The Well Fed Gang is a collective of artists, graffers, musicians, skaters and other forms of vagrant based out of New York City. Jon D, the brand’s founder, started out making t-shirt designs for bands in the NY scene and his black-as-hell designs incorporate many aspects of the gritty underbelly of NYC, with subtle homages to tattooing, hardcore punk and skateboarding dropped into each design. A couple of years ago, Jon started producing his own clothing with the same bold, classic prints and cynical ‘har-har’ slogans that grabbed the attention of every band in the scene, and the demand soon expanded across the world (seriously, they’re finding fakes in Shanghai already). Before you knew it, releases were selling out in minutes. Jon still designs for hardcore bands on a regular basis, though his customer base has expanded significantly, and with the income he has made from Well Fed he is able to put his energy back into the scene that put him there. In fact, Criminal Instinct’s 2012 Demo has just been released on cassette in association with the brand (don’t look, it sold out).
It’s hard to say a lot about Well Fed, because there isn’t really a lot to say. The name is just ill. I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t like that name. The designs are always on point and they’re never overdone. Most of the t-shirts are white-on-black hits with a few reverse, and all are monotone. No grey areas, just a print. If you’ve ever laughed at somebody falling over or deliberately done your job wrong just to leave shit for the dickhead coming after you, you’ll probably like this stuff.
The ‘synergy’ (shudder) of the hardcore, graff, skateboarding and streetwear scenes has been something that has really come into the forefront lately when you look at rappers like A$AP Rocky rocking Russ Karablin’s SSUR line or Title Fight repping Stray Rats on the regular, and as time has gone on we’ve seen more big name labels jump on with varying levels of success – we won’t even talk about Kidult. Even Erik Brunetti’s FUCT , one of the posterchildren of 90’s counter-culture, has seen an amazing revival in popularity as of late, so it’s no surprise that Jon’s offerings would be well received. This is before you even talk about Supreme’s legacy of collaborations ‘for the real heads’ – Malcolm McLaren, Bad Brains, Rammellzee and Lou Reed have all lent their names to the brand’s releases – so it quickly becomes clear how important rebellion and identity is to youth culture. On top of that, though, Well Fed is one of few truly independent labels out there that has managed to gain the same notoriety and status as so many of the big brands, and with none of the marketing budget. Real recognise real, that must count for something.
The latest release by Well Fed is Part 1 of their F/W 2012 Doom With A View collection. The release features t-shirts, a crewneck, a nylon coaches’ jacket and, a personal highlight, a set of three branded die presented in a leather pouch. Roll the dice boy! It’s fair to assume that there will be a Part 2 coming soon, and there are rumours of some work with the bands Hot Water Music and Diamond in the near future as well, so keep your ears to the ground.
Tomorrow morning at 11AM EST (4PM GMT), the Well Fed store will re-open to release Part 1 of the Doom With A View collection. Typical prices will be around $20 a t-shirt & $35 for the crewneck, and the quality is on point for the money – t-shirts, I believe, are printed on AAAs, and the hoodie I bought a year ago is still looking hard as ever. Oh, also, this stuff sells out very fast. If you don’t grab and go, you won’t get.