Everything In A Year

For just about the past month i've been telling myself to sit down and write about all of this,

And believe me, there's going to be a lot of it.

I've had off for a few weeks from school and I made this big to-do list of things i wanted to get done then I started traveling and got a little carried away with everything and all the pieces I wanted to work on just didn't get done,

But time and time again I was like ok the number one most important thing I need to get done is this single piece - so I'm sitting in this coffee shop in new york city and it's about two degrees out and I have nothing to do all day so. 

And before I start on this, I look back and realize the only major regret I have of the year was not having someone with me at all times filming life in a documentary style. Because Everything In A Year to me felt like it was out of a film - and it meant so much to me from every aspect. And I was going to sit infront of a camera and tell it how it is and put it on YouTube or something but writing is much more important. So let the words make the film frames in your head and follow along. 

Everything In A Year - A Full 365

 

A year ago today, right before the new year, Serafina and I were sitting there like what are we going to do on New Years. 

Rewind another year back - Serafina and I had met for the first time right before New Years Eve. We were like seventeen and had no big plans so she's like lets just get a hotel in Boston and go out for the night. We did exactly that, but she insisted that we do a ton of shrooms and solidify our friendship. 

From that night on we both agreed to be best friends for the rest of our life. 

So go forward a year, it's a year ago this weekend, and she was like "well, we need to continue what we started"

We ended up going downtown early. The new Supreme box logo hoodies had just come out so we went over to see our friends at SizeRunSupply 

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So New Years Eve starts out in a hotel room at the Colonade hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.

Serafina, myself, and our two friends Matt and Brie. 

They were there to accompany us and make sure, well, we didn't end up dead or anything. 

We walked around all night long and the lights swirled around and bounced off any and every building. It was two degrees, but at that point the winter feels like summer and all you can think about is what's going on in your head and why everything looks like it's out of an 80's movie. 

We stayed up all night long talking about everything we wanted to do - in a year.

And looking back, most of it happened. 

As the sun rose, we finally got to sleep. A few hours later we woke up and it was 2017. 


JANUARY

Since the whole Thanksgiving to New Years break ends at - well - New Years, I ended up back on a plane January first and went right back to Chicago. 

I remember walking back into my dorm room and seeing my roommate Mitchell and just dropping my bags and jumping into my top bunk and looking up at the ceiling and being like "I'm back home". 

School started off good for the second trimester. We're not on Semesters like most people, so we have three 11 week trimesters, which I like way better actually. 

We go back to school and jump right into things. 

I had started getting into my major classes like Design and Computer Graphics and Business and Advertising. I take basically every class that will teach me to be a creative, while being a businessperson. I'm a big fan of versatility.

When you're at school, time kind of flies. The weeks are very routine, you live the same Monday over and over again, the same Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Then the fun happens.

We don't have friday classes. It's just not a thing. So when you get out of class on Thursday, the weekend starts. It's an instant transition. By 3pm on Thursday you already know all the events going on both on campus, off campus, and in the city for the entire weekend.

That happened all four weeks of the month.

It was very cold, it was Chicago. 

You wear three layers and gloves, take the train to class, hangout after class, then work on homework every night.


Around this time of year was when Trey and I became really close. He lived in the dorm across from me and he would come over every night and we'd work on designs for new clothes and how the website would work. I remember thinking "wow, I finally have a best friend". 

We went out to get food the night we all got back. I think it was Chinese or something. 

Every time we go out we always try to get design inspiration from where we go, in any way shape or form. 

I opened my fortune cookie at the end and it read "The best way to predict the future is to create it"

I looked at it and said "you know - this is how we have to live all year long". 

I think it took us an hour to get back to our dorm and design this longsleeve. 

At the time, we had this guy printing our clothes on the West side of the city. His name was Aldrin. I found him randomly through friends on Instagram. 

We'd send him designs, he'd tell us how much it'd cost, I'd pay right away, and two or three days later he'd drive the box of clothes to my dorm. It was the best set up we could have imagined for. 

At this point, I was still showing Trey how to do a lot of the strange aspects to Branding. 

We got the shirts and he said to me "how the hell are we going to take product photos of these when it's negative ten degrees out". 

I ripped the white bed sheets off my bed and said "grab a shirt, we're going downstairs".

We had this really cool basement of our dorm with a big lounge and area for people to work and one part of it was tiled floors. We put the sheets down, put the shirt on top, I had Trey hold my desk lamp above the shirt and I stood on a chair and took product photos of them. 

"See, bro. If we don't tell people we shot these in the dorm, they'll think it was done in a studio".

And they came out great, we put them online the next day, and 36 of them had sold out 16 hours later. 

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That brick wall was in the corner below a staircase. But we didn't have to tell anyone that. 

We continued to make a few more pieces and just live it out. 

As orders would come in, I would fold them on my fouton under my roommates bed and package them on our little table. I'd print the labels out in the basement, tape them on in my room, and run them to the post office on campus before class the next morning. 

We finally had a full swing operation going on. And it was my fifteen year old dream coming true.


I wanted to make an accessory for winter, so we brainstormed how to get a facemask made.

