SINCE FOREVER TIL DEATH
THE story of tribe
It all starts years before the actual conception. It came about after working in the realm of design, photography, and print for over ten years. In early 2007 I (Jeremy Richie) even dabbled in doing some short runs of a project called “RILLA GORILLA”. It was mostly a local venture and just for fun. I knew very little about what it took to really run a successful independent brand. But I took everything I learned from it and put it in a special place for later.
In 2010 I met Steve Squall when he started working at a print shop I worked at in Louisville. It wasn’t until then that I really started to find myself as an artist. Until then, I hadn't really been around many people who helped me grow as an artist. I think Steve played a large role in how I perceive design now. Working with him was a natural transition. I suppose working closely at our day job helped us arrive at the same page in a creative sense. It’s kind of scary sometimes how we can share the same ideas without the other knowing anything about it. It’s almost like we are tuned in to the same hidden frequency.
"Success for TRIBE seemed to be moving very quickly, as we continued growing, opportunity after opportunity started to roll in."
When I was brainstorming ideas for TRIBE I knew I wanted it to be something more than just clothing. I wanted TRIBE to be about people. I wanted TRIBE to be a celebration of life, and the places we move together as a group. The actual definition of tribe is very open in its meaning, and mostly I just wanted to create some awesome things with my friends.
We started TRIBE with an inaugural launch on November 11th 2011. A very well thought out release. I wanted to put out designs that hadn’t been seen in this way. The style was meant to be minimal and vector-based with a classic Americana vibe. Photography plays an equally important role in our creative process. We put as much thought into the scenery and models as we do the actual design and products. When TRIBE launched in November of 2011, we received a great deal of wonderful feedback from the independent clothing community.
SHOP COMMERCIAL (JOSH MINOGUE) - 2012
We were also able to increase our productivity by adding our friend, David Kinser, to the team in early 2012. He helped us stay organized in order to make things happen. Our fanbase grew rapidly over the following months. Shortly after launch, our audience doubled and continued growing. Success for TRIBE seemed to be moving very quickly, as we continued growing, opportunity after opportunity started to roll in. Then we were presented with the chance to have our very own flagship store. In the fall of 2012 we set to work on just that. We put in the time, got the place to our liking, stocked up, hung the sign, and had an in-store grand opening party. At this moment I felt happier than I ever had with anything in my life. Something I had dreamed of since I was a kid had come to fruition. I was standing in the middle of an idea surrounded by people that believed in me and appreciated what my friends and I had created.
My TRIBE was real.
"This was a turning point; a make or break moment. We jumped on this opportunity with the confidence that it would succeed. After all, the city had embraced us."
At the time of the store opening, I had a full time job. That only lasted a couple of weeks before I decided I needed to devote my time to the store and building the TRIBE brand. So there we were. All in — As invested as you can get. Doing the damn thing, and learning along the way. This was a turning point; a make or break moment. We jumped on this opportunity with the confidence that it would succeed. After all, the city had embraced us. People even came from surrounding cities just to check out the store and support us. It's hard to adequately express the joy that comes with witnessing a stranger embrace something you made and then spend their hard earned money to have a part of it. Needless to say it was fun. Like, a whole lot of fun. We threw monthly parties and had some of Louisville’s finest artists come in and play free shows for anyone that wanted to join. But in the end, the patrons just weren’t enough to keep wood in the stove. We operated the store for about a year before we had to close the doors.
We decided to continue operating TRIBE from an online retail position, and doing the types of events that had got us to the place where we could open a physical location in the first place. We moved in that direction but we were running low on fuel, and we were spreading ourselves too thin. Our personal lives were at a point where they needed more attention than we could give if we were to continue TRIBE. So with heavy hearts, in the Spring of 2015 we called it.
"As far as i'm concerned this will always be my TRIBE."
- jeremy richie
Or so we thought… We have been reminded many times in the years after we closed our doors, that people still have a connection with TRIBE. Steve and I would periodically talk about ways to bring it back. We even had a couple of false starts along the way. Now, 3 years after the end, we decided to make it happen. We are re approaching it the way we started: the two of us doing our thing and bringing the TRIBE back together with a brand new wagon full of awesome.
What comes next is up to all of us!
We’re still TRIBE.