Jeff Staple, owner and founder of Staple Design, Reed Space and Staple Design Studio, has become one of the most influential figures in the world of streetwear and design. His most recent venture with PacSun and his boutique in the Lower East Side of New York City, Reed Space, will be taking over malls across the country brining that unique shopping experience as well as a taste of New York City fashion to the forefront of the America.

The talks between Staple and PacSun began a year ago with the idea of doing the first shop-in-shops starting late 2014, and after several planning and meetings, Jeff Staple and his Reed Space boutique opened up their first shop-in-shop location last night at the PacSun in Queens Center Mall located in Queens, NY. Along with the unveiling of the Reed Space setup in PacSun, the eventful night featured a special performance by Action Bronson.

We chopped it up with the successful entrepreneur and fashion innovator Jeff Staple to speak on his brand new partnership with PacSun, his success in the streetwear world with his Staple Design brand and his thoughts in the current state of hip-hop. Check out the interview below.-Roger Krastz

How did the idea of creating your own brand come about?
Well I started back in 1997. I was a kid in college just really trying to get some ideas out of my head and I was in art school. I went to Parsons School of Design in New York and I just felt like I was sort of influenced by fashion and graphics and I knew that getting out a message onto a T-shirt would be a lot more powerful and effective than doing prints that people hang up on their apartments, so I decided to start printing out T-shirts in school and that's really how the brand started, but I didn't really want it to be a brand it was more like an art project in those days.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when trying to get into the business of fashion?
Definitely getting stuff made, so production. I think the whole world of production is set up for big businesses. You know everybody wants to be like H&M and Topshop, but that doesn't happen over night. Hand-printing or hand-making your own clothes you can do a certain amount. You can make 15 to 50 to 100 of your own shirts by sewing them up or having a local seamstress help you out, but when you're in that range of 300 to 500 or 1000, then it becomes really challenging of like who you can get to help you make your stuff, but who's going to put you as a priority when they're getting orders from Ralph Lauren and Nike so that's one of the biggest challenges.

How did you come up with the pigeon logo?
The pigeon was sort of invited as a brand logo in 2001, so four years after creating the brand. And it's funny when I think about it back then no one would put that bird onto clothing and it's crazy now. I'm not sure if you noticed, but this year, Jet Blue's whole ad campaign is using pigeons and it just makes me laugh because like ten years ago they would've never done that, but now it's ok to use a pigeon all of sudden. I'd like to think that we had a hand in helping the public image of a pigeon, but you know we just really grasped the whole hustle that a pigeon requires to survive in New York City. It's a harsh city out there especially for an animal or a bird, but pigeons seem to really thrive in that struggle and we really respected that sort of hustle that they have, and I think the reason why it really took off like it did is because pigeons sort of occupy every urban area in the world, so everyone kind of took the logo as their own.

What do you attribute the success of your clothing brand in the world of streetwear?
I think one word to sum it up would be consistency. We don't try to hop on bandwagon trends and we just stick to what's true to us and we take hits for that sometimes. And sometimes, we miss out on opportunities that would be financially very beneficial to us, but we try to keep consistent with what we feel is right.

What's your creative approach when you're sketching out your designs?
Well I have a great design team of like five, six people, so what I try to do is sort of keep them looking like from an overall outward thinking worldly stand point and I try to bring in a concept to our theme and then from there we try to implement that theme, and usually that theme has nothing to do with fashion what so ever, it's something totally from the outside world whether it's architecture automobile, nature or travel or whatever it is, it's something totally different and then what we do is try to distill out of that concept like elements or design cues from that field that can translate into clothing.

