Insomniac Launches New Lifestyle and Clothing Brand With Online Shop
The next time you visit the merch booth at any Insomniac festival, you might notice a few new looks on the racks. For the past few months, we’ve been busy reimagining our entire line of products, treating them with a style that celebrates Insomniac’s storied legacy in dance music culture and its L.A. roots.
To help bring this new vision to life, Insomniac Founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella recently enlisted iconic designer and artist Rick Klotz as the Creative Director of Merchandise here at Insomniac HQ. Together, the two combed through an endless collection of sketches and ideas—they even busted out a treasure trove of OG flyers and posters from the DIY rave heyday of the ‘90s—to shape the aesthetic of this creative collaboration. Our fresh vogue now boasts a modern mishmash of throwback trends and future looks, combining elements of rave gear, festival threads and street style.
Rotella and Klotz are two visionaries cut from the same cloth. While Rotella was a young raver experiencing Los Angeles’ underground warehouse scene for the first time, Klotz was making his impact on the culture, and Rotella took notice. After working as a flyer designer for the most prominent underground promoters in L.A., Klotz launched his seminal brand, Freshjive, in 1989. It was quickly adopted as the de facto streetwear line in America and beyond—resonating especially deep with the underground rave scene—and it solidified Klotz as a pioneer in the space. In 2007, he launched Warriors of Radness, a saucy throwback surf line, which earned him a Best New Menswear Designer nomination from GQ in 2013. Last year, he joined on as designer for the surf- and punk-inspired clothing brand Noon Goons.
Positioning Klotz at the head of this initiative is one of many moves Rotella has made to actualize his full vision for Insomniac—a puzzle piece in a much larger picture that’s constantly evolving. Klotz and Rotella have been working tirelessly to launch our latest lifestyle and clothing division, which officially kicks off with this year’s Beyond Wonderland SoCal merch collection. And with the launch comes an all-new online destination for all your shopping needs: the Insomniac Shop, the central hub where we’ll debut all our latest looks and products and where we’ll host exclusive limited festival collections, as well as Insomniac goods all year round.
As we kick off our new looks, we chatted with Klotz and Rotella about the fresh artistic direction Insomniac is taking in revolutionizing the merch world and becoming the leaders of the style.
What can you tell us about the new fashion line you’re launching at Insomniac?
Klotz: It’s more like a movement of style related to the culture that Insomniac’s been cultivating since 1993.
We’ve seen a lot of artists and brands really step up their merch and apparel lines in recent years. Do you see a difference between the terms “merch” and “fashion”? Or is there some synergy between the two worlds of apparel?
Rotella: “Merch” is a term people have come to be familiar with, and I think it resonates in the pop and rock ‘n’ roll worlds, but I’ve always felt there’s been a signature style element missing from our culture in recent years. Back in the day, it wasn’t about “merch,” it was about putting together a complete look that you were comfortable in and rocked all the time, not just when you went out. It was a lifestyle.
Klotz: Personally, I’ve never been comfortable with the term “fashion” when discussing style emanating from an actual authentic culture. As far as artists stepping up their merch and product lines, well, everyone’s a designer now.
The Insomniac lifestyle is all about self-expression, a virtue we encourage among our Headliners. In what ways does the new Insomniac fashion line encourage self-expression?
Klotz: That’s one of the things I’m enthusiastic about with what we’re doing here through the various brands and festivals. There are so many subgenres of music and subcultural styles within the music scene, and so much crossover of personal styles at our events. It’s fun to get inspiration from it all and take in the unique self-expression of the Headliners I see at the events.
Rotella: What’s so beautiful about this movement is all the different styles and modes of expression that are represented. It’s constantly evolving and is fueled by this raw, organic synergy between the people, the music, and the experience. There are so many different directions we can take things. There’s inspiration everywhere.
What’s next after Beyond Wonderland SoCal? Where can fans find new gear for the rest of the festival season?
Klotz: The all-new Insomniac Shop website is now live, and it introduces the Beyond Wonderland collection online. The online destination is where we’re premiering all our festival collections, along with Insomniac brand product all year round.
Rotella: We’ll be introducing specialty items and online-only collections there as well. As far as what’s coming, we’re already working on new looks for EDC Las Vegas, and I’ve shown some sneak peeks of Middlelands gear on my Insta. We’ve got a core group of people here, with Rick as the lead, dedicated full-time to this. We’re constantly working on new looks.
What can you tell us about the new Insomniac collection?
Klotz: The new Insomniac brand is reflective of our long-standing heritage in dance music culture—which dates back to the early ‘90s, when Pasquale was involved in the underground and warehouse scene in Los Angeles, from which Insomniac launched in 1993. I also have a history in the style aspect of the culture dating back to 1989, when I started my first clothing company, Freshjive. There’s a long history of influence and inspiration behind both of our respective paths in this culture. Besides the era from 1989–1993, when there were solid lifestyle brands emanating from this scene, there really hasn’t been much of a movement since. What we’re doing is establishing Insomniac as a lifestyle brand inherently embedded in its own culture.
Rotella: I echo what Rick just said. We are so hyped to get this going.
Rick, you come from a history in rave culture—a rave OG, so to speak. Having seen rave fashion evolve throughout the decades, what do you think the future of rave image and style holds for the next generation? What is Insomniac’s role in this ongoing transformation and evolution?
Klotz: The future of style related to rave and party culture will always be in constant flux and mutation, just like the music from which it was born. Insomniac, with its long history and dedication to this culture, is on the cusp of being the leader of the style as well.
Rotella: Rick leading this department is a longtime goal turned reality—not just for me, but for the scene. I still don’t think he fully understands the impact he had on dance culture in the early years, and it’s great to have him back. When you’ve got people involved who know their history and where certain styles originated from, you’re able to create something very unique and special. We always want to keep people guessing as to where we could go next, but we never forget where we came from.
Check out a sneak preview of the Beyond Wonderland SoCal 2017 line below, and head over to the Insomniac Shop, where you can pick up our latest threads and gear.
Beyond Wonderland SoCal 2017 takes place Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, CA. Tickets are available now. For more information, visit the official website.Fashion Merch Pasquale Rotella Rick Klotz Insomniac Shop Beyond Wonderland Beyond SoCal 2017 Show more
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