We have a lot of love for Rebel8 here at Urban Industry. We were one of the first UK stockists of the brand going back a good few years, and today it continues to be as popular as ever with customers. The brands use of hand-drawn fonts and themes of tattoos, punk rock and hard-living helps give it an edge over a lot of other streetwear brands out there at the moment. We like it when brands take the time out to fill us in on where they’ve been, what they’re up to and what their future plans are. So without further ado, I’m going to hand over to Rebel8 main-man Joshy D as he takes us through what’s happening with his brand at the moment:
“I remember years ago sitting in class watching the time pass, just thinking about doing something else. Sure, thoughts of girls and partying would enter my mind recklessly with no apologies, but there were always repetitive, restless thoughts of figuring out a way to live my life exactly the way I wanted. I've always been a daydreamer. I've thought of some pretty amazing shit while simply daydreaming. However, thoughts are merely thoughts. Same goes for ideas. You can have the greatest idea ever, but if you don't do anything with it, it will only remain just the greatest idea ever.
Although I never graduated college, I thoroughly enjoyed quite a few classes. What I loved about community college was that I could try a ton of different courses – similar to a smorgasbord. While I disliked science, slept through art history, and despised math, I greatly excelled in business and ultimately [at the Academy of Art], advertising. The biggest take-away from my advertising classes is that branding is everything and nothing short of that.
As you know I started REBEL8 with $500. It's not a lot of money to start a business today, nor was it back in 2003. From the jump I needed to be as consistent as possible with my branding: I couldn't afford errors and had no time for mistakes. Due to lack of money I chose black and white as our consistent colors. See, printing solely black ink on paper or a t-shirt is as cheap as it gets, and vice versa with white.
Here is the original sketch Giant gave me in 2003; it now hangs framed in my office. The stylized REBEL8 became our first word mark. Also, this drawing became our first print ad in Juxtapoz magazine. It was one of the first and only times we ever paid for advertising.
In the end of 2005 I recall sitting at our Magic trade show booth in Vegas wanting a symbol for the brand. I'm sure I had similar thoughts months, maybe years before, but I vividly remember the ah-ha moment taking place in beautiful Las Vegas. As I flipped through the latest designs I noticed a tiny little stylized 8 on the tongue of a roller skate graphic. I pointed to it and immediately asked Giant where he got that. And what became a common response for Giant over the next decade was that he just thought of it. I followed up with an instant request for him to draw it straight with no angle. Days later, back in SF I received an email attachment with the drawing. For a week I mirrored angles, inner-shapes, and made various tweaks in Illustrator. The result was our official and everlasting logo that brands all of our products today. The original word mark was soon put to rest.
Since discovering our 8 logo we've tried to no avail to figure out a way to attach the word REBEL8 to it. For years we've been using what internally we call the "cholo font" logo below the 8. You probably own quite a few pieces with the inner-label having this design. Recently I haven't been feeling this word mark. Personally, I feel it looks too typecast. What I love about the name REBEL8 is that prior to me starting this company there was no meaning or preconceived notion of what REBEL8 is. I feel the same goes for our 8 logo. Sure, on legal papers it is stated, "the mark consists of a stylized number 8 with a diamond inside the lower half of the number 8. Color is not claimed as a feature of the mark," but most importantly, once again, our logo is open to interpretation. It is a symbol that did not exist previously to us: we defined what the 8 logo means and stands for.
So here we are today; halfway through 2013 and halfway done designing 2014. This is the next chapter of REBEL8 branding”.