How did the partnership between Reed Space and PacSun come about, and why chose PacSun as a retailer that you would like Reed Space to be a part of?
So Reed Space just for clarity is a fully separate company. I own and founded three companies. One is Staple Pigeon the clothing line, then there's Staple Design Studio which is a creative agency and then Reed Space is the retail store. Reed Space opened in 2002 so it's like 12 years old now and we opened it up in a climate where there wasn't a word for streetwear or a term yet. There was like a culture, there were people that were into it, but it hadn't formalized yet and we were really at the forefront of that. Now, only like a decade later there's massive trade shows, magazines, and websites that cater to streetwear so it has definitely become a giant now, and I've always been thinking of how can Reed Space continue being in that conversation and obviously if you start talking about like how can I resonate Reed Space with all across America, the immediate answer today is 'Well just do an online thing and we'll build an app or do a social media campaign.' But the reason why I opened Reed Space in the beginning was because I wanted a physical place that people can come in, meet and connect, look eye-to-eye with another person and actually build with someone, which I feel like nowadays with social media it's even becoming more rare and more coveted at the same time, so I wanted to continue that in person retail experience and spread it all across America. As opposed to me actually doing what American Apparel did and open up 300 stores in America is really difficult to do and there's like a high margin of error there, so what I decided to do was start looking at a retail that already had the footprint in America and really PacSun was the one that had about 800 stores in America, they're a publicly traded company and when I met with the owners and the VP's over there, they really were big fans of Reed Space and they understood what we were trying to do, and the way they're building their retail stores now they really can accommodate what I'm trying to do. The conversations started about a year ago, so we've been in talks and planning for the past year and now finally on Nov. 20 the first three Reed Spaces open this year.

So are there plans of opening up more Reed Spaces inside of PacSun for 2015?
Yeah, we're aiming for about 50 to begin with, so maybe by like next year they'll be like a dozen to two dozen and then the following year maybe up to 50.

Are you planning to possibly open up another Reed Space flagship store in the West Coast at some point?
The idea is that by next year we'll have like two dozen Reed Spaces that are all shop-in-shops with PacSun but we're definitely keeping the Lower East Side New York City Reed Space store as a flagship and we want to add another flagship in Los Angeles or somewhere in the West Coast, so there will be two coastal flagships and then in between and at all the best malls of America you can get a taste of Reed Space and so potentially by the end of next year we can have like 20 to 25 Reed Spaces and then the plan from there is to really take it international and go oversees with it.

How has hip-hop played a roll for Staple and for Reed Space?
New York City and hip-hop culture are like the mother and the father of Staple and Reed Space. When I was coming up in college my first job was working at Rawkus Records as a art director, so just being on the ground floor and working with like Company Flow and El-P and Kweli and Reflection Eternal and being able to work with those artists and basically visualize what it is they are saying, that laid the foundation for everything that I did. It was very gratuitous to me that I was able to get in with a label like Rawkus versus a label like Death Row. If I worked at Death Row doing graphics, Staple would look totally different today, but thankfully my mentors were Mos and Kweli, Company Flow and Common so I think people who are in the know can really see that level of thought, intellectualness and that second level of meaning behind everything that we do and it comes through all of our clothes I hope.

What are your thoughts on the current state of hip-hop?
I think the industry is built for like one-hit wonders. I feel like the industry is no longer set up to cultivate careers and it comes down to a lot of realities like people don't buy albums, they download songs, so if you're an artist what's the prerogative for you to make a complete album. Look at someone like The Roots who have made such amazing albums, and it's really weird with them, I couldn't name you Roots songs and singles because I only listen to The Roots from the beginning to the end of the entire album. They're like whole concept albums. But nowadays with artists they only make hot tracks and they don't have concepts, they don't have albums and for me, I'm not sure if it's because I am old school, but if an artist comes out and he makes one hot song and I like that song I can't for whatever the reason is, put that song on my iPod or iPhone like I need that artist to make at least 4 to 5 good songs for me to be like alright let me invest some time on this artist.

Who are some the artist that you are currently listening to?
I'm a fan of Flying Lotus. I really love what Odd Future does and their entire camp, it's really interesting to me because I feel like almost Odd Future puts out a persona that is a turn off to most people but if you can get passed the initial front persona they actually make really really good music, but you have to get passed the shock value. Kendrick of course, he's obviously invested in the future. I've also been listening to Robert Glasper, it's a great jazz/hip-hop trio.

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