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Former Long Beach students create unique streetwear brand, BoogieMADE

Two Long Beach dropouts make a name for themselves by creating a popular streetwear clothing brand.

The+%E2%80%9CIll+Behavior%E2%80%9D+tee+shirt+is+a+product+of+BoogieMADE%2C+a+streetwear+company+started+by+two+former+Cal+State+Long+Beach+students.+
The “Ill Behavior” tee shirt is a product of BoogieMADE, a streetwear company started by two former Cal State Long Beach students.

The “Ill Behavior” tee shirt is a product of BoogieMADE, a streetwear company started by two former Cal State Long Beach students.

Courtesy of BoogieMADE Twitter

Courtesy of BoogieMADE Twitter

The “Ill Behavior” tee shirt is a product of BoogieMADE, a streetwear company started by two former Cal State Long Beach students.

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Nowadays, startup brands are born at breakfast and dead by dinner.

As audiences become more niche, the need to make your brand stand out in the crowd increases. Two former Cal State Long Beach students took the risk of creating a clothing brand aimed at the electronic dance scene.

Josemarie Santos and Sosarak Khon, both 24 years old, are the creative minds behind the fast-rising electronic music streetwear brand, BoogieMADE.

Over the last two years, the company has had collaborative projects with artists such as  Alison Wonderland, Louis the Child, Manila Killa, and Herobust.

Behind the success of their brand, the duo faced their share of roadblocks, beginning with their time at Long Beach.

Both Santos and Khon attended the university in 2011 after coming from Wilson High School and decided to explore science-based majors. Santos went into microbiology and Khon studied biology, with an option in molecular cell biology and physiology.

By the end of their first year, Santos and Khon were both expelled due to low grades.

“The lapse between high school and freshman year isn’t enough for some people,” Santos said. “You don’t really know who you are or your place in society.”

Khon and Santos were determined to not give up. They enrolled in classes through the College of Continuing and Professional Education outreach program to retake courses they had failed in the hope of getting their degrees.

After spending four semesters in the program, Khon and Santos reviewed the financial costs of continuing their education. They realized that graduating in a timely manner would be too costly, leading them to question whether or not school was for them. During Santos’ first break between classes, he became interested in graphic design, which led to the creation of his first clothing design.

His first idea, dubbed the “Los Angeles Ravers/DEATH 2 GENRES,” was a basketball jersey made for the 2013 Electric Daisy Carnival, an electronic dance music festival held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

With their whole group of friends sporting the jerseys, Santos and Khon made their way to the front of the Cosmic Meadow stage where GTA, an electronic music duo, was performing.

GTA noticed the jerseys from the stage during their set, and paused the music to give them a shout out.

This caught the attention of the group’s then-publicist, Brice Ormesher, though he wouldn’t actually meet the two until a few months later.  The interaction kindled a flame in Santos and Khon, letting them know they were on the verge of something great — they just had to figure out how to execute it.

“A lot of people think they have good ideas after festivals,” Khon said. “They’re full of creativity.”

Three months after the festival, the pair was invited to record label Friends of Friends’ five-year anniversary party. The two took this opportunity to sport updated versions of their jerseys and received positive feedback, with multiple people offering to literally buy the shirts off their backs.

“So we’re dancing to Groundislava’s set and somebody pulls us aside and says he’s been looking for us,” Santos said. “It turns out it was Brice [Ormesher].”

After exchanging words about the jersey, they were invited by Ormesher to meet GTA at an event hosted by the British electronic dance magazine, Mixmag, the following week.

After speaking with GTA about the idea of a collaborative project, Khon and Santos decided to sell their design to the DJ duo and pocket the money for a new business venture. Their earnings were channelled into what would become their first project under BoogieMADE: the ESSENTIAL collection.

“I came up with Boogie, [Khon] came up with MADE,” Santos said.

With the release of their first streetwear collection, a cut and sew based project, Kohn and Santos were able to get their merch out to upcoming DJs such as Kayzo and Jauz.

The brand began to gain traction after Santos reached out to Brett Blackman, manager of the Moving Castle record label, over a direct message on Soundcloud. From there, the two brainstormed an idea for a collaboration tee shirt.

“They were down to earth, they pitched themselves well and they had nothing to lose,” Blackman said.

Through the collaboration, BoogieMADE was worn for the first time on stage by Manila Killa, a DJ, shining new light on the emerging brand.

“It’s edgy, they understand fashion,” Blackman said. “They get behind the artists and musicians they’re working with.”

Following the official launch of the brand on Dec. 5, 2014, the duo found themselves in the spotlight even more as popular artists sought out to work with them such as Luca Lush, Ghastly and Boombox Cartel.

This article has been updated for corrections. 

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