We had them cut an sewn in the city, then printed through our guy, then drove right to the dorm. 

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We went down to the end of the pier on the water when it was negative five degrees and shot this video. 

In the video is Steve, who is another chicago kid I met when I moved there who ended up becoming one of my best friends. 

We used this dark remake of Vienna by Larry Fisherman which is Mac Miller's dark alias personality. I thought it was one of the coler projects we've done. This was the first time we did a video for anything, and that's when I realized the importance of video to a brand. 

Below are a few point and shoot photos from a party we went to mid January. My friends are in this band called The Slaps and they performed in this house and there was a hundred sweaty teens jumping up and down radiating body heat while the city froze around us. 

At the end of the month, the last day actually, the 31st, I had my Birthday. 

I didn't know what I wanted to do for my birthday and one night I was sitting in the library at school with trey working on stuff and I saw tyler the creator posted that he was having a showing of his Cherry Bomb Movie Documentary in LA on the night of my birthday.

I clicked around and saw it sold out in like ten minutes.

I called my friend Brandon Sapp and was like "bro we need to find tickets to this, I'll fly out for it".

I think twenty minutes or so went by and he called me back

"Yo I know this kid who has three tickets, he said we can go with him"

Ten minutes later I had a flight booked and a plan for my Birthday. 

I had made this shirt earlier in the month with the Hollywood sign and I thought "what better idea than to just shoot it in LA". I packed a few of them 

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Little did I know, Serafina had already got a flight to Chicago to come surprise me for my birthday, so super last minute I called her and told her I was going to LA and even more little did I know, I got off the plane in LA and who was standing there in the airport but Serafina and Brandon.

We spent the weekend in LA, stayed at Brandon's house, hungout with everyone, shot a video for the shirt, and partied whenever we weren't busy.

One night we went to our friend Maddi's house who was dating our other friend Jacob and one of them knew of this party in the hills.

We ubered there and pulled up and there was this giant gate guarding the house and three sixteen year old kids standing outside the gate in Cowboy hats. 

Kind of like Project X, but with Cowboy hats. 

"We're the Picadilly Boys" they said. 

Brandon walked up and dapped them all up and they let us through the gate.

We walked into this back yard and I'm serious when I say it - this was something out of some movie. Two hundred kids all partying on a basketball court with a group of kids DJing under one of the hoops, another hundred kids in the yard above the court raised up by some spiral stairs and dirt. The entire property looked over LA. You could see for miles. Everyone knew everyone. 

 

We went to RoundTwo the next day and got some pieces kicked it with them then as the sun set we went to the show. It was a weekday I remember. There was a line down the street to the theater. We went in and sat in regular movie seats. 
 

Tyler and Mikey came out and talked for a few minutes about the making of the film.

It was like an hour long. Growing up Tyler was my idol like I used to look up to Odd Future day in and day out so to see all of this in person was my real youth dream come true. 

The kid who got us the tickets, his name is Diego. He's from Puerto Rico and he moved to LA with his family to start a food truck business. He happens to be into fashion. He bought some Gucci pants from Brandon weeks before, and I guess he just happened to have bought two extra tickets to the screening of the film. Afterwards we all went out to steak dinner and talked about our plans for life. 

Diego plays a big role in the story a few months from now, and he was an important figure at this point. This is him and I after dinner on my birthday. 

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Brandon shot the video for us and we edited it sitting in the sun by his pool in the middle of January. 

The day I flew out we just sat outside all morning. We walked around his neighborhood. It was quiet, it was warm, it was very LA.

I remember saying to myself "wow, LA really is just one big paradise land". 

It reassured me that I was glad I didn't move to LA. It's one of those places you go to have fun and see people, not move to and try to start a life in. Not for me, atleast. 

 

I flew back home and the month ended and the beginning of the last year of my teenage life began. 


FEBRUARY

It was cold. Really cold. The entire month. And it was routine, too. Like a whole lot of school, a whole lot of bundling up, a whole lot of getting through the winter.

Mitchell and I would drink hot coffee every night at like 8 and stay up doing school work until 2. Then we'd talk about life in our lofted beds across from eachother until we both fell asleep. 

The mornings were the same, really grey skies and frigid temperatures. The days the same. 

In the beginning of the month we started working heavily with our embroidery people.

It's a funny story how we met all of them. I just found them on Google I think and I walked in one day and was like hey I need stuff done. 

This old guy named Gabriel owns the place, and five people work for him there. They screen print and embroider.

I had the one of one idea for a while but I wanted to do it with embroidery.

We brought them a bunch of clothes and they embroidered all of them for us.

We had a one of one collection a few days later.


At this point, it's time to introduce Chicago Sleepers into the story. 

My friend Lil Jake and another Chicago kid JAW had created this thing called Chicago Sleepers. It was a podcast but they also threw these events.

There was this house that these 8 kids lived in, well, it was a ginormous loft, not a house. It was in wicker park which is like the SoHo of Chicago. All the kids in the house went to my school. 

This house was the perfect spot for the coolest warehouse-looking parties you could ever imagine.

