Larissa Rocha is a streetwear culture promoter and law student. She was born in Belo Horizonte and started to get involved with streetwear and fashion through music and art. In addition, she was behind of Brazilian Apparel, an influential group of national streetwear, and behind the Suptalk Br, a group dedicated to Supreme in Brazil. With her focus and dedication to promote national streetwear, she developed the project “Value the National Product”, which presents and advertise for Brazilian brands that are beginning in the blog where she is the editor in chief. Today she is one of the influencers and female protagonists of national streetwear and is ahead of the blog The Game Collective.
“My name is Larissa Rocha, I’m a big promoter and lover of fashion and streetwear, specially streetwear because it’s something I’ve been into since I was 15. Today I study law which has nothing to do with what I do, but I like the course, I just don’t see myself working with that right now – I see myself working with what I’ve been doing these days, fashion and trying to do things for the national streetwear scene. At the end of 2015, I started Suptalk Brasil, which is a group for discussing all things Supreme in Brazil and has the goal of educating people about the brand and its stories and stuff.
After that, they invited me to be the administrator of Brazilian Apparel, which is today they biggest online streetwear group in Brazil that exists since Orkut. And now I’m an editor for The Game Collective website, making content for the scene and within the website, I started a project called ‘Support your local product’ to present new Brazilian brands, since what was happening in the beginning, when people started to get into streetwear, was that people weren’t paying to national brands or situations like: “I’ll pay 600 grand on a Supreme shirt but I won’t pay 200 on a national brand”.
Most of these brands don’t have a lot of publicity, even though they’re doing some dope stuff. So I curated some brands myself, and when after them to write articles telling their stories, their collections or something they’re about to drop. So I started posting these articles on groups and people started to get more involved and liking the project because we appreciated what comes from abroad so much that we forget what we have here. In the end, based on this whole movement, we thought on doing an editorial – throwing some international brands in the mix to show a bit of that contrast.
And with the evolution of all that I was invited by Asics to talk about sneakers and this gave my image a good boost, I was already pretty well known through the groups and suddenly I saw myself as a female figure in streetwear. A lot of girls have come up to me and said that I was an inspiration for them, and I want the presence of female figures in this world to grow more and more. Nobody thinks that there is a woman behind the things I do, and when they find out they go “wow, that’s dope, I learn so much from you” which makes me so happy, to touch man and women alike.
A lot of people think that women don’t know anything about sneakers, and they don’t care about that kind of stuff, but today we prefer sneakers over shoes, in all occasions (laughs). My relationship with sneakers is all about the designer which I identify with, that has my style and that, in the end, goes with everything I want to wear, whether it’s pants, dresses or anything else. It has way more to do with my style than with my gender. A lot of people look down on you and don’t expect much from you for being a woman, but when you open your mouth and speak all guys be like “wow, she really knows about stuff” if feels like I’ve just passed a test or something, it’s horrible. It’s this kind of thing that I want to change with my projects, with my activism, hitting on that “I’m a woman” button and I’m doing this so, in the end, people give you some respect.”
Tell us a bit more about The Game Collective.
We talk about everything focused on streetwear, but we also bring what people want. For example, I’ll do an article about Gucci, but Gucci has already inserted itself in the scene, and it’s what I always say, streetwear has always been present in these luxury brands but they didn’t get their deserved attention, they never said where they got their reference from. The same thing happened with Tommy, Polo, of people making the movement for the brand without them even knowing it. The first brand that started recognizing this, was Tommy way back in the 80s when they put some actual kids from the streets for a lookbook. So when I write about Gucci I try to bring the aspects that the brand got from streetwear, since nowadays people are looking for those kinds of brands. And in the end, their consumers want to dress like people from the street. So the blog is basically that, we talk about style, art, music, sneakers and more.
WE HAVE TO STOP SEGREGATING ALL THIS, THAT WOMEN SHOULD WATCH CONTENT MADE BY WOMEN AND VICE VERSA, WE HAVE TO GLOBALIZE THIS AND REACH EVERYONE.
And what are the plans for Larissa’s future?
Something with The Game like that idea of making the editorial, getting the local brands more involved and independent projects as well, such as bringing the girls from streetwear to talk about the subject and some other stuff I can’t talk about. (laughs)
My focus now is to follow this whole feminism idea. To put girls on the spotlight and show that we know about the subject, but also create some content for everyone, for all genders to watch. We have to stop segregating all this, that women should watch content made by women and vice versa, we have to globalize this and reach everyone. Clothes have no sex, there’s no more of this genders thing, everyone can wear what they like. Fashion is very democratic, it’s behavior and people think it’s about the trend, but no, trend is something else, fashion is for everyone. It’s expression, it’s your personality being exteriorized by the clothes you wear, by your shoes.
When it’s time to buy sneakers my idea is the stories behind the sneaker, how it was developed. I buy a lot of collab stuff like this one I’m wearing right now, which I bought more because of Raf Simons than Adidas itself. So for the dude’s story, everything he thought about in this sneaker, it’s what goes with my personality, and that’s when I buy a sneaker, not because everyone is buying them. I took some time to buy some Yeezys, I liked the Blue Tints that nobody liked (laughs). But I bought them also because I’ve been following Kanye for a long time, a guy who is a reference in music, fashion, and not because everybody else was wearing them.
I say to a lot of people that they are missing out on the best part, to know why every single thing was placed where it is, who developed, who is behind everything. To me, the part that I most enjoy is knowing about the content, to look up and know why you are wearing this. Like this one, for example, this one, the colors are meant to reflect the colors of autumn and are a part of an autumn/winter collection, nothing was made randomly. There are people that pay like R$6.000 on Off-White Jordans but they don’t even what Virgil has done, who he is, what was his idea right there.
