KK: “I’m Cauê Santos, my artistic name is KK Ousado, I’m 19 years old, I’m from the north side of São Paulo, and I work with creation – I’m a creative director and musician, I’m right there between music and fashion.”
MAT: “My name is Matheus Santos, more know as MAT.jpg. I work with music, I’m an entrepreneur in the fashion industry, DJ, beatmaker, music producer and Mc.”
How did you two meet and when did you decide to work together?
KK: We first met through Instagram, and we got together because I was from the north side and he was from the south, we met in the center, in Republica, which was where Mat performed for the first time. So then we would run into each other and since then we’ve been together on this path to building something that was relevant and consistent – through music and fashion. It was something we both were very interested in so our friendship happened because of art and our need to create.
MAT: For us, it was that thing of seeing another black man creating the same stuff as you. We connected strongly right away, and at that time there were no young people doing it, we were 15 doing that stuff. It was all really organic because we always had the same idea and same thoughts.
KK: When we started making music together that’s when things really started to evolve and we just grew even closer. The real thing is that today we’re like brothers from different mothers. Even our names are the same… Santos.
Mat, when and where did your interest in creating your own brand come from?
MAT: I’m going to tell you a sad story when I started Massati in 2016 I had nothing but 100 reais in my pocket, so I bought a bunch rags and started sowing them and creating, just to see where that would take me and how far would it go. So I figured out that it was possible to create stuff with little money and still, sell enough to make my money with that. That’s when it hit me that I could do a lot with just a little bit. So I started to invest a bit of money and started to take stuff, all through Instagram and Facebook.
I started creating some stuff and I wanted to make something different since the scene was a bit boring because all the brands in the scene had all these references from abroad, all this stuff that isn’t ours. So I put an end to all this and made something for the favelas in Brazil, the hood, for our flag, and of course with African influences because it’s what we are. So this thing just started to flow because it was so original, that people would identify way more than with anything else that was out there in the market. This whole pyramid process was very satisfying – to start from the bottom and in such little time have people identifying with it. But that’s it, my brand isn’t everywhere yet, they are not clothes that you can just find in any store, it’s different.
KK, your also well engaged with fashion as well right?
KK: I put college on hold at the end of the semester, but you can say I got into fashion because of some modeling work I’ve done and then I got effectively in music when I started going to events and working as an Mc and Dj. This was good because it opened my mind in a lot of ways, like the meaning of creation, of art, even because I was a fish out of the water when it came to the fashion industry, I couldn’t picture myself there, but that was good because I knew my path was a different one, the way I was going to make things happen for me – so I never settled for college. But undoubtedly all this theoretic support gave me a whole nother vision of everything I did. Whether it was in music, Rap or whatever it was. I started in fashion, I put that on hold now, but it’s something I always want to bring with me in my work, and in the future release my own fashion project.
I studied at Santa Marcelina, and it was a bit more focused on creation, so I learned a lot about creating and developing pieces, the focus was really towards the catwalk. But I feel like my essence comes from streetwear, it’s my reality, that’s why I decided to put college on hold, so I could dedicate myself to music and when I come up with a proposition for the streets it’s going to be me, it’s going to be authentic, if I need to go back to college I will.
Now talking more about sneakers, what is your relationship with sneakers in general?
MAT: To me, sneakers are like the main attraction no matter what you’re going to do.
And to finish, why the Vapormax? What does this sneaker represent for you both to choose them as the theme for your song and for this Kickstory?
KK: I think that after the Nike Shox, the Air Max was one of the sneakers that left the biggest impact on street culture in Brazil, and when I started to get closer to sneaker culture and got to know more about some different stuff, and became more selective with sneaker, there were times where I even looked down at the Air Maxes. But when the Vapormax came out, Adidas was at the peek, taking over the scene – with the first Yeezys, and the Ultraboost blowing up – nobody really paid attention to the Vapormax.
During the Air Max Day that had the house over at Paulista, they had a dope installation but nobody really paid any attention, you just didn’t see people wearing them. But we really wanted those kicks and we never took our eyes off them, see we thought they were dope, that they looked good, they were different so we set it as our goal. And it turned out that Solapé came up, it’s a song composed and produced by Mat; we got really attached to the idea because it was something that said a lot about our story and the story of many other people from our generation. And that’s what the Vapormax is, to be one step ahead, while nobody paid any attention to them, we already had them as our goal.
When we showed Nike the concept, Marcus who was still there at the time said: “hold that song till March of 2018 because it’s going to be the year for the Vapormax”. So we got really anxious and waited out – and it happened! Check out how many re-editions of the Vapormax are out there, everywhere you go there’s one.
KK: Here in Brazil there’s no one in this medium taking an approach on this product that is in such an important moment on their calendars. This are the OGs – we sent them a song at the end of last year, they liked it, they sent them to us so we would wear them – for us is dope because it was a sneaker that we really wanted, but we are at a time in our carrier that it’s just not enough, we need money to invest in our project.
MAT: Just the product is never enough, not even when you’re just starting from the bottom isn’t enough.