Stadium Goods was only established in 2015 but quickly became a choice consignment destination for coveted sneakers and streetwear. While a t-shirt or a hoody is de rigueur for any brand, SG has recently stepped ups its offerings with a crispy capsule called STADIUM featuring sharp, elevated apparel—and Greig Bennett, Vice President of Brand Creative and Head Designer, is responsible for the fiery drip.
Cassius linked up with Bennet to get insight into how he creates the gear that SG has been moving that not only matches up lovely with the latest hyped Jordan release, but also fits snugly into the wardrobe of any tried and true clothes horse with selective taste. The STADIUM collection includes timeless pieces like a rugby, leather varsity jackets, and a fleece tracksuit that offers up a loftier take on your standard sneakerhead fare. Even more recently, SG debuted a Chaco Footwear x Stadium Goods Chillos Slide collaboration; because, fresh chancletas.
A product of the Bronx and an early creative in the streetwear space (his Orchard Street label still rings bells), his healthy resume also includes stints at Flight Club and holding down brand marketing and brand management at Bravado. The culmination of his years in the game is a keen eye on design and style that resonates at SG.
Cassius: There’s been gear from SG for a while, but how does this new collection differ?
Greig Bennett: We’d seen some collections for Stadium Goods that were more standard streetwear; tees, hoodies, long sleeves, things of that nature. The idea was how do we take that to the next level, how do we offer a more premium product. It’s not a far departure, but it’s an elevated take.
C: How do you do an “elevated take” without being corny?
GB: It’s not heavy-handed. In order to make the piece elevated, it’s not that it’s “fashion” or “Zoolandery.” It’s better materials, heavier weights, a bit more attention paid to detail. They’re definitely are going to be coming from the same inspiration, cut from the same cloth, not literally but from the same minds, so it’s going to have the same flavor. One’s a little bit turned up. Not to use the obvious Polo vs. Double RL, [but] ‘Lo is great, Double RL great. If you ever tried to cop a pair of Double RL jeans, you’re like, “Why are these $300?” But then [see them] you know why they are.
C: Did you start with a big selection of pieces, then whittle it down to the 11?
GB: There were things that got cut, but I built it from the bottom up. I started with these pants I really wanted to make and started building from and thinking about what would this look fresh with? I had this wildflower tie-dye that I did with a tie-dye artist out of Brooklyn, this woman named Abbie De Castro from Smalls Studio. That piece just had such an energy for me, so that was another thing I built around with some of my colors. There were some silhouettes that got cut. I didn’t want to put any t-shirts in it because it’s not a heavily graphic thing.
C: Is this just the first collection? How often will they drop?
GB: There will be some activity probably every other month. Sometimes bigger things, sometimes smaller things. The idea is for it to be something that has new seasons, new collections, new drops—refresh certain things so if any of these items ever become evergreen or really latch, put them out in new colors that might be separate from a whole collection.
C: Why did you decide to link up with Stadium Goods?
GB: The interest in clothes started back in high school. There was the Orchard Street era; I put in my time with sneakers and streetwear in those years. In 2009 I started getting into music merch, worked with Flight Club with a spell. I was at Bravado recently doing brand marketing and brand management. It was very corporate, and from there, I linked back upon with John and Jed [SG founders].
“People recognize Stadium Goods as a luxury experience when it comes to buying shoes. The idea was we want to grow our brand and not just be a marketplace. That was the charge when I came in. We started out with the Stadium Goods line and figuring out how we get some energy and rhythm and, like you said, make it more than just the t-shirt of a store. That was the first challenge. Stadium was something I had in mind because I wanted a runway to do different things, space to play. It’s nuanced, but certain people might be like, “This is from Stadium Goods?” This is still within the house, you know that cousin that’s a little different than everyone in the family, but we still love him? It had that energy. We can do things someone wouldn’t expect, or that isn’t happening with a Jordan release or this release or another release.
C: What’s your take on streetwear now?
GB: It’s not in the street anymore, right? Things evolve. This is a new generation; I think things have changed in a great way. It’s amazing to see people getting money and people actually making a living. I remember back in my day, it was hard out here. There’d be the dopest brand, and it was hard for them to stay afloat because you’re selling in these [small] boutiques. Now it’s opened up, and it’s cool to see where a lot of my peers from that time have taken it.
There’s an interesting moment happening with New York-based brands that to me are, I don’t know if you call them streetwear or descendants of streetwear; you’ve got ALD [Aimé Leon Dore], KITH, 18 East, NOAH, brands like that. They’re proper brands and they’re doing some hot sh*t. You wouldn’t call it a commercial brand or a 5th avenue luxury brand, but they are these strong New York brands. Is that a fair way to classify it, a descendant of streetwear?
C: Definitely. In our era, you used to have to go to all these different places to cop a fresh wardrobe. It was a hunt. Now, one spot, and you can snag most everything at a KITH or NOAH.
GB: What I feel about those brands is they still have the independent spirit of what streetwear was. Granted, the stage is way bigger now, but that’s why I like these brands because there is still that independent spirit. These people all started their thing, built it up, and now this is where they’re at, and they’re making dope clothes. It’s alternative; it’s not this mass market of millions of units. If I was a kid and I wanted to get fresh now, those would probably be the places I’d be looking to.
C: But how do you settle with the cost of keeping up with all this gear and new releases?
GB: Kids find ways. My way was starting Orchard Street. In 2000 that’s when everyone was wearing Armani and some squared-toed shoes. I couldn’t afford to look fresh, so I said, “Ya know what, let’s make our own stuff.”
That look happened to become the thing. As far as Stadium Goods is concerned, that’s a great part of having these two lines. You can come up into Stadium Goods with a hundred and get a t-shirt, a long sleeve, get a fly hoodie. Clothes were never cheap when we were young; they were just in different places. We offer to a wide group of people because we have these two collections that are equally rockable, just different levels, different taste quotients. A kid is going to want the thing with the big graphics, someone a little older might be cool with the light branding.
I don’t do the trendiest of trendy stuff. A lot of it in different times and spaces is still rockable. By nature of being designed by me, a lot of that mentality and ethos is in the clothes.