A few years ago I was introduced to the All I Know Is Goon brand and crew by my brother at a pop up they were networking at and selling merchandise. Immediately, I found the name of the brand interesting, wanted to learn more information and see what they were about. When I met the young men behind the AIKIG I could feel their passion for what they what were creating and how inspired they were to give back to the culture and community in which they were raised in and loved so much. Over the years I would run into the AIKIG crew on the way to one of their photo shoots or at an event but we never really got to connect on much more than a greeting until one evening when I ran into John L. on my way home from work. We spoke for a while and during our conversation he shared some priceless stories and moments that lifted my spirit.
The passion, work ethic, and loyalty from John L. and the AIKIG team to their community has been steady and they are only in the beginning stages of what seems to be a brand that will be recognized internationally in the near future. Find out more about the name, the movement and future plans below.
The name of your company is very unique for a clothing brand, what inspired the name and what year was it established in?
Hahaha! Usually people are thrown off! The name came from an inside joke years ago; one day our friend was ranting about how most people are caught up in life, jobs, politics, etc. Meanwhile, all we did every day was get into mischief, skate in abandoned factories and eat junk food….. “ ALL I KNOW IS GOON, I DON’T KNOW SH*T ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE!” he yelled….. A few years later in 2012 we decided to turn our crew of artists/skaters into something and that phrase always stuck out to us. By 2013, ALLIKNOWISGOON was established and we had our first run of shitty T-shirts printed.
What inspired you to start a clothing brand?
Around 2010-2012, so many people were turning into hipsters. It felt like every store in the mall sold the exact same style. Even graphic tees in skateshops were getting whack. We hated all of it so we thought it would be cool to wear our own clothes and create whatever we wanted. Although we are labeled a “clothing brand”, we have much more to offer.
Besides clothing, can you share about some other ventures ALLIKNOWISGOON is involved in?
Besides clothing, this year we have started to dabble into accessories such as soft enamel pins, patches and pendants, and we are looking into collabing with a few companies to get limited AIKIG decks and wheels made at some point. We are also pretty in touch with in our local scene at events; we host and sponsor skateboard competitions annually, as well as throw art shows at Classic Skateshop. In the future we also plan on having our own store front.
Founders/Owners: Aaron Prescod (artist), JohnL (creator/director) & Suave (artist)
When did you start skating ? What attracted you to skating ?
I was about 10 years old when I got my first skateboard from Wal-mart hahaha. Since I was 4, I was always doing some type of stunts. Whether it be on a bike, pogo stick or just parkour, I was always jumping things, getting hurt and almost giving my parents a heart attack. I was into that whole scene already and had friends that skateboarded on my block. So one day, on my birthday, I got my first skateboard and I fell in love ever since.
Does AIKIG have a skate team currently ? If so, how can one connect with you guys if they wanted to be part of the team?
Hell yea! We have an official team of riders: John Lewinski (me) , Tyler Nelson, Brandon James, JohnBoy, Mike Carney, Mikey Ibarra, Connor Hullings, Thales Lulz, Devin Flynn, James Wolfe , Eric Escorcia and Flow Riders: Gordon Yates, Tre Lanier and Dylan Castillo. Team filmer is Chris Benino and Photographer, Kevin Groskranz. We also have some inactive riders who will always remain family and will still appear in some videos.
What is the name of the upcoming video, is there an expected release date, and where will it be available for people to check it out?
Our new video releasing Summer 2017 will be called “Right Quick”, which will be a 15-20 min promo vid for our upcoming full length “Since Womb” (date undecided) . We will release it on our website via YouTube.
“Meanwhile, In Jersey”
Who are some the riders you draw inspiration from past and present? Which one has had the biggest influence on you and why?
Some of my favorite skateboarders have always been Danny Way and Leo Romero. Danny Way has shown me that the impossible is possible; he has broken many skateboarding world records and even jumped the Great Wall of China. Even to this day he is over 40 years old, skateboarding and keeping physically fit. It reminds me that I’m not as old as I think I am hahahaha.
When coming up with idea for your clothing brand, what is your creative process?
Honestly, most of our ideas come from inside jokes, situations we have been through or ideas that have manifested after growing up as teenagers and looking up to other role models/brands that made it happen (such as Volcom Stone, Odd Future, DC, Bam Margera, etc). Some of our designs start off as random doodles (like our logo) that we put aside and later find an idea for. Every week we meet up a few nights a week and just have design/editing sessions. Sometimes we over think certain designs or ideas and we tend to alter and use them for later ventures or we even turn it into a completely new idea. We don’t like to force ideas though, we just like to keep it natural; that usually gives us the best results.
How do you go about integrating the ideas for your clothing brand into the skate team?
As skateboarders all our lives, we already have a niche in that area of what is whack and what is righteous. We like to put out work that reflects on who we are as skaters and artists so we strongly take into consideration on how the apparel would fit, feel and look while skating in them.
“>AIKIG PopUp Shop at Trenton PorkRoll Fest 2017
Are there any specific rules or structure you have for the brand to help with growth and evolvement of the team?
Just to keep everyone on the team positive, tight knit and focused on the bigger picture. This brand isn’t just about making money, it’s about bringing us closer together as a team and producing dope content. We don’t like to concern ourselves with “competition” amongst us, we just want to continue to do our own thing and create what we want. We just have to keep it natural and not turn into a brand that pushes something that the creators aren’t.
What are your plans for the future? Where do you see AIKIG in 5 years?
In the future we plan to be widely distributed in skateshops and streetwear boutiques around the world. We would most definitely have an actual store front for AIKIG in the near future and instead of only doing events in the tri-state, we want to be heavily involved with the skateboarding community across America. We came from nothing; no parents funding us, no investors or bigger brands paying/paving our way. Since 2013, we grew an awesome support and fanbase literally from our ideas and how we pushed and made them happen, as well as how we networked with local brands. I would say within the next 5 years, a lot of our dreams can very well come true.
You recently informed me of your plans to open a skate shop, where will the shop be located and what do you plan on doing to make it different than the others in the area?
Right off Bordentown Rd in South Amboy, next to South Amboy Pizza. It’s crazy because Central Jersey is a tricky area for skateboarding; Everything is spread out. We just want to bring our community together with a spot of our own and keep the core skateboarding vibe alive. It’s all about remembering where you come from and planting seeds with the youth through events and setting an example. There are skateshops up north and down south, so our only competition is the malls and they don’t care about community.
Do you ever have a fear that Walmart or Amazon will try to take over the Skate industry? How significant is community to you and how to do plan to keep the personalized service and consistency as you expand, produce more and gain economic growth ?
Not really. Walmart and Amazon aren’t really looked at as “cool” in skateboarding hahaha. Although I’ve heard stories about other brands unknowingly ending up in Walmart and Amazon, I don’t really care about them.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s all about planting seeds and remembering where you came from. Although we want to expand as much as possible, we always want to keep our integrity and remain true to ourselves and our skateboarding community. We don’t want to end up as a huge commercialized brand with no personality. True bonds are worth more than money.
Do you have any advice on marketing and creating brand awareness for individuals looking to start their own company?
Just do your own thing and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Know that you have to work your ass off and expect things to go wrong sometimes. Pave your own way for people to follow.