“Awake” is a powerful word in street culture. Being awake doesn’t simply mean not being asleep. If you’re awake, you possess a heightened sense of awareness that enables you to think, conceptualize, and create in a way that the average person who’s not “awake” simply cannot.
And in the case of New York-based Awake NY, a brand that’s poised to be one of the biggest successes of 2018 … it’s safe to say that they occupy the aforementioned “heightened state”. But to truly understand what the brand’s all about, you first have to understand its founder’s creative work and credentials.
Angelo Baque. You may not be immediately familiar with his name, but you’re certainly familiar with his body of work. From 2006-2016, Baque played a critical role in Supreme’s worldwide growth and development by serving as their brand director, helping to oversee the once-humble NYC skate brand’s growth into a street culture juggernaut.
However, the story of Angelo Baque (pictured above) consists of much more than just his time at Supreme. He left on good terms in 2016 to start his own agency, Baque Creative, which has worked with the likes of David Sims and Nike, most recently on the extensive rollout of the Nike x OFF-WHITE collection in New York.
Similar to many other influential individuals who honed their skills in Supreme’s talent incubator (Noah‘s Brendon Babenzien, OAMC‘s Luke Meyer, and Proper Gang‘s Max Vanderwoude Gross to name a few), Baque expanded into his own brand, Awake NY … and it’s a brand that’s bound to rocket into the stratosphere in 2018.
Originally releasing their first collection in 2013 when Baque was still working full-time at Supreme, Awake NY is mainly known today for their simple and clean logo tees, hats, and hoodies. adorned with their signature script logo inspired by the “academic-leaning Upper West Side and the radical, melting pot mentality of downtown Manhattan”.
But the brand is more than just streetwear staples. In past seasons, Awake has also worked on more high end cut-and-sew menswear pieces like blazers, jackets, and button-ups, done in collaboration with Ebbets Field Flannels and Penfield. Similar to Supreme, Awake understands how important it is to go high-low, and offer a little bit of everything for their discerning consumer. Baque’s aim is “to be able to create gear from a New York point of view. Whatever that means today, whatever that means to me.”
Upon its initial release, Awake gear was tough to come by. Available from a very limited amount of Japanese stockists like SHIPS JET BLUE (any early stateside purchases were made by a proxy service as the line was not available in the US until a limited amount of hats arrived at Noah’s NY flagship in late 2015), the brand’s scarcity reflected Baque’s mindset, as he once mused “I will grow it little by little, but the beauty of doing Awake is I can kind of do it when I feel like doing it” in an interview with Gosha Rubchinskiy for Marfa Journal.
Over the last few years, the gospel of Awake grew at a slow and steady pace. It wasn’t a brand that you’d just stumble upon … you had to be awake (see what we did there?) to discover it, and even more in the know to figure out how you’d go about getting your hands on the brand’s limited pieces. This masterful slow burn curated by Baque finally reached a head in 2017, when Awake made their first full U.S. collection, consisting of colorful, logo-adorned hats, tees, and hoodies available on Black Friday.
And after the collection dropped and Awake NY was a name that was on every streetwear cool guy’s tongue, the high-profile announcements just kept on coming. A spot in Art Basel’s “Social Studies” project, designed to give consumers a chance to learn about the process behind the products that they consume, put together in conjunction with heavy hitters like OFF-WHITE, No Vacancy Inn, 032c and more. A colorful tracksuit collaboration with Amsterdam’s legendary Patta (pictured above). A new list of high-profile stockists like Union LA.
It’s safe to say at the end of 2017 that Awake NY is on the cusp of streetwear greatness due to Baque’s relentless hustle, knack for great designs, and excellent connections in the industry. Don’t be surprised if you see the strong logo everywhere you look in 2018 … and remember one thing: you heard it here first.
What are your thoughts on Awake NY? Are you familiar with the brand and Angelo Baque’s previous work, or is it new ground for you? What’s your favorite brand with ties to Supreme? Hit us up and let us know on Twitter or sound off in the comments below!