Ever since I first followed staygood Chris in 2018, there was something unique that set him apart from the sea of streetwear brands on my radar – his consistency. There’s often a layer of protectiveness with creatives that prevent them from showing off their unfinished projects prematurely, but Chris offers his followers full transparency. He shares the products, the ideas, and sometimes even lets his followers decide which colorways he will produce.
Hailing from Dallas, Texas, Chris started the brand in 2016 after experiencing a slump. “I lost my job and my car as I was trying to find ways to branch out and do my own thing, so I came up with staygood. Staygood was a natural thought to me,” said Chris. “I was trying to remind myself to staygood no matter what I was going through.” And good it has been. Chris has launched a multitude of successful releases in the four years since, all with positive reactions and engagement that garnered the attention of people from Texas to California. As the staygood name grows larger throughout the city, so does the community Chris has fostered, making sure no one feels left out. After some pieces from his new collection sold out, Chris told everyone not to worry, reaching out to everyone who missed out with an “I got you!”
To Chris, the key to his newfound success is patience and the strength of his community. I sat with the staygood founder ahead of the release of his latest collection, which is available now on the staygood website, to discuss the brand’s growth, overcoming creativity roadblocks, and the process behind his new designs.
SANDY MOSQUEDA: For anyone who doesn’t know about staygood, can you tell us how you started the brand?
STAYGOOD CHRIS: I had been designing clothes since 2013 but I started staygood in 2016. I had a few brands prior to that. I had a brand with my friends called Hoodlums and after a while, I wanted to do my own thing. In 2016, I ran into a slump. I lost my job and I lost my car as I was trying to find ways to branch out and do my own thing so I came up with staygood. Staygood was a natural thought to me, I was trying to remind myself to staygood no matter what I was going through but it was also made from all the stuff I’ve been through growing up like having a tough life and all that, so it’s a constant reminder to staygood.
It’s been a long time coming. I first saw staygood around 2018 and you’re seriously one of the most consistent brands I follow. How do you stay inspired?
Life in general. Everyone wants to have freedom financially but I want the freedom of time. I still struggle with having to go to my 9-5 every day. Life keeps me going, pushing me to become my own boss.
Where do you work?
State Farm. They have us working from home. I just started this December but the job I had before was at a screen printing spot. I was able to print my own stuff, they were really supportive. They gave me my own key so I was able to go to the shop whenever I wanted and that was really helpful. They were open for 12 years but something happened and they had to close down the shop.
Did you face any difficulties because of the pandemic?
I feel like a lot of people picked up hobbies around the quarantine so everything was selling out. Everyone was starting brands and it was hard to find wholesale stuff. I had a bucket hat that I wanted to include in this release but couldn’t make it. Other manufacturers said they could do it but it would take four weeks. I couldn’t wait that long.
How did quarantine affect your creative process?
It put me in slumps, I was just recently able to bounce back! It messed up my creative mind in a negative way. In the beginning, I was cool and I was able to work from home. But as time progressed, I got too comfortable being at home and I became lazy.
How do you bounce back from that?
I started getting out of the house a lot and hanging with friends. Just being around family and friends but being safe at the same time because we’re still in a pandemic. Getting out and being around family really helps me for sure.
Right, just being around a group of people that motivate you and support you.
Yup, I get that especially with my brothers. They motivate me the most, especially when I’m at my lowest. They help me get through certain situations.
I sometimes see your posts about the staygood pupusas, is that your brother that runs that?
That’s not my blood brother but that’s my brother. I’ve known him for so long that I consider him my brother. He’s from El Salvador and he and his mom do pupusas once or twice a month. He does the pupusas under the staygood name but I have no affiliation with it. I let him do what he wants.
That’s dope. I think it’s cool whenever you do pop-ups, the whole staygood name comes together.
I’m really trying to find a way to centralize everybody and figure out what they want to do with themselves. If they want, they can incorporate the name staygood with whatever they want to do. I just want to help them figure out what they want to do.
It’s nice seeing a collective of friends working toward their goals like that.
Yeah, it’s helpful. We lift each other up, it’s something that’s really needed for sure. We’re all just brothers trying to do what we want to do in life.
