Graphic artist VERDY’s pop-up event, TOKION x Wasted Youth “I can’t waste my time anymore.” took place at TOKiON the STORE from July 22nd.
At the event, Wasted Youth with Häagen-Dazs collaboration T-shirts and pullover hoodies wad released. It was a project that VERDY had hankered for so long.
But why has VERDY been following Häagen-Dazs avidly for a long time? And what is it that he sees in Häagen-Dazs? In fact, the answers are closely linked to VERDY’s creative origin. In this article, we unveil his thoughts embodied in the products that were produced for the event.
The realization of a long-time dream of collaborating with the brand
――How did this collaboration with Häagen-Dazs come about?
VERDY: I’ve been wanting to do a project with Häagen-Dazs for quite a while, but it was difficult to do it officially. In the past, whenever I did a project with a brand or a corporate, I’ve always asked, “is there any way I can make an item together with Häagen-Dazs?” However, it never happened. But one day, when I was walking around town thinking that creating an item with Häagen-Dazs may be impossible, I stumbled upon a display of a T-shirt made in collaboration between ADAM ET ROPÉ and Häagen-Dazs. The font of the flavor name printed on the back was different from the official one, but still, it was clearly there. So, that’s when I realized that collaborating with Häagen-Dazs was indeed possible.
――And there, you thought you got to make it happen, as you then knew that it’s possible.
VERDY: Yes. I looked in to find out who was producing the T-shirt and the name JUN—whom I had partnered with for this project—came up. So, I immediately called the person in charge and said, “I’ve been wanting to collaborate with Häagen-Dazs for so long, and I’m desperate. Is there any way to make it happen?” [laughs]. And finally, my long-coveted wish of creating a product with Häagen-Dazs came true.
The front men of my favorite bands used to work at Häagen-Dazs
――Ultimately, why did you want to collaborate with Häagen-Dazs so badly?
VERDY: The front men of my favorite bands used to work at Häagen-Dazs, and even today, if you look up on the internet, you’ll find bunch of pictures of these guys wearing a Häagen-Dazs T-shirt. The first time I found out about the bands was when I was in high school, and they were the reason that got me into music. To name those guys, one was Henry Rollins from Black Flag, and the other was Ian MacKaye from Minor Threat. There are more bands I listened to like, Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, Gang Green, and many more…. They are all basically American hardcore bands from the 80s, and I would say they are one of my roots. Coming from that background, Häagen-Dazs clothing appeared insanely cool to me.
I’d wanted to wear one, too, but Häagen-Dazs T-shirt is essentially produced in small quantities…. And when I found a vintage one, it was really expensive, as it was really rare and popular from Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollings wearing it; it was just hard to get. On top of that, Häagen-Dazs doesn’t release their items much, so there aren’t that many in the market, but that’s another reason why I wanted to produce a product with them.
――I see. And in that sense, Häagen-Dazs items are especially special for you as they also embody the music culture.
VERDY: That’s right. I now think that I should’ve worked at an ice cream shop for my first job [laughs]. It’s that good seeing Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins wearing the shirt. They look like they’re having so much fun working in the store, and I’ve always been obsessed.
――Since you’ve brought it up, can you tell us how you got into those types of music you were mentioning earlier, and how you first discovered bands like Black Flag and Minor Threat?
VERDY: When I was in middle school to high school, the 80s hardcore punk was back in trend, and I was listening to a lot of domestic bands like BBQ Chickens, Razors Edge and Idol Punch. One day, I was talking about the kind of music I liked with this guy working at a music studio I went, who occasionally played the guitar for Idol Punch, and he lent me CDs of bands like Black Flag, Minor Threat, and Bad Brains. I instantly got into these bands. The cool part about the 80s hardcore punk scene is that the graphics of these bands are exceptionally on-point. The bands’ style of playing hardcore punk with their usual T-shirt-and-shorts attire is also fascinating. That culture is at my core. What I design today is greatly influenced by those graphics, and the messages I convey come from there as well.
I hope the products also attracted the people who genuine like Häagen-Dazs
――Now, can you tell us about the design of the products?
VERDY: As in the photos of Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins wearing the shirt, Häagen-Dazs T-shirt has an ice cream flavor printed on the back. So, I designed the front with a simple logo of the brand and developed an original flavor for the back print. Since it’s a project with Wasted Youth, I wanted to put the word “Wasted” and thought that I should go with chocolate as it’s the closest color to my favorite color, black. And that’s how I came up with the imaginary flavor, “WASTED CHOCOLATE.”
――And why did you choose “CASSIS”?
VERDY: It’s because “CASSIS” is the flavor printed on most of the Häagen-Dazs T-shirts including the one Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins were wearing, and I wanted one too, so I made it [laughs]. The word doesn’t relate to Wasted Youth, but I’m sure there are a lot of people out there, who aren’t interested in what I do, but want to wear a Häagen-Dazs T-shirt, so I’ve created one with the original flavor for those people. The classic version was made with Russell T-shirt, so for this collaboration, I made an original Wasted Youth tag with the design inspired from the Russell tag.
――So, this project is truly a dream come true to you.
VERDY: Yes. This time, at TOKiON the STORE, we had also released a collaboration item with POSCA, and the new Wasted Youth collection held with the theme, “I can’t waste my time anymore.” and essentially, this chain of projects was thankfully spawned from collaborating with Häagen-Dazs. It’s a special product that brought me such amazing opportunity, so I hope it attracted both the people who are curious to see what I do and the people who genuine like Häagen-Dazs.