King Stampede first appeared on my radar in the mid 2000’s, during New York City’s ‘Streetwear’ heyday. These guys came up along with other great local brands like Mishka and 10 Deep, but what really attracted me was their heavy use of psychedelic themes and Grateful Dead references in their work. Today we’re seeing plenty of tie-dye and skeletons appearing in Mishka’s spring line as well as various interpretations of the Dead’s iconic skull and roses even incorporated into Kanye’s Yeezus apparel collection. These current trends are all rooted in 1960’s Grateful Dead culture and created by artists like Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse and Courtenay Pollock. Like these legendary artists inspired by The Dead, King Stampede is out there living the lifestyle. Their authenticity and connection to this culture is evident in their work and their energy is part of the driving force that keeps the scene alive and continuously evolving.
This new generation of King Stampede is something to get excited about. Founder, Nick Langella has re-organized the team which now includes Cara Kelly and two of my favorite artists on Instagram; Reginald Pean (@frenchinald), and Lee Trice (@tricecat). These two guys have been part of the family for a while and are now adding an even bigger dose of cosmic vision and consciousness to the KS formula. They are absolutely crushing it with their new designs and I look forward to all the headiness that’s still to come. I would also like to mention some other members of the crew that helped build the brand and continue to offer inspiration: Peter Leonard, Jimmy Papers and Spliffington.
Right now the new space features an insane gallery of work created by Reginald Pean that includes paintings he describes as a “Peyote ritual in the jungle in a middle of the desert, but you’re in the house of the shaman.” His (not-so) killer Grim Reaper work is on display (and for sale) explained by the idea that “Death is so morbid and sad and dark. Instead of the Reaper taking life, he’s living life and enjoying himself. He’s on vacation.” Check out Reggie’s installation for a couple more weeks before the space at 377 Metropolitan Avenue in Brooklyn is converted from this temporary gallery to King Stampede’s permanent retail outlet offering complete seasonal collections including apparel & accessories, prints, patches, stickers and plenty of positive vibes.
www.kingstampede.com (new website coming soon)