ESNSE Clothing Q & A
Up To Bat: Mark Pimentel / ESNSE Clothing
Three years ago, Mark's brand new, hot on the streets, fledgling clothing company, ESNSE (pronounced, "Essence") was everywhere. Or at least that's how I remember it. He had pretty in the face thick in the waist dime pieces flaunting the tees, all branded with wit sharp phrases that could also be found on his then-myspace page. Strong, snarky stings at the saturated and somewhat snotty new millennium fashion industry tykes like, "12 tees doesn't make your shit a limited edition" and the such.
And then, just when it felt like the momentum was in full swing, he and ESNSE disappeared.
I recently caught wind that Mark was indeed around, just quietly, methodically calculating his next move and couldn't wait to see and hear what had become of the break in stride. Turns out the man has been busy for a re-emergence, a move down South and matrimonial vows.
How the hell are you today Mr. Pimentel?
Feeling handsome. It's 9:00am and I'm already listening to some Ghostface. Orange Juice and Ghostface is my complete breakfast, so I'm good to go.
Can you fill me in on the last 3 years?
Uhh, yeah I get this a lot. People wondered what happened after that whirlwind 2005 Summer. Well, here's how it went -- In 2005 I somehow scored an athlete pass to the Dew Tour and met with Switchfoot who was performing then. I had more access then they did around the venue, so I escorted the guys up to the vert ramp to watch Bob Burnquist, and all those guys shred. We chopped it up about whatever while we were up there... Long story short -- They were sold on wearing ESNSE for their world tour. They hit me up, and featured me in a magazine of theirs, and I started getting calls from stylists and shit, asking me to send out linesheets, make a certain shirt in a different color, etc...
At that point, I was overwhelmed with what was about to go down, and felt like I really needed to learn the craft of apparel design before I go any further.
Ended up going to OSU to double major in Apparel Design and Merchandising Management. That's where I am right now, and pretty much what happened between now and then.
The ESNSE story?
I was a confused young bioengineering major at OSU in 2003-2004. Lab coats, gram stains, and calculus was NOT my thing. Got fed up doing what was expected of me, and decided after that year, that I'd walk my own path.
Approached my parents at the kitchen table one morning, with a screen printing brochure -- and let em know that apparel design was my calling. I wanted to do t-shirts. Showed them some old iron on tees I made, some apparel sketches -- and they were sold. I love my parents, cause they were down from day #1 and really were instrumental in helping me succeed.
I started a week-long event of trying to name this company. The funny thing is, I rejected a few names that have turned out to be used by other companies later on. "Sould Out" being one of em. I thought that was funny.
Essence was a word that always intrigued me. This company was really going to be about me. Not to sound all greedy, but I took pride in the fact that my hand was in every facet of creating each product. I guess this company was a personification of me, my dreams, ambitions, and hopes. A reflection of me. So I decided to play with the word and it evolved into ESNSE. There's some balance there, and play off of the fact it was a reflection of me. I liked how people didn't really know how to pronounce it at first. Why? Because, when someone didn't understand with my shirt said, it gave me a chance to sell the brand/product to some random stranger. I didn't have to approach them, and have these folks be defensive. It worked a lot. And people would also talk amongst themselves like, "yo how do you pronounce that." That helped to keep buzz going.
So that's how ESNSE became what it is.
What's with the Los Angeles / Hundreds rumors?
I hit up Bobby up a few months ago on myspace, with a message containing a link to my apparel design portfolio. I let him know I did my research and really enjoyed the brand, the message, and the lifestyle. We went back and forth and the opportunity to fly down and visit with them came up, and I jumped on that! This was during the time Bobby and Ben were working top secretly on THSF store. Rumors that a new TH flagship store was going to open, because of the teaser photos but nobody really knew where it was going to be. I got a hint about it all, cause during this time Bobby was emailing me and we had to reschedule the interview because he had to fly up last minute to San Fransisco.
When I eventually got down there, I met with Benjie and Vito, the two designers for TH. Both really dope folks. We chopped it up for 10 minutes, they scanned my portfolio in 10 seconds, and let me know what was up.
Now I'm looking for an apartment this Summer out in LA. The Hundreds is moving their office within the next few months, to downtown LA -- so I've been searching for an apartment halfway between Fairfax and Downtown. I even hit up Kiwi from Native Guns, and might rent out a room at his parents house out in Koreatown. Haha! Dope!
That's where I am right now. Still planning to go down there once more to run through a day with the guys and see if its something I'd like to do before committing to moving down there. So I'm planning on a drive down near Memorial day weekend.
What inspiring you right now?
And do the things in life that are personal irritating/entertaining (hipsters wearing neck scarves in all weather conditions and making 12 tee shirts as an "exclusive limited edition" qualification) create inspiration?
Hahaha, well I mean the shamagh thing, it goes too far. It's really an unnecessary fashion accessory, like a Starbucks cup. Just stop. You're covering up your over sized printed American apparel shirt with some clever flip of Andy Warhol -- we need to see that, because we haven't before.
Nah but what's inspiring me right now, is what always has, things happening in my life. Hip-Hop culture is a big inspiration. My hard working, blue collar parents are a big influence. Designing practical, functional, and technical clothing at affordable price points is an interest that comes from being brought up not having a lot of money, and making each garment be used to its full design potential.
I also look for ironic things going on in my life, or something that just sticks out, I try to grasp that and come up with a concept/theme.
For instance, walking down the street, after the rain, when it gets sunny, but the streets are wet. Capturing those textures, colors, the feeling of seeing the sun, and the concept of experiencing two different things at once. It gives me a lot to work with.
Mark's Fashion Show. Go.
Spring: After The Rain 2-Piece and a Biscuit Collection.
1. Purple goretex empire waist pleated shirt dress with matching Christian Louboutin kicks and an aqua patent clutch. And a belt that goes around the each shin. Hard to think conceptualize, but it works. You'll see.
2. Tangerine goretex nylon boatneck collar shell with hidden hood. Selvedge denim A-Line skirt that ends at the knee. Orange supreme dunk hi's. Plain white v-neck tee.
How can folks keep track of you?
nodesirenodesign. com or latefabrication. com
Sushi spot Takahashi or Masu?
Imma go with Takahashi on this one.
The Red Light or Buffalo Exchange?
I like what you can find at Red Light. Red Light has all kinds of crazy shit in there, even though I cant really cop shit at either RL or BE, since they only buy back medium tees. LOL. Not a good look for me.
Bazooka or Bubblicious?
Wow watermelon bubblicious is my piff. That holds me down. I think I have to now buy a pack. Thanks Sara! lol
Most banging bridge in Bridgetown?
St. Johns. it's green like money, in my hood, and near the Burgerville. Illmac! Holla. St. Johns stand up. haha! Oh and I just saw that shit in Pararnoid Park.
Front yard slip n' slide or public park pool?
Front yard slip n' slide please. haha. Id rather skin my knee going past the end of the slip n slide on the sidewalk than swim through some warm yellow boo boo water. lmao. Plus my J's got jacked at Columbia pool in middle school once. *sigh*
Tyra or Oprah?
Ummm Oprah. Shes on point with her book club.
Extras and shout-outs?
Shouts to the Trillaboos! Ladies, continue to shine. Apple Juice Crew! Ya'll stay holding it down for Hip-Hop! Thank you. Flip, Lawz, Anon, Fatty, Jamiah, Tre, Quesay, and anyone else on that Call of Duty 4. Hold these bullets for me. Oh and my lady, Janice. We're newly engaged (this past weekend!).
Thank you Marky Mark!!!