Scumbags & Superstars is a brash and brilliant streetwear creation from the mind of Brooklyn denizen, George Rosa.
From the simplicity of his black and white designs-a love of Rosa’s from his days printing zine’s- to the bold skulls and gorillas that adorn his tees and hoodies, S&S is the sum of many oddball parts. It’s that eclectic vibe which sets this brand apart from the masses.
Admittedly, Rosa prefers black and white to color not because he’s goth, but because, “I’ve always been attracted to the simplicity of it”. His influences range from the old school skateboarding zines from his youth to the traditional punk rock posters and fliers posted all over the city for decades.
The wild imagery synonymous with S&S is straight from the world of old comic book art and horror films, two things Rosa enjoys as both a fan and collector. “I collect all sorts of weird shit, and wanted the company to be graphics based. A lot of companies tend to use logos and text. I think that’s boring and want to be known for our visuals.”
And that bad ass Skull Indian logo? Rosa explained, “when I was looking for a logo for S&S I wanted something easily recognizable and very American. So I took a traditional collegiate Indian logo, something that has been replicated many times with many schools, and blended it with a German WWII skull. People can read into the meaning and concept of the image, but to me it was more about the overall look”. It’s a gripping image, one that’s unique and gives S&S its standout edge. “Since I started the company I’ve seen a lot of other companies putting out their own versions of the Skull Indian. To me, most are failed attempts and and look like cheap knock-offs of our classic gem.”
There are a ton of brands out there, and while Rosa admires and respects plenty of them, besides S&S he wears Mishka, another visually based, NYC brand with the knack for absurd graphics. “I have been friends with Greg (Mishka co-founder) for years and he is my biggest motivation and inspiration in the streetwear game. All of the Mishka guys have been super supportive and helpful.” Although they are entirely different brands, it’s easy to see the connection. Both are way left of the dial and cater to speakeasy crowds and hardcore fans of unique wears.
While Rosa plans to branch out, right now he’s content with his limited exposure. “There’s a few shops out here that carry the brand, like Toy Tokyo in the East Village, Desert Island Comics in Williamsburg, Zakka in Dumbo, Silky’s in Bushwick and the Mishka store at 350 Broadway, but I haven’t reached out to many vendors to carry it because I want to keep it somewhat underground for now.”
Like myself, Rosa grew up in the 90’s, where the internet wasn’t the instant lifeline it’s become today. He feels there’s still something cool about discovering and researching the brands that define you. “Back then you had to find out about a brand, if someone was rocking something you liked. Then you had to find out if your city sold it, and where. I prefer that old-school seeking it out method, opposed to having my stuff on every website and store possible.”
Growing the brand is the idea, but there doesn’t seem to be any real hurry. “I want to build a core audience and grow the brand organically. I want people who are down with our brand and style to rock our shit. I’m confident once we get the word out and more people see our products, we will grow and grow.” When asked if social media can be the vehicle for that growth, Rosa admitted, “I’m really bad at social networking stuff. But I really do enjoy Instagram. I’m a very visual person and like how Instagram is personal and you can share images instantly.”
Rosa has no intentions of slowing down. After all, there’s no room for a Lifetime Piling Up. There’s a new website in the works for 2013 that will feature new gear and products and he’ll continue pushing his wears in shops and boutiques around NYC. One thing you can count on is pure hustle. “Growing up an only child, doing graffiti, it instilled a DIY work ethic in me. Painting graffiti requires a determination and drive and your goal is to shove your work in peoples faces, whether they like it or not. I take that same approach with my company. I put 110% into S&S everyday. It’s not a 9-5, I’m working from the time I get up until I get to sleep.” Scumbags of the world unite.
Head to http://shop.scumbagsandsuperstars.com/ to grab some gear and follow the brand on Twitter @ScumandSoup and on Instagram at scumbagsandsuperstars. A big thanks to George for letting us pick his brain, we definitely owe him a shot of his favorite tequila.