Lil Jake linked up with them and they started the podcast for Sleepers out of the house.

Eventually, the events started getting bigger and bigger.

Every party they had, they'd feature painters, live artists, and a brand.

For the February party, they had hit me up and asked if I wanted to do a pop up inside the place.

We got together some 1/1 stuff and did a set-up inside the loft. 

There was a few hundred people who came and we just went crazy until the sun rose.

In the middle of the night Jake was like yo let me introduce you to my friend Cole. 

At the time I had known of Cole because he was making music videos and stuff and he was a few years older than me at my school, but he ended up stopping mid way through the year to work on Lyrical Lemonade. 

Cole came up and dapped me up and he's like "Oh yea Jake told me about you, all your stuff mad cool" or whatever.

We chopped it up for a while and he told me his story and I told him mine. 

"You're the only other kid to come out of DePaul doing real stuff, trust me" he said. 

He came over and was looking through the stuff and he asked me for one of these crewnecks we had embroidered. I was like yea you can have it let me snag some point and shoot photos of you in it. We did that, exchanged numbers, and went from there. 

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This was the first real Sleepers party to actually have hundreds of people come. Lil Jake created a culture in Chicago, he made a scene for kids and the loft housed the enviornment of it all. Jake's mom came in the midst of everything and I shot those on my point and shoot. It was the first time that there was a sense of "youth culture" in the city, all embodied in the walls of what ended up being the Sleepers Pad. 

For Valentines day we had brought back a design I did in high school, the I Loved You Not hoodie. 

We made 40 hoodies, full size runs, put them online, and spent the next night shipping every one of them out. Trey and I did it all . It was a thick 9.8 ounce terry lined hoodie with embroidery on the top of the hood and the middle of the chest. One of my favorite pieces we ever did. 

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Towards the end of the month I flew back to New York to stay with some people and go to some Fashion Week events. I had gone a bunch in high school so I just emailed a few people I knew and got my name on some lists. I didn't use my camera much - just a bit to shoot some photos of the hoodie. 

On the last day before I flew back to school, I went out for coffee with my friend John Rawlins who's from my area back home and does videos for Post Malone and a bunch of people. His friend was with him who was the grandson of this dress designer Sherill Hill. We ended up going to this ginormous colleseium looking place for her runway show. We sat front row and I'm pretty sure we were the only boys in the entire place. It was a ginromous event, they had some of the prettiest models I had seen in my life. We were up in the dressing rooms with everyone and watched all of them get their makeup done and stuff. A full-fledge production. Seemed very hectic, but it was really cool to see from a wallflower point of view. 

I had this Bianca Chandon "Best Dressed" tee on and everyone kept asking to shoot photos of me I think they thought i was way more important that I actually am 

John and I actually both had the same flight back to Chicago. It was one of those leave New York at midnight get to Chicago by 2 get to the dorm by 3 get up for class by 9 type of nights. That's when life is very go-go-go.


MARCH

March started and it began to warm up a bit. I stayed in Chicago for most of it - just worked on school and the brand and stuff. The sun began to shine and the winter started to fade away. Not entirely, but spring kept on foreshadowing itself. 

There was this streetwear expo thing that some kids were running. They asked if we wanted to be a part of it and they gave us a booth. I wanted to make a special shirt for the event and they said there was a young crowd coming so I worked on a photo print tee that Aldrin did for us and drove to our dorm the night before the event.

We rented out this studio space in the city and I casted Steve and two of our other friends that go to art school in the city to be a part of the project. It was the first One Of One we released as a full on project. 

So way back in the day when I was first starting OHKAY I had met this kid on Twitter named Nick who owned a brand Stayrboke. We just had a ton in common so we became friends. We never really met in real life becuase he was from like Texas or something. Eventually he became a part of Brockhampton (America's Greatest Boyband). I texted him and was like we can't be in the same city and finally not hangout. Trey and I went to the show and kicked it with everyone for the night before they left for Detroit. At this point they had sold out the smallest venue in the city and they were just on the rise to become the (now very big) Brockhampton. 

We hadn't gotten snow yet in Chicago. No one had known why. When I first moved there I was expecting snow like we get in Massachusetts, but it just hadn't happened. Not a single bit of snow had dropped. Until the end of March.

We knew it was coming, and it was going to be coming all at once. 

I remember opening my eyes and looking out my dorm room window and it was just all white. The entire ground was filled with a foot of snow by 9am. 

Two hours later Mitchell woke up and started freaking out. He threw me my coat and he's like "put your boots on, c'mon!". Mitchell always wanted to do stuff. Always. 

We grabbed our coats, our cameras, and our gloves. 

I'll never forget walking outside and seeing all the kids from Los Angeles playing in the snow. They had never in their life seen it before. Some girl was crying because she said it was a dream come true to her. It was some fairytale type shit. I was like oh word it's snowing let's avoid this snowball fight and go trek through the streets. Somehow our cameras didn't get ruined and Mitchell ended up taking this photograph of me

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We finally had snow, and it had finally felt like winter in the city. 

