The Amazing Falcon Bowse T-Shirt Transformation Program
Photo of Falcon Bowse.
For this week's Mahal, I headed over to Falcon Bowse's pop-up shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to chat with with Falcon Bowse himself. Also known as Fuckin' Boss, Falcon has spent many years traveling between New York and San Francisco creating homies' tatts and doing interior design. His most recent project, the Amazing Falcon Bowse T-shirt Transformation Program, creates five-panel hats out of t-shirts. In between making some rad skater's new hats, he turned my favorite shirt into a hat and spoke to me about his new store.
VICE: You've lived in Florida for most of your life. How did you end up in New York City?
Falcon Bowse: I've been coming to New York City for the summer for most of my life. This year I was up here with the gx1000 crew filming, skating, and getting my kickstarter project ready. The day I was leaving New York, I bumped into Joel Mienholz while randomly walking around Manhattan. I knew Joel from Florida, but hadn't seem him for years. I had a couple of the hats I made out of shirts in my backpack and showed him a Hopps, and he got so siked. His brain started going a million miles per hour, and he was like, “We have to do a gallery show here in New York.” I told him, “I leave tomorrow night, but that would be amazing, and I'd love to, but that would be pretty hard to figure out that quick.”
So I get a text from him the next morning with an address, and it says “Show up.” Just so happens to be about 500 feet from my friends apartment I've been staying at in Greenpoint. I walk up, and there’s Joel and a sexy lil lady. I introduce myself, and she says, “So good to meet you. I'm Rachel, and here's your keys!” She just signed the lease on a gallery space and had nothing planned for the month of August and just handed it right over to me to make into a Falcon Bowse kickstarter pop-up shop. Insane.
What led you into the hat business?
I always wanted to have my own company. Growing up skating, I remember melting down my mom’s candles and crayons and selling them to other kids as wax. When I wanted to start Falcon Bowse, one of the first things I wanted to do was five-panels, but when I looked into it the smallest minimum orders were like 200, 500, or 1,000, and they were super expensive unless you went overseas to get them unsustainably made. So I started with shirts, dying them with fruits and veggies, making my own labels, cutting up pants, and making belts. It was pretty easy actually, but they looked pretty fucked up, so it did take a long time to figure out how to make them look proper (iron everything, every step). I don't remember the thought process exactly, but one day I just tried a t-shirt, because it already had a sick screen print on it, and I knew I could do any fabric. I messed with interfacing to get the thickness right, and then it just worked, and I was sparked.
How to make a five-panel hat from a t-shirt.
What does the five-panel hat mean to you?
Five-panels are a really simple beautiful design with endless combinations of fabric possibilities. I'm not obsessed with collecting them or even wearing them.
Has the community been receptive to the project?
I don't even live in NYC, but the support from old friends and [the ability to] meet people and become instant old friends has been insane. Everyone has seriously gone out of their way to participate in one way or another to make this project a success. After getting a completely empty storefront, I called a girl named Trish I had met a day earlier, who has a set building warehouse and community in Greenpoint called Domestic Construction. She let me get right in and use all the materials and machines for my store. Then I needed more boards with graphics that match shirt graphics and more shirts, so Josh at Theories of Atlantis opened up his warehouse without hesitation and helped me out. Which is still crazy to me cause I grew up immortalizing all the dudes in the static videos and stuff. The homies presence is the absolute shit. All the Florida homies are here at the shop everyday.
Falcon chilling with a homie who just got a new five-panel hat.
What's your goal for The Amazing Falcon Bowse T-shirt Transformation Program?
What I want to do with Falcon Bowse is keep putting out hand-made, quality pieces of clothing made in a sustainable, environmentally friendly manner. The whole idea is to just bring us all together as skateboarders and creative people in general. It’s to promote a collaborative effort between all skateboarders and brands as a reminder of our common passion that is skating.
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