This is the shirt designed by KAWS, circa 2001, around the same time we did some content for the magazine. Black on black. Iconic Running Chum image with signature. The shirt label was designed by Shepard Fairey. At some point we started making custom labels for our shirts. We used the logo Shepard did for us.
Many people don't know this, but Beautiful Losers has a strong street culture pedigree going all the way back to 1995. Prior to Beautiful Losers opening in 2004, we published a magazine that focused on creative skateboard culture. Strength (1995-2003) leaned heavily into the music and art infused within skateboard and street culture. Strength was an innovator and pioneer, producing influential artist and music collaborations. One of the things we did regularly was publish limited edition magazine covers with artists. In addition to limited artist cover versions, we often published t-shirts and skateboard editions as well. The shirts were open runs but modest in size, and the skateboard editions were usually limited to 100. All of this output is now obviously ultra rare and definitely falls into the grail category. We are going to release some of this material starting with some really rare tshirts this week.
This was mid to late 90s and early 2000s, and the whole "collab" thing was not really a thing yet. Strength was an innovator in the skate/street/art nexus in that way.
Collaborations included KAWS, Shepard Fairey, Barry McGee, Ryan McGinness, Phil Frost, Dave Kinsey, Dalek, Ed Templeton, Russ Pope, Thomas Campbell, Jim Houser, Paulo Diaz, Trans Am, Peanut Butter Wolf, Dilated Peoples, A-Trak, Beat Junkies, Del The Funky Homosapien, Wu Tang Clan, Aceyalone, Madlib, Jahmal Williams, Eli Gesner (of Zoo York), and many others.
We also produced a record with all the best indie hop hop artists of the time. The album was called Subtext and featured cover art by Barry McGee and Phil Frost. The music included many of the artists above and also had voicemail interludes by professional skateboarders Rob Dyrdek, Robbie Gangemi, Julio De Le Cruz, Stevie Williams, Chico Brenes, Ricky Oyola, Cairo Foster, and others.
KAWS Strength, c. 2001 Silkscreen on t-shirt Various sizes (mens) Color Variant: Black