We took finals a few days later. All the frat kids had planned to go to islands and get drunk for the entire week, some of my friends went to Canada to explore, some back to LA, and the rest just went all over the country with their friends and family or whatever.

I packed up my big suitcase the day after my final and headed back to the airport. 

I flew back to Boston to have dinner with my mom and sleep in my bed for a night. I woke up and ....


APRIL

It was the first day of April. It felt weird being in my own bed because I had spent so much time sleeping in my dorm room across from Mitchell. But it felt really refreshing. I got to breathe.

Well, for a little while. I had wanted to do something totally random and exciting - by myself for spring break. I don't like traveling with people, I just like going places and meeting people there and staying with whoever will house me from the internet. And that's exactly what I did with Spring Break. I told my London friends I was coming, people offered me places to stay, got a $450 round trip flight, and headed on my way. 

That night I went right back to the airport and got dropped off by my friends at like 9pm. 

I was through customs by 9:30

On the plane by 10

Took off 10:30

Bored of movies by 12:30

Realized I couldn't sleep on planes by 1:30

Back to movies until 3:30

Touched down at 4:30

Got hit with the time change - making it 9:30

Got off the plane

Back through customs

Onto the train

Made it to Central London by Noon.

I spent all of spring break in London with my internet friends. 

The first night I stayed with my friend Sofia, then eventually my friend Rhys offered me his apartment for the week since he stays with his girlfriend Harriet. 

I spent time with one of my best friends Ben, partied with The Neighbors, met my new club friends, stayed up all through the night, slept a lot through the day, spent little to no money, met this girl Stella, basically dated this girl Stella, and had the week of my life. 

The entire week I would wakeup basically somewhere new every morning, go on my phone, find plans - or find people to go walk around with, and just explore. Every day and every night was something new. I'd meet someone new, they'd introduce me to their friends, and eventually I had a full friend group. 

The whole story is in the button below, told out piece by piece, day by day.

POST LONDON PHOTOS.

After the super long week I ended up flying back to Boston, having dinner with my mom yet again, told her all the crazy stories from the week, slept in my own bed, woke up, flew back to school, got off the plane, dropped my bags, made it to class on time. 

The rest of the month was exciting. We did another one of one project with new pieces and shot all of it at Congruent Space. We didn't have time to do an editorial-style shoot so we just put all of the items up online. 

It was so crazy to me. We posted that they were going to come out on Wednesday night.

I had class on Wednesdays 6-9pm.

I didnt realize that I'd have to release them during class. So I'm sitting in the back of the class working on the back end of the website while my teacher is trying to teach me about the business side to computer ads. I remember being like wow I should totally pay attention but I really need to get this website done. 

I put everything up by 7pm.

And my phone wouldn't stop buzzing. 

By the end of class the items had sold out and we had enough money to travel the world three times back and forth. 

I got back to the dorm and was like "ok, homework can wait until tomorrow" and we just went through all the orders in awe.

At that point I said to trey "you know, man. Maybe we are onto something here"

Lil Jake and a few others rented out a warehouse on south side, it was this giant indoor soccer stadium with a big warehouse room where people throw parties. They did a sleepers event there and I swear the entire city was inside that place. 

The month ended and we went to some more house parties and events. The Slaps played another house show. There was a lot of PBR and Cigarettes in the air. It was a good sense of "college in the city". 

MAY

The winter had finally been beat out by Spring and the coats ended up back in the closets. We started being able to wear sweaters and shirts again, no more boots, back to sneakers. 

For the first time ever, I had all the friends in the world. At this point, everyone really knew everyone. Anywhere we'd go in the city, we'd know every person at the party. On campus every one of the 5,000 kids living there liked one another. We'd sit in the quad all day long. We'd get out of class and hangout in the grass and everyone would smoke cigarettes and lay in the sun. I'd wake up early and go to bed late. 

It felt like college.

And it was the most memorable feeling of my life.

I'm very affected by the weather, like I'll get depressed when it's too cold because all I ever want to do is go outside and walk around all day or play frisbee or be out with people. And all night, too. 

And May was exactly that. There was little time to sleep because there was so much to do, so many people to see, so much to get done. And we did all of it.

And it was in May that I really started to love college.

It felt like one big episode of Skins, but just in this beautiful neighborhood campus in Chicago. 

People would be up and outside hanging out until 5am. We'd sleep until 10. Wake up, go to class, then go right back outside. 

Every day, every night.

We started going out on week days to bars and clubs, house parties started happening on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and the city was alive and warm. 

We live really close to Lake Michigan, which to me feels like an ocean because you can't see the end of it and the wind chill comes right off of it. So we live near the ocean, but it's a lake. Whatever.

When people weren't in class they would walk down there, it was like a fifteen minute walk, and sit by the water and play soccer or whatever.

One day Trey Steve and I spend the entire afternoon just walking the edge of the city on the water. 

Steve kept trying over and over again to skip the perfect rock, but kept blaming it on the rocks themselves.

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I remember us laughing at him, Trey and I. 

"Steve, give it up. Stick to fashion" trey said as we walked away towards the other end of the beach. 

"One day I'll get it and you guys will see!" he screamed back, laughing.

