On the current season of Project Runway All Stars, the contestants’ second challenge was to create a garment that looked as if it survived the apocalypse. This blew my mind. This was a challenge I thought I’d see on something from the Syfy channel. Finally, something for nerds who love fashion. What the real challenge was, was for the contestants to make a high end contour garment, but distress it. They had to do this by burning, bleaching, splattering paint on, dyeing, cutting, or ripping outfits they had worked to make beautiful.
Now I’ve see this trend in street fashion for quite some time, but hadn’t realized it had become a new trend in the world of high fashion. More importantly, it’s a big hit in the horror community! There have been several horror-centric clothing lines to dabble in the production of distressed clothing, and I’ve loved what they have come up with. Although, no clothing company with a horror edge has embraced it quite like LOCAL BOOGEYMAN.
LOCAL BOOGEYMAN’s pieces are amazing works that look like something a character out of a Rob Zombie movie would be wearing. I love the retro aesthetic of the clothing with the already worn in feel to them. To all the to critics that complain that they wouldn’t pay extra for a garment with pre-made holes in them, you need to stop right there. Each piece is an individual work of art that should be respected as such. What you are paying for is a one of a kind piece of horror movie fandom and fashion.
Every great clothing line starts somewhere, and when I caught up with James Claeys, the man behind LOCAL BOOGEYMAN, he related, “LOCAL BOOGEYMAN started years ago. I always wore and loved vintage tees and fashion. I’d go see bands, shows, go shopping, etc., and every brand of tee was complete shit quality. So I just started to make my own shirts. I soon decided to start making my own brand of shirt. Made of vintage inspired material, pre-shrunk, and the best fits. something that I could sell to people with 100% confidence. I’m not the first brand to make horror tees, or the first brand to make vintage inspired tees, or the first brand to distress shirts, but I believe that I am the first brand to put all those things together. I still today only wear my specific brand of t-shirt. I’m glad that people appreciate and love what they get from me, it makes me happy that they can dig it.”
Now, I’ve been a huge fan of the style and brand of LOCAL BOOGEYMAN every since I found them on Instagram (you can follow them @greatwhitegrizzly). Just by briefly glancing at their many posts, you can tell that Claeys is influenced by classic Universal films, as well as Rob Zombie’s cinematic body of work. When asked about his inspiration, James responded, “Inspiration – anything vintage, anything horror, anything funhouse, anything sexploitation. I’ve loved vintage clothing forever and always looked for the perfect vintage tee. I’ve always loved horror, and monster movies, and who doesn’t like sex…so I basically just mixed those things together.”
Being part of the punk rock community, I’ve seen distressed clothing as a fashion staple for decades. More recently I’ve seen it not only pop up in high end boutiques, but also on major runway shows with established fashion designers. Television shows like Insecure feature characters wearing distressed clothing, Department stores Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, and BARNEYS carry several high-end designer brands that feature a distressed style. I needed to know what caused the rise in popularity of the distressed style. Here’s what Claeys had to say about it, “Distressed – I don’t know why its so popular or how it got that way. I just always did my shirts that way from the very beginning, before it got “popular”. Now it seems like all the horror brands, and other brands, are doing it. I never like a new feeling tee, so I’d fuck it up. The dirtier the better.”
Seeing as though this is has always been a style that James has worn, created, and believed in I wanted to know how he felt about high fashion taking cues from street fashion. “High fashion starts from the dirty street fashion. it goes hand and hand. Rich people wanna look cool, cool people wanna look rich. High fashion can literally make any type of fashion a high fashion. It only takes the right amount of investment, endorsements and celebrity attraction. thats why a dirty ’80s punk jacket from some street kid, is worth a million bucks in a Beverly Hills retail shop.”
I’ve really enjoyed talking to Claeys on the subject of distressed clothing. I love how honest and straight forward he is, and how much dedication he shows to his craft. Upon being asked if there was anything else he’d like to say, he added,”Those who do what they truly love and not to just imitate or copy, will stand the test of time. Money is money, but for me it’s giving the fans/customers a good quality t-shirt that will last forever! I want you to get a product that you truly feel comfortable in and not like you got cheated. I love horror, I love vintage, I love fashion! Thats what LOCAL BOOGEYMAN will give you…plus a few other things!
Besides vintage/distressed style, horror-centric t-shirts, LOCAL BOOGEYMAN also offers embroidered patches, enamel pins, baseball jersey style shirts, women’s crop tops, dresses, baseball caps, beanies, and much more. One of their newest items is an officially licensed t-shirt for the new Rob Zombie film that’s currently in production 3 FROM HELL, and it’s already sold out! Get over to LOCALBOOGEYMAN.COM tell em’ the DAILY GRINDHOUSE sent ya, and stay DRESSED TO KILL!
–Jeremy Lowe (@rottengerm77)