Or maybe a crush...
I still get excited.
Hands sweat a bit, and my heart-rate picks up.
Like a noise going off, or rather it's more like a record scratch...screeeech
It's a thrill. When I come across a brand that's doing something new that pushes the bounds, something happens in my head.
I guess I'm still just the same young kid who grew up in Ohio.
My room was small, but I had a computer in it, which meant that my room was huge. My world was enormous. I had a gateway to everything I'd never seen before. That internet connection brought me closer to the culture that was nowhere near where I lived. It brought me to LA, NYC, and Denmark.
It showed me sub-cultures: street fashion, street photography, architecture, and music.
I would surf the web checking Cool Hunting, Tumblr, Hypebeast, and the like. I'd browse the blogs.
But mostly, I loved finding new brands.
I love branding, positioning, marketing, messaging, and design. The culture of the niche. The community of the early adopter.
I love the newly invented aesthetic.
Moments like when you first see Supreme or hear Kanye West.
This was all before Instagram.
Before our feeds were overloaded with beauty and the new.
It's funny, my interests are still the same today as they were back then as a teen. The same as back when I was surfing the web on a slow connection in my room, alone late at night dreaming of the future.
Fashion. I still remember finding Scott Schuman for the first time. I still remember some of the images, how he captured those that were effortless, those that broke rules, and also those that followed trends. How Luca Rubanacci and his family became the tailor for serious but also colorful men's suiting. How Schuman's former girlfriend Garance Doré, pulled together fashion icons to put together normal conversations about living a good life.
Magazines. I remember pulling an issue of Kinfolk off the shelf, shortly before visiting one of their stores in Portland. Pulling it down and immersing myself in a world of luxurious living, intentional products, and space design. Then "Oour" and dreaming of international travel or a future career in elegance.
Music. I remember downloading one of the first DJ applications trying to learn to mix straight through my P.C. linked through iTunes. And at 24, I picked up mixers and finally learned in my bedroom. And then Boiler Room, which showed you that you are a part of a scene.
Photography. How I felt seeing the work of Joe Curtin on Flickr. It's why I picked up a camera. I learned that great photography doesn't look pretty; It makes you feel something. It hits you in the gut.
Travel and luxury sites like Cool Hunting. Like Uncrate. Like when I first saw Poler x Nike adventures. Like Collective Quarterly. How I hope to go to Japan someday just to see Truck.
Non-Conformist brands. Like when I found Lapka, and how they made a breathalyzer that was made to be beautiful instead of just functional. And again, when I learned that when asked about who their target demographic was, the founder said: "16 year-olds who go clubbing, they probably need it most." When Supreme sold the brick. When CAH dug a hole. When Patagonia became an activist. When Mokha brought us coffee from Yemen for $16 a cup.
Because you can't do that.
You can't say that.
You can't wear that shirt with those pants. You can't still take all film photography. You can't sell that. You can't mix that type of music.
But then someone comes along and shows us that you can.
I love these brands because they say that you can.
The Whole Earth Catalog and the photo of the earth. The Red Bull Jump from Space. Elon's latest rocket landing.
When an individual, an artist puts together code and photography and copywriting and a message to bring something into the world that makes your head spin. Or makes you feel like someone gets you. Or flips what you thought you knew on its head.
And mostly when they make you feel like your full potential is still ahead of you.
And as a 16-year old from Ohio, that's what I needed to hear.
Because there is still so much I want to do.
And so, still today, I fall in love...
P.S. What Brands have motivated you in your lifetime? Let me know.