Over twenty years ago, Rick Klotz started Freshjive as a T-shirt-heavy line that his friends, mostly surfers and skaters, could wear around the beaches and streets of L.A. In the ensuing decades, Klotz grew the line into a smart street wear alternative; in the process opening Reserve, housing Freshjive and a slew of rare vinyl and antique books. Klotz’s latest venture takes to the water; and Warriors of Radness isn’t a name you’ll easily forget. WOR (for short) draws from the fertile ground of 1980s surf culture, employing irreverence and neon liberally. Here, Klotz lets us in on the ideas behind the line, his favorite surf spot in the world, and why surfboards are now a common occurrence on the A train.
As someone who’s been in the menswear world for a while, what prompted you to launch Warriors of Radness when you did?
I launched the WOR line because I wanted to start something that reflected a particular casual California west coast lifestyle; somewhat related to beach and surf style. There was nothing out there beyond thrift store stuff that conveyed the aesthetic I was contemplating.
For anyone who grew up in Southern California in the ’80s and ’90s, like
myself, WOR definitely strikes a familiar tone of the surf culture at the
time. Do you view WOR as an homage to this style period and the lines that were popular then (T&C, Katin, Stussy, Quiksilver, Maui & Sons) or as something a bit more tongue-in-cheek?
It’s definitely influenced by surf and beach style from the past, when it more soulfully reflected the lifestyle both in spirit and aesthetics. Today the more commercial side of this style is crap. It’s all about money for those companies now.
WOR has been readily embraced in places and by people who’ve never picked up a board (surf or skate), why do you think this is?
Oh, that’s perfect. It’s really a casual aesthetic that I’m hoping gets embraced by people other than West Coasters, surfers, and slobs! I sometimes refer to it as “Hobo Chic,” since it has it’s roots in the surf/beach style first established years ago and what I consider now to be traditional. I like to refer to it as the “New West Coast Casual Traditionalism.”
On that note, surfing in general is exploding in New York City and other
non-traditional locales. What would you attribute this to?
It’s the funnest, most gratifying sport in the world. It’s also pretty chic to be into it at the moment (wink).
What is the biggest misconception about the line and the lifestyle that it portrays?
I didn’t realize there were any misconceptions of it so far. Maybe one is that it’s a surf industry line. This is the total opposite of what I planned on doing. I actually wanted to start this line and NOT sell to the surf industry, which is wack anyways.
You wear many hats, including running your store, Reserve. The LA retail scene blew up in streetwear during the last 5 years. What do you think the state of it is now and where is it headed?
LA retail is tough. Streetwear, as I knew it, is a dead issue. For me the soul and unique references of the WOR line make it feel like a rebirth of the street-style philosophy to making clothes.
How does WOR fit into the overall Freshjive umbrella? How do you see them
relating and interacting? Same customers?
No, Freshjive and WOR are two totally different projects. There’s no association to them at all beyond it being the same parent company (mine) and creative director (me).
On more the personal note, what is your local surf spot? Where is your favorite surf spot in the world?
My favorite surf spot is in Costa Rica I can’t divulge. Trespassers beware! I don’t like surfing locally at all.