Milk Supply Co. an Indie fashion brand from within the hidden talent pool of Chicago was put on our radar. We stumbled upon Milk looking for something fresh outside of our immediate network box. And low and behold we got something creamy right out the cartons of the Chi.
Chicago Hustles: You are from Chicago going to school in Providence, Rhode Island currently. How is being away from the city you obviously love so much affected your design ideas, conceptual ideas and the culture behind Milk Supply?
MSC: Because I go to school in Providence and took a summer internship in New York between freshman and sophomore year, I didn’t come home to Chicago for longer than a month in the first two years of college. This year, I came home for the entirety of the summer, nearly four months. I came back with fresh eyes and fell deeper in love with Chicago. I guess absence made my heart grow fonder.
I was reminded, being back home, that nothing beats summertime Chi. From sunset drives on Lake Shore Drive to bike rides in the wee hours of the night to the sweltering humidity that felt like a citywide hug, Chicago was incredible. Coming home after missing Chicago for so long, I felt a desire to give back to the city that raised me. Inspired by my city, I actually did all the designs for Milk over the summer I was home. Looking at the designs now, they’re comforting because they remind me of home, and they’re even a bit nostalgic.
Chicago Hustles: The term Psychedelic Street wear is new to us so what does that actually mean? Why Psychedelic & What does it mean to you even more so?
MSC: I think that segments of urban culture are beginning to be influenced more and more by psychedelic experiences and drugs. If you look at the popularity of Chance the Rapper’s Acid Raps, or the Flatbush Zombies, or the Underachievers, to name a few, you see a burgeoning culture of urban artists inspired by psychedelic drug use. This bridge exists in hip-hop, and I’m trying to bring it into streetwear. Milk provides street fashion with a psychedelic tinge, urban art with a mind-altered influence.
The bridge between urban and psychedelic experiences isn’t a difficult one for me to make because it’s a lifestyle I adhered to growing up. My friends and I would smoke weed or occasionally take shrooms or drop acid and walk around the city. On some nights we would walk for hours, for 7 to 10 miles, taking in Chicago’s streets. We would see everything: Lake Michigan beaches, the skyline downtown, Navy Pier, neighborhood parks and local convenience stores. The city was our playground and we loved it. Seeing as I was sometimes tripping, I would see patterns, shapes, and colors all over the city. What I saw during many of these trips manifests itself in my art, hence the heavy pattern work scattered throughout my designs.
Chicago Hustles: How do you relay this through your brand’s visual campaign?
MSC: “Trippy” pattern work is visible in many of my designs, for example Marylin Monroe’s neck, the background of F*** the Suburbs II, and the background disk behind the woman in Old Gods New Crowns. In high school, I did a good deal of spray paint art, specifically stencil work. I admired Shepard Fairey and Banksy along with local urban artists like Votey and Tont Drip. The urban stencil influence is clear in my work, specifically in designs that I actually hand cut and stenciled. As my style developed, I began adding more of the psychedelic influences I described above, and was left with designs that were both urban and “trippy.” The visual campaign combines the influences of the city and psychedelic experiences to create something unique to my upbringing as a Chicago kid.
The Chicago kid is a specific breed. Maybe it’s the winter cold, but growing up, whole squads of us were experimenting with drugs and checking out our city. It created interesting results, like the Save Money Army rap crew and up-and-coming rock band Twin Peaks, not to mention a slew of other artists and musicians. I’m another in the line of creative Chicago kids taking what we’ve seen and experienced growing up and putting it to an endeavor, be it music, street art, or clothing.
Chicago Hustles: Your Artist Philosophy is one of high interest because it has a particular purpose.
“My hand must touch everything first”. It seems you have a high sense of demand from yourself unique to create un-cookie cutter designs in an often very saturated market of used digital artwork. When creating we as creatives are often given a sense of pride, ownership and one of a kind. Is this why your hands much touch everything first or is it a deeper notion behind it?
