The Formative Years - Part 2 (2014-2016)

Part 2 (2014-2016)
The Formative Years - Part 2 “The formation of Collapsing Sun Threads”

Damn. Where the fuck does the time go? My ass can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast let alone to try and remember what was happening in 2014. But alas I must proceed for this is the story of Dave and Collapsing Sun. 

This story continues in the deep recess of Valley View Mall in La Crosse, WI which I am sure is on its deathbed. The mall was pretty stark and bland (as all shopping malls are). They had the typical shops: a Pacsun, zumiez, FootLocker etc. As I was strolling through window shopping, I was seeing brands like Obey, Primitive, Nike, RVCA etcetera they all pretty much had the same feel at the time, if that makes any sense? It seemed like they were all in the know of the current "trends" but at the same time a few were missing the mark - suddenly a lightbulb went off in my head.
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“Yo I’m resourceful. I like doing shit myself. I should start a brand... but then also make it my final project for my associates in graphic design.” I most likely was talking to myself out loud in the store and not realizing that I was talking out loud because I tend to do this alot. But nonetheless I cruised home in my 2011 Ford Focus, upon entry into my domicile I began writing possible brand names down on a piece of paper. I probably had about 200 brand names written down, then I just kept narrowing it down for a few days until one day this random concept popped into my head. “What if I could bring the collapse of the fashion industry and remake it? Remold it. Redefine what streetwear is. Because after all streetwear and fashion is whatever you want it to be. It doesn’t have to follow trends, it sure as shit doesn’t have to be the status quo. I wanna bring about the collapse of the fashion industry.” Now the ball is really going at this point - I’m using the dictionary, looking up synonyms for certain words but the whole time I was searching there it was staring at me in the face.
first shirt
Collapsing Sun Threads. DAMN ok Dave that kinda has a ring to it. Ima google it. Sick. Domain name, instagram handle, twitter (not facebook though, there's a random lady who has the handle /collapsingsun for some odd ass reason). OK so this is it. We are doing this. Collapsing Sun Threads ``A star was born.” All these taglines were super sick in my mind, so I rolled with it. At the time I was thinking Collapsing Sun would be more of a  “metal type” of brand. Using dark imagery and metal style typography and so forth. I really overused “blackletter” style fonts. I feel like I still may overuse blackletter fonts in design work but fuck it that shit is hard.

I ended up graduating in 2015 with my associates in Graphic Design, here’s a link to my final brand guide on behance. Now that I had my domain name and my single color press from Ryonet it was time to dig in and start designing. A lot of my first concepts were inspired by Shepard Fairey aka Obey Giant. In August of 2015 I put out my first three t-shirts. The promo photos were taken by my fresh homie at the time Trevor Sweeney. Shirts were modeled by my other homies Max, Austyn and Jymi. Shit was cool. I only probably made 20 of each design and I remember fucking up a ton of them since it was really my first time printing en masse on my own since working at that shop. The whole process was tedious as hell. Since I was using water based inks at the time I needed to cure the ink to the shirts somehow. So I would print all the shirts and lay them out on the floor of my apartment. Then individually I would hand iron every single one using parchment paper between the ink and the iron. I would press the whole image until I thought it was hot enough to cure. This shit took forever. I was essentially guessing when they were “cured” because I really had no idea what temperature they actually were getting to. Eventually I bought a heat gun and would use the heat gun in one hand while the iron was in the other - this process would remain for 2 years until I bought a flash curing unit.
rootnote printing
During 2015 I had been working at a coffee shop called “The Root Note” it was a pretty sick coffee shop with a connection to the local music scene so I really tried to make connections, on top of that the owners (Dane & Corrie) were super tight and they let me sell my shit there. Not only that but the in-house artist of the Root Note (Landon Sheeley) had a 4 color DIY press in the basement so I would occasionally hop on that to print some of my things. During 2015 I really pushed Collapsing Sun in the La Crosse area, I was putting together shows at local bars and doing pop-ups at random spots in town then selling Collapsing Sun to drunk people and the like. I really enjoyed working with local music artists putting together shows. My last event in La Crosse was the “Collapsing Sun Threads no bollocks party” where my old metal band actually played for the first time to a packed Root Note.
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Towards the end of the 2015 I ended up moving to Minneapois to pursue a career in Graphic Design. I applied for countless jobs for months while I was working at Icehouse mpls as a wait assist/barback/bouncer (great place btw thank you Brian & Dane). I would work 12 hour days and still do Collapsing Sun when I would get home at 4am. The grind as they say. I never got so much as an email back from any of the design jobs I applied for. I’m still salty about it to this day. “Looking for candidates with 5+ years experience.” Pfft take your experience and shove it up your ass, Ima do my own shit.

I had a 276 square foot studio apartment in Loring Park mpls, it cost way too much per square foot. This studio apartment consisted of a single large room with a closet sized bathroom and a miniature kitchen. So I had to get creative with my lack of space. I used the bathroom closet to store my screens, the kitchen was my darkroom and the one living room space was where I would do the printing. I drilled my press to a kitchen cart so that I could wheel it out of the way when it wasn’t in use. Oh yeah my bed was in the wall so I would just pull it down when my body had to rest. This is essentially when Collapsing Sun truly started in my mind. 2014 was what I call “my exploration year”, 2015 is when Collapsing Sun really became a living thing. I registered Collapsing Sun LLC with the help of my long time homie, Rooker.

During 2015 I sporadically put out shirts all while still trying to find my niche, design style and avenue. As 2015 came to a close I decided to start looking for different jobs. In June of 2016 I ended up being hired at Los Campeones Gym, that same day I was hired I decided to stop drinking alcohol and doing drugs (more on my addictions another time). As I was starting a new job at a gym I was looking into the possibility of branching out Collapsing Sun to the fitness industry side of things because there's a lot of lame ass brands in the fitness industry insert blank: Gym Shark. but after some research into where the atheltic apparel is made and how it’s sourced I decided that it wasn’t a good fit for Collapsing Sun, to be honest the fitness industry is fucking trash anyway.

Ok I am going to end part 2 here because otherwise I am going to ramble on about how much I squat and deadlift.


The Formative Years - Part 3 “The Beginning of the End” (2016-2018)
coming 2/27/21

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