For those who don't know KIDSUPER STUDIOS and its founder, Colm Dillane, the Brooklyn-based brand had it's humble beginnings when young Colm started spray painting tees for his friend's birthdays. Little by little, the word spread. Fast forward 10 years and now KIDSUPER STUDIOS finds itself with a pretty hefty creative portfolio. From holding pop-ups in a popcorn truck, to presenting their Paris Fashion Week collection through a Claymation video titled "Everything's Fake Until It's Real", and even creating a 1-hour long cartoon with USAIN BOLT (crazy right?) to promote their Puma Collaboration.
Through this collaborative collection, Colm merges his passion for art, soccer and fashion into one - immersing one into the colourful world of KidSuper, where anything is possible if you've got the guts to try.
OTH: Longtime fans of KIDSUPER know that your love for soccer is something that is always present at the core of the brand since Day 1. Having deferred a year after highschool to go play soccer in Brazil at what point did you realize you wanted to merge your passion for art, soccer and fashion together?
Colm: My approach to kidsuper has always been about doing what I love and doing what was authentic to me. I think that was huge in creating a brand in this generation that genuinely stands out. You have to be authentically yourself, you have to tell a uniquely different story. Luckily, there aren't too many streetwear brands that are soccer-focused.
Soccer for me has always been the consistent thing in my life as I went through the struggles of running my brand. I love the energy and idea of a sports team where everyone has one clear vision and you don't care about anyone's background. You're all there together and it's a true melting pot of ideas. Sure, there might be some people who don't get along but all that stuff leaves when we're focused on an idea because we know what the mission is at hand. I wanted to bring that to the KidSuper world. We try to keep the KIDSUPER spirit like it was a soccer team.
That's amazing. Touching on what you said about staying authentic, we've noticed that in terms of your branding, the KidSuper sticker can be found on your instagram as far back as 2012. Your branding has stayed authentically itself and has mostly remained unchanged over the years since the beginning when you used to spray paint tee shirts for your friends birthdays.
What's funny is I don't think people understand how long it takes for a brand to really take hold. People will say "oh i can't believe your success is now" but as you just said, back in 2012 I was doing the same logo and it's finally just now hitting. I think thats what KidSuper does best, it feels like it's a true world. You understand what KidSuper would do exactly in any setting.
Getting back to your time that you spent in brazil playing along side Gabriel Paulista and the Palmieras team, how much of that has really influenced who you are as a person? How much of it has influenced your passion for art and your workflow?
That was a crazy time because I truly felt like I was in a different universe. People don't really know this but if you're a professional soccer player you only play in the morning and you have sooo much time off. I would train in the morning and I would spend the rest of my time contemplating my entire existence. I didn't really speak Portuguese when I got there so I couldn't really talk to anyone. It really felt like an entirely different world because when I came back to New York, nothing really changed in New York and everything had changed for me since I was gone for this really unique entire year. Had I stayed in New York, nothing would have changed with me so I'm really thankful for my time in Brazil. It really moved me.
There was a moment during my time there where I didn't know if I deserved to be a professional soccer player. It was a weird thought process because in Brazil you go professional at 11 and they get moved away from their family, go to school but it's kind of bullsh*t because the soccer team assigns it. For example, the whole team could be 16 year olds but one would be in 7th grade, one would be in 3rd grade and some of these kids wouldn't have any education because they're from the favelas. For me, if I didn't make the team, I could go back to New York and get into NYU. That's these kid's dream you know? They'd ask me stuff like "Why are you even here? You could go back home to New York and play in New York". That really had me questioning myself as why I was in Brazil.
But while I was there I had a lot of time off so I kept designing and that's how KidSuper came about. It really was a beautiful year, I kinda wish I could do something like that now. Do something entirely different for a year. It's crazy how much it defines and changes you when you take a completely left year rather than do the same thing for a year.
It's almost like a full-reset right? Nobody knew you out there. You could do absolutely anything and no one would have questioned it.
Yeah exactly! What's beautiful about the Brazilian cultures, I think it's one of the best cultures in the world, is that when they talk and have a conversation. It's never avbout work. I was just mind-blown. You can't have a conversation in America more than two seconds without bringing up work.
The person I was living with, he was a soccer coach but his father was an orator. He would just come and just talk. He would talk and tell us these stories for like an hour and a half and just tell stories. Everyone would be dying in laughing and this guy- I don't even know if he was making it up, I could like understand like 60% of it but like a good 40% of it I couldn't even tell what was going on.
