LIFE AFTER: Hidomi Hoodie
I swear on Spiff that I have like 8 different drafts of how I was planning to start this blog. 8 different topics I wanted to talk about that would ideally describe what this mini Life After: drop meant to me. I tried to explain the struggle I went through to be myself, express my childhood spent as a wallflower, and describe the life-altering realizations I had at a music festival last summer, (all rad blog topics lol) but none hit the vibe I was desperately working to convey through the Life After: Hidomi Hoodie and its creation process. After literally weeks of contemplation, I realized I was being the Overthink King that I always am; I just needed to write.
The following blog post can be broken into two parts.
- PART 1 tells the story of all the things I went through to turn this hoodie into a wearable piece of art.
- PART 2 breaks down the artistic choices I made when designing the piece.
Not gonna lie, it kinda feels like a bunch of word vomit because I couldn’t decide exactly what I wanted to say. If you make it to the end, I literally love you.
The whole point of the Life After: collections is to grow as an artist and expand my arsenal of ways to create gear and art (what’s the difference between the two anyway?) that represents me. That said, I can’t tell you the exact date I started working on the Hidomi Hoodie without looking deep into the unorganized files on my laptop because I had the design set for months but was struggling to find the right type of printing to use to display my art on the gear. If I stayed in my bubble, I’d save myself the time and money it would cost to produce something different, but it would leave me unsatisfied with the final result.
I was set on doing anything but solely screen printing, DTG printing, or embroidery. It’s not that there's anything wrong with printing that way-- it was just something I had done time and time again. At first, I was adamant about using puff ink because of its throwback, high quality feel. Some of my favorite thrifted pieces feature this type of printing and it for sure elevates the clothes to a doper level.
However, when I previously attempted to use puff ink on the L.A.S. mock neck, I learned it wasn’t possible with multiple colors because the different paints would bleed into one another (This was sadly a dealbreaker for me because using loud colors is kind of my thing.). I wasn’t going to let that stop me from finding a style of printing that would give me the same vibe because I’d seen clothes, such as the Kids See Ghost merch, nail the aesthetic I wanted to achieve-- it wasn’t impossible. I just had to know what I wanted to get done.
Google quickly became my best friend. I sifted through videos and articles about clothing materials and talked to a variety of warehouses that made clothes, peeping their examples before finally deciding to bite the bullet and get a sample hoodie made using what was called foam printing. When I received the sample produced on a 70/30 cotton-polyester blend, I instantly fell in love, but I realized that my drawing of Hidomi on the sleeves would look best through a mix of both screenprinting and foam printing (the layers of color would be much more prominent if I used a combo of the two). I made the call to go through one more round of sample hoodies, and boom. The new Life After: hoodie was good to go and ready for production.
Months after the idea was drafted, it was finally time to hype it up.
The years of running a brand and organizing Spiff drops were beginning to take its toll on me because I was unintentionally setting up expectations that were tough for Spiff to meet. Life was beginning to get in the way, our time and energy was being stretched thin, and we weren’t selling as much as we used to. The combination of tiredness and self-imposed disappointment left me feeling like a robot and thinking that the build-up to releases didn’t really matter for a small brand like us.
It was like I was giving myself anxiety for nothing.
You see, I made the mistake of doubting myself. After years of posting on the Spiff IG every single day to express the process, I grew tired of pushing my message. Hell, I didn’t even know what my message was anymore because I was preaching ideas that sounded good but didn’t feel like what I was personally going through. I wrongly assumed that my efforts were unappreciated, so I stopped exerting the same type of energy I had been putting out since Spiff Passé was established.
I started dropping gear without telling its story. I still made sales, but the brand no longer made me happy. Spiff P. began to feel like another Instagram streetwear brand trying to get you to cop gear for the sake of copping gear.
It’s tough to admit, but if I knew how to quit, it was in this era that I probably would’ve done it.
But in the process of prepping for this new Life After: drop, I realized where I went wrong. I was no longer enjoying the work I was doing for Spiff because the pressure of being “successful” was wrecking my psyche.
I wanted so bad to be that dude who inspired you to do something. I wanted to convince everyone and anyone paying attention to the content I put out to believe that dreams could be made into realities. But like most, I wasn’t practicing what I preached. I fell into the trap that is social media and brainwashed myself into thinking that follows, likes, and views mattered more than the brand’s story (not the type that you just tap through; I’m talking about legacy). However, working on this Life After: hoodie and producing a piece that I cared about so deeply and invested so much time into was exactly what I needed to pull me out of the pit I was in.
Prepping for the latest L.A.S. drop gave me the positive kind of anxiety I had grown to miss. My desire to create was saved and the unwanted numbness and immunity to nervousness have faded now that I once again understand that the story behind the work I do and the build-up to the release is as important as the art itself. The entire experience I provide through Spiff P. is what y’all are supporting.
If I don’t care about the way I release the clothes and showcase collections, then why should you?
THE HOODIE BREAKDOWN.
