Luke Tadashi on How Basketball Gave Him Structure and Purpose

The co-founder and creative director of Bristol Studio details the brand’s early inspirations, collaboration with adidas and future plans.

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Luke Tadashi on How Basketball Gave Him Structure and Purpose
Business of HYPE
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Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders, entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. On this week’s episode, Jeff sits down with Luke Tadashi, co-founder and creative director of Bristol Studio.

Prior to Bristol Studio, the Los Angeles native was playing college basketball until he dropped out and enrolled at NYU. Wanting to meld his love of sports and design into a career, Luke, alongside Maasai Ephraim and Jake Fenster, created Bristol Studio—a brand deconstructing and reimagining the sportswear behind basketball. A childhood spent watching Kobe Bryant, Luke says basketball not only gave him structure and purpose, but mediated the often compartmentalized relationship of sports and arts.

“Some of my most creative moments ever were on a basketball court, just dribbling and trying to figure out a way to get past my defender. To be able to think on the fly like that, just requires you to tap into a creativity unlike any other.“

Drawing inspiration from his late grandparents, Luke used Bristol’s first collection as a visual homage to his grandfather’s autobiography, which detailed his journey from Japan to America post WWII. Sleek irreversible silhouettes paired with vintage adidas moon shoes, the collection caught the attention of adidas, leading to their eventual collaborative capsule.

Many contracts and sleepless nights later, Luke and his team have completed two seasons with the brand. He admits that despite times of doubt during the complicated contractual process, it allowed him to be accustomed to the unpredictable nature of the fashion industry.

“The contract didn’t happen overnight. It was like, ‘Is this going to happen?’ It taught me to learn to live with that discomfort, so now that discomfort has become the norm. I think it’s made me a more dynamic person and a better business person.”

Since then, the brand has produced Coachella merchandise, collaborated with New Era, and plans to work with Stance Socks. Still a relatively young brand, they hope to involve the community and culture of Los Angeles, previously holding concerts and concept centers in the city.

As always, thank you for tuning into HYPEBEAST Radio and Business of HYPE. You can subscribe to our channel on AppleSpotifySoundcloudStitcherOvercastAnchor or wherever else you get your podcasts. Please don’t forget to leave a comment or review.

Additionally, feel free to hit Jeff on Twitter, @jeffstaple, or via email at questions@businessofhype.com, and he may answer your question on a future episode.

This episode features references to the following:

1:04 – Bristol Studio & team
1:39 – Brand inspiration
4:00 – Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant
5:40 – College basketball
8:12 – Air Jordan 13
8:26 – adidas
9:44 – Levi’s 501
9:50 – Nike Air Force 1
10:17 – Japanese heritage
12:40 – Inspiration for first collection
16:16 – Life before Bristol Studio
17:00 – NYU
18:17 – A.P.C.
20:16 – Bristol Cut & Sew
26:00 – Selling to wholesalers
35:30 – adidas collaboration
36:50 – Jimmy Manley
37:27 – CFDA
38:57 – adidas Crazy BYW
41:10 – adidas timeline
42:09 – Buddy
43:26 – Signing contracts
49:32 – New Era
50:22 – Stance Socks
53:13 – adidas x Coachella
55:20 – Bristol Studio team
58:36 – Advice
1:05:39 – Future plans

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Host
JEFFSTAPLE
In collaboration with
BYT.NYC
Director
Daniel Navetta
Producer
Christina Hong/HYPEBEAST
Photographer
Salvador Johnson

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