Brand name: Resist & Rebel
Featuring: Andrew Paiano (Woe, Is Me) and Tyler "Telle" Smith (The Word Alive)
HQ: Los Angeles, CA / Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Why did you decide to launch a clothing line?
ANDREW PAIANO: Ever since I was 14 or 15, I was always designing for other bands. It never started [as a way] to make money; I wanted to make clothes my friends and I could wear.
What are some of your inspirations in the design process?
I just like to see what's going on because I don't have any sort of background in fashion or design. It's just always been something I’ve done on the side. I just use every aspect of art and fashion that is going on today and just try to make it work with what I’m doing.
How do you balance Resist & Rebel with your touring and recording schedule?
It never really does conflict, to be honest. The fact is that we have deadlines in our calendars and know when we have a line to promote.
Why did you choose to work with Tyler “Telle” Smith?
It's actually a funny story. I only knew Telle about two months when the brand started. I told Telle I had a brand starting and asked if he would be interested. It was a shot in the dark--we weren't close at all. From there, we became best friends. It took us about six to seven months to create Resist, the image we wanted, the name and branding. It was definitely just random, to be honest.
If you could dress any person of your choice in Resist & Rebel who would it be and why?
Just to create controversy, it would probably have to be Barack Obama. I'm not even American, but just because he's the President. I would give him our anonymous shirt that has a rendition of the V For Vendetta mask.
What type of message do you hope fans take away from the clothing line?
We started it with the [goal] in mind of knowing we would want kids to resist against what they thought were the cool trendy clothes that the media were portraying. Nowadays, you've got celebrities wearing really high-end brands that not a lot of kids can afford. The whole message me and Telle wanted to create was that we're going to try to create the same kind of looks and styles that high-end fashion is bringing to the table, but do it for a way more affordable cost.
What do you think makes Resist & Rebel different from other clothing lines today?
We don't really try to follow trends. Telle and me just make things that we want to wear. I don't have any shirts in our catalog that I wouldn't want to wear.
Any memorable experiences with fans that wear your line?
When we released the first line, we didn’t know how well we did because of the way we have our store set up. We couldn’t find out for the first few weeks. Telle and me were both on tour and he sent me pictures of one of the kids at his show wearing stuff. I was just like, “Wow maybe it is actually doing well.” It was never something we wanted to do to create a buck or to get popular. It was something we both wanted to do because it's a passion of ours. It was just cool to see that reaction right away, knowing it was just the beginning for us.
Brand name: Diamond Cut Straight Edge
Featuring: Vincent Bennett (The Acacia Strain)
HQ: Albany, NY / Hadley, MA
Why did you decide to launch the clothing line?
I started it with my friend Tyler Scheinost in 2005. He used to do merch and tour manage my band. It’s one of those things where you just want to tour with your friends, so you give your friends jobs when you can. We were just bored and came up with Diamond Cut. We did it mostly because we’re straightedge and we're proud of being straightedge—as most straightedge kids are. We noticed there weren’t a lot of really good straightedge shirts. You don’t want to wear a shirt you don’t like, so we started to make shirts for ourselves. People started asking us where we got the shirts, and it just took off from there.
What’s the story behind the name Diamond Cut?
Diamonds are the hardest material on Earth and it's a metaphor for a true straightedge person. Unbreakable edge.
What are some of your inspirations in the design process?
There's a lot of history behind straightedge, and I like to include that. I take ideas from older band's lyrics or mural designs, and I twist them around and make them ours. I try to keep it new while reaching for inspiration from the past, too. I try and pay tribute to the people who did it before me.
What's your favorite item to design?
We just did a snapback hat not too long ago and it came out really good. It took almost a year to get it done. It’s a snapback hat with a camo brim and has gold stitching. It was really cool to be able to be that hands-on with the product and have it be that high quality.
How do you balance Diamond Cut with touring and recording?
It's all pretty much connected. It's not like I have to balance it because touring helps me. I literally get to go around the world and not only play music for people, but I can talk about whatever I want. Having a partner in Tyler is definitely helpful because I don’t have to worry about 100 percent of it; he takes on 50 percent of the weight. He takes the weight of it when I can’t and its really helpful.
What are some challenges you have with Diamond Cut?
We try and do new designs every month or every couple months to keep people interested. Coming up with designs month after month after month is kind of taxing sometimes. Sometimes Tyler and me just have to sit down and brainstorm an entire year's worth of designs so we don’t run out of stuff. Also, keeping a straightedge clothing company is hard because not everyone is straightedge forever. I can't just sell shirts to everybody. I can only sell shirts to a small minority of people and that's people who are straightedge. At the same time it's kind of cool, because I know that people are buying these shirts because they mean something to them and not just because they think it looks cool.
If you could dress any person of your choice in Diamond Cut who would it be and why?
CM Punk [the WWE wrestler]. If I could see him walk out during a match wearing Diamond Cut, I would probably lose my mind. I know he’s straightedge and he loves straightedge. So, I would either love to dress him or do a collaboration with him. I think that would be awesome, and that’s the one guy that I need on my side.
What type of message do you hope fans are taking away from Diamond Cut?
I want to promote the straightedge lifestyle. I know it's not for everybody. People have told me that they've discovered straightedge through me and through Diamond Cut. I think that’s amazing. Straightedge is not a lifestyle for everybody. The people who find straightedge and commit to straightedge, they’re not better than everybody, but they found a path that works for them. A lot of people like myself have straightedge to strengthen them and make them free from any kind of distractions alcohol or drugs might pose on them. That’s the main message: You don’t have to drink or do drugs to have a good time. A lot of people are still close-minded about the idea of straightedge and think were all nerds. I’d like to dismiss that.