Introduction and Interview by Kelsea Kosko
Lousy was launched in April 2017 by Edgar De La Vega and Corey Beaton, two childhood friends from Harlem who had been dreaming of starting a brand since their adolescent years. Lousy New York is far from their first creative endeavor however; Ed was kicking up dust as a videographer while working as the co-founder of Obtrusiv, an online magazine he launched in 2012. Utilizing classic color ways and bursting with tireless energy, Lousy manages to embody the spirit of a 90s New York while dually looking up to the youth of today for inspiration.
Kelsea: Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like to grow up in Harlem, NY? How did you two become childhood friends and how long ago was that?
Ed: Growing up in Harlem in the 90s and 2000s was pretty fuckin' interesting to say the least. I look at it nostalgically now because it was so colorful and fun, but it surely wasn't the safest place in the world. I used to have nightmares about this one particular crackhead climbing through my fire escape window (LOL). Corey and I met through a mutual friend sometime in 2007. I have no idea why or where, but I know I had on an Ed Hardy trucker cap.
Corey: Growing up in Harlem was really an experience. But I feel like for the most part I had a normal childhood. Just amplified in terms of like, experiencing things at an earlier age than other kids my age, maybe growing up a little faster. Ed and I met through a mutual friend . I believe it was like ‘06-’07 at some grungy basement where we use to go to drink.
Kelsea: What are some of the best and worst things about living in New York City in 2019?
Ed: Things are a bit cleaner and friendlier to some extent in the 2019 version of New York City depending on where you go, and I think the Q train is pretty great. However, gentrification is fucking gross, things are way too expensive, New York is ridiculously overcrowded and the trains are terrible as a whole. I love New York though and can't see myself living anywhere else.
Corey: I hate sounding like a old curmudgeon but I feel like a lot of the spirit that made the city what it was is no longer there. I feel like there is still pockets of culture but its kind of dying out. But I guess the good that comes with all the change is the city is safer for the most part. Less looking over your shoulders.
Kelsea: What were you doing professionally before you decided to launch your brand? What were some formative moments or experiences that led you to starting Lousy?
Ed: Before starting Lousy I was a videographer/video editor at one place. I still work at that place and have added 1.5 other jobs on top of that doing the same type of work.
Ed: Back in 2008 my best friend in high school was working at the Rugby store on 99 University Place and I would just hangout there and watch shit. I tried to help fold some clothes and help out once because I desperately wanted to work there, but I can't fold for shit. I was 17 and only had money from selling all of my retro Jordans and SB dunks, so I couldn't afford to do much, definitely not start a brand. From watching and interacting with people who later became friends, I would store bits of information. I would then go home and search random shit on AOL pertaining to brands and style, and this went on for years. I also co-founded an online magazine called Obtrusiv in 2012 with another good friend of mine that was centered around interviewing emerging artists in fashion, art and music. Some of the knowledge those people gave stuck and helped with the creation of Lousy. It’s actually kind of weird being the interviewee here. Throughout college Corey and I would have a weekly Sunday afternoon talk about life and we always spoke about starting something, but didn't know what exactly. In April of 2017 we were drinking in his living room and decided we were gonna make some clothes.
Corey: I was working in sales for a tech company. I think on my end things were really up in the air and I just wanted to do something I cared about. But I think prior to that I was always into fashion but not in a elitist way. I always wore what I liked. I went to boarding school and I was always in trouble for breaking the dress code.
Kelsea: While its definition has a negative connotation, I like how the word Lousy actually sounds catchy and a bit sophisticated, like if you were to detach the meaning and just go by how it sounds. How did you decide on this name and why?
Ed: Thank you for liking the word as much as we do. Going back to my previous answer, I believe the name was brought up that same night in the living room and was a word that Corey really liked from The Catcher in The Rye; Holden says that shit like 800 times and “lousy” is just a great word that isn't used as much as it should be. I could be totally wrong about this story, but this is what I remember.
Corey: That was really the premise of it. Kind of changing the connotation of the word like dope or nasty. I remember telling Edgar how much I liked the word “lousy” and how I thought it wasn’t used enough in conversation and he agreed. But my appreciation of the word really came from The Catcher in the Rye and Holden’s nonstop use of it. I think I kind of identified with his character as a kid. Just him being young and navigating through the city just trying to figure out life. Lol, I don’t know if I should be revealing this. it seems like this book is kind of a manifesto for crazy people.
Kelsea: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not working on the brand?
Ed: Hmmm, this is the hardest question to answer so far. I guess I really enjoy taking showers. Showers are easily the top 1 or 2 best things to do ever in life. I’m also a diehard Yankees and Knicks fan.
Corey: I’m a pretty low key person I really enjoy music. I like going to concerts and watching movies. Other than that, I’m spending time with friends and family.
Kelsea: Who is someone you would love to style if you could and why? It can be someone you know personally, an influencer, a celebrity, or all of the above.
Ed: Luckily the majority of my friends are great people and have purchased Lousy gear, so styling them is out of the question. I fuckin' can't stand the word influencer and hate the whole idea behind it, but it's so necessary in the world today, or in this field at least. Maybe I’m just secretly jealous of them? If I had to choose one “influencer” it'd be Steven Onoja because I've met him in person a few times during the Obtrusiv days and he's an extremely humble guy. His style is also immaculate. I don't know if styling or celebrity are the right words here, but I would love to work with, for or even shoot with, just something with Ouigi Theodore of The Brooklyn Circus. The Brooklyn Circus clothing is absolutely beautiful. Theodore has been an inspiration of mine since about 2012ish and neither of us are the biggest guys, so to see him wear amazing ass outfits and standout amongst his peers has been super inspiring. By the way, short people are gonna rule the world one day (HAHA.)
Kelsea: Who or what is inspiring you to create right now?
Ed: Brands like The Brooklyn Circus, LFANT, Ralph Lauren, Palace, and Atelier & Repairs inspire me everyday in terms of their quality, roll outs and brands a whole. They each have staying power and longevity is something I can only hope for. Seeing people wear Lousy also inspires me to continue creating, it's such a great feeling to have people fuck with your product especially when it's someone you don't know just yelling a compliment at you in the street or asking where you bought your jacket from. I also love Japanese “street” and “dapper” wear. Their silhouettes are incredible. Lastly, M. Tony Peralta of The Peralta Project is a HUGE inspiration. Being that he is Latino and brings the Latin culture to the forefront in all of his projects is fuckin' amazing. If I could personally thank him for doing so, I would.
Corey: I’m inspired by a lot of mostly older movies and references, some art. But in terms of brands, Ralph Lauren, Noah, Maison Kitsune, and Acne studios are a few that come to mind right now.
Kelsea: List one goal or dream you hope to achieve by the end of 2019. It can be personal or professional, or both.
Ed: Personal: I'd love to go on vacation to anywhere because I haven't gone out of the TriState area in two years. That shouldn't really be a goal, but fuck it. Professional: I'd like to collaborate with a couple of brands that are similar to Lousy and maybe even one that's totally different because why not? I think collaboration is key. I'd also like to have Lousy in some boutiques.
Kelsea: Describe your aesthetic in 3 words.
Ed: Collegiate, Universal, New York?
Corey: Comfortable, Versatile, Effortless
Kelsea: Can you list your social media handles and website below so our readers can connect with you and purchase your clothing online?