Over the past year or so, Red Tops has been spotted throughout many aspects of our culture. Available at only a handful of the world’s most selective shops, including Colette, Alife, and the aNYthing store, Red Tops is one of the few fresh faces in the game who’s been doing things right from day one. This past Fall, we had a chance to catch the J/M/Z out to King’s County, Brooklyn to sit down with Kenji – the dapper, japper, trapper with unlimited swagger – and the man behind Red Tops. Many people love this life. Kenji lives this life. Read on to see what he has to say.
Sean Reveron of RockersNYC is a good friend of Kenji’s. While we were on our way to meet up with Kenji for the interview, we ran into Sean out front of the aNYthing store, and he had a few words to say. Check it out.
And now onto the interview…
Who is Red Tops? How long have you been around for? And what is the message behind the brand?
Red Tops is me, Kenji, IÃ¢Â€Â™m a member of IRAK and I wanted to be able to express my own thoughts and visions so I came up with Red Tops. This is gonna be the 3rd season now. The message is the truth. It is what it is and thatÃ¢Â€Â™s what it is. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s raw out here in New York. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s cold and itÃ¢Â€Â™s hard.
Red Tops is selectively carried in some of New York Cities finest boutiques including Alife and the aNYthing store. Is this something you consciously decided?
Yeah thatÃ¢Â€Â™s pretty much like my family. Throughout the years theyÃ¢Â€Â™ve definitely helped me out and showed me a lot. I used to work at Alife. I got a job there right when Rivington Club opened, right before World Trade Centre happened – and pretty much thatÃ¢Â€Â™s when that whole sneaker thing went really crazy and off the wall.
My relationship with aNYthing.. I guess is me and A-ron have just been more friends but lately IÃ¢Â€Â™ve stepped it up a little bit and weÃ¢Â€Â™ve been working on some stuff. WeÃ¢Â€Â™ve got a good bond, good friendship bond.
Can you tell us a little bit about the ongoing Alife x Red Tops project?
When Alife opened the Alife store right next to Rivington Club they made a graphic with my face and a pinset with my grill. That was supposed to be some old Adidas x Alife project a few years ago, but they used the picture on a t-shirt instead. Then this year they did a collaboration again with the same face, but a little different with Alife, Married To The Mob and Red Tops.
Do you have any upcoming projects you want to talk about?
I donÃ¢Â€Â™t want to get into it too much but I have one with aNYthing, one with Espo, and IÃ¢Â€Â™m sure youÃ¢Â€Â™ll see some other collaborations with some hot people.
What are you plans for the upcoming season? What can we expect from Red Tops in the future?
I want to make a lot of stuff that people arenÃ¢Â€Â™t making right now with their brands and take advantage of it. I want everybody, not just one group of people.. thugs and queer art fags, college kids and jocks, graffiti writers, you name it everybody. Yeah. YouÃ¢Â€Â™ll probably see it grow. Maybe itÃ¢Â€Â™ll be a household name eventually. Maybe not.
Select pieces from the latest Red Tops collection are available now at Sold Out and colette. The full collection will be available at finer shops worldwide shortly.
Special thanks to Sean Reveron of RockersNYC, Kenji Shibuya of Red Tops and Andrew Szeto for his fine camera work.