The Classic: An Art and Fashion Exhibit will fill Green Labs, a marijuana think tank and performance space, with music, style, art and design tonight. The event is two shows in one, and will introduce Instant Classic Standard Clothing, a new lifestyle and clothing brand. In advance of tonight's Classic, we checked in with creative/organizer Ru Johnson and ICS designers Charles Silverstein and Darren Preston to talk about their work, and the creative scene in Denver.
Westword: Tell us where you from and how you got into the creative business?
Ru Johnson: I live here in Denver (by way of New York) and got into the creative business after expanding my work as an entertainment writer. I started Roux Black as a creative consulting company with innovative vision.
What was your inspiration behind this event that will bring fashion and art together?
Johnson: We wanted to release an exclusive item that would introduce ICS Clothing as the new "instant classic standard" coupled with dynamic art pieces. The music component of Amanda Hawkins and F.L. of The Foodchain featuring Oren L is icing on the cake. Vocally, they are going to be incredible.
What are your thoughts on the fashion and creative community in Denver?
Johnson: Like most aspects of the arts community, the fashion and creative community in Denver is thriving. The creative talent from clothing lines like ICS Clothing, Company Brand and others is on the progressive edge of apparel.
Your event also is being hosted at Green Labs. What was the strategy behind choosing this venue?
Johnson: Green Labs is the perfect location because of its raw canvas appeal. You can turn it into anything you want and with the Classic; we're turning it into an art gallery. There will be music, live performance and interactive entertainment -- and the space is ideal for all these aspects.
Tell us about where you from and how you got into designing?
Darren Preston: I'm originally from Brooklyn, raised in Jamaica Queens. I got into designing because I was very unhappy with the style of clothing that was coming out.
What was the first thing you every designed/made?
Preston: The first design I made was horrible; I made it on Microsoft Paint. It had stars and everything you could imagine that would make me look like a douche.
What inspires you?
Preston: Looking good and being unique.
What is your take on the fashion scene in Denver? What is good, what's bad, what needs work?
Preston: I think Denver has very fashion-forward people here. I've seen styles in Denver that have made me rethink future releases. One thing I'm not used to is cowboy hats and snakeskin boots. Where I'm from no one ever dresses like that.
Charles Silverstein: Similar to many industries in Denver, the fashion scene here is developing and growing. It's nice to be here as the spotlight continues to get brighter on this city and state as a whole. I would not say there is anything that is bad, but the fashion scene could improve. I think it would be incredible to have a fashion district that is comparable to any of the major cities in this country like New York, Chicago, or L.A.
How did ICS come to be?
Silverstein: Instant Classic Standard as it is seen today is a relatively new thing. But what has led up to this point began back in 2009 in San Francisco, when Darren and I joined forces as younger men after a few years of being distant, from when we first met as children in New York.
What is the one thing the fashion community could do to support you?
Silverstein: Pick up one of our brand shirts, and start giving a listen to F.L., a Denver native.
What advice do you have for those who are thinking about a career as a designer?
Preston: Be different and don't be scared to push the limits. Everyone and their mother has a clothing line; we ourselves have even felt the pressure of an over-saturated market. But be different -- don't be scared to try something new. Get a good logo and, most important, let this be your passion. This isn't a popularity contest.
How/where can we purchase your designs?
Silverstein: Currently you can purchase our clothing at Megafauna boutique and online at ICS Clothing.
If you could choose one famous person to wear your designs, who would that be?
Preston: I would like to see Stone Cold Steve Austin in my gear -- that would be dope!
Silverstein: Pharrell Williams or Dr. Dre.
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The Classic features complimentary food, drinks and herb; Amanda Hawkins and F.L. of The Foodchain will provide live entertainment. The introduction of ICS Clothing will follow with shows at 7 and 9 p.m. A $10 donation is suggested, and dress to impress. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.