Everything felt so perfect in May. 

School went so well.

Life went well.

We made new clothes. 

We made new friends.

We made money.

We spend it on ourselves.

We reinvested back to the brand.

And we loved every minute of it. 

And I finally had a friend group. There was like 25 people on campus that I would hangout with every day. And I wish I had videos of all of this because it was so unique. We'd walk out of class and on the way out the door, everyone was just high fiving everyone hugging everyone saying wassup - like everyone really did know everyone, even though we had 25,000 kids at school. 

I had this one class which focused on teaching us the importance of graphic design, and how to use Photoshop, LightRoom, and Illustrator. 

My teacher was the 40 year old guy named Eric. He didn't want to be called professor or anything, just Eric. 

My school does this thing where they hire real world people to teach some of the more specific advanced classes. 

So Eric was a full-time graphic designer. He used to do all the Playboy magazine covers for 15 years. He's worked on all the big McDonald's commercials, worked with Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Disney, everyone.

The first day of class he told us that everyone would get an A, so the focus of the class was to learn not to stress our grades. 

And he taught us more in 10 weeks than I learned in any class in high school....ever.

I used to chill with him before and after class and we'd just talk about everything I was doing and whatever. He loved the idea of OHKAY and he helped me with a lot of designs that I had. 

We ended up being super close friends. He only taught that one class, other than that he was a full-time creative. 

He taught me one thing that I'll never forget, and that's why I spent so long introducing him. 

One day Trey came to class after it ended and me Eric and Trey worked on this design we wanted to do for a hoodie. 

I was asking him questions about the industry and life and work and stuff and he said 

"You know, you guys are the exact kids that I was when I was your age. Creative, cool looking, smart, you got it all going on"

We laughed and we're like "well, thank you". At that point I was like yeah him and I are bros for life. 

"You guys are going to wear a lot of hats" he said. 

Trey and I were both like ..... "uhhh we don'--"

He cut us off and he's like "not hats like that, idiots. It's a phrase. It fits you perfectly"

We were all sitting down by these iMac computers and he said to us

"Right now you're students. In an hour you're designers. Later in the day you're business owners, then by tonight you'll be college party kids. Right?"

We were both like "yeah, pretty damn much"

He said "Exactly! Every time you're a new person, you wear a new hat. That's how the best creatives and winners in the world work. They know how to wear every single type of hat".

He went into detail telling us how he learned about this when he was 23 working in London at this agency. 

I'll never forget that moment, it was a Thursday afternoon, class got out early, and I learned one of the most important quotes of all of college.

Life is about being able to change your hat all the time. And it's a much deeper meaning than it sounds, but I'll leave it for you to understand. 

Like right now I'm sitting in the coffee shop in New York with some sort of writing hat on or creative one or whatever. Not literally, but metaphorically. But then I'll leave and go out to five star dinner with these people I'm working on a project with. Put the professional "I act like I'm 25" hat on. Finish dinner, take it right off, change my clothes, throw the party hat on, be clubbing until 4am, sleep, wake up, repeat. You see what I'm saying? It's the idea of being able to blend in your personality with the enviornment you put yourself in. And if you can be 25 different people through the course of the day, you'll master life from 25 different angles and personalities. 


Towards the end of the month Serafina came to visit me. 

She flew in from New York and finally came to live a part of my dorm experience life. 

Her and Mithcell had already become best friends just because I'd always be on Facetime with her and stuff and they just got along so well.

Out of the blue one day she texted me "Hey send me your address" and I was like why do you want my dorm address and she's like "I just landed in Chicago, what are we doing tonight?"

I remember running back to my room and being like "MITCH CLEAN THE COUCH SERAFINA'S COMING" and I looked at the couch and he was sitting on it all clean and he smiled he's like "Was it a good surprise?"

She came and I showed her all of my college life. Introduced her to all of my friends. Ate with her at the dining hall. Then that night we went out to the club on my campus.

It's called L.A Social. It's on Lincoln Avenue, so I gotta give it to them it's a catchy name. 

A couple hundred people go every thursday night and it goes until like 4am. 

It was warm out, we were all in t-shirts. It was a beautiful night.

We got really drunk and danced around and sang until the sun rose.

Then for some reason her and I just walked around my neighborhood and campus and went to this little park and sat on the swings and talked about life.

I hadn't seen her in what felt like months.

We stared at the stars (the few that peek through the polluted sky) and laughed at every memory we had with eachother.

Serafina really is my best friend in the entire world. My true partner in crime for life. 

We ended up going back to my dorm room as the sun came up. 

We were just laying in bed laughing and that turned into laying in bed kissing which turned into me being like I'm laying in bed kissing my best friend this is weird then we were both like wow this is weird but really cute and ended up just staying in my lofted dorm bed until morning. 

The next day we didn't really talk about it. 

As if it never happened.

But a huge part of me was like wow this girl is perfect and part of me really likes her - which i never once felt before in my life (the liking her part, of course). 

We went to Congruent Space becuase I wanted to shoot some things we had made.

I walked in and my friend Vince who owns the store is like "ahhh Chris, this is your girlfriend that you're always posting with!"

