Talk Shit & Die: A Conversation With George Rosa

Brooklyn-based brand Scumbags & Superstars has captivated kids of all ages. Designer and founder of SxS, George Rosa, has put out a bunch of dope products such as tees, pins, snapbacks, and most recently hoodies. The brand's main focus, at this point, is to keep working with great artists and putting out high quality products. As George would say "selling out" is not an option for the brand. When asked what his motto in life was he answered: "SxS's motto is "Eat Shit & Die!! We are focused on putting out cool shit. Fuck everything else!!" We can all expect dope products to drop next year but for now read the interview below and check out the gear on his website.

Your name?

George Rosa

SxS, dope project, how did it first start off?

I used to make a lot of collages & zines and stuff. I made a zine a few years back called Scumbags and Superstars. This was before the company started. People seemed to like the name so when it was time to start the company I thought it was a good fit. Scumbags and Superstars is a line from a Talking Heads song; I love the Talking Heads & thought that a reference to the Downtown NY scene was appropriate for the company.

What inspired you to create the brand?

Greg Mishka is my buddy. I have known him since 2005. He is one of the first people I met when I moved out to NY. I saw Mishka grow into a worldwide brand and it inspires the hell outta me! Greg and Mishka are still my biggest inspirations & motivations in the game.

Mishka has recently started selling SxS products, from tees to pins. How has that been going, and are you looking to get other brands to carry your products?

It is going great! Things have been really doing well at Mishka and I'm really stoked to have them carrying SxS! I want to keep the company underground and tight knit. Mishka is a great fit for SxS because our brand is very visual and artist based; the same as Mishka. And those guys are all friends of mine too so it works well. As far as other stores or brands carrying SxS, I'm not opposed to it at all. It just has to be the right fit for us. I'm not just trying to get SxS in every store under the sun. I want to be very subjective about who sells our stuff. It is important to me to keep creative control of the company. I never want to lose our audience due to over exposure or "selling out". I want the company to grow organically. We are focused on working with great artists right now and putting out the highest quality products we can. Everything else will fall in place once our audience and exposure grows; I am confident of that.

I personally like designers that stay loyal to their brand. What are you all about and what do you think about department stores selling your shit?

I think it is important to stay true to the brand and keep your designs and imagery consistent. As the owner of a company I can't get to caught up in the politics of "streetwear." I understand that certain stores are taboo or certain brands are looked upon differently by the underground kids. But for us, we want to keep all our designs really raw and graphic. We want to continue to work with really amazing artists and put out rad shit! And as long as we stay true to what we are doing, I could care less about everything else. As far as department stores or chain stores selling SxS. I don't see that ever happening for many reasons.

Now that you're working with a creative visual-brand like Mishka, are there any "streetwear" stores out there you would never look into?

[Laughs] Yes of course, but I will take the high road and not mention any names. We do our best to ignore the rest [Laughs]

[Laughs] Understood. I see that you have put out a few new products, will you be creating a lookbook for the public?

Yes but in the spirit of SxS, I don't want to do a traditional standard lookbook. I personally think that most lookbooks are stupid and I don't even look at them. They would never shape my opinion of a shirt that I liked or was interested in buying. But I understand that it's the norm nowadays to have a lookbook so we are going to do one. But we will focus more on the graphics and the visuals than the "model." I have some ideas and we will be shooting some stuff in the next few weeks. We will be releasing a lot of new products in 2013 and we will be releasing a lookbook to coincide. Also we are working on a new website that will be up and running in the new year as well.

The design of the SxS Logo is well put together. I think all SxS fans would want to know if there is something behind the indian-skull logo? What led you to designing it?

I've always done collage style designs. I wanted to use a classic American logo and something that was an everyday easily recognizable image. I thought the collegiate Indian with the headdress was perfect; nothing is more American than that. But in the spirit of SxS I had to flip it. I love skulls, they just work well as a graphic element. So I found a German World War II skull and mashed it up with the collegiate American Indian. Clearly this can be dissected for meaning but it's more important that it worked as a logo and a cool image. Since 2010 many companies have either knowingly or unknowingly done Skull Indians designs in a similar fashion. But honestly, to me, most look cheesy and forced, or they look all "Ed Hardy" and shit. Our logo works because it's clean and simple but with a bold graphic. It's timeless & classy. A lot of these other ones just look like cheap Canal knockoffs of our original gem.

You previously said that 2013 is going to be an important year for you. Are you just going to be releasing shit throughout the year at different time periods or organize everything and release "collections"?

A little of both. We will be releasing seasonal lines in 2013 but we also have many things planned in between. I like the idea of always releasing products. We will always be dropping new stuff.

To wrap up this intriguing interview, I'm excited to see where this project is headed. What are your main objectives for the future, and eventually where do you see Scumbags & Superstars?

I want SxS's focus to always be about the artists and the graphics. No matter what product or project we do, I want our visuals to always be really strong and to be the focal point. My goal in the future is to have our own store in NYC that we can showcase our products along with our artists, other brands, and artists that we like and admire.

Where are you from originally, and what about NYC makes you want to open up a store out here?

I grew up in Boston but started coming out to NYC in 1998 when I was 18. Back then, in NYC, there were tons of smaller stores that sold independent underground brands. But because of the internet and the cost of rent, a lot of those stores have closed and to me, NYC is losing a lot of that charm. I want to open up a store that people can come and hang out, look at art, listen to music. An old school NY type spot where people come and chill with like minded people and buy dope underground brands and artwork. Ever since I was a kid (even before SxS) I've always wanted to open my own shop.

What do you think of Frank151 ? Are you a fellow reader?

Of course man! Frank151 is dope! I like how each magazine has a theme. You guys do a great job of really getting a lot of different content and info for each topic. One of my all time favs was the MSK issue. You did a great job of covering the diversity of the crew and all of the aspects of their artwork. It was a great front to back issue the whole thing worked as a piece of art. You guys killed it for sure!

What's one thing you live by, a motto, or anything/anyone that doesn't stop inspiring you?

SxS's motto is "Eat Shit & Die!!"[Laughs] We are focused on putting out cool shit. Fuck everything else!!