If you’re at all familiar with the hardcore scene, you’ve probably seen some of your favorite bands from Agnostic Front, Madball, Hatebreed, Death Before Dishonor, Reign Supreme, Death Threat and many others repping Pitchfork Hardwear. In 2003, three friends got together to put together a clothing line encompassing the independent music scene and street culture of NYC. Seven years later Pitchfork has gained worldwide recognition for producing clothing that conveys the New York state of mind and a love for the underground music culture. I was able to catch up with one of the owners Warren to discuss their story and how they got to where they are today. Enjoy!
SP: Let’s get this party started; fill us in on who you are and what your role is at Pitchfork Hardwear?
My name is Warren and I handle artist relations at Pitchfork NY Hardwear.
SP: Who are the other movers and shakers at Pitchfork and what are their roles at the company?
Warren: LD is the heart and soul behind Pitchfork and deals with the
designs, material, production and web site. Mike Huie is our business
manager and deals with the finances and business aspects of the company.
SP: Take us back to the early days of Pitchfork, where did the idea come from and why clothing?
Warren: Pitchfork started out as an idea between LD, Michael and I to stay involved in the music scene outside of playing in bands and going to shows. Clothing was a way to be involved in the lifestyle of the music scene. We have of course branched out to involve MMA fighters, skaters and anyone who would want to wear our stuff but our roots are primarily in the music scene.
SP: Is Pitchfork your full-time “job” or do you have other ventures that bring in the paper? From sun up to sun down, take us through your typical day?
Warren: I work full time as a bass/guitar technician for various bands. I am usually on tour for the majority of the year. I have been doing that for about 12 years and it helps me to keep up with a lot of the new bands out there.
SP: With only $300 dollars and an idea, Pitchfork has been able to carve out a niche and work with some of the biggest names in hardcore, metal, punk and hip-hop (http://www.pitchforkny.com/artists.php) which not only resulted in world-wide name recognition but I’m sure some nice monetary gain, what do you suppose is your key to success in the street wear market?
Warren: Again, all of our roots are in the music scene in New York
City whether it be hip-hop, metal, hardcore or whatever. I think that shows through our designs and the way we represent our company. People I think can see that and decide to support us by buying and wearing our stuff.
SP: How do you guys come up with your releases, is it a collaborative approach or do you each have a specific focus at the company?
Warren: A lot of our designs are collective ideas between LD and Mike although we all approve the designs together. I’m not as involved in that department of the company as much as the other guys.
SP: Has the recession put a damper on Pitchforks growth? What is your strategy to weather this current economic storm?
Warren: I think every business has felt the effect of the economic times. We just keep doing what we have always done which is to put out some cool clothes with cool designs that we are proud of.
SP: New York has such a rich legacy in not only the hip-hop community but also in the early days of the hardcore scene, how has this city shaped Pitchforks philosophy and/ or approach to the clothing you release?
Warren: Everyone involved in Pitchfork Hardwear was and still is involved in the New York Hardcore scene. I think this is what gives us our edge and makes us different from just any clothing line. We try to keep our ideas fresh and creative and a lot of those ideas are derived from our roots in the music scene.
SP: Having ran a successful clothing company for at least a couple years, let’s explore some things you have learned along the way that you can offer as advice to the up and comer:
SP: Do you recommend printing up your own clothing or contracting it out?
Warren: If you have the ability to rent a place where you could set up printers and equipment then why not. As far as starting up your own business, learn how to take risks.
SP: What are two things you learned that you wish you would have known when you first started?
Warren: Paper ads don’t translate into sales, softer is better.
SP: In my experience, the most important characteristic to have when running your own line is______?
Warren: Lack of sales and lack of motivation.
SP: Usually it’s a challenge in business when there is more than one person involved, what piece of advice would you offer for those leaning towards a partnership?
Warren: You need to trust and respect your partners. Everyone is trying to achieve the same goal. Collaboration always involves compromise.
SP: Band sponsorships, let them come to you or reach out to them?
Warren: Both. Bands hit us up all the time. I try to respond to every band that contacts us regardless of whether we end up working with them or not.
SP: What does 2010 have in store for Pitchfork?
Warren: Hopefully 2010 brings us world domination!!!
SP: Well that about wraps it up, throw out some links for us to peep and a last word if you can fit it in?
Warren: Check out our web site at www.pitchforkny.com and support heavy
and underground music.
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