What do you get when you cross a CAS Math Major and hip-hop streetwear culture? Why, Colm Dillane, of course! NYU Local profiled Dillane last month, in which a barbecue and house-show were promised along with the launch of KidSuper’s third line and the official store opening. Well, Dillane delivered on some of those things Saturday and threw in a little extra.
The mastermind behind KidSuper is a guy who likes to mix and match. He went to a technical science high school but he would “doodle all day.” That is how Dillane approached the creation of his line and the opening of his store (“Live. Life. Super.” is the slogan for the brand). The storefront would not just be a storefront; it was where he would live. He wouldn’t just adopt the street wear trope of bold, cartoonish designs, but he would integrate patterns and imagery from Hinduism as a result of his parents recent trip to India (this line is sadly only available in stores as opposed to online.) He wouldn’t just sell clothes at his store, but he would provide an environment for young, creative, chill people to relax in South Williamsburg on repurposed movie theater seats and couches.
The store is located at 354 Broadway Avenue in Brooklyn, conveniently located to the Marcy Avenue J Stop — that is, when the J is actually running — and it doesn’t look like much from the outside: There are frosted, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and a white door – not very welcoming. The only thing signifying its location is a small, homemade flag in KidSuper’s notorious pink, which makes it pop off of the brickwork it’s against.
On the inside, though, is where the creativity sparkles. The place is decked out with a mural that Dillane and friends all contributed to, spanning the entire right wall of the store, as all of the clothing hangs from “exposed pipes” to create a very lost-and-found feeling. Dillane repurposed a bicycle wheel to create a spinning shirt rack and used an abandoned door as a table that stands in the center of the store. When asked how long it took to get the store ready for the opening, Dillane answered defeatedly, “Years. It was destroyed. We didn’t sleep the last two days. It looks awesome. It looks like a store, but it’s not flashy, so you need to know about it.”
The event was just as eclectic as the hardware of the store: Colm’s NYU friends were repurposed as store clerks wearing plain white shirts with KidSuper emblazoned in pink on the front. In the basement, there was a duo of Indian guys wearing sweater vests spinning to a crowd of people who were probably at the A$AP Rocky show three weeks ago. On the back patio, there were blunts being passed and Colt 45 being slugged, but it seemed you needed to have an “in” to get back there.
If the patrons weren’t wearing KidSuper already, they were wearing Supreme and carrying a skateboard or a camera. It was the standard streetwear crew who would be hanging out at Mishka two doors down if it had an event going on at the same time. When it was pointed out that there were more heads in his storefront than in his competitors, Dillane puffed up his chest and laughed, “I kinda wanna take that picture.” (Maybe another piece to add to the mural as a driving force to keep people coming out to KidSuper.) He has those aspirations though: “I just have to start selling a lot, I have to keep doing events, get that name out. Get something like ‘you have to be here and if you’re not, you suck.”
The crowd from differing worlds mulled around awkwardly, admired the designs hanging on the walls, snapped some photos via iPhones for Instagram and were on their way. As the night went on, more throngs of people moved around the tiny space, anxiously awaiting rumors of the Underachievers finishing up the launch with an in-house show. Dillane said of the sparse crowd at about 5 pm, “I hope more people come out within the next two hours, but I feel like no one’s gonna come early.”
Despite being awkward and a little forced, the opening showed that Dillane has a strong support system of friends and is a guy who stays true to his connections. Everyone who walked in was able to go up to him and say hello, congratulate him, and he welcomed them with a sincerity that is unparalleled. It’s clear that KidSuper may not be your typical business model, but that doesn’t mean that it is any less successful. By staying true to himself and not patronizing patrons, Dillane has a group of friends that’s quickly growing, and not just patrons he’s trying to sell shirts.
Photos by Julia Berke.