Interview: 1SOUL

1SOUL Designs is the grassroots NYC based t-shirt line promoting cultural and political awareness through fashion, culture, spirit & thought. Not only is this brand fly tees with thought-provoking statements but it?s dynamic expressive zip-ups, custom blazers with unique construction and embellishments and even accessories. 1SOUL is the brainchild of Brooklyn native and graphic artist Michael Cordero, who is also the fist-raising silhouette brand logo. The brand name [1SOUL] reflects his belief that each of us are affected by one another and that U-N-I-T-Y can ultimately save humanity. Taking most of his influence from current affairs and world injustice 1SOUL proves to be what urban fashion is ultimately missing ?The Message?. While challenging his consumer to step outside of the box everyone advises you to only think outside of. To ask questions, seek answers and react!

Who/ what is your inspiration for your designs?
Michael Cordero: The people, past and present, all of the struggles that have been waged whether large or small, stories about the oppressed fighting back the oppressors, music, and the youth. It?s all about the youth, that?s my real aim. I know that I can’t improve conditions now, but the youth are our future, and our hope.

Who is the 1soul customer?
Michael Cordero: We have something for everyone, we might not make it yet, but its coming, that?s the point, it?s for the people. I?ve got to figure out how to talk to everyone, don?t like boundaries. I?d like to see a lot more of the youth rocking our designs, because we make the type of designs that when you wear it , you better be able to explain it, nobody wants to be caught not knowing. So if they can see where I’m coming from, then its working, it?s more about what I leave when it?s said and done.

What sets 1SOUL apart?
Michael Cordero: I think this is kind of the age of independent clothing lines, but there are only a few who are conscious in what they are doing and what they are putting out there, 1SOUL is one of them. I’m not knocking other indy lines because there are a few that I really like and love to wear, but I think we have a huge responsibility. 1SOUL?s style is very free spirited and inspiring, our visuals raise questions and start conversations. We don?t print on any sweatshop shirts, we print on mostly American Apparel which is a very conscious manufacturing company and is sweatshop free.

What is the ultimate goal of 1SOUL?
Michael Cordero: To uplift and inspire people, to live a better life and to want a better life. Celebrate life, fight for it. In order to provoke change, we have to come to terms with loving each other and having this connection where one person’s struggle is everyone?s struggle. I sound like a hippie but that?s the reality.

How important is music to 1SOUL?s existence?
Michael Cordero: It?s inspiring; we are affiliated with a lot of different independent artists who are conscious in their craft. We support them by trying to sponsor shows, and help promote their music. As far as I?m concerned they are my brothers and sisters in arms. We are all artist?s in some light, and that?s our platform to reach the people thru our art, whether it be music, poetry, fashion, painting, whatever. We have a responsibility to use this platform to inspire and help others. That is why I have such a problem with hip hop now, because there are so many cats out there abusing this platform to promote stupidity. Like you have the gift of being able to reach so many people, especially youth , why do you want to tell them about how rich you are , what car you?re driving, what your sex-life is like, how much weight you used to push, like c’mon… There are too many more environmental issues, political issues, poverty issues that are affecting all of us, why you want to ignore it to make money that sooner or later won’t be able to be spent, and the world isn?t going to live long if we keep going the way we are going.

Who are some of your favorite artists (past, and/or present)? Why?
Michael Cordero: I’ve got a couple cds in rotations right now, cats like K’naan, GAME REBELLION, Curtis Mayfield, AL Green, The Last Poets, Gil Scott Heron, Welfare poets, SOUL DEAN, Richie Rivera, Blowout, Secluded Journalists, YerbaBuena, The Coup. Man this list can be very long; my mp3 game is really serious! I’m greatly influenced with music from the 70’s just because my pops used to play all the records when I was younger, and there are so many parallels between that time and now. These other new indy cats are a big influence because when you?re independent, your talent is really raw and hungry, which I can relate to. Plus these cats are about substance, they are giving something to me, that?s the way everyone should feel when they hear music; it really should move your soul.

What can we expect from 1SOUL in the near future?
Michael Cordero: You can expect much more versatility in our designs, we?ll start having guest designers, much more community activism, youth activism, and I mean to be honest with you, expect everything! We got a mixtape coming out soon, with a lot of my favorite artists, Game Rebellion, Soul Dean, Phase One, Blowout, Richie Rivera, Rapperos Sentimentos ( these cats from Cuba) they tight, so be sure to take a listen to that . It?s going to be mixed by the one and only DJ Scientific.

Prince or Michael?

Cd’s or vinyl?

Ghostface or Raekwon?
Tony Starks

Favorite pair of kicks?
Dunks go with everything

Favorite element of Hip Hop?
The b-boy, I?m in training now, soon I?ll break out my card board on the block

Where can the unaware get 1SOUL? —— By: Shyeir Wilson


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