SHIRT KING PHADE
Shirt King is the result of a combination of one mans experience and exposure to four different climates of our wonderful city we call New York. Considered thefirst “Hip Hop designers!” quoted by Melle Mel they were able to fuse worlds together that necessarily do not co-exist or interact with each other. Imagine Mickey Mouse wearing Air Jordan’s and leaning on a Moet bottle crowned with a dukey rope chain around his neck dripping in gold saying your favorite songs key hook. A well thought out plan by a former graffiti artist “Phade” who turned entrepreneur by seeing a need to “expose the world to what we were painting on the trains to another level of understanding without defacing property”.
In the late 70’s, the High School of Art and Design is where solid friendships were formed between Rafael “Kasheme” Avery from Queens, Clyde “Nike” Harewood from Brooklyn, and Edwin “Phade” Sacasa raised in the Bronx. Shirt Kings was birthed amidst the backdrop of the gritty 70’s Hip Hop experience and was an escape from the degradation of the communities of our urban environment. Taught how to airbrush by another graffiti artist Georgie “Sound7” Valasquez, the medium was quickly embraced.
The early 80’s saw the emergence of Run-DMC and LL Cool J. Phade realized where the trend was going and promptly called Kasheme and Hal ‘L who brought him to Jam Master Jay’s doorstep. Jam Master Jay with a smile on his face purchased two shirts and suggested that we open a shop on Jamaica Avenue. Armed with the flavorful flash of Brooklyn street couture we wore Clarks, Izod shirts, Cazals, sharkskin pants and Kangols. In the X-boro we wore hoodies, bubble coats & Timberlands. Queens wore bubble coats with Kangols, Cazals and Tims on their feet for the rugged South Side Jamaica terrain. With the swagger of the uptown hustler (Harlem), Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags were cut-up and sewn onto leather. Phade knew what was hot in street fashion and combined the best of all worlds.
Shirt Kings is a life style that collectively documents an era of creative genius of Phade’s past, present, and future.