Her and I looked at eachother and we were like "uhh! No! Best friends for life! Vince this is Serafina"

We actually shot these Converse shoes.

I pulled some strings with some friends in the industry and we got our hands on 50 pairs of Converse One Stars. We were kind of advised "just do what you want to them and they're all yours". 

We embroidered on the tongue and designed OHKAY laces. I got a special tan pair for Serafina as a cute little gift. 

I took this photo of Serafina and I kept looking at it again and again and I was like "wow, this girl really is like picture perfect" which was so weird becuase for the longest time she was just like my bro you know like my left hand man partner in crime type person but I kept thinking wow maybe I like her this is so weird. 

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We went to the movies that night and then to some arcade and it was cool because for the longest time at school I had never liked any girl I was just focused on myself or I'd chill with girls but never found any direct interest in anyone and I felt like I was out on some sort of a date with Serafina and a huge part of me was super stoked about it becuase for the first time in so long I felt emotion for a girl - and it was this unique sort of energy we both had. 

These are the shoes by the way - I should have put much more effort into writing about those but I'll talk about it some day in an interview or whatever. 

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Serafina stayed a few more days and we hungout and did as much as we possibly could outside to make the most out of the weekend. She flew back to New York and all I could think about was wow I really like this girl this is so fucking weird. 

I got a call a few days later from Diego. Like LA on my birthday Diego. 

"Yo Chris, do you want to come to Rolling Loud with me? I have an extra ticket"

At first I was like man why do you always keep buying extra tickets to stuff then I spoke back into the phone "I'll be there, booking my flight in ten minutes". 

The flyer and the line-up for the festival was all over Twitter, I had seen it like twenty times I just didn't think it was a possibility to go becuase it was stupid expensive and I didn't really know anyone in Miami.

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I got a flight a few minutes later and posted the flyer and asked who else was going.

For some reason, damn near everyone on the internet was going to Miami for Rolling Loud. 

And my friend Nina who lived in the room directly above us had a ticket and she was just gonna go and wing it too, so I was like ok worst comes to worst I'm stranded with Nina. 

A week went by and I left class early Thursday morning to make it to the flight. 

My friends from home were there, these two girls I grew up knowing, and they had a hotel room for a few nights. 

I had never been to Miami before. But right when I got there and it was 90 degrees and sunny I was like word I'm coming back to Miami all the time until I die. 

I knew no one going into it, and left knowing everyone. 

Diego flew in Friday morning and the festival was Friday Saturday Sunday.

He got a hotel room so I ended up staying there with him.

Nina flew in Friday too. 

So it was me there alone, Diego there alone, Nina there alone.

Twenty minutes later I introduce Nina and Diego and we all become the best of friends. 

We went to the Festival mid day Friday. 

It was like 90 damn degrees out. There were 30,000 people in Miami for it, and it ended up being one of the most fun times of my life. 

When we walked in this kid started yelling my name so I turn around and I see my homie Isaac who I graduated high school with. He moved to Massachusetts from Miami so it made sense he was there. He's like "what are you doing here bro!?" I'm like "I came alone and now I got a few friends with me"

Isaac introduced himself to Diego and Nina and he's like "Bro I'm here alone too lets all just stick together". And there it was, the trio became a group of 4. 

An hour later my friend Mia from New York called me shes like "I saw you're here, I'm at Rolling Loud alone where u at" and I laughed and sent here where I was.

The group went from 4 to 5. 

We were walking and my interent friend Max from LA started yelling my name, he was with his two homies. 

He joined our group for a bit and we had a full team at this point

The festival was crazy. We ran from stage to stage through the venue downtown Miami. Anyone and everyone was there. 

Max's friends had backstage passes so they got me one. I was riding in golf carts with Rocky and Yachy and everyone just living the absolute best Miami experience I could have. 

In the backstage area these three kids who looked like 16 ran up and were like "ohkaychris yo" and I went over and was like wassup and met them. 

Two of them had film cameras and one kid was recording on VHS.

Andre, Mateo, and Beeper.

They shot a few photos of me and they were like oh yo we saw on IG you were in Miami bla bla bla.

"Just hangout with me and my friends, we're all just mobbing alone" I told them.

They were pretty stoked - I introduced them to max then to Nina and Diego and everyone. 

We all watched Rocky perform infront of 30,000 people in downtown Miami. Kids were climbing in trees, XXXTentacion was crowd surfing on a blow-up boat. Rocky brought everyone out on stage and sand LSD. 

I went into it knowing no one and left the night knowing everyone. 

Saturday and Sunday were the same thing. 

We just met more and more people, saw more and more music, did more and more until there was nothing left to do. 

And the best part of the weekend we didn't drink once, no one wasted time smoking weed, we just had a genuine time with everyone. 

I ended up staying an extra day and moving my flight because Max and his friends rented a Yacht and we went jet skiing. 

The kid Mateo came with us and we all just became best friends.

Mateo told me any time I was in Miami I could stay at his house. 

