1986 was a big year. Mike Tyson had just been named the youngest heavyweight champ to ever live, Sade released her hit track “Is It a Crime”, Steve Jobs bought Pixar and Jean-Micheal Basquiat stood next to Andy Warhol in an old video interview, not long before Warhol’s untimely death. It was the same year that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off hit the silver-screen, showing viewers around the world slight vignettes of the Chicago streets. For the Windy City-native and man behind Infinite Archives, Easy Otabor, history is but a vast wellspring full of narratives and creative ideas. The label tell the stories of significant cultural moments of the past, with each collection inspired by a specific year.
The Infinite Archives 2018 Collection presents an eclectic range of T-shirts that pay homage to the year 1986. One standout piece is the Infinite Archives 4 Kings T-Shirt featuring a rare group photo of Spike Lee, Warhol, Basquiat and Fab 5 Freddy at the New York premiere of Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It. The “Sweetest Taboo” T-shirt presents an imaginative sketch of the singer Sade made in collaboration with the Canadian illustrator, Georgia Bayliss. Mike Tyson reverence appears, too, in the Tyson T-shirt. Lastly, the Blur T-shirt comes in a pepper-black washed out base with the logo “Infinite” in purple at the front and in orange, “Archives”, at the back; two other base colors come in white and black.
We also chatted with Easy Otabor for a short Q&A about the inspiration behind Infinite Archives; read more below:
HBX: “Without history, there is no concept of humanity.” is written in the about section on infinitearchives.com — Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind Infinite Archives and what made you decide on starting your own label?
Easy: Well, to be honest, I just wanted to make stuff that means something. Bridging the gap between today’s youth and my generation and paying respect to the ones before my time – Concepts that spark interest and cause people to stop and think, conversation starters. Me starting my own brand was just a way to get my ideas out and have a platform to work with my friends and family.
H: Can you tell us a bit about the ideas behind the graphics and the bleeding “Infinite”/”archives” logos?
E: Oh it was just a cool concept that I thought of. Seeing the infinite archives logo blurred looks like it could go on like that forever like history/time.
H: Is there a certain period or era in the past that you like the most?
E: Truth be told, my history teacher in high school, Mr. Young, changed my life and my whole interest in history and just the past in general. I like all past events couldn’t pick just one era and if I wasn’t doing what I was doing I’d probably want to be a history teacher lol. This is my way of spreading information and reminding people of the past and not to forget these moments, whether good or bad.
H: You mentioned from previous interviews that you enjoy going to Museums. Is there any connection between your fascination with them and Infinite Archives?
E: Yes, they spark a multitude of ideas and concepts for me. Often times I see things that have me researching for more information – how deep is the rabbit hole type of stuff. It’s amazing how one thing can lead to another.
H: Infinite Archives draws a lot of inspiration from the past, what are your thoughts on authenticity in streetwear these days?
E: What is real will always find a way to stay alive or turn into something else that serves streetwear.
H: What’s next for Infinite Archives?
E: The next collection will be based on the year 1991. I’m excited to work with more friends and roll out new branding and ideas. These current pieces are the last of the 1986-inspired collection. As I just started the brand, I want to do more things to give new artist and new designers opportunities to get out there ideas. That’s the most important to me.