Over the years, skate wear has evolved from outsider to overseer of the mainstream aesthetic. The onetime outcast subculture has seemingly taken over every corner of the fashion world, as you are now more likely to see queues winding down the block to get a piece of limited edition skate clothing more than any other point in history. With the assistance of pop culture gatekeepers like Travis Scott and Virgil Abloh, the high fashion community has embraced the lifestyle with open arms. The pairing of runway models and skateboards is almost the status quo on catwalks across the world.
Streetwear itself was founded upon the elements of skate culture, tailor-made for those who are rebellious in attitude. While skateboarding has clearly become fashionable, the conversation about it is mostly self-contained within the fashion industry by people who have no skateboarding background whatsoever. Between the faux pas of the fashion community, it has also served as a positive catalyst for skate culture at the same time. The sport is now more widely accepted than ever before, being recognized next year by the Olympics to debut at the 2021 games in Tokyo.
However, in most cases, this new generation of skate wear often lacks one key element – authenticity. No matter the price range or brand name, skate wear was established at its core by skaters, for skaters. To many, the “golden age” of skate wear in the 90’s and 2000’s seems to be all but an afterthought. Fast forward to today, and you’ll find one rising brand in particular keeping the essence of skate culture alive for the next generation.
Founded in 2018, Sixcell by designer Jake Hayes has made enormous strides since its genesis in creating quality garments for those who embody the lifestyle. From posting timeless clips online such as Antwuan Dixon handing out fades on the Baker Has a Deathwish tour, to releasing a vast range of skate-related apparel and accessories alike; Sixcell is certainly a brand for both the winners and the losers. Often drawing inspiration from 90’s skate culture, a Sixcell piece is easily identifiable. With a number of releases already under their belt, the Sixcell label is quickly emerging as a blip on everyone’s radar in the industry. We got a chance to talk to Hayes ahead of his Spring/Summer collection back in March.
FOR THOSE UNFAMILIAR WITH YOU, WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND HOW OLD ARE YOU?
I’m 19 and from Bakersfield, California. It’s about an hour and a half away from Los Angeles.
WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE GROWING UP IN BAKERSFIELD? WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
Growing up as a kid I was always kind of a home-body and my city was nothing crazy. I still live in Bakersfield. I stay with my girlfriend so I travel back and forth from her house to my office everyday.
HOW DID SKATE CULTURE INFLUENCE YOU EARLY ON? WHO WERE SOME OF YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATIONS?
Growing up skateboarding always caught my eye. The cool tricks, the cool clothes, and just everything about it was so intriguing to me. I loved watching random skate videos on YouTube growing up, riding my board around my neighborhood, and also playing different skateboarding games. It was also a big topic among my friends and I at school, and we would talk about it everyday.
Skate culture influenced what I wore, what I talked about, and probably some of my mannerisms. I got my first skateboard from my dad’s friend who owned a skate shop. I remember it like it was yesterday, I was ecstatic. Some of my favorite skaters are Terry Kennedy, Antwuan Dixon, Erick Koston, Bam Margera, Andy Anderson, Stevie Williams is a big one as well, Tyshawn Jones, but most importantly Mark Gonzales. I remember the first time I watched ‘Gonz skate and it was so crazy to me. Not only was he a character on and off the board, but everything about him was just so joyful to watch. My favorite part of his is definitely Real to Reel and I really love the Krooked NYC video as well. That’s not even mentioning his art! Dude is seriously one of my favorite artists and I strive to possess the creativity that he has. He’s a big influence to not only me, but skaters and artists everywhere.
WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC DID YOU LISTEN TO GROWING UP? WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING TO AS OF LATE?
My first favorite song was Hot In Here, by Nelly. I was probably like 3 or 4. My mom always tells me that I would cry when she didn’t put it on, and when she did put it on I would sing and dance in my seat. I don’t know what it was about that song that I loved so much, but the older I got the more into music I was. I loved bands like Linkin Park, System Of A Down, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but my favorite genre by far was rap. I just loved the energy, the diversity and everything about it. The album that made me look at rap differently was definitely Graduation. At that time, I liked rap but I wasn’t heavily into it yet. After I listened to Graduation, I looked on YouTube for hours just watching different music videos and listening to tons of different songs. I was also put on to a lot of different music through video games. More specifically Skate, Tony Hawk, and some other sports games.
Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of DJ Quik, Knxwledge, ‘Dilla as always, Meek Mill, Daft Punk, and just a lot of west coast shit. My music taste never really changes, but I have different artists and genres that I rotate through every month or so. Some albums that are almost always on rotation are Midnight Marauders, College Dropout, Doggystyle, It Was Written, Toxicity, Balances and Options, Lord Willin‘, and In My Mind.