I flew home the next morning and edited photos on the plane. I made it back before 11am and got to my 11:50 class on time. Took an exam, got a 91, went to my dorm, went right to bed. 

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School was easy, we were winding down. Class was hard to go to becuase it was so nice outside but every day after class I'd walk to the beach and see everyone and skip rocks like Steve. 

We did another One of One collection and prepped for our spring drop which we planned for May. 

My favorite piece was this vest that we shot steve in at Congruent.

Serafina came back to visit towards the end of the month. Mitchell her and I spent a day walking around Lincoln Park doing just about nothing.  It was a really pretty weekend. We didnt' go out, we didn't do too much, we just hungout. 

This is what my dorm room looked like. It was our perfect little escape. And what was so unique was how well Mitchell and I worked together. Never once throughout the entire freshman year did we get mad at eachother, disagree, or fight. Never once. We didn't even bicker. We just lived perfectly along side one another. 

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At that point, Serafina and I were like wow ok maybe this cute thing could work.

But we didn't really say it. We just both enjoyed the idea of being together. 

For the first time in so long, a huge part of me felt filled with genuine emotion and to me there's only few things better than that.


JUNE

June started and we had 21 days left of school. It was so weird to think freshman year was coming to an end. 

Every day meant so much.

Each morning we'd update our white board with how many days were left until summer.

But I never wanted it to end. Ever.

At this point in my life, I was the happiest I had ever been. 

I would walk out my door and into the quad and see a hundred people I was best friends with.

I had a friend group, I had the best roommate I could have ever asked for, I had Serafina, I had new clothes to work on, and we had a lot planned.

I never wanted those twenty one days to end.

Each morning was just like the rest, we'd get up early, sit in the quad, everyone would smoke their cigarettes we'd joke about life people would be sittin in their hammocks , people would be painting, it just endulged me perfectly into the college life. 

Our friends at Congruent called us on the first of the month, Trey and I and told us to come in for a meeting. 

We knew there was going to be a pop up shop but we didn't know anything else. 

We got there and chilled for a bit, then Joe Fresh Goods walked in.

And I guess Joe needs some describing because if you know who Joe is, you know he's one of the greatest people to ever lead Chicago, and if you don't know him, you probably think who the hell is that.

Joe is one of the OG dudes who started doing streetwear brands in Chicago.

He started DBM ( Don't Be Mad ), and he always had clothing stores where he just harnessed the Chicago culture. Vic and Chance used to do their first ever performances at Joe's store. He raised them. He knows every NBA player, watched Kanye grow up and blow up, and was best friends with Chance. 

He wanted to do a pop up shop at Congruent, but he wanted a bunch of help with it.

I guess he wanted Congruent to call us in so we could give our youth creative aspect to the project. And we did exactly that.

And this part of my life, well, this is what I call Teamwork. And I'm going to do another blog about this sometime but this project was the best one I've ever worked on.

The Start Of Beauty Supply

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Basically we had this store called Congruent Space, and it was this beautiful white place. Joe wanted to use all 3 rooms and make it interactive. So in the first room was a Beauty Supply retail experience. 

Beauty Supplies are these stores, like bodegas, in southside Chicago. All the people used to go there to get their durags and shirts and everything else they needed.

Joe told us he grew up hanging out at the Beauty Supplies so he wanted to recreate that for his project. 

He wanted us in on the project, and we wanted to help in any and every way we could. 

For the entire next week, any time we weren't in class we were at Congruent. 

Some nights we'd be there until 3am just working.

Joe usually pulled up around like 6 for an hour to help us, then he'd go home to be with his daughter, then around 1am he'd come back and we'd all chill until 3 then go home and get ready for class. 

We painted the entire place, made 4,000 pounds of green and pink sand, turned the store into the perfect retail experience, and got ready to open the doors that Friday.

Joe had bought this van that he used to drive to cities to do pop up shops out of so he parked that outside Congruent for the week kind of as one of those "we're doing a project" foreshadows. 

Joe designed a collection called Beauty Supply of screen printed items, then he also did a collection of towel hoodies including 6 Stone Island hoodies made out of towels. So we had the cheap clothing aspect, and the designer aspect to it. 

We worked hour after hour on the place. Every aspect was going to be perfect. All day all night. We weren't getting paid, we weren't hired to do it, we did it because it meant something to us. Joe is the largest figure in Chicago and he brought us on to the project for a reason and we just did everything we could to make it the best project we could develop. 

The first night it opened we had a private party in the store and everyone got Henny filled snowcones.

We got to shoot a lookbook for the pieces that were in the store so Trey and Steve creative directed it and we all put it together for Joe to post. 

It was open for a week long, and every time I wasn't in class I was there, then I'd go home and work on the OHKAY stuff and spend the last 21 days with as many people as I could. 

Joe had this office near Congruent where he did all his design stuff at. It was a giant loft that he just chilled at and worked on stuff at. He told us if we ever needed to use it we could, so we shot the OHKAY spring pieces in there. 

We released the spring collection at the end of the first week of June. We wanted two weeks to be able to sell and ship everything out.

We made 36 of each item which is a lot compared to what we usually do.