Does being close to your friends in Dallas have any influence on each others’ individuality?
We learn off of each other, work off of each other, and create off of each other. We all have different things that we want to do with our lives and staygood just helps push that.
The collection you released in February just about sold out, how did that feel?
I had to deal with a lot that I’m dealing with the release of this collection, minus the pandemic. I had to push the date back over and over again. It’s always a big relief to release a collection. That one was way bigger than this one in terms of a whole collection. Each item had multiple colorways so it was my biggest collection to date. Just that relief of finally getting to that point to drop it is kind of where I’m at right now.
That collection was so hard.
Thank you, I appreciate it. I had a pop-up over at Firewood Mall in Garland and it did really, really good. Whatever I had left I put it up on the online store and I still had a little leftover so it didn’t fully sell out, but I don’t like putting my stuff on sale. So I kinda give stuff away. With this drop, I’m throwing in free pieces in a few random orders. That’s something I like to do.
People usually give free stickers and shit. You’re giving customers a whole piece, that’s dope! I noticed from your Winter collection, you have some high-quality items but they’re still affordable. People can cop a couple of things and not break the bank. How important is that function of customer accessibility?
I try to base my brand off of community because, without them, the whole ship would sink. This wouldn’t be possible without any of them. I try my best to make things affordable for customers because I’m not in it for the money. I really have a passion for creating things. I try to make things affordable and throw in free pieces. Around the time I was working at the print shop, every time I would do a drop, I would include a free shirt. I do stuff like that because, without them, the brand wouldn’t be what it is today. Community is super important.
The red corduroy puffer jacket from the Winter collection was CRAZY.
I wanted to do something that I haven’t really seen. At the time, the only brand I saw do that was STÜSSY. They dropped some green ones in 2016. So I thought, you know what, instead of doing a regular coat, I’m going to do a puffer jacket – a red one.
It went viral on Twitter.
The first time I posted the photo it was a sample that I did with one manufacturer. It didn’t go full viral but it did reach a lot of people for sure.
It reached Joey Fatts.
He followed the brand and me afterward. Shoutout Joey man I love his music and his brand Cutthroat. Hopefully, I’ll be able to work with him in the future, his brand is tight.
Now that you’ve gained experience with dropping collections, what advice would you give to other people starting their brand?
Patience. Patience is a big one, especially for myself. I’m a very, very impatient person. Whether it’s with a sample that I’m waiting to come in or having to wait for something to get printed. I feel like I’ve been patient for a really long time.
How big is the new collection?
Nine pieces. It’s four t-shirts, a crewneck, shorts, two pairs of sunglasses, and a keychain. My favorite one is the crewneck with black embroidery.
My favorite is the t-shirt with the blur.
A lot of people like that one! I wished I would have printed more. I didn’t think the people would receive it like they did. I might release another colorway.
What do you think the greatest takeaway piece from this collection is?
The sunglasses. It’s a new item, I’ve never done sunglasses before but aside from that, the blurry t-shirt.
How do you decide what’s going to be included in the collection?
I don’t have a specific process. I work with Illustrator and Photoshop and I design a lot of stuff as I go. I never sit down and create a collection in one sitting. I’ll throw in a design that I made a few months ago or I’ll include a throwaway design from a long time ago and revamp it. It’s not a specific process but I do try to make everything color coordinated. I don’t try to make colors match but coordinate so that everything goes together and you can wear everything from the collection together. So far, I think I’ve done a pretty good job executing that.
Yeah, I feel like it has something for everybody. I guess now all we’re waiting on is for the collection to drop. I feel like every time I see you post about it, everyone’s commenting, “drop that shit already!”
[Laughs] Community is super important that’s why a lot of people like the brand because I have a community that really fucks with it. I’m not trying to boast myself or anything but people who see the brand don’t just see a good brand, they see how nice it is, it’s really nice. It’s impactful for people to see it.
How does it feel to have the support you do?
It’s helpful. My brothers are helpful with reposting and are always in the mix when it comes to creating ideas. It’s nice to have a bunch of creative minds in one setting so we can just bounce ideas off of each other. I’m always going to be super thankful for my bros, always be about family and community.