On our trip to NY we had the pleasure to meet a person that not only has many talents, but was also real nice to us and helped us make Kickstory in NY.
Marvin does a bit of everything, besides photography he also has his brand of clothes and embroidery called Extra Flee, and he makes music as well. He invited us to interview him at the i am other office, where he creates the content for the BBC US account. We talked about what inspires him, how he changed his life around completely, and what made him like the Converse one star x golf LeFlour so much, that he went and bought two.
Well, my name is Marvin. I wear many hats. I just try to find any and every creative outlet I can, just to express myself. That’s the type of person I am. Just creative, adventurous and always trying to think out of the box.
So you’re a photographer and you also do some music, and we saw that you have your own brand that you make patches and t-shirts.
And embroidery, I made this sweater too. So yeah, I have my hand on everything. You know, all of these are things that, when I was growing up, things I was influenced by… And I always thought to myself: “I wanna do that”, and I got to one point where I realized: “I can do that, if I want to.” You know? If you really push for it… I just spent a lot of time investing in myself and learning things I’m interested in. And I work better that way. A lot of people go to college, sometimes they do things they don’t really want to do, but then I realized: the more I did that, the more unhappy I was. Then I decided to just do everything I know how to do or want to learn how to do.
MUSIC IS EVERYTHING, TO EVERYONE… THERE’S NOT ONE PERSON WHO DOES NOT LIKE MUSIC. EVEN THE MEANEST PERSON LIKES AT LEAST ONE SONG, YOU KNOW?
What are your influences? Like, how did you learn to do music and design? Or was it all-natural?
I feel like part of it was natural because of the environment I grew up in, the people who were around me. Music is everything, to everyone. There’s not one person who does not like music. Even the meanest person likes at least one song, you know? So, I grew up, and my dad was listening to a lot of different music. He introduced me to a lot of different genres and different types of artists. I’m Haitian, so we didn’t just listen to the Haitian music, we listened to music from Colombia, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic or even Brazil. He put me on to a lot of music like samba and things like that. So those are the things that helped to influence my music because, in every song, I can find an element that I like. Something that I wanna incorporate to my sound.
What’s your music like? Can you define, what kind of music it is?
I do a mixture of things. I do a little bit of lo-fi, a little bit of boom-bap. Some electronic… Whatever mood I’m feeling for the day, that’s the genre I do. But, for the most part, right now, it’s lo-fi. Because I love the lo-fi sound. It’s like greedy and raw. I like that.
You told us you that you’ve been working here at the “I Am Other” office for like 10 months. How did you get in here and what exactly do you do? Can you tell us a little bit about your job?
So, around this time, last year, I was doing construction work. I know, it sounds crazy, and sounds totally, like, opposite (laughs). But I was working for a construction company. I wasn’t really happy there, because of the people that I was working with. They just put me in a bad mood, like all the time. So, my friend Chris – he used to have the position I have and then he got a job at Adidas – So fortunately last year, I went to California to go to Complex Con and I was supposed to go with my friend from Brasil, Tássia, but something happened with her passport and she was unable to come. So I went to Complex Con by myself.
But every year, Billionaire Boys Club has a booth at Complex Con. So, I texted my friend Chris and I said: “Hey, I know you are working this weekend, but if you have some free time, let me know. I’m here by myself.” Then he said: “You know, if you wanna come work with us and give us a hand, that would be appreciated.” So, I said: “Sure, I’ll do it.” Why not? So, for the weekend, at Complex Con, I worked with them. And I got close with everyone here. I felt I was a part of the team. So then, when it was time for Chris to go to Adidas, he referred me, and everyone knew me at that point. And then I showed everyone my work and they put me on the team. And it’s funny because this year we went back to Complex Con, and I was like an official part of the team and my friend Christopher, he was the one that was helping us… So, it was like we switched places.
That’s amazing! What exactly it’s your job position here?
I guess my official title is, content marketing. I handle the BBC US account. I upload all the photos, tell people about drops, things that are coming out, sometimes I make little graphics. Just to make it interesting, so it’s not just a picture of the photo, you know? Sometimes I do things for the website, do some photoshoots here in there… When we are coming up with collections and stuff, sometimes I help, I put an input for that. I don’t come up with everything, but, you know…I do everything I can here. I have all these skills, so I try to apply them. Even one of my beats was used on one of the videos we had for a promotion. So, I make sure all my talents get put to use while I’m here, you know?
What is it like to work in a big brand like this? What it’s like working here, and to be in this environment, that’s famous and known worldwide?
