With 2022 just starting, this means a new year for fashion. New seasons, new trends, and new brands popping up and taking over. One brand to be on the look out this year is KANDY, a high-end skate-couture brand based out of Boston, Massachusetts.
With their array of bright colored t-shirts and skateboards, KANDY is a new taste of design in the skateboarding world.
The brand’s creator, AJ Winston, began the brand in 2018 by painting on a skateboard in an art class, and used to draw the brand’s logo on t-shirts. He then began to print the logo on shirts, but was unable to continue production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the next year in quarantine, Winston was able to work on KANDY designs, and produced the present logo. On November 13th, 2021, Winston officially launched KANDY with his “KANDY!
Original Tee” design, and since then has been releasing more shirt color ways, specifically described as “new flavors”. When breaking down the inspiration for KANDY, Winston discussed how he was inspired by Pharrell Williams’ brand known as Billionaire Boys Club, which Winston has been wearing since he was a small child.
Winston also stated that Pharrell “paved the way” for him, and he was also fortunate enough to meet Pharrell Williams at an Art Basel party in Miami, Florida. Winston was able to discuss KANDY with Pharrell Williams, which Pharrell gave advice to Winston on how to move KANDY forward in the fashion industry.
Today, many young creatives step into the fashion industry with an idea they hope to blossom into a household name brand, yet in reality, many of these young creatives fail to get their ideas off the ground. When asking Winston how he stays motivated, he discussed the idea of getting yourself out into the world.
The only way for a young mind to grow is to experience, specifically building relationships and learning from others. In fashion, it seems that this generation is all about self-expression, and displaying identity through an outfit. Winston described how important it is for people to express themselves through fashion, and how important it is that people are themselves when they dress.
With KANDY, Winston is able to express himself through his identity of skateboarding, as well as using colors to stand out from others. When asking Winston how somebody can start up a brand and express themselves, he directed us through a process of one using creativity to constantly produce pieces of clothing.
The reality of being a designer is that you never truly have on final piece or one piece that’s perfect, rather you just continue creating pieces and continue to push your creative drive. By constantly producing as a designer, you are able to find what you are truly looking for through trial and error.
It seems young designers today should spend their time producing as much as they can, rather than spending time all their time trying to produce one piece.
Winston stated that he will continue to produce more products for KANDY, specifically the up and coming KANDY CHOCOLATE collection which he showed us. The collection features a bold KANDY logo with a chocolate bar pattern. The collection will include shirts, hoodies, and a skateboard deck.
Also this summer, KANDY is planning a pop-up shop on Boston’s very own Newbury Street, which Winston told us to stay tuned for more information later this spring.