HOW DID YOU INITIALLY CONNECT ART AND CLOTHING, AND WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT THIS COULD BE A POTENTIAL CAREER?
I’ve always loved clothes ever since I was a kid. Same with skateboarding. Those two things are almost intertwined. So I had an obsession for skate clothes and shoes at a very young age. That traveled with me to my teenage years, and during my first year of high school I took a graphic design class. This class basically changed my life. I was taught how to make designs, logos and really anything else I could think of. When I was done with that class I still used Photoshop daily, and I had started to make album covers for my rapper friends on twitter. I gained a little following and all the people I met were super rad, but I got tired of making covers so I toyed with the idea of making designs for a brand. When I started that, I was enjoying myself so much more, and that’s when I realized that this is what I wanted to do. I have always had that passion to create and be in this field, so when I was confident in what I wanted to do I couldn’t have been any happier and excited.
HOW DID THE NAME “SIXCELLPHONES” ORIGINALLY COME ABOUT?
I first heard Sixcellphones in a Sir Michael Rocks song, and it just kind of stuck with me. One day when I was making my new twitter account I kind of just picked that name out of the blue because I thought it sounded cool.
WHAT IS THE MESSAGE BEHIND YOUR BRAND SIXCELL, AND WHEN DID YOU START IT?
With Sixcell, I try to make some new rad shit while paying homage to the classics. Creating a feel of something new, while also incorporating a timeless feeling at the same time. I started Sixcell about a year and a half ago when I dropped out of college.
IS SIXCELL A ONE MAN ARMY? OR DO YOU HAVE A TEAM ASSEMBLED BEHIND YOU?
Sixcell is ran by two people. Myself and my business partner Miguel. I met Miguel freshman year of high school. He was one year older than me and we met through Soccer. Miguel always had an interest in fashion through high school just like me. When he saw that I had created Sixcell he wanted to be a part of it. He helped me fund it in the beginning because when I started. I was dead broke at that point. Nowadays he mostly handles the shipping process and gives me ideas for future drops.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PASTIMES OUTSIDE OF DESIGN?
Outside of designing, I’m just into real laid back shit. I like collecting toys and clothes, playing with my dog, playing video games, and listening to music. In the near future though, I want to get more into filming skating, and with new drops and samples coming soon I’m going to try to push out more content now than ever.
WHICH VIDEO GAMES WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES GROWING UP? DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAVORITE FROM THE TONY HAWK SERIES?
I think my first game of all time was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on the Nintendo 64. I remember playing it at my cousins house whenever I could because I never owned it. If I had to pick a favorite Tony Hawk, it would be a tie between American Wasteland and ‘Underground 2. ‘Underground 2 is almost a flawless video game and I am a huge fan of Bam Margera and the whole Jackass era so it’s kind of a no-brainer for me. American Wasteland is almost just as great though, I just remember playing it a lot growing up so it gives me a nostalgic feeling.
AS A BRAND OWNER, WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON THE CURRENT STATE OF STREETWEAR? DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF “STREETWEAR?”
Streetwear is iffy right now, I’d say. There’s a lot of cash grabs and half-ass brands out there that I could care less about. It bothers me when people just want to make a brand because it’s cool or because they can make money off of it. It’s almost offensive to me because I do this straight from the passion and dreams in my heart, as corny as that sounds. I actually care about this shit. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s a lot of gnarly brands out there. I don’t consider myself streetwear but if someone wants to, I don’t really mind. I just make shit that I like, and I don’t like to put myself into a box because one day I’ll want to make a tracksuit or even a golf shirt. I feel like if you identify your brand as just one thing it keeps you limited.
DID YOU GAIN INSPIRATION FROM ANYWHERE IN PARTICULAR FOR THE SPRING/SUMMER COLLECTION?
This drop was heavily inspired by some of the people and things I look up to the most. With this drop, I wanted it to be nice and clean but still show the character of Sixcell. I’m trying to slowly solidify a look for the brand and pinpoint a certain feeling.
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM SIXCELL IN THE NEAR FUTURE? ARE THERE ANY ARTISTS OR BRANDS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH?
A lot of skating content. We are working on some videos and such. Also expect more cut and sew items and more skating accessories. I’m going to try my hardest to pump out drops while solidifying a solid look for the brand and quality garments. As far as collabs go, I have some in the works. Some with brands and some with people I have worked with previously. As far as people I want to work with, that’s a long list but some of the most noticeable ones would be Alien Workshop, Lakai, Menace, FTP, Anderson Paak, Gibbs, and T-Pain.