If I went back in time and told my 13-year old self that I’ll be doing this now, I’d be like freaking out and going crazy. It’s pretty surreal. I mean, at the end of the day, we are a small team, but we have big tasks. It’s a lot of responsibility, yeah. So, we help each other as much as we can. It’s surreal. Just being in here. Honestly. And the way that I got here, you know? You think about the universe and how things work, and you put it in your mind and… It can happen. Because I imagined this almost 5 or 6 years ago. But I didn’t take myself seriously, I just thought it was a dream.
And the work speaks for itself. And I think the fact that, before I actually got hired, I was able to show them that I could pull my weight, it made a huge difference. When people know the work that you are capable of, that makes them more confident in you, and the things you could do. You just have to try to keep that up. Something that’s very cool is that all kinds of people come through this office, sometimes it blows my mind. The fact that people that I listen to regularly, or people I see on TV and in magazines. Sometimes they just come in and they go into the office. (laughs) So, it’s interesting. And there’s just so much inspiration in here. Like, in every corner. Every person I work with is super talented. It’s pretty crazy.
And what is your relationship with sneakers these days?
When I was younger, I really was one of those people that wanted all the sneakers. But not just because they were popular. And even to this day, If I don’t like the sneaker, then I don’t like it. The thing is that I wanted so many of the popular sneakers, like Jordans… Jordan 3s are one of my favorites. 3s and 4s. Black cements? They’re always good. (laughs) But when I was younger, my family couldn’t afford a bunch of Jordans. Every once in a while, I would save enough money to get a pair. I remember for my 17th birthday, I got enough birthday money I went and bought the Aqua 8s. That’s another one of my favorites. So, sneakers were always about adding to my style. I already knew had style, I didn’t need the sneakers to have style, but I knew it would be the icing on the cake. You know?
I mean, these days is more about comfortability, because when I was younger, I didn’t wanna my sneakers to get dirty, I didn’t wanna crease them. (laughs) It became stressful for me. And I was like: “You know what? I need to just wear my sneakers.” And even with these sneakers. I feel like my body is getting older. I’m 29 now. I’m not old, but… you feel the changes in your body, so, I’m at the point where I need my feet to be comfortable. More than super exclusive or fly. You know? So, when Tyler The Creator dropped the Converse One Star x Golf LeFlour, I was like: “Wow, I love the design, first of all.” And I remember that I tried these shoes once, The one star Converse, and it was so comfortable to me.
So I got these and the Pink ones on the same day. I just put them on and it was so comfortable. Then I was on Twitter and I was just scrolling and Tyler The Creator, the day that they dropped these, he said: “Just wear the sneakers, wear them. Wear them out. Get them dirty. Wear them until they become nothing.” Basically… And I took it seriously. Like I just wear them. These sneakers went with me to Brazil, went with me to Mexico. Like, whenever I travel, I bring them with me. Because they’re comfortable and I could always find some way to match them. Even if it doesn’t match exactly. You know? And I feel like the colors and the design of the shoe, it kind of portrays who I am a little bit, you know? Like, simple, but noticeable.
I WAS ON TWITTER AND I WAS JUST SCROLLING AND TYLER THE CREATOR, THE DAY THAT THEY DROPPED THESE, HE SAID: “JUST WEAR THE SNEAKERS, WEAR THEM. WEAR THEM OUT. GET THEM DIRTY. WEAR THEM UNTIL THEY BECOME NOTHING.” BASICALLY… AND I TOOK IT SERIOUSLY. LIKE I JUST WEAR THEM. THESE SNEAKERS WENT WITH ME TO BRAZIL, WENT WITH ME TO MEXICO. LIKE, WHENEVER I TRAVEL, I BRING THEM WITH ME.
Do you have a collection? Or you just have a few that you really like?
Nowadays, I feel like I gave a lot of my sneakers away, or my little brother just took them (laughs). So now I feel like I’m rebuilding my collection. Now I have a little bit more adidas because Billionaire Boys Club we have like an exclusive account with Adidas. So, I’ve been introduced to more Adidas. I didn’t pay adidas too much attention a while ago, but now I’m getting introduced to adidas. Especially with the Boost 2.0. Those are very comfortable, so I’ve been wearing a lot of Human Races, NMDs… All those sneakers that Pharrell has been dropping, basically, I’ve been wearing them. (laughs) But they are really comfortable. So, I’ve been leaning more towards adidas now. And I have my friend Chris at Adidas, who’s introduced me to a lot of sneakers so, you know, I’m very Adidas right now. (laughs)
How hard is it to get sneakers around here? Like, those special drops… Do you have to get in line? Do you see people going crazy?
Honestly, it depends on the drop. And the hype around the shoe. Because a sneaker like this… It would sell out on Tyler The Creator website, but you could go to Footaction or Footlocker and you could find a pair. So, it depends on the sneakers. Sometimes, you just have to look a little bit, or you know, you have to find the sneaker store that’s hidden away and not very popular, to find the sneakers you want. But it depends on the hype around the show. Like, Cactus Plant, those shoes sell out like in a second (laughs). I know Pharell had a collab with Human Made, the Japanese brand, and it was an NMD shoe, and it has a Human Made heart on it. And the heart was blue. And those things sold out instantly.
