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Shirt Heads: CVLT Nation

CVLT Nation on uniting sects, hand-drawn Suicical Tendencies shirts and more.
March 7, 2012, 1:30pm

Cheap Monday jeans, Air Jordan shoes, vintage belt; ZARA jeans, vintage bracelet

CVLT Nation say they're trying to bring people who are usually on the fringes of society and in their own little sects together to appreciate what each other are creating. CVLT nation, who are actually celebrating their one-year anniversary this week, is two things—a clothing brand and a webzine, set up by former Rockers NYC main man, Sean Reveron and partner Meghan MacRae. Sean and Meghan run the clothing side of CVLT Nation, mostly by having a selection of artists they're into design tees for them, and CVLT Nation the webzine is the pair and a worldwide network of contributors writing about underground punk and metal, and a bit of fashion.

**VICE: So, first off, *tell us something about your backgrounds.***
*CVLT Nation:* We had been doing brands with other people in the past, in fashion and in streetwear, but we never felt at home. It wasn't until we went to an Amebix show in LA and the Power of the Riff festival in 2010 that we realised that this was where we felt comfortable, so we were inspired to create clothes that were designed by people in the community and spoke to people in the community.

So it was more a calling than a choice?
Metalheads and punk rockers are just genuinely nice, supportive people! So yeah, we kind of looked at each other and were like, "This is what we are into, why can't this be our job?"

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So Sean, you had been doing Rockers NYC prior to CVLT Nation, were some of your fanbase a bit like WTF, or anything?
I actually always tried to bring punk-rock and metal elements into Rockers.

True. Can you tell us something about the designers you've collaborated with on the new line.
For the current collection, CVLT Nation Three, we worked with Alexander Brown, Bryan Proteau, Halseycaust, and Elias Tormentor. They all have different styles, but the collection still came together. We come up with the briefs for all of the designs based on how their art inspires us and what we envision for the collection – it's kind of like curating an art show with a specific theme. A lot of the time we choose ideas that are not what the artist normally draws, so they enjoy pushing themselves to create different imagery, but sometimes they have already done the piece and we see it and we're just like, "That's what we want!" We also did a couple of shirts with photographers Samantha Marble and Alan Hunter, who are both pretty well-known metal photographers. Those shirts came out sick!

And how does the selection process work for people you collab with?
A lot of the time we use social media and the internet and album covers that they have done. We work with anyone whose art we like and that we think would make a good tee – we are open to their interpretation of our idea and almost every time they come up with something way better than we imagined. They can be completely established or completely unknown, it doesn't matter. There's perks to working with both types of artist – when you do a shirt with an established artist, you get the appreciation and support of their fanbase, but when you work with an unknown artist, you get the appreciation of the artist and you get to be a launching pad of sorts for their art.

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In a way, the internet has taken away the unknown, like you didn't know what other people around the world looked like or dressed like or what they listened to as easily as you do today, but it's also provided a space for weirdos to come together and share their unique perspectives with each other.

So is music your main inspiration? And what kind of stuff specifically?
Well, the music is kind of central to the community as a whole, whether you're talking about photography, art, film, or whatever. It's not CVLT Nation's main source of inspiration, but it is usually the main source of inspiration for the artists we work with. We like doom and black metal, but really we're inspired by the different eras of music history.

Another huge source of inspiration is just the sheer number of artists out there illustrating, painting, sculpting and photographing weird, disturbing, and darkly beautiful stuff. We try not to do clichés like upside down crosses or goat heads, but we do want to show the other aspects of dark imagery in our collections. If we do put any of those elements in our designs, we try to do something more challenging for the viewer.

Vintage jewelry and belts

Have you used any color on any of the shirts yet?
Nope, no colour and probably never will, either. Black and white is easy and beautiful. Maybe red, because it's the colour of blood.

That would be killer on a white shirt. You started out doing just tees and some tank tops, right?
Yeah, and hats and sweatshirts too. And long-sleeves, but those are for the heads. We make everything here in LA, so we try to keep everything uncomplicated and local. It's better for us and the environment.

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It's all made in LA?
Yep, we do it all in Gardena, actually, next to Compton. It brings a little hood into what we do.

Alright, nice. Say, Sean, you're an LA native, right?
Yep, I grew up on the beach, Venice local.

What was the scene like back then? What brands were you fiending for growing up in the 80s?
That's a whole other long interview… it was awesome! We didn't really fiend for any brands, we made our own clothes. I learned how to silk screen when I was 13 and I made a lot of silk screened stuff for myself, like shirts and jackets. I guess the most coveted item of clothing would be a hand-drawn Suicidal [Tendencies] shirt by Rick Clayton [an ex-bassist of the band]. You could only get one if you were down with Suicidal.

And lemme guess, you got one?
Yep.

Ha ha, still got it? I bet that broke a lot of necks back then!
No… Well, we all had them, but yeah, it was the shit! I actually just found a video of me stage-diving at a Subhumans show in 1984 at the Olympic Auditorium, wearing my favourite Crucifix jacket that I silk screened. The back of my jacket is the screenshot for the video!

That's insane. Does it feel like a lot has changed in the last say, 15, or so, years?
You know, as much as things change, they stay the same. In the 80s we were at odds with authority and the political climate, and if anything, politically it's gotten worse. And there are still kids in this community that don't want to be a part of that system and the status quo, and that's what we want to provide a platform for with CVLT Nation as well.

ZARA jeans, vintage bracelet

Like do you guys have a goal for, say, the next five-to-ten years?
Our goal for CVLT Nation is to really become a legit platform for music and the arts, as a webzine, maybe as a record label and as an event promoter. We want to do a big CVLT Nation festival one day, probably in either LA or Vancouver, and we want to start curating art shows in the real world. We have a lot of plans and they all involve supporting the bands and artists we cover. As far as the clothing goes, we want our collections to be something that promotes the artists we work with, and something that gives body to the webzine. And we want to have rad clothes to wear ourselves.

Man, that all sounds amazing, honestly.
Thanks! You'll be there for it all! One day we'll fly you in, ha ha.

Ha! I WISH!

Thanks to Primitive and Rock Solid.

PHOTOS: AZA SHADE
STYLING: SAM VOULTERS
STYLIST'S ASSISTANT: ALI CARMAN
MODELS: ROCKY, SAM DEL-GRECO
TEXT: DYLAN HUGHES