PHOTO CREDITS: MANIFEST WORLDWIDE - JESSE WILLIAMS AND ERIK DANIELSON
I remember when I first saw a Manifest Worldwide shirt. The year was 2005 and it was right around the time that "Street wear" was really starting to pop off. Sites like Digital Gravel, The Giant Peach and others were being saturated with brands left, right and center. Countless brands borrowed Hip Hop for T-shirt graphics. Many of those brands gained success but very few actually payed homage to the culture. The only brand that I felt really brought the Hip Hop vibe across was Manifest Worldwide. The name itself is something that I associate with Hip Hop Culture til this day.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Derek of Manifest Worldwide to talk about the brand's humble beginnings, their mixtape series on cassette and their new Spring/Summer 2012 collection.
A few years back, Manifest released a couple mixtapes on cassette to help promote the brand. The tapes featured mixes of Golden Age classics while the J-Card doubled up as a mini look book. If you were lucky enough to get your hands on these tapes then you already know the deal. Getting your hands on these won't be easy but thanks to the web, digital versions are available HERE.
(SC) Can you tell us a little history behind Manifest? How did the brand come to be and what inspired the name?
I had thought about creating some tee shirts that were music inspired but never thought of it being a line but the more ideas I came up with, they were all golden age hip hop inspired. So one day while mowing the yard actually, the name Manifest came to me. I had always loved Gangstarr and that song so it was a perfect fit to me. The word manifest means to create so it was a perfect blend of past and present.
MANIFEST WORLDWIDE PROMOTIONAL CASSETTES VOL. 1, 2 & 3
(SC) Your Promo Cassettes/Look books are a fresh idea. How did the idea come about?
MANIFEST WORLDWIDE LIFESTYLE
(SC) The mixes seamlessly blend seminal classics of the Hip Hop's prime years. How did you connect with DJ Starsign, A6 and DJ Destro? Was there a direction for the mixes or did you let the DJ's do their own thing?
For the mixes, I knew they had to be golden age/ old school hip hop and nothing else. Again, that's what the brand is built around so I knew we had to come correct with great mixes and I knew I also had to find great dj's that could execute those mixes. I had become familiar with Dj Starsign by hearing a mix of his somewhere on the net and reached out to him and explained what I was wanting to do and he said he was down especially since it was going to be on a cassette. Actually, once I mentioned that to the other dj's, they all said yes immediatley. Everyone loves a real mixtape. A6 was actually a fan of the Manifest brand and had been in contact with me over the years and I knew he was a dj and also a fan of the golden age so that was a great fit. DJ Destro was introduced to me from a mutal friend who knew I was looking for another old school dj who could put together another great mix. As for the music on the mixes, I would always come up with a dream playlist and get to the dj's and see what they could make happen. They pretty much nailed every song I requested plus some great bonus tracks. Overall I was very pleased with how they all came out as I hope everyone who got one was too.
MANIFEST 2007 PROMO MIXTAPE VOL.2 MIXED BY DJ STARSIGN
Yes it was very hard to make a cassette tape. The first one was made in 2006 and if it wasn't for the internet, I doubt I would've ever made these happen. I found a couple of companies that could make the tape, but they couldn't do the j card printing, shrink wrapping or vice versa but after alot of searching, I finally found a company not too far from me. They made everything happen just like I wanted and was very happy with them and would recommend to anyone looking to make "real" mixtapes.
(SC) Where did Manifest distribute the tapes? How did people react to them?
The tapes were made to give away at the Magic apparel tradeshow and Agenda tradeshow between 2006 and 2009. When people would come up to the Manifest booth at the shows, they would always ask, "is this a real tape?" I'd say yes and you can have one if you have a tape player. A few of the people would be so excited because they still had a tape deck in their ride or still had their boombox. The other big draw to the booth was always the boombox. I'd have the actual tape playing in the boombox (a vintage Lasonic TRC-931) at the show and people would stop and take pictures of the box as it's always a great conversation piece.
MANIFEST PINCH LABEL - ALL SHIRTS HAVE DIFFERENT OLD SCHOOL SLOGANS LIKE THIS
(SC) You guys are obviously inspired by the cassette era. If we could hop in a time machine and travel back to 1993, what 5 cassettes would be in your tape deck?
It's funny that you suggest 93 because that is my favorite year for hip hop. I was a sophomore in high school and was always listening to the radio or tapes. My top 5 albums to have (and did) would be:
1. A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders
2. De La Soul - Bulhoone Mindstate
3. Souls Of Mischief - 93 Till Infinity
4. Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle
5. Wu-Tang Clan - 36 Chambers
Just look at those 5 albums. such an amazing collection of work and so diverse in sound but all so classic.
MANIFEST WORLDWIDE REQUIRED EQUPMENT(SC) Your new collection is getting ready to drop. What can we expect from Manifest this season?
Yes the new Manifest Spring/Summer 2012 collection is dropping in stores and in our online shop in early april. This season we are bringing the classic t-shirts that people have come to expect from us as well as new new era snap back hats, zip hoodies, crewnecks, wallets, a classic button pack and a few polo shirts to wear to the office but still with that old school flavor.
MANIFEST WORLDWIDE SPRING/SUMMER 2012 COLLECTION AVAILABLE NOW
I'd like to personally thank everyone who has supported the Manifest brand over the past 10 years. We couldn't have done it without you. Keeping this brand running is truly a labor of love and hopefully it shows. I could not do all this without my brother from another mother in the great state of Michigan, Skylar. He is the man responsible for all the great content on the Manifest blog and nobody does it better and of course a big shout out goes to you guys at Strictly Cassette for the shine and allowing me to be featured on your site, it's an honor. Who knew I'd connect with a great bunch of like minded guys through an iphone app! ha. Thanks again for the love and for spreading the word to the true fans. That's who it's really for.
MANIFEST WORLDWIDE SPRING/SUMMER 2012 COLLECTION
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