MSC: You pretty much summed it up. I don’t want to have a middle man between myself and my designs. Much of my work is stream of conscious creation. I come up with a concept like love or death or joy, then I just draw/cut/ink/etc. Working physically on a piece of paper or with a razor gives me the freedom to improvise and I get to feel the materials. The designs are personal, and using a computer feels like a limiting wall between myself and my work. I think the hand-made quality of the work makes it unique because it comes closer to being an extension of my own mind. A computer can’t express the feeling of a summertime fling on a page the way my hand, controlled by my mind, can.
The other half of it was “No Erasing” these read like the first rules of Fight Club as they command a serious yet creative tone. Is this for the sake of a more natural unique look or is this a way of finding perfection in imperfection. A lot of artist have their gripes about each which would you is it more so for you?
MSC: Definitely perfection in imperfection. Again, these designs are in a sense extensions of my brain. They are therefore an extension of the experiences I’ve had for the last 21 years of my life. I’m not perfect, and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and regrettable decisions. I don’t get to take an eraser or white out to eliminate missteps in my past. I live with my past, learn from it, and often find the beauty in everything that’s happened to me, the good and the bad, even if it takes time. I try to bring that philosophy into my art. If I make a mistake, I work with it and acknowledge it until it becomes something beautiful. In that way, the creation of my art becomes a further extension of my life and a sort of meditative, healing experience.
Chicago Hustles: In your collection it’s a lot of few designs but they are all very unique. A few focus on a disdain from the suburbs why and where did this come from? Making a shirt about the burbs specifically has to have a great story behind it right?
MSC: I think the beef began when my friends and I started going to Lollapalooza in our early teens. There would be these obnoxious, kind of bro-y kids lacking street smarts cavorting around what felt like our festival. We were like chill, where are you guys from? Oh, Hinsdale? Ok…
Now I want to preface this by saying I know people from the Chicago suburbs are very kind people and this is all in good fun. Honestly those designs are me channeling a culture I grew up with. I think a lot of native Chicagoans dislike the Chicago suburbs. A shining example is when someone tells you they’re from Chicago, you ask where, and they answer Naperville. A Chicagoan answers, “Um, no, you’re from Naperville.”
In high school, my friends and I would commonly say something along the lines of “f*** the suburbs.” I think we took issue with them because growing up in the city and growing up in the suburbs is a bit of a different world. We went to CPS schools with shitty facilities, biked or took public transportation, and knew our way around the city. Many suburban kids didn’t have a similar childhood, and it created a cultural divide. I recognize it’s a bit elitist, but it has some truth to it. I’m not the only one who thinks it either. The F*** the Suburbs shirts are my best selling so far. My friends say the shirts are a Godsend at Lollapalooza and at college when they meet suburbanites claiming to be from Chicago. I was even told of a professor at DePaul wearing one.
Chicago Hustles: As a Psychedelic Street wear brand that’s named after a nutritional (debatable lol) product that spoils over time what is the next up for Milk Supply?
MSC: I have a vision, but right now it’s important not to get too far ahead of myself. At the moment, I’m trying to promote the brand and get a buzz going, using social media and press to get the brand off the ground. I know I plan on moving into sweaters, hats, and women’s tanks, but beyond that, it depends on how much popularity the brand gains. Don’t get me wrong, I plan on working ceaselessly until the company is as popular as possible, but it may take time. All I know for sure is I’m going to keep producing. I’m incredibly creative, I never have enough hours in the day to produce everything I want to. I’m still really young, and have only seriously pursued art for the last two years. I feel like I get better every week, and I sincerely believe that Milk will get better too as every new collection and every new design will get better with me.
Chicago Hustles: We all pull inspiration from amazing places. Chicago is none short of a city filled with amazing inspiration. What Inspires you to Milk this life for all its worth from a creative standpoint? Where do you see yourself as a being doing in Chicago once you return?
