The best part about a making a killer collab is the process. Every part of it is not always beautiful, but when the outcome is worth it you would do it all over again. We got a chance to talk with Brigade USA’s owner Aaron Maldonado about the collab. Take a peek behind the curtains.
What sparked the idea for this capsule collection?
Originally, this was just supposed to be another piece Moros helped create (refer to next question). We weren’t going to promote it that heavy just like the other pieces he’s helped with in the past. It was just going to be the white hoodie dropping alongside the “Color Blocked Warm Up Suits” with SS18 but a friend of mine, Jon Lopez (@ineverheadofyou), came through to the crib to check the new samples out & his initial reaction was “YOU CANNOT DROP THESE TOGETHER. THEY’RE BOTH WAY TOO FIRE!” Haha. At first I didn’t want to pull the hoodie from SS because the hungry creative in me always wants to release collections where every piece is a hit, but he pointed out a lot of benefits to pulling it, so I folded.
How did you and Moros end up connecting for the collab?
Moros & I go way back. I’ve known him since I was a freshman in high school but we really started to connect around 2013 right before I started Brigade. People who have been down with the brand since it’s infancy know his name. We love keeping everything within the family and genuine relationships we’ve built over the years when it comes to creating so if you’ve paid attention. You’ll notice Moros has helped design a few pieces since 2014, aside from our collaboration t-shirt in 2014. He’s gotten better & better every year since we first connected. Dudes an animal with the can.
Who was the mastermind behind the cartoon and what was the inspiration?
I hit up Moros after I had discussed the idea of pulling the hoodie from SS18 with the rest of the immediate Brigade circle and mentioned we should just drop it on it’s own as a Pre-FW18 capsule along with making a black version to go with it. I sent him a quick mock-up I made & he responded with “dude, that reminds me of Spy vs. Spy.” The light bulb went off and I immediately called my good friend Luke Weaver (@backseatweave) from Ohio. Luke is a design student by day, but mad genius by night. He continues to inspire me heavily to sharpen my mind & design skills. I FaceTimed him, tripping over my words with excitement, explaining how we had this capsule in development and my idea was to recreate Mad TV era “Spy vs Spy” stop motion as a promotional thing. Immediately he was on board saying he would “research how to make an affordable, articulating puppet and get back to me.” That was back in April of 2018. After that I called Angelo Estrada, another OG Brigade kids know, and told him he had to design the heads because I love Easter eggs. The Brigade audience knows his iconic “ED HEAD” design. Plus, he’s a genius with ceramics and Luke said it would be best if the head was some sort of fired clay. That night, I told my roommate/one of my best friends, Nick (@Blackout.jpg), about the idea as soon as he came home and he blessed my life with some of his studio lights for free. My guy walked from his studio on the West Side to my girl’s apartment on the East Side in the middle of the summer with two heavy ass lights, on his lunch break no less, just to help the cause. Brigade is a family.
Luke flew into NYC to stay with me three times after that initial phone call. Two times to plan and go over things like puppet design, set design, story, film style, etc. We spent hours watching Spy vs Spy videos on YouTube in .25 speed to observe all of the little details & film techniques used as we wanted it to be as close as possible to theirs, but at a fraction of the budget. In August he flew in the third time to finally film the videos. The night before he came, Moros & Angelo came over. Moros finessed a tiny recreation of the pieces on the capsule hoodies, but on white & black fabric while Angelo literally cooked up some heads in my kitchen oven.
My girlfriend, Sarah, took the fabric Moros made & cut it up to make the tiny hoodies. She cut & sewed both of them together while she was on bed-rest from a pretty wild surgery. I don’t know what I’d do without her.
Luke flew in around 11pm and we immediately got to work building sets until around 3-4am. We woke up the next day at 8am I believe, and headed straight to this small space we had rented in Manhattan to shoot. The first day was somewhat of a nightmare, but we persevered and learned a lot. We shot for roughly 6 hours (just to get the first 15 second short) then packed up and went back to my place to throw it together real quick in Final Cut to see what we were working with. Thank god we did that, as it taught us a lot for the next day. We did the same thing as the night prior (stayed up late making sets, Easter eggs for the scenes, props, etc.). Woke up early and headed back with new knowledge. We finished the second short in about 4 hours that day if I recall correctly. The second short is my personal favorite, Luke came up with the wrecking ball and flattened into paper idea. The next day when we went back and spent 2 hours building the set for the last scene. Right as I set up the first shot, the property manager came in and kicked us out of the space which was (at the time) the worst possible thing that could’ve happened, stating “this isn’t a multimedia room & we’re going to fine you if anything is messed up.” I could tell Luke was freaking out, as was I internally, but I pretended everything was going to be alright. We actually went straight to Sarah’s apartment and finessed a set up by taping the backdrop to her windows, and using her coffee table as a stage. You can see that in the behind the scenes video my boy Kimari filmed/edited while we worked on the stop motion. We somehow finished the last two shorts in Sarahs apartment in one day. It took some reworking of the story/sets but we did it.
Over the next month I chopped up the videos, and had my boy Orrin (@realorrin) come through to do the audio. He’s the voice of the characters, and he helped me build the soundscape for the entire thing.
To be honest, creating these animations was one of the greatest things I’ve ever had the opportunity to partake in. Everyone who worked on it really is a genius in one way or another, and it was such an impactful experience as a whole. Something I’ll personally never forget.
Shoutout to Luke, Sarah, Moros, Angelo, Nick, Kimari, Orrin, & Tex.
Do you plan on doing more releases with crazy concepts to go along with them?
The first 4 years of Brigade I believe were practice in a way. I look at it like school, being that I dropped out to commit to this full time. With 2018 coming to a close, we’re graduating. I believe I’ve really tuned into a new frequency as an artist & as an entrepreneur which is going to show everyone why Brigade will live forever. This is the beginning of something monumental, and the family is only going to get bigger & better as we grow older.
I’m really into the idea of doing two seasons per year. Fall/Winter & Spring/Summer with a capsule collection in between each during the off seasons. I would like to use the off season capsules to express myself in further depth or collaborate with others to bring something fresh to the table every time. I’m sure this will change as the brand gets bigger but it’s all very exciting right now.
Take a look at the behind the scenes video shot by Kimari Hazward below: