Born X Raised Sadie Hawkins 2016
For the third year in a row, Spanto, 2Tone, & the rest of the Born X Raised team worked tirelessly to bring Los Angeles the illest holiday party of the year. With guests in attendance ranging from Soul Assassins grandmaster DJ Muggs to international superstars Die Antwoord to acclaimed photographer and Venice Originals founder Cesario "Block" Montano to your favorite producer's favorite producer The Alchemist on the 1's and 2's. For the author, this was three things. One, it was my first time attending. In 2014, I was too fat for the suit I already owned, and wasn't tryin' to show up looking like the guy who had just stopped at Ross. Last year, I was up to my neck in school work. This year, nothing was gonna stop me from making it. Secondly, it was a great fuckin' time with my friends. And thirdly, it was a testament to just how far hard work, dedication, resilience, and an authentic product can take you. I'm not gonna be too long winded here, because by now, most of you who follow fashion know the story, but it strikes a personal chord with me. I've known Spanto since we were kids, through his cousin. We lived up the street from one another in Venice, and although we weren't close as kids, we reconnected as adults, and he became someone I'm proud to call my friend. At the time we reconnected, Born X Raised was just getting its legs, and from the minute I learned of the brand's mission statement, I was 110% behind it. Having watched our hometown go from one of the most vibrant and unique (albeit dangerous) places in Los Angeles to the cookie cutter, H&M, American Apparel, snooty gastropub clusterfuck that is now referred to by those NOT originating from there as 'Silicon Beach', the concept of resisting gentrification, of taking pride in your roots and preserving them, of being proud of who you are and where you came from resonated deeply within me. Spanto's legendary status in Venice and Los Angeles as a whole, coupled with 2Tone's design prowess and videography skills (Iggy Azaelea, Danny Brown, YG, etc), helped the brand quickly take off, with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Kylie Jenner, and even Diddy himself rocking their gear these days. And all the while, as the brand skyrocketed to success, Spanto was literally fighting for his life, battling a terminal disease that not many survive, let alone thrive with. He's more than a friend to me, he's a personal hero. He epitomizes strength, integrity, and a true warrior's spirit. From visiting him in the hospital to seeing him last night, having fun with his friends and family (and somehow looking a solid 6-7 years younger than the author, even though we're the same age), I can't help but marvel at how far he and his vision have come. I remember joking with him about going to Japan on BxR business, and now he's done it -- To shoot a video with YG no less. He's collabed with Reebok to make his own version of his favorite show growing up, and now Converse, who also sponsored last night's event. He has elevated his brand into the "High Fashion" stratosphere (Uh, they're in fuckin' Vogue, y'all), and is a living embodiment of The Old Los Angeles, the Los Angeles that the developers, the tech gurus, and the transplants would much rather you forget. And, more importantly than any of that, he's remained the same stand-up dude. Always quick with a smile and a joke, always happy too see those he cares about, never "too busy" or "too big time" to shoot the shit, or swing through and say what up. It's an honor and a privilege to call the man my friend, and it was an honor and a privilege to be in attendance last night. Here's to celebrating the holidays with your family and friends, sticking to your guns, building what you believe in when no one else does, and to the continued success of Born X Raised. Looking forward to next year already.
I clean up alright.
The spot was, quite literally, "Lit".
Gentlemen of Leisure.
The (mildly) intoxicated author with his favorite bartender.
Until next year. Happy Holidays, and Thank You Born X Raised!