You like sneakers, obviously. But do you consider yourself like a sneakerhead, type, person?
Hum… These days, I’m like a calm sneakerhead, because, if I miss out on a shoe drop, then I miss out on it… You know? I’m not gonna stay in the cold (laughs). Or if I have to wait like three hours, I’m not gonna do it. Now I’m making my own money, so I don’t think about the price so much. I mean sometimes I have responsibilities, and I can’t always buy the shoes… But, now that I can make my own decisions… You know? If I like it, then I’ll buy it. I’ll make the effort, but if I already know that everyone is gonna be online, or everyone is going a little crazy for the shoe, then I just leave it alone… If it’s meant for me, it is meant for me. It’s how I see it.
So, one of my friends – he used to work here and now he lives in LA. He works at BAPE – my homie Damien. So, I went in there and I saw four different sneakers that I wanted so bad, (laughs) but at the time I couldn’t buy them. And I was like: “You know what? I will call you about those sneakers.” But yeah, it all depends on where you go. Because in New York, a lot of people buy to resell. They know that the sneakers are popular, and even if they don’t want it, they’ll get it and then up the price, and then charge a bunch of money, so they can make money out of it. It happens a lot here. That’s a big problem for us. Because somebody wants to buy it and then charge you like two times the price. It’s happening a lot.
ONE DAY, MY FRIEND ON TWITTER, SHE HAD LIKE 10.000 FOLLOWERS, SHE PUT MY LINK ON A PAGE, AND I JUST GOT LIKE A BUNCH OF ORDERS (LAUGHS). I THINK I HAD LIKE 300 ORDERS, BUT I WASN’T READY, BECAUSE ON MY WEBSITE, IF YOU WANT SOMETHING, I MAKE IT, ON THE SPOT. I DIDN’T HAVE A LIMIT TO HOW MANY, SO PEOPLE WERE JUST GOING ON, AND EVERYBODY WAS ORDERING, AND ORDERING. SO, I HAD LIKE 300 ORDERS AND IT WAS JUST ME. I WAS LIKE: “THIS IS CRAZY!”
And let’s talk a little bit about your brand Extra Flee. Do you have any plans for the future?
I just bought a huge embroidering machine, that has like 15 needles. I could do hats, bags, jackets, and everything. So when I started my brand, basically what I used to do was buy patches on eBay or Etsy or whatever, and I would put them on shirts, pocket shirts, or sew them on hats. But I would do it by hand. And I would go to the store or I just go out, and people were: “Where’d you get that shirt?” or “where’d you get that hat?” And I was like: “I just bought a patch and I made it.” So then, I started buying a bunch of patches and I would sew them on clothes and I would sew them on some hats. And then I got to a point where I was looking for a certain type of patch and I couldn’t find them, like, nobody made them. So, I started to look for a machine, but all of the machines were so expensive, like 5.000 dollars or 10.000 dollars. Like, “I don’t have that money right now.” But then I found this small machine, it’s like a regular sewing machine, but it has an attachment so that you could do embroidery. And it was like 300 dollars. So I was like: “Okay, 300 dollars…”
So I started to make little patches on that. I think I was doing that for about a year, and sowing clothes that I made myself. And then, one day, my friend on Twitter, she had like 10.000 followers, she put my link on a page, and I just got like a bunch of orders (laughs). I think I had like 300 orders, but I wasn’t ready, because on my website, if you want something, I make it, on the spot. I didn’t have a limit to how many, so people were just going on, and everybody was ordering, and ordering. So, I had like 300 orders and it was just me. I was like: “This is crazy! Once I finish all those orders, I have to rethink how I’m gonna do this.”
Because when I first started, it was very small. And I wasn’t thinking about blowing up and doing huge things, so, every once in awhile, I’ll do a drop, something like this, or something else with text, and I usually get a very positive response from a lot of people. I’m making sure I’m known and then when I’m ready to do a big drop, then I’ll be set up.
But how did you deliver all the orders? Did you do it all by yourself?
Yeah. I sent, like, a mess e-mail and I said: “Thank you for all the support but, you know, just give me some time.” So, I had some friends that come and help me, and they helped me to get it done. And then, from there, I expanded, and I got a bigger machine and I was able to do bigger things. One of the biggest machines. So… It’s a slow climb, but you know, eventually, you get there. So, it’s pretty dope. And for next year, I have a lot of plans. Next year is when I’m gonna do an official drop. And get things rolling… And have it all set up as an official business.