In 1995 Estevan Oriol (then known as DJ Scandalous) and B-Real from Cypress Hill sat down with their Soul Assassins brother Mr. Cartoon to discuss a new venture. At the time, Mr. Cartoon was struggling to balance his time between the development of his artistic vision, unique tattooing style and the expansion of his fledgling clothing line, Joker Brand Clothing. It is there that the story of Joker Brand Clothing begins.
Joker Brand is internationally recognized as one of the most authentic and original urban/street wear clothing lines in the world. As a company, Joker Brand resisted the flossy trends of the late nineties, maintaining its connections to the street community.
The European division of Joker Brand has been going strong for years as well, so we thought it was time to do a quick Q & A with Joker Brand Europe head honcho Timo Kraus. Check it out:
- When did you first get interested in streetwear / LA street culture?
I started listening to hip hop music end 80ies/early 90ies… Boogie Down Productions, Public Enemy and West Coast stuff like Ice-T, NWA.
- And when did you decide to turn this into a business?
I opened my own Hip Hop record store in 96 in Bremen Germany (Vinyl only – NO CDs) & at the beginning of ’99 I helped a friend building FUBU in Europe
- How & when did you first hook up with Estevan Oriol and Mr Cartoon?
In 2002 I moved to Karl Kani as european sales manager and I met Estevan Oriol thru a colleague at Karl Kani, that colleague went to school with Julio G, Julio G at that time was the tour DJ for Cypress Hill and Estevan Oriol was their tour manager. So throughout 2002/2003 we distributed Joker in Europe thru the same company as Karl Kani (Urban Trends).
- How & when did the European Joker office start up?
They asked me if I would like to set up a own Joker Europe operation – thats how everything started end 2003… We offically started Joker Brand Europe in November 2003.
- What does a regular day in the office @ Joker Brand Europe look like?
My day at the office is mostly book keeping, administrative things… and day to day business… I help in the warehouse too if needed. We have about 1000sqm warehouse and office in Berlin.
- Your street team seems to be expanding but is still limited to Germany only. When can we expect the street team to expand to all over Europe.
The street team we started with germany first, but we’re working on some more european countries to. For more details please contact email@example.com, he is taking care of our street team.
- Are there any differences between the designs and fabrics that are used in the US line and the ones that are used in Europe?
We are using the same designs as the US (all designs are made in LA) we maybe just add some colorways or twist them a little… Some styles we just do for Europe e.g. jackets and accessories (belts, wallets). Since fall 2011 we do our own fleece production (hoodys, crew necks, zippers) & we changed the fit to a more european fit, that means longer sleeves and longer body. T-Shirts are still made in USA.
- How do you select what musicians/sporters to sponsor?
We support everybody that we think fits in his way to the Joker image. There ain’t no real science behind it.
Click to enlarge:
- What’s your all time favorite Joker Brand print?
I dont really have a favorite t-shirt design. My Angel, Maria, Trese, are some all time classicks. I personally think the Troops Tee was sick.
- Nowadays a lot of brands seem to be doing a lot of collabo’s with other brands. With Joker we rarely see that happening, is there any specific reason for that?
We always did some collabos, but we think that nowadays a lot of brands only express themselves by collabos and we dont want that. Last year we did a collabo tee with Murs and The Pricks, both long time friends and musicians we think fit well with Joker Brand.
- Joker Brand is largely considered one of the realest streetwear brands out there. How do you maintain this reputation?
We are the realest street wear brand, simple as that.
- What other brands (if any) inspire you?
I love Pendleton shirts.
- Anything you’d like to add?
Stay blessed, thanks for the support.
Timo’s also selling a highly limited edition Nike Air Force 1 Livestrong
edition designed by Mr. Cartoon on Ebay.