MSC: Art and creativity make me feel connected to people. Creativity grants you the opportunity to share your perception of the world with the world, and for others to share their perception with you. If I see something in a painting that is similar to my style, or if I create something that looks like something someone else did, I get a rush. It reminds me that people can think similarly, and even someone painting 300 years ago had similar thoughts running through their heads. I love to feel like I’m part of a creative undercurrent, the feeling that I’m a part of a larger movement leaving a positive, beautiful mark on the world.
I think the world is absolutely beautiful and filled with love, and I want to be able to share my love for it with others. Art gives me a conduit to do that, I get to share my perception with everybody. The opportunity to share creativity inspires me to get better at art. The better I get at creating, the better I’ll be able to translate my perception of the world, and the better I’ll be able to connect with people.
When I get back to Chicago, firstly, I’m going to hug my mother and sister. Second, I’m going to Susie’s on Montrose and Elston and getting some cheese fries. On a grander level, I want to come back home having begun to do my city proud. I have the utmost respect and admiration for artists like Kanye West and Chance the Rapper who have tremendous creative outputs but never forget where they came from. They bring Chicago culture to the world. Chicago seems to have that effect on creatives. Chicagoans have pride, no matter where they go. It’s the Chicago hustle. I want to come home having given something back to my city and having begun to share Chicago culture with the world. I’m nowhere near Chance or Yeezy status, but with time, maybe I’ll begin to make an impact too.
Chicago Hustles: Your friend Miles was a large part of your life and your brands drive. Was he initially a partner of the brand or is this solely used from his passing to inspire others?
MSC: Miles had no direct partnership in the brand. His passing was a catalyst to drive my life into full gear. I drew a lot of similarities between myself and him. We were both good students in the same advisory period in high school (meaning we saw each other every day). We lived two blocks from each other. We were both runners. We were both in the same friend group. We had the same crushes on the same girls. We had incredibly similar musical tastes. We even got into the same colleges. And yet, all of a sudden he was gone. He fought incredibly hard, for five years, against brain tumors that just kept coming back. He had the tremendous willpower to fight that long and remain positive. He was such an inspiration.
I imagined, with someone so similar, if he had had the chance to keep living, what would he do? He would do something with his time, he would give anything just to have time. And here I was, with all the time in the world. I needed to do something beautiful with it. I felt like I needed to appreciate it, if not for my sake then for the sake of Miles, who had no time. This company was the best way I could think of productively spending my time. Although Miles wasn’t technically a partner, he deserves a ton of credit for motivating me to follow my dreams. In an attempt to pay him back, 10% of profits from the company go to his charity, Jokes4Miles. It’s still nothing compared to what he did for me, but it’s the best I can do at the moment.
Chicago Hustles: When it comes to pushing things to new heights pain, doubt, fear and a few other well-known negatives can be the push needed to bring us into a new light. How will MILK SUPPLY brand through creativity, passion and hustle inspire those who love Chicago & are suffering from any form of Cancer?
MSC: I think Milk inspires you to love your city and to do something with the precious time you have. I wouldn’t say it is geared towards fighting through cancer per se, but more that it’s about working tirelessly for what you love. I love art, I love Chicago. I love my friends and family. I owe an immense amount to those aspects of my life. The beautiful people and places around me inspire me to keep working and striving to improve so that I can give something back to them. We have precious few moments to live, Miles made that clear to me. Considering how little time there is, why not make the most of it? I don’t want a desk job, or an investment banking job, I want to do what I love, which is to create and share art with people.
I recently showed Milk to Miles’ dad. He told me he was truly touched, and seeing something positive coming from Miles’ passing helped him to ease the pain he felt a little bit. That warmed my heart. I pulled all-nighters, stayed in on Friday and Saturday nights, and drove myself mad at times working on Milk, but it was completely worth it. Doing what I love, and seeing how it resonates with people, is the greatest feeling in the world. The beauty of the matter is that anyone can experience that too.
Get your daily amount of Milk Supply Company here:
Online store: www.milksupplyco.com
Shout outs to Anna Sobor for being the greatest mother, Nikko Simon for always experiencing the city with me, and the Golden Nugget for having the best Mexican Skillet money can buy at 4 am.