Entree Lifestyle Creators Talk Humble Start, Hip-Hop Culture and Fall Collection
What does the name Entree represent and symbolize?
Mike Yeung: Yeah, the full name stands for “Evolving Nameless Talents Refines Every Existence.” We wanted to keep the letters ‘ENT’, which is Chuck’s tag that stands for “Evolving Nameless Talent,” which pretty much defines graffiti artists. You start out nameless, but your talents start to develop as you grow. The word entree means the main course of a meal, and we want to serve everyone in the world with our messages. Hopefully, through our products we can make a small difference and create something they can relate to. We want those troubled kids out there to know that they’re not the only ones up at night, and that they can improve life itself by using their talents. Entree simply represents all those unknown, underrated and misunderstood individuals.
What’s a typical day for you guys?
Henry Li: Shipping—
Reginald Elliott: That’s like a big part of the day. [But] it varies. Henry and me, we’re both in marketing so, it varies. He does a lot of outside work like event planning.
Henry Li: A lot of meetings—
(After looking at his phone, Henry steps out for a meeting)
Mike Yeung: I’m usually at the office ’til like 11pm, and when I get home I stay up all night sketching designs ’til my eyes shut down. Once I wake, I usually find myself rushing to work vampire style to make sure the staff didn’t sneak out to go skate and order lunch before the lunch special ends [laughs]. My desk is full of post-it notes, reminding myself that even though I have creative control of Entree, the team is my backbone.
Reginald Elliott: I’m usually here in-house, having meetings with artists, stylists. I’ll be going to MTV, BET taking stuff and bringing stuff. Photoshoots. Me and Chuck are creating storyboards, then as a team we’ll work on designs. Pretty much everything we have is all a team effort.
How did the ‘Misunderstood’ motto originate?
Reginald Elliott: Three years ago, we used to kind of work with the “Young and Hungry.” We was like, ‘that’s us.’ We’re young, we’re so hungry and now we’re like a fad now. So, now we’re just at that point where we’re like, ‘Okay we’re misunderstood. We’re underrated and still considered unknown.’ We still rock with those slogans on our hats and shirts ’cause we still feel like we have a lot to learn and still have room to grow, which is always good. If someone gave you an A, the next grade you’re trying to get is an A+. We’re on the right track.
What’s the deal with the famous smiling ‘Misunderstood’ Teddy? How’d that come about and does it have a name?
Reginald Elliott: [Laughs] ‘Misunderstood Teddy’ that’s our mascot.
Mike Yeung: The ‘Misunderstood’ Teddy character is you, me, and the person next to you. The suit is a reflection of the lifestyle that many people live. The teddy suit is no different than the suit you wear to work. The concept is that this economy requires us to put on a suit that makes us misunderstood from who we truly are underneath it. Doing what we are told because the things you love sometimes don’t pay the bills but wealth should be measured by time and what you do with it. So shout out to the corporate kids that take risk to write graffiti still, to the dude that skates home in his suit after work, the underground rappers that stays true even if that means it won’t land a record deal, and to anyone that doesn’t let society change what they truly want to do.
Now that the Summer 2012 collection is here, what do you guys have planned for Fall?
Reginald Elliott: Our cut and sew collection is coming this fall, [that’s] a big deal for us. We had varsity jackets last season but now we’re coming with denim jackets, denim vests and also our first pair of denim. We had two button downs previously but now we’re coming with four button downs, we have beanies coming, sweaters—heavy knits. We’re starting to evolve. We’re gonna always maintain our streetwear side of it but then we’re gonna have our cut and sew side because, of course, we’re all trying to mature. We need to have stuff that we can even imagine putting the 28-year-old guy verses the stuff to put the 18-year-old guy in. This fall is going to be a big deal for us.