Miami/NYC-based streetwear brand Stray Rats returns with interesting collabs.
Full disclosure: we were NOT huge fans of Stray Rats when they first started out in 2010. There was just something unappealing about a rat being the icon for a brand that just didn't sit well in the beginning. The first words that came to mind were dirty, grungy, obscure and underground.
But as the years have gone by, a light bulb went off – these descriptors are exactly right for the brand. In fact, they doubled-down and leaned in even more, which helped its' branding flourish. A streetwear brand that looks to the undiscovered, within its DNA are roots as a cult label worn by those in South Florida's hardcore punk scene. Stray Rats draws inspiration from the more obscure parts of popular culture, as well as ideas around community and acceptance. And what's more "punk" than going against the established norms of society?
For you hardcore streetwear followers, you might remember that founder Julian Consuegra is good friends with JR Ewing, Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the Creator and the whole Odd Future crew. They all share the same viewpoint – the most exciting thing about life is to continue to learn and discover; indulge yourself in as much as you can. "But don't be fake and dive into a subculture you're not invested in," said founder Julian Consuegra.
It's that mentality that makes you think "this guy is the real deal." The authenticity of his and his group's words make it hard for you to not like them. At the very least, you have to respect them for it. They're not trying to spin a quick buck, they're actually putting out music and fashion they are heavily invested in.
And they don't cater to just high profile celebs, they are all about the community. Everyone's fair game. It's this fun, almost self-deprecating viewpoint that makes brands like Stray Rats and Kidsuper so damn fun to watch. It's like you're rooting for an underdog but don't care if they lose.
On their own, they already have a unique aesthetic. I mean, it's a rat for god's sakes! But they do a good job with infusing pop culture into their designs, either from lettering or accessory combinations. But things start to pick up when they collaborate with other brands.
Take for example their collab with Marc Jacobs and their "Year of the Rat" Lunar New Year capsule. Now, raise your hand if you thought Marc Jacobs' line would purely dominate the design aesthetic when they worked together – *raises hand.* I thought they would be thoroughly overwhelmed with Jacobs' recent designs, but they went back into the vault and unleashed some pretty cool knitted sweaters and tees with a nod to Jacob's early work. It felt fresh, it felt different than what Jacobs usually cooks up, and it stayed true to the look and feel of the Stray Rats brand. It's no coincidence that Stray Rats meticulously chooses who they partner with, as this example shows. There are some brands out there willing to collaborate with Dollar Tree if they saw a chance to make some money.
Fast forward a couple of years and feast your eyes on the Marc Jacobs x Stray Rats x Deftones capsule. One and done is never fun – doing it twice is just as nice! The Deftones have already achieved Rock & Roll cult status, but add in a dash of Stray Rats and you have a formidable, juicy, who-gives-a-shit cocktail.
And don't forget their most recent collaboration with New Balance. The colorful combinations combined with the 580's makes you ask yourself why does this work? You will be slamming your head against the wall trying to find a logical reason why, only to come to the conclusion of "why not?" Sometimes, it works because it just does. No rhyme or reason are needed. That's the power of the Stray Rats brand. You like it or you don't and for us, it just does.