It was a big investment since we had 300 pieces in my dorm room that we had to sell to people in the world, but exactly as we hoped, we sold all of it.

Trey was the one who really wanted to do the tonal idea.

We worked with our embroider people to find the perfect matching thread color to the garments, and they brought our ideas to life.

We sold all of it and spent a few hours a night shipping it all.

Which was my favorite part of the year.

Because in the beginning of the year when I met Trey I was designing stuff for october and I had a TON of stuff to print and ship and I brought him on board and we just worked all night long on stuff and I was like man you're going to be my best friend for life. 

When all the October stuff sold we just sat in the common room of my dorm hall packaging it all.

When all the Spring stuff sold we sat in the same exact place, packing all of it by hand. Except this time, everyone at school knew we were an awesome dream team.

We were damn near inseperable. 

If we weren't making the pop up, we were making OHKAY stuff, when we weren't doing that, we were in class, when we were out of class we were hanging out with people, when we were done with that we were shipping stuff out.

Trey wanted to use our friend Khaled for the lookbook project, so we shot him at Navy Pier in Chicago. We wanted to embody the spring aspect. And we did exactly that. These were from that day 

 

We used to have three types of mornings.

Backpack mornings, Duffle Mornings, Suitcase Mornings.

If only a few items sold in a day I'd bring them to the post office in my backpack, if it was a good day I'd be able to bring a duffle bag full of packages, and when we put out new stuff and it sold out we would pack suitcases full of packages and wheel them through campus to the post office. No one even asked about it, they just knew we were doing stuff. 

The time was ticking and the white board numbers turned to single digits. Every morning I'd wake up and look around my room and just smile. There was not a single thing wrong in my life. 

I had a 3.89 GPA going into finals, which I knew would all be easy. 

I had about 389 new friends, which I knew were for life. 

I had about 389 new things to write about for my journal of life. 

And every day I just cherished every moment.

Every night me and my friends from my building would sit out side until we started to fall asleep.

We'd drink wine in the quad and then wake up and roll cigarettes with our morning coffee.

Class was a breeze. Life was perfect. 

These were from the last two weeks of school from my point and shoot.

Since everyone moved off of campus after Freshman year, I had to like go out and find an apartment to live in.

I knew I wanted to live with Trey and wanted to live with a few other people. Mitchell only wanted to live with one other person, so him and Nina (that I went to Miami with) ended up finding a cute little apartment not far from campus. 

Everyone was finding groups of like 4 or 5 others to find apartments with, so Trey and I looked for a few other friends. In the photos above the kid holding the tree, that's Amal. He lived on the floor above me. The photo before that, the kid chasing him with another tree, that's Andrew. They were roommates.

Amal is super funny and studies architecture, Andrew does film. They had this other friend named Ben who was on the D1 frisbee team. I used to play catch with him in the quad all the time. We kind of decided we all wanted to live with 5 people so we just said word we're all future roommates.

Long story short, we saw a few places that we hated, and we were at a dead end. There was like 3 days left before the school year ended and I called everyone out to the quad with their laptops and we all looked for a 5 beddroom in the city. 

Trey came across this place right near Wrigley Field, where the Cubs play. It was 2 stops from school on the train and it looked big. 

We called the real estate person, who was actually the same guy who showed us places a few days earlier. 

"Meet us there in 15 minutes" we told him.

We jumped on the train, got off at the Sheridan stop, walked two minutes to the house and met the guy outside.

It looked like this ginormous frat house. 

I guess the top floor was open and totally in our budget. 

We had all hated the spaces we saw before this one. 

I rememebr walking into the apartment and my jaw dropping.

It was this giant place, all one floor, five bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a new kitchen, and nice hard wood floors. And tons of natural light. 

"We want it" I said after taking ten steps inside of it.

"YEP!" Trey yelled from the other room.

"I want this room!" Amal yelled from the other end of the house.

"Look, there's a roof!" Andrew yelled as he found the door to the roof. 

We looked at the real estate guy and told him we wanted to live there.

We called all our parents, told them we found an apartment.

And that was kind of all of that.

No one had any reason not to live there or love the place, it was perfect for us. 

So we put the down payments on it a night later and signed the lease info.

And with two days left, we had an apartment for Sophmore year. 

 

As the school year came to an end, we packed up our dorm, as did everyone else.

We took finals, stress free. 

We pulled all nighters with our friends and watched the sun rise over the dorm buildings. 

We laughed and talked about how great the year was.

Then, one by one everyone ended up leaving and heading home for summer. 

Mitchell and I took our room apart and left it exactly how we found it on the first day of school.

I said goodbye to all my professors and thanked them for everything.

I told Erik that the hat quote will stick with me for life. 

And just like the first day of college, the last felt like sleepover camp too.

We packed everything up, people's parents came to get their items, people gave goodbye hugs that lasted longer than they needed to, and everyone waved goodbye to the dorms for the rest of their life.

A day later, I did the same. 

I packed everything up, sat on the floor of my empty dorm room for a few minutes just reminiscing about life, and said goodbye. 

And that was it - freshman year was over, then summer began. 


chris brown1 Comment