launch our nationwide online release.  Also we have all intentions of having a table at Eye Level for the Holy City flea market event June 12th.


Meet KJ Kearney creator of H1GHER LEARNING blog (formerly Brown Derby Haberdashery) and clothing brand...

q: How do you define Streetwear and how does it apply to Charleston?
a: Streetwear is a sub-genre of fashion that represents what the people are wearing at the grassroots or "street" level. It's a funny term to me, even to this day, since I'm a hip-hop fan I hear the term "The streets" being throwing around and used all the time. I see the music videos, I love the music, I'm in the "hood spot" clubs, you know things and places that represent "The Streets" and more often than not I'm the only guy rocking some streetwear stuff. That's because most streetwear fans aren't in the "streets" per se. So until someone comes up with a better term for the "area of fashion represented by independent brands for consumption at independently owned and operated boutiques" then I guess we'll have to roll with that term.

q: What's is the mission, focus, message of H1GHER LEARNING and how are you getting your brand out in the universe?
a: The mission of H1GHER LEARNING is to properly document the developing Southern streetwear culture. It's focus is to distinguish the obvious from the important in order to shine a light on a sector of streetwear enthusiast that until this point have been sold to but never specifically serviced. There are a number of streetwear sites that don't feature our parties, art shows, music and brands. So H1GHER LEARNING is here to cater to that void.

How are we getting our brand out: Shaking hands and kissing babies. I'm really looking to get my brand in front of my target demographic I want to serve so I'm a huge proponent of event based marketing. We've held two BYOT events (Bring Your Own Tee), those have gone well and I'm looking to expand the concept. But the BIG thing I'm working on is a tour through out the Southeast. Going to the Southern streetwear stores and showing their clients my site, giving my potential readers a chance to meet me and feel my energy. I feel like the more people I get a chance to rap with and the more people that actually read the site, the more successful H1GHER LEARNING will become because my passion is quite contagious and my desire to "put the South on" as far as streetwear is concerned is insatiable.

q: Tell me the #1 fashion statement you wish to recycle back in to the current state of street style?
a: Nothing in particular that I would want to "bring back" exactly. But what I would like to see is people being more adventurous, trying to mix and match different genres in one outfit. On H1GHER LEARNING I often write about menswear items because I feel that man should not live by sneakers alone and especially with us being Southerners, we have some many outstanding options at our disposal I find it a crime for people NOT to try to mix things up a bit. Like a couple weeks ago I wore some white bucks with no socks (so menswear) with some camo cargo shorts (so streetwear). I understand that many people feel that they can't pull that off but I think it's at least worth a shot.

q: Describe a streetwear look you would style me in?
a: Oh man! As long as I've know you I've NEVER seen you in sneakers so I would style you as a female sneaker fiend. Some fresh Js (Air Jordan's), some crispy skinny jeans, a dope fitted seersucker button up or madras pop-over shirt (to show your Southern flare) and accessories you with a fitted hat- haha. But since you probably wouldn't dig that, I'd put you in some Bass Weejuns (no socks), some fitted chinos rolled up like a Tom Ford model, a perfectly cut chambray button up layered with a camo print jacket, a seersucker bow tie, and a gold grill in your mouth but just on the bottom row. What's more Southern than a gold grill and seersucker?

q: What's next on the horizon for H1GHER LEARNING?
a: I'm going to keep writing and hosting events in an effort to organically grow the readership. I going to release H1GHER LEARNING branded product SLOWLY but surely to help re-enforce the brand awareness. Lastly, find a way to get my site and my brand in front of some key tastemakers down South because although I'm not against hard work, I surely understand the value of being spoken highly of by individuals with a deeply committed following. I'm also working on an interview series in which I'm interviewing Southerners that have inspired me and I think their stories can inspire others.

 

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