There's some beauty in Brazil's culture. There's a word in Portuguese but it's actually slang within the soccer community. It's called "Hezenia". If you watch Neymar on live, he'll always be like "Hezenia, hezenia!" , but if you go to like a Sao Paolo business man, he might not know what "Hezenia" means. But basically it means chit chat, and the way they use it in Brazil is if the three of us are talking and you see someone walking by you could be like "Hezenia!" and it's like an invitation to chat and talk shit. And if you're doing some like good "talking shit" then you could be like "QUE HEZENIA!". I love that word. I write it on a lot of the KidSuper clothes.
That's dope! I guess you could say that your time in Brazil definitely has some influence on KidSuper.
Could you speak a bit on how exactly your collaboration with Puma came about? We've seen with part one of the drop, you got to design the Puma King in partnership with Hector Bellerin and launch a cartoon to promote the collection. Could you speak a bit more on how you were able to finally get to design something you've always wanted to; a soccer cleat?
I was kinda like okay, this is my time to get a shoe. It wasn't a guarantee but I really wanted a shoe. So, when we were brainstorming, my whole thing was that like there's no one tapping into soccer. At least, not in New York City and in streetwear and especially not in America. Pigalle has this whole basketball thing in Paris so my whole thing was like, "We could be the Pigalle of soccer in New York.
Puma was just so down to DO things. It was an absolute no-brainer. I felt with Puma that they were going worldwide and global. So during the pitch meeting with Puma, I was just kind of like "I want to do a cleat! I want to do this! I want to do that!" and Puma was just kind of like "...Good idea!" I was just shooting in the dark and they were agreeing. I really liked the team I worked with directly at Puma. They were super awesome.
The cartoon happened because coronavirus happened. We were supposed do a soccer tournament to launch the collection but then obviously with corona we couldn't do it and I always wanted to do a cartoon so we did that instead.
What was crazy about that was that I was like: "What people could we get in the Puma world? We need a big Puma name."
And Puma was like : "What about Usain Bolt?"
The literal fastest man alive?!
Yeah! They were like: "He's actually a super awesome guy and he definitely would be down to do it."
So I ended up getting all these voice memos. It was just legendary.
That just shows things are possible if you're determined and asking for it enthusiastically. KidSuper is continually doing cool things as a brand and people are kind of expecting ks to do amazing things now but they're l;ike, taking away from how some of stuff we do is. like i still can't believe that we got Usain bolt! Or even Paris Fashion Week for KS was crazy and everyone else was kind of just like; "That's normal?"
I've never seen a brand submit a Claymation video for Paris Fashion Week! It was insane, I couldn't really believe it. A complete game-changer. Paris Fashion Week, Claymation. Usually when you think of Paris Fashion Week, you think of your standard, on-model runway show but you did it entirely out of Claymation.
It's the first time in PFW history that submitted a Claymation video. Which is kind of hard to do in 2021, to be the first at something. Yeah, that stopmotion fashion show, that gets the flowers. Mike Amiri reached out and told us "Yeah. You guys won PFW."
Before we head off, I just have one last question. What is your dream starting 11 line-up, and where would you place yourself on the field?
I just watched the Pelle documentary last night on Netflix. Ouf, that's just. An emotional rollercoaster. He's just like, Brazil, in a human being. He's like the entire heartbeat of Brazil so he's definitely part of the lineup.
Okay, I don't really like defenders, so I might just run a whole team of just #10s and #11s. I'll put Roberto Carlos on the left, Maradonna is one of the players that would be incredible in all generations. Ronaldinho is almost all positions in my head but we'll give him just one. Ronaldo el Phenomeno is number 9. Probably the best number 9 ever.
Oh! You know who else is also incredible? Rivaldo. We're putting Rivaldo in the center. I mean, this is a 90% Brazilian team at this point. Okay, let's put Zidane behind Rivaldo. I like Danny Alvez so let's put him in there too.
Don't forget you have to leave room for yourself as well eh?
I'm like somewhere next to Ronaldinho, just hangin' out.
You know who I'm going to put Center-Back? I'm going to put Christiano Ronaldo center-back. What people don't understand is that he's a fuckin' hero of a human being. Whenever he's on the bench he's just nmotivating everyone AND he's a physical specimen and center back is really just not that hard so he'd actually be really good at it if he focused.
Sergio Ramos is another really good CB even though everyone legitimately hates him, but you only hate him because you're not on his team. I think that's pretty much it.
Yeah I think you got pretty much eve-
CHRISTIANO RONALDO AT CENTER-BACK IS THE MOST LEGENDARY COACH MOVE OF ALL TIME.
I'm lOSING it cause all my managers are here just like laughing and nodding their heads frenetically in agreement hahaha.
In the next two years, are we going to see a KidSuper soccer team?
We have a small KidSuper soccer team, the goal is make that a real MLS team.
Here at OTH, we have our own team called the Ringleaders maybe eventually we could have a little, friendly sparring match Ringleaders vs KidSuper?