The Shirt King Phade Interview

Posted by Taylor Hippert on


I had a brief conversation with Phade, part of the Shirt Kings duo that revolutionized custom fashion with their airbrushed clothing designs that were influenced by their love of graffiti and the culture that surrounded that.

Back in 2015, Supreme reached out to Phade to release a collection of two t-shirts that featured his iconic artwork. When asked about that collaboration this is what Phade had to say.


Can you give us a brief rundown of how this collaboration came to be?

My book “Shirt Kings: Pioneers of Hip Hop Fashion” just dropped and was making noise. The photos I had were a catalogue of merchandise of the Golden era of Hop Hop. In it, it explains how this idea I had was an extension on my aerosol art days on the New York City Subway system. As a [graffiti] writer I connected with several writers from all over the boroughs to form the TNT crew and TNT then morphed into TC5 with several of the city’s finest artists - one of those artists became the creative director at Supreme. Trusting their vision and knowledge and also a solid friendship, it made sense to be a part of a small capsule collection - “Heroes”.

Original Chucky Graphic (Left) and the reworked Supreme version (Right)

Can you pull back the curtain a bit and let everyone know how the design process went?

The “Chucky” tee was handpicked from my book, and they also wanted to replicate my 190E Benz - both were redesigned to fit the Supreme esthetic. They were very specific to the two designs they were seeking from me.


Original 190E Graphic (Left) and the reworked Supreme version (Right)

What was like it seeing the sort of reception that the collaboration received them, and now?

Instagram was new and the launch numbers and comments were in the 250,000 range, so I went gold in a day. I was in NY for the launch - the launch was on a Thursday and by Sunday everything was sold out, especially in Japan. That was mind boggling to me to be involved in such a classic moment and to have tangible proof of the power of the Shirt King design.