The Behind the Spiff read about the moments that led to this drop are important, but I figured you’re probably curious about the design choices I made when it comes to the Hidomi Hoodie. At first glance, this piece may look very similar to the other hoodies we’ve dropped, but each detail is actually packed with purpose. The Life After: collections are tailored to be authentic representations of me, so this explanation might seem a bit cheesy.
But that’s how you know it’s truly an extension of myself-- the cheese. lol
The chest logo:
During the last 6 months of 2019, I did a lot of reflecting on whether I was actually happy or not. All that thinking led me to the realization that I had known what I had to do to earn my happiness, but I had found too much comfort in knowing that I knew.
Confusing, I know.
I completely understood what I had to do to live a fulfilling life-- I just wasn’t doing it. I literally had to look in the mirror and remind myself that there was more to my life than making sales.
I had to stop building a brand that’s concern was profit and start building a lifestyle that I could confidently claim was my brand.
For these reasons, the OG Spiff logo you likely recognize at this point is slapped on the hoodie in a reflected manner. The only way you’ll see it in the way that you’re used to is by looking in the mirror while wearing it. It’s my subtle way of telling you that 1. you look good. And 2. every once in a while you gotta look yourself in the eye to remember your purpose.
But if you don’t care about any of that, it doesn’t matter. The Spiff logo really just looks cool as hell reflected, confuses people who see it, and gets individuals asking you what your hoodie says. Wear it next time you visit your local coffee shop cutie. You’re welcome in advance for the conversation starter. ;) lmao
Oh, I also made the logo as big as I could to ensure that people see it.
I get that the minimalistic look never goes out of style, but Life After: products are meant to be seen. They’re works of art after all.
The drawing on the sleeves:
When I was in middle school, I had a bedtime of 10 PM. My parents were not that strict, but for some reason, this was the one thing my mom would constantly give me crap for. This wouldn’t really be an issue, but during that “late-night” timeframe, Adult Swim would start playing anime.
At this point, I’d see all the mainstream classics, like Pokemon, Dragonball Z, and Yu Yu Hakusho, so I was already pretty into anime. You could probably tell by my addiction to Crunchyroll and the Naruto wristband I rocked every day that I copped from Hot Topic that this was a passion of mine. But one night, I secretly turned on the TV, put the noise so low that I don’t even know if I could actually hear it, and changed the channel to Adult Swim.
Instead of the regularly scheduled program of Inuyasha and Fullmetal Alchemist, a show was on that I had never seen. It was put together in a one of a kind style that I didn’t even understand was possible. The first episode broke the fourth wall, mixed in manga panels, and showcased the angsty, coming of age story that embodied how I felt. Oh, and there were robot fights and guitars.
If you haven’t guessed by now, that show was FLCL aka Fooly Cooly. That night I ended up pulling an all-nighter because they decided to put on a marathon of the entire 6-episode series. Weird to say, but my life really hasn’t been the same since-- all I wanted to do after binging FLCL was make an anime just like it.
But as I grew older and entered high school, I tricked myself into believing that it stopped being cool to be into anime. Instead, I was influenced by the average teen society to focus my energy at getting at girls and fitting into a crowd I barely felt a part of. I’ve grown a ton since then, and honestly, this is an entire other blog post, so I’ll switch gears to finally get to the point.
When I got even older, I realized how dumb I was for acting like someone I wasn’t. I felt stupid for denying my love for anime in favor of looking “cool” to people who didn’t even really care about me. I figured that I had to make up for lost time, so I got the main character from FLCL Progressive (the series sequel that released more than a decade later), Hidomi Hibajiri, tatted on my left forearm. It was my way of “wearing my heart of my sleeve” and finally being myself.
I ended up drawing my own version of Hidomi and decided that I wanted to give y’all a taste of what it’s like to be me aka a person who now finds it impossible to be anything but genuine. I layered the drawing in two different colors and two different methods of printing to make it pop out and grab people’s attention. Then I reflected that design, changed the color, and slapped it on the opposite forearm because I wanted to stick to that theme of reflection. Plus, symmetry looks cool.
This art on this hoodie features 4 different colors: White, Red, Blue, and Lime Green. The balance of these colors is meant to complement the other Life After: products I’ve designed. In my opinion, the hoodie goes seriously dope with the L.A.S. Creator Vest and any of the Spiff Headwear. I could explain why, but I’d rather you just see it for yourself. I’ve already said too much in this post. lol
I used to struggle with being myself and let the judgment of others get the best of me, but that’s started to change as of late. When I designed the Life After: Hidomi Hoodie I included the following details to make a statement:
- the blasted logo that is hard for people to read and requires you look in the mirror
- the anime girl slapped on the forearm section of the sleeve
- the cozy material that got you feeling like you’re being hugged.
- the range of loud colors
All these things serve a purpose and have been added to this hoodie to represent my desire to be nothing but authentic and teach you that you should strive for the same goal.
When you wear this sweater, there’s no hiding.
When you wear this hoodie, you’re embracing the fact that you’re not going to fit in, so you might as well stand out.
My girlfriend always tells me how important it is to leave people with an action item after having their attention. Here’s what I want you to do: create something of your own that means so much to you that you write a blog post as long as this one, explaining how your life was different after you brought that idea to life.
I promise I’ll read it.