by MOI JR Valrey
Kirie Shine currently owns one of my favorite clothing brands, Aktive Supply, straight out of the concrete jungles of California. As a longtime active member of our movement, I like to wear clothes made by us specifically for us, as well as I like to wear clothes that have a deeper message than just making money for the brand.
Kirie is about the community staying armed to protect itself, and the garments that he creates definitely reflect that thought and push that idea. In light of the Oscar Grants, Sandra Blands, Nia and Latifah Wilsons, Philando Castiles, Mike Browns, Tamir Rices, Kathryn Johnstons, Kenneth Hardings, Gus Rugleys and Idriss Stelleys of the world, the Black community needs to be bombarded with a message of protecting ourselves and one another in a nation that considers us the enemy.
What better way is it for Kirie to get his message out than by having us wear the ideas on our chest literally?
Check out this up and coming urban trendsetting brand, and check out my brotha in his own words in this exclusive Q&A.
M.O.I. JR: How did you get into fashion? What made you want to create a fashion brand?
Kirie: I’ve always been into fashion since I can remember. We didn’t have much but moms always made sure I was dipped and had the latest kicks.
M.O.I. JR: What made you want to create a fashion brand?
Kirie: I used to create shirts for myself and my close patnas in high school and everybody used to be on us tuff and that was like a natural high. Once I moved to Philly and started designing merch for Rap Snacks – and getting paid for it, I knew I could eventually create a brand for myself.
M.O.I. JR: How would you describe your brand?
Kirie: It’s hella active, a true California street brand. Being as though I grew up in SoCal and The Town, it’s definitely a 100 percent organic California grown brand for sure. The brand has a heavy military influence, especially jet fighters. I draw inspiration from war planes, California street tribe culture, tech, and some ‘80s and ‘90s skate influence, and of course the revolutionary movement of the ‘60s.
M.O.I. JR: What inspires you to create new pieces?
Kirie: The universe, man, the struggle, the win, the loss and the hustle. I want to put together pieces that tell a story and keep you motivated.
M.O.I. JR: What are some of the gear brands that you were originally inspired by?
Kirie: Well, at a young age I was inspired by Polo Ralph Lauren and still am to this day. That’s probably my favorite brand hands down. I’ve always been inspired by Stussy, which is definitely one of the original streetwear brands out of California, also Karl-Kani and the legendary Dapper Dan. More recent brands that I like are Black Scale, Fear of God and Off White.
M.O.I. JR: What inspired you about them?
Kirie: Besides the classic designs, the stories behind some of the brands are inspiring in and of themselves. To see someone that looks like me use their creativity and turn their struggles into multi-million dollar companies gave me confidence that there is space for me too.
M.O.I. JR: How do you pick what material and what color you want a garment to be?
Kirie: Whatever I’m inspired by at the moment dictates the color scheme. I use a lot of black and red, which are the brand colors. I like earth tones and military colors mixed with something contrasting and bright to make it pop.
M.O.I. JR: How do you sell? Are you just online or do you do pop-ups too?
Kirie: Right now I’m online and straight out the trunk with it. I’m actually planning to do pop-ups in 2020 as well as vending at events in LA, The Bay and Vegas.
M.O.I. JR: What do you want customers to take away from your brand?
Kirie: To always stay “Aktive” and keep moving forward; that’s what the brand is built on. Stay active, you know; turn those Ls into Ws. Keep pushing no matter what’s in front of you, grind for a higher purpose.
I want you to throw on a “We Run the Night” hoodie or “AKTV BDU” jacket and feel like you can conquer the day. Constantly strive to do better and never fold. Stay Aktive!
M.O.I. JR: Where can people purchase your gear?
Kirie: Check me out at aktivesupplybrand.com and you can always tap in with me on the Gram @aktivesupplybrand or @ShineByLaw.
The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey, journalist, author and filmmaker, can be reached at email@example.com or on Facebook. And tune in to BlockReportTV on YouTube.