Hailing from Toronto, Topshelfmotherfucker is a relativity new brand just beginning to make their way into the streetwear industry. Comprised of local graffiti and urban inspired artists, the label focuses on premium tees pushed by fresh design and art elements. Although fairly small at the moment, the brand is quickly growing by expanding their reach into the American market through select collaborations, and distrubution. Look out for Topshelfmotherfucker in 2007.
Format: Please explain when and how Topshelfmotherfucker was created.
Topshelf: Case and I have been playing with the idea of doing t-shirts for a long time, and when we first started, we didn’t even think that we would sell any of them. It was more just making t-shirts for ourselves, because we wanted them. The first shirt we made was a bootleg “Derelicts of Dialect” tee with “Topshelf” instead of “3rd Bass.” I think I just got to the point in my life where I was like, “I need to do something with my life besides partying” and figured I might as well do something that I enjoyed. So, I have been throwing parties in Toronto as DMoney and working on Topshelf as my day to day for the past little bit. When the parties started doing well enough, we started renting a studio just as a workspace. We now have an alright little showroom plus a great environment to do our work out of. Maybe some people can work from home, but I am not one of them.
Topshelf as a team now consists of myself, Case, Sakro, Vladimir Kato and Glamour Shots doing her thing on our behalf in the U.S. We have also worked very closely with Dennis Show from glamnation.ca on a bunch of designs. We all come from different enough backgrounds, but I think we are united by our hatred of the world.
Format: Please explain the name, Topshelfmotherfucker.
Topshelf: We picked the name “Topshelf” because it had a nice ring to it, but shortly after taking it on, we added the motherfucker as punctuation. We could have gone with something like “Topshelf design company,” or something professional sounding but that just isn’t us I guess. It’s Topshelf, motherfucker. It’s just a better representation of us. We don’t have our noses up in the air.
Format: As a Toronto street-wear company, is it hard to gain industry recognition given Topshelfmotherfucker’s location?
Topshelf: I think our major stumbling blocks have come from not knowing what the fuck we were doing. None of us has any real background in this business, so we are just learning as we go. I would imagine that a New York or L.A. based company might have an edge because of easier access to resources, but I won’t go as far as to say that they would have it any easier than us. I think if you are doing good shit, anyone can be successful with a little luck and a lot of hard work. In other words, don’t fuck people over and don’t drag your ass and hopefully you’ll get over.
Format: Does Topshelfmotherfucker use its studio space for more than making products?
Topshelf: Our studio space is also the home base of DMoney, so we do all our flyer design, e-promo, etc. out of there, and we are also wrapping up our renovations, so we will have a nice little showroom/store as well as our workspace. We also smoke a lot of dope during our time there, so I can’t imagine our neighbors are too pleased with us, but hey, that’s life.
Format: Topshelfmotherfucker’s T-shirt lines are, at times, hip-hop-centric. Is that a reflection of the personalities that design for Topshelfmotherfucker?
Topshelf: I think that just comes from me and case being such beaters, wiggers, as kids. A lot of our inspiration comes from hip-hop, but more specifically our perspective of hip-hop. We did a run of three shirts called “Pale Face Devils” which was a product of listening to all the serious pro-black hip-hop that came out in the early 90′s. Here we are a couple of 14 year old white kids listening to the Lench Mob “Buck the Devil.” So we made a few shirts sort of embracing that devil term. I would say that sort of sums up our angle really, we embrace negativity. Almost everything we do is about drugs or violence or insecurity. I think that sort of sums me up as a person actually.
Format: Topshelfmotherfucker makes T-shirts for women too, but a lot of companies in the street-wear industry do not cater to women. How does Topshelfmotherfucker market itself to women?
Topshelf: I think we cater to women by not trying to cater to them. I really see no reason to do anything different as far as themes or designs go at this point. I look at it like, there are going to be people that are into our stuff and there are going to people who aren’t. Whether they have dicks or not is irrelevant to me. If you know what’s up, you know what’s up. End of story.
Format: What is Topshelfmotherfucker’s position and thoughts on the street-wear industry, an industry some say has exploded and now is in recession.
Topshelf: I don’t really feel qualified to comment on the state of the industry, but I feel like t-shirts and hoodies, and whatever, are always going to be around. You look at a brand like Fuct, who has been around for years and is still killing it. Erik is not doing anything he wasn’t doing back then, he’s just getting better and better, and getting bit like a motherfucker every step of the way. I think there is a backlash towards some of the loud Bape type stuff but all that means is that once that sort of stuff stops selling, brands will do something else. After all, it’s not the followers that push things forward. As far as brands go, I’m feeling Mishka, Fuct, Brknhome, Humongous, Rockers. Mostly the brands that are just doing honest shit.
Format: Topshelfmotherfucker’s catch phrase is “Thanks For Nothing.” What statement is Topshelfmotherfucker trying to project by using that phrase?
Topshelf: That was originally just a reference to drug use. It’s just a perfect way to sum up ones feeling towards their dealer. It is more the catch phrase for the current line we have been working on, which is a sort of revamping of the original line-up we came up with in 2005. Our official slogan at the moment is “no business in business.” If you saw us in our day to day lives you would understand.
Format: What are Topshelfmotherfucker’s current projects that people should look out for?
Topshelf: Our showroom will be open to the public this week, and our new site will be launching very shortly, so we are looking forward to that. A couple exclusive mixtapes by DJ Fase and Caps n Jones coming out really soon. We will be touring with Vlad Kato’s art show starting March 8th. Our spring line will be out in April including collabos with Fuct and Glamnation, as well as some cut and sew stuff that will be dropping in very limited quantities. Toronto is the worst place for textiles on earth, believe it. As well as a line of bootlegs called “UNORIGINAL BRANDISH,” that we will be selling in small runs out of our showroom. Everything in that collection will be 100% stolen artwork, so look for us getting sued in ’07. I will also be punching kids in the mouth this year, so look out for that as well.
More Info: http://www.myspace.com/topshelfmotherfucker