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A day spent running around the blighted shores of Staten Island was enough to convince us that Dee & Ricky (born Demetrius and Ricardo) truly write their own rules. The energy and perspective they bring to the table is palpable within minutes of meeting them in person. This energy has brought them to the forefront of the fashion and entertainment world. The twins now count the likes of Marc Jacobs, Kanye West, Takashi Murakami and Travis McCoy as some of their biggest supporters. They are also frequently courted by apparel manufacturers and video game studios to lend their unique perspective. The popularity of their Lego-constructed accessories has earned them serious coverage in the pages of style publications such as GQ, Vogue, Complex and Giant. Some have hailed them as the future of high fashion, while others deride them as a gimmick. One thing is for certain, Dee & Ricky have blazed a new trail and are following it steadily.
Photography: Nick Brandreth
Q&A with Dee & Ricky
What were you guys doing before fashion?
D+R: It depends around what time. The past 11 years in a nutshell included: shoplifting, loitering in downtown Manhattan/Brooklyn, skating, playing with LEGOS, riding the Staten Island Ferry everyday, chilling with hot Spanish women, bb guns and sling shots and such. Mad bad shit in school, watching cartoon network and those Saturday morning cartoons. Mighty Max was the shit and so were the Ghostbusters.
What have been some major influences, both personally and in your design work?
D+R: Our Grandmother AKA Gramz & our childhood. Basically, just growing up being a kid in the hood, cartoons & shit.
What sort of resistance have you faced breaking into the industry and putting your product out there?
D+R: Nothing real crazy. But if anything, other people not being on point. It’s really easy for us to get our product out there, too easy.
My impression is that you identify more with the high fashion community rather than the streetwear industry. Would you agree? Where do you see yourselves fitting in with either industry?
D+R: Yeah high end is the shit….but we seem to be on a totally different level. Eight times cooler than Marc Jacobs and one level lower that Margiela….
Your Lego accessories were the first thing to catch on. Now the Starter jacket duffel bags are in stores. Both involve taking a generic product and flipping it into something new. Is this a concept you hope to build the brand on long-term?
D+R: Yeah kind of. It’s fun taking old things and reversing them. But who knows what we will do…we don’t even know.
You guys tend to jump from one extreme to another quite often. In a single days time you may go from a renegade photoshoot with Jadakiss to a fashion week party with Andre Leon Tally. Do you find it difficult to jump back and forth between different environments like that?
Dee: We are super versatile, its like our super power, actually more like a sixth sense. You gotta know when to say “Nigga” and whip out a bottle of Hennessy and when to talk about Anna Wintour and a bottle of 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Jeroboam.
Ricky: Word, from Jadakiss to Andre Leon Tally.
What do you think has contributed to your unique personalities and cultural sensibilities?
Dee: Growing up on Staten Island we went to separate schools. We got split up because we were always doing dumb shit. In third grade we were switching
classes and pissing teachers off. I got sent to a new school on the other side of the Island. Lets just say there were only three black kids that went there. Haha.
Ricky: Word. They kept me in the hood school.
It wasn’t too long ago when tall tees, baggy jeans and du-rags were standard issue for a lot of people in America. Nowadays, especially in New York, everyone is dressed like Arthur Fonzarelli with high tops. Who do you think have been the catalysts for such significant changes?
D+R: LMFAO! The Fonz, we wish people dressed like that. He was cool. A lot of stuff made people start dressing “different”, its what usually happens over the years. These celebrities seem to be running the show of these lemmings… haha, everyone should just start dressing like Freddie Mercury.