The Renaissance Men of Gun Hill
How did Public Housing Skate Team come together?
Ron Well basically, you know how the hood has community centers and basketball teams? We noticed there were other people skating around like Vlad, so we were like, imagine the hood had a skate team. We started thinking about how that would look: the lifestyle, how would they hangout, how would they dress.
That’s dope. And how’d the clothing come about?
Vladdy We didn’t think it would get into fashion, we were just focused on the skating. One day we put on some t-shirts we made and it grew to another level.
Yeah, I saw that you guys had some stock at this shop in Japan?
R Yeah Nubian, that was down the road though. Shout out to Prove Tokyo. That was the first skate shop to believe in us. We basically had no followers and he hit us up like, “Yo, I need it, I need it.” So shout out to him, cause they fucked with us before any skate shops out here or in the country did.
Do you guys do all the designs yourself or do you outsource it?
R Right now we do everything in-house. All the graphics and the designs are our own. You can only get our clothing in the US from us or a reseller (laughs). I don’t knock nobody’s hustle you know, it's all love. And we don’t just print shirts, we do a lot of high-quality embroidery too.
So I don’t get out to the Bronx a lot, are there skateparks or you guys just skating in the street kind of vibe?
V There are really two skate parks in the Bronx, Allerton Skate Park and 157, that's basically it. But usually, we’re just out finding street spots.
R Yeah yo, that's real life. Speaking to that, all our designs are based on our environment. I look outside for inspiration, cause it's like a mood board. A lot of beauty and grittiness.
Yeah, I feel like compared to a lot of places in New York, the Bronx is untouched.
R Exactly, there’s a lot of culture up here still like graffiti, breakdancing, food, a lot of history in the Bronx.
On the food tip, what’re some of your favorite spots?
R You know, the local deli and we got a Golden Krust around the corner.
I saw that. We definitely need to hit Golden Krust after this.
V I changed my diet though, I’m vegan now.
Oh okay, for how long?
V Been about three months now. For health and political reasons.
R Yeah, shout out to the health food store across the street. You know, for when you wanna get on your carrot and ginger juice on. We got that too.
V Some people say it’s more expensive, but I think you just gotta know what to make and how to. Cause I feel way better now.
R Yeah it’s good to take care of your mind, body, and soul you feel me. Especially out here, there’s a lot of stupid shit out here, so you gotta keep you mental good. Kinda like in Belly Nas was like, “Rise above the bullshit,” that’s the truest thing— turn a negative to a positive. That's why we do what we do, we see all this shit out here, so we’re like alright let’s do some designs based off of it so that people can hopefully see around the world.
I feel like that’s why people fuck with you so much because you guys are so genuine. It’s not like you guys are just like living in a nice ass house and appropriating the culture of the hood.
R Oh nah, I live right there on the 9th floor. This where we live yo, at least you guys know it’s genuine. Like after this, you know I’m going back upstairs. It's not like I'm from SoHo and I’m out here like “Yooo” repping Public Housing.
Seriously, I feel like what you guys have going on out here is so real, and it goes to show that you don’t have to dilute something true to bring it to people on this scale, appealing to that whole “downtown” vibe.
R Unfortunately, gentrification is gonna hit up here too. And its fucked up because some people can’t afford it.
So with the skate team, what’s like a vision or a goal that you guys have?
V First thing I think of is this water tower up there. I feel like that could be a skate bowl, a spot that we can go to and keep the culture out here going. As a whole we just want the team to grow.
R Honestly, for the skaters, I just want these guys to have money in their pocket. I want them to be able to wake up and the only thing they have to worry about is skating and being an image of themselves. Because that's what they love to do, so one day I hope they’re able to get paid for their craft. I don’t know if a sponsor would come, like Red Bull or Nike, or they start their own thing. I just want them to be able to get paid for what they do and eventually have the influence to donate to the community and help the art programs out here.
V Yeah, free decks for the kids. More opportunity, because there’s gonna be another kid like me that likes to skate, cause it's not only basketball.
R Even if skating is just a platform to showcase themselves. So if their good enough, all eyes are on them and they can take it to where they want to go. If you really about it, show what you can do. So hopefully we can established that platform for them, for our riders, so they can do what they love. We’re working on that on our end. Giving back to the community especially the arts.
You guys have any new videos coming out?
V Yeah we have a skate video coming called Targets, just trying to continue pushing the brand.
Tell us more about the neighborhood.
R So this is some extra shit, but it's interesting. There’s this lady that always puts food out for the stray cats, so there’s always all these cats out here during the whole year. Vlad actually made a film about them, he filmed the throughout all the seasons. Also, a lot of pitbulls out here playing and stuff. We got mad love for pits, that's like a hood mascot (laughs).
Haha, yeah I saw you guys had a photo with one for like a lookbook image.
R Yeah, you see he still had his ears right? We did that to show some positivity, that kinda went over people's heads but, we really care about dogs and shit. We fuck with DMX too, we know he about the dogs and all of that. Hip-hop also is a part of us, like Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang, groups from the projects trying to do sometimes beyond it.
V Yeah that’s what we’re into.
R Yeah this is what we do. Most of the time we’re designing and looking for inspiration.
V I'm working on a horror film too.
That's dope, before we leave you gotta take us to the Golden Krust, get some oxtail.
R Speaking of, the oxtail price just went up too! I don’t know what it's about, but one day I just went in there and it was crazy.