Speaking about brands, do you think you could pick one streetwear brand that represents you?
Supreme hands down (laughs). Mostly because of what I said earlier about counterculture, because of what I lived in the streets because they represent what people are feeling, what they are doing with their clothes and even the whole minimalist idea behind the brand. Not to mention that everything that they make, sells. Doing a bunch of weird stuff because they want to break this idea of being a brand, so they do stuff like an ax, a pinball machine or even when they printed the cover of the New York Post.
If you look closely Supreme is a small brand, it’s not a global brand with a specific market. They have a small physical space but they bring in all the big brands because of their manifest, because of the people who’s been wearing the brand since the beginning, like the skaters that brought the brand to the streets with no marketing, no campaign or anything.
It was a spot that skaters would hang out and that was it. You can see that in the movie Kids, it’s a pretty bad movie, real subculture and is directed by Larry Clark, a guy who saw what was going on in front of the store, the skaters and everyone just hang out together, and he decided to do something with all that. It was a cultural manifest, from the underground, from the actual streets, and Supreme was kinda indirectly right there in the middle of it all, with some kids wearing their shirts and actors who were not really actors, just regular people who would go to the store.
Just like the collab between Supreme and Nan Goldin, who’s a photographer I love because she takes pictures of the ugly truth, like people doing heroin, like really have stuff but are part of the reality. I bought the shirt that has two transvestites in a cap, an iconic picture, and when the collection drop there were people complaining because they put transvestites on their t-shirts – and I was like “people just don’t know what Supreme is about, hum”.
Another thing that I really related with the brand is the appreciation for the local thing, being most of their collabs with local New York-based brands, with small artists that blew up once they had their stuff on the store. It’s important to support your local stuff, support who will come next because everyone can grow together, and that’s what happened a gradual but natural growth, and today the brand is what it is because it did what had to be done. It wasn’t marketing, it wasn’t money, they opened the store with 12 grand and no one was buying, nowadays everyone knows how it goes down with all the lines and everyone wanting stuff – even because the exclusiveness wasn’t even something that was planned, it was just the fact that they had no stock and that turned out to be a trademark.
In the end, I saw the brand, which represents so much for me becoming banalized here in Brazil, it turned into status and that’s not what Supreme is about, I don’t buy stuff just to show everyone I have it. That’s why I say that people miss out on the best part of what brands have to offer, for what? Banalization, hype, which is a word I hate. Hype has become an adjective, subjective, and it’s nothing like that (laughs), it’s an advertisement term and as Public Enemy used to say “don’t believe the hype” (laughs).
THEY HAVE A SMALL PHYSICAL SPACE BUT THEY BRING IN ALL THE BIG BRANDS BECAUSE OF THEIR MANIFEST, BECAUSE OF THE PEOPLE WHO’S BEEN WEARING THE BRAND SINCE THE BEGINNING, LIKE THE SKATERS THAT BROUGHT THE BRAND TO THE STREETS WITH NO MARKETING, NO CAMPAIGN OR ANYTHING.
What would you say is streetwear?
To me it’s street behavior, it’s the unification of the behaviors of the people that are making it happen, like graffiti, the way you walk, it’s something that unites many different personalities from different people that are on the streets doing their hustle. That’s when it becomes a movement, you take from that the way you walk, the way you talk, the slang and it all becomes the trend – it’s identifying yourself with your tribe. Since I live this, it was dope to see the global acknowledgment, and it moving into high fashion, it felt like they were finally acknowledging the people that always did.
Besides brands or models, what do sneakers mean to you?
Sneakers are like your best friend, they’re your partners. Imagine if sneakers could talk, how dope would that be, with all the experiences you had, all the places you went to. Besides being part of streetwear, it’s the first item you should have, it’s the first thing that identifies you, just by looking at someone with Jordans on I already have an idea of what that person is like. It might even be the main thing in your look, it defines the mood of the person in.
And why did you pick this Adidas x Raf Simons Ozweego III Khaki for this interview?
Because of the story, I went through to get them and Raf Simons himself who is a guy that really changed my perspective on fashion and brought forward subculture and that youth behavior of the time, exteriorizing all this on his collections. I started to learn about his work back in 2014 when Kanye said that he was his inspiration.
He had done other collabs before this one but I didn’t really like them as much, but when I saw these the only thing that went through my mind was that I needed to have one. I have to admit that I’m not really a big Adidas fan, I own more Nikes, but I just needed to have them and they didn’t sell here in Brazil. So I did this whole thing to get them, my mom was in Sweden and they were going to drop one day after my mom was going to leave, so I had to figure out a way to get them, so I looked at Swedish sneaker sited until I fund one that shipped to the entire country, but my mom didn’t want to bring them anyway. I saw later that they were on Farfetch, but for R$3000 reais it was just not happening until I ended up going to resell and it was hard, they brought the sneakers from abroad but when they showed up at my I got real emotional.
I rocked them once and then I wore them to Lollapalooza, and everyone was going off at me because I was wearing them on the festival, but I wear the sneaker that I buy, I have this sentimental thing where I need to be with them, and they are alive till today. It was not easy to get them and I really identify myself with them and that’s why I chose them.
And why do you think that these Adidas x Raf Simons don’t have the impact that other collabs do?
I think it’s because for you to really enjoy a design like this, it requires a bit of knowledge, it’s not a sneaker that everyone is going to like because they look different. So I think that for someone to get this shoe they need at least some previous knowledge about the importance of the designer, his style and his esthetics.