I have what seems like a million sketchbooks and not a single one is more than half completed. Similar to how when I would draw endlessly as a kid, like four-ish, once my parents had finally got me to draw on paper instead of on the coffee table, or worse the walls, I seemed to only draw on one side of the paper. The sketchbooks have gotten good at disappearing for a short amount of time, then turning up months later in a random location. It would be great if they weren’t so good at this.
Late in 2008, while I should’ve been following along with the oral reading of Siddhartha, a book that I actually enjoyed reading independently but found no value in it being read out loud, I pulled out my sketchbook (at this point I had just one sketchbook, and therefore my sanity as well) and began to draw. Just whatever came to mind, per usual. To say that I didn’t like high school would be an incredible understatement, but it did provide me with ample amount of time to draw. Drawing to me made sense, even if what I was drawing at the time didn’t really make sense. What is that? What are you drawing that for? People who tried desperately to understand didn’t understand that there wasn’t anything to understand, and that what I was doing was never for them to understand. It was simply me in my own little world, where other people, rules, and mostly Siddhartha didn’t really exist, or at least didn’t matter.
I drew sneakers a lot. Think at some point there was a contest in some magazine to design a shoe and the winner would get something or another, probably their shoe designed by whatever, but there was some fine print that basically said “once you send us your design, it belongs to us.” That rubbed me the wrong way so I never actually sent my design(s) in. Eventually I tried my hand at drawing clothes that I figured would go with the shoes. I’m not exactly a GQ cover boy or anything like that, so I never really drew anything more dressy than a cardigan (they were in then). While I had some interest in doing something like that, it was always seen as something that I could do later on, when I had all these other things taken care of first.
At some point within that block of time, I drew what would become the initial version of the X Logo.
Then I turned the page, on to the next thing, not really thinking about it too much more immediately after that. It would be another three years before it was revisited. When I made beats under a different name than the one I use now, I would put it on the cover of the tapes I’d put out, not really having a particular reason for doing so, but it felt like it was something I needed to do. That logo felt like something, like it was as much a part of me as the rest of the cover or the music that cover represented or really anything that I create. Almost on a Prince type level, it’s about as synonymous now with who I am as my own name, or my music name and the face I made for that are.
Some day in October of 2011 was Day 1 of the brand with no name. Leading up to that day, the idea was somehow planted into my head and I ran with it. I wanted something to do with and it felt like the right thing to do, I had all these ideas for things and were already panned out in my head and a marquee came on in my head that said “You can totally do this,” so I’m doing it now and haven’t looked back since. The logo was the easy part. Every brand has a logo, but not every brand has a great logo. A logo is something that should command attention for the right reasons. Something bold, something kind of out there, but not too out there. Something that can stand on its own, you just look at it and it clicks instantly. The first version of our logo had that, but the second one, our current one, perfected it. Coming up with a name wasn’t as easy, and after a considerable amount of time putting random words together in hopes of finding something that sounded cool, I’m glad I managed to stumble upon a name that stuck. Would’ve been livid had I thought of a name and two years later been like “You know what? I don’t know about that name, I’m not feeling it.” Have you ever heard of a clothing line just up and changing their name?
ANDROSS is the main antagonist from the Star Fox franchise. In 1997, Nintendo released Star Fox 64 and a short time later, I had beaten my first video game boss. Also, I’m technically from Long Beach, but as it turns out (it’s a mystery), Los Angeles is the more known city. “androsslosangeles,” while it does look nice typed like that, I’m into the whole brevity thing, so it was eventually squished down (literally squished it with my bare hands) to a-LA. You should call it that. Everyone does. I’ve never heard it referred to as the other one.
So yeah, that’s how it happened. If you were expecting some grand origin story, one such tale doesn't really exist. Not everything has to have a reason behind it, some things just look cool on a shirt. We’ve been growing for some time now. Some of you have watched us grow from the very beginning, and have grown along with us, and you along with new faces can watch us grow. Our imaginations are truly are only limit. That’s the cool thing about making stuff. Out in the world you kind of have to do what the world tells you to a degree, but when it’s pad to pen or pen to tablet or whatever, it’s only you and what you can conjure up. If you are dying to see what we do next, we feel the same way about ourselves. Ultimately there is a plan for all of this. I didn’t decide to start a brand for the sake of starting a brand. I did this because I had an idea, put it together, and wanted very badly to actualize it and equally didn’t want to wait anymore. For what? Even if it ultimately doesn’t work out exactly how I imagine it, this is something that can’t be denied. This is something that happened, that I, and now we, did. But this is only the beginning of trying and doing. In the long run, a-LA will become a creative hub of sorts more so than just a clothing brand or a music “thing” (let me clarify for the people that flood our music email, we’re not a label, nor can we get you signed to a label). For the vast amount of people that I know that do incredible, creative things, whatever it might be, if I can help them get closer to doing that or help them to do it better, regardless of what their situation might be otherwise, I can feel immensely good about that. I believe people should be able to do what they most want to do and be happy with their life, and I personally can’t settle for less than that.
Also, we might fit the technical description of a streetwear brand, but please don't refer to us as that. Ever. We're just a brand.
I’m Malcolm. I came up with this crazy shit and do the bulk of the design work and the music stuff.
The X Logo is a registered trademark of a-LA