Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival 2013

The BHF came and went, and it was easily the most fun we’ve had as vendors to date. The schizophrenic weather and fanatical hip hop fans stumbling around only elevated the communal vibe of the event; as it turned out everyone was at least a little hard for hip hop.

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There were a ton of people to connect with in the Vendor Village, and by the time Redman came on stage the place was PACKED.

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EPMD rocked the stage next, then Pusha T, and even Spike Lee showed up to say a few words.

As far as any lessons learned and wisdom gained, as it turns out just putting the product in the peoples hands is much easier when they can just walk up and flip through it, and they’re much more interested in doing so if you’re having a better time than they are. And trendingly so, whiskey shared a helping hand in that.

So now we’re taking our convolutedly rich experiences from the Artists & Fleas, Ultimate Trunk Show, and Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, and packing them back into our brand strategy. We’ve learned a lot about who we are and who the consumer is through these shows, and we’re taking a break for a minute to refine and improve our strategy and message. Essentially we know we are different and we feel different from every other brand, but in selling face to face we realized that we are pretty fucking poor at sharing that sentiment. Unbeknownst to the outside, our defining characteristics are in the studio and at the table over a beer. It shows in our work, but the story is not always told. Transparency is all the rage right now, as well it should be, and we want you guys to not only see the product of our passion but to also understand and appreciate our journey. When we get back into the print studio, you’ll be seeing a much more coherent brand message and style. We’ve pulled from every corner of our interests, and now it is time to mold them all into one shining pillar of holy-shit-that’s-awesome.


-Taiki Murayama

'Merica

Happy birthday America! Congratulations, you made it another year without imploding. A lot of shit has happened over the past year, some good, some bad, but we’re still here and a lot of us are still proud to call ourselves Americans. In celebration, I made you guys an eagle, and hell maybe we’ll even put it on a shirt for you. And speaking of shirts, in light of the celebration of this country it might be a good time to mention that we have completely switched over to 100% US made apparel, an in no way is that a compromise or solely cosmetic change. These new shirts, holy shit. Easily the softest and most comfortable shirts that have ever touched my skin. So try them out, tell us what you think, but we already know what you’re going to say.

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-Taiki Murayama


The Ultimate Trunk Show

In case you don’t know about the Ultimate Trunk Show, it’s a bi-annual shopping event where boutique brands come together and set up shop in a warehouse space down in Chelsea, NY. Crowds line up for good music, free drinks, and most importantly the cutting edge and forefront of fashion.

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OA+A was lucky enough to be scouted and invited to this event, so we loaded up the suby and set up our monstrous display rack.

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That’s the same display we used at the Artists & Fleas show, only on 3’ stilts. And after it almost got knocked over a multitude of times and made people squint to see our designs, we’ve decided to set up some clothing racks for the next show. Our prize wheel definitely put more free T-Shirts in people hands than we intended, but at the end of the day thats the whole point of getting the name out, right? Hell if I had a T-Shirt cannon I’d sit at a crosswalk and launch shirts into crowds all day.

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So the part booze-fest part business-card-orgy garnered some lessons and successes, Lesson one - make the booze prize bigger, people loved that shit. Lesson two - let people browse the product on their own. It’s awkward as hell if they’re staring behind you’re only positioned to stare at them. Lesson three - we need print to more v-necks, apparently people get super torqued for v-necks these days. As for successes, we were even makings sales out of the car while we were packing up once we closed up shop inside. People really appreciated our designs and our range, which felt awesome to know we were doing something right in the eyes of people other than ourselves. Now with half of our business cards gone, we’re setting sights on hitting the crowd even harder later this month at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival.

Thank you Latoya for inviting us, maybe well see you again in a few months!


-Taiki Murayama


New Logo

If our company was a child, that little fucker would be starting to talk right about now. And that screaming, crying, bed-wetting ignoramus has seen a few things. And through that experience, I would like to think that it would have the clarity to say, “Taiki, Sam, shit’s changed. Change with it.” And shit has indeed changed, and we are starting to get a sense of the rules because like it or not, there are rules. Not those arbitrary “don’t make beautiful art on the sides of an ugly buildings” kinds of rules, but the design rules that only exist because there is a science to the emotion and design of art. In response to this we have evolved in retraction from swag-holes and pompous street wear brands who think they can just put their logo on a shirt over and over again and sell it for 50 bucks. Fuck that noise. Our core drive 2.0 is to pack as much meaning into as few lines as possible, to make each design stand out not because it steps off the shirt and punches you in the eye socket (metaphorically) but because it pleases the eye, and makes you wish you had thought of that.

So this calls for a facelift, in the laziest and easiest way that a company can: a new logo. We’re retiring the railroad spike + marker and replacing it with simplicity. Those of you that are familiar with our previous logo know that in essence, those two tools that symbolized hard work and creativity still live in the new symbol. The signature spike + marker will, however, stay on board as an iconic OA+A image.

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-Taiki Murayama


Artists & Fleas

Sam and I just wrapped up our first OA+A event, setting up a store in the Artists & Fleas weekly show down in Brooklyn. I’d like to give a huge shout out to Sam for making a killer product display and pumping out a ton of new shirts for the show. Over the two days, we pretty much figured out that the more we ignored shoppers the more they actually bought our products. So we just kicked it, watched some movies, killed a few bottles of whiskey, and made some change representing and sharing our passion. Seriously.

But in all honesty it was a great experience to get the brand out in front of the people, and we had a blast talking about ourselves to hipsters, foreigners, and families. Not really our intended demo, but hell it’s a good start. So in the end if you want to break even and do what you love, drink whiskey and watch kung-fu movies until it happens.


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-Taiki Murayama