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TRIATHASTRONG

We at Stolen Outfitters deal in transformation by trade. We take personal philosophy and creativity then use ink to create our products by way of a printing press and some elbow grease.  Stolen was always intended to be a multidimensional vehicle.   As such, our interest in transformation naturally branched far outside the realm of fashion and extends to all aspects of our lives.

One of our first ventures beyond apparel was the creation of ReGYMental Fitness,  a free community health and fitness program  in Virginia, focused on what we like to call organic fitness;  calisthenics, a primarily vegan/raw diet, 

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yoga and self-defense.  Our aim was to provide the people a means to learn about health and fitness and increase their physical activity without having to pay for a gym membership; all while building unity within the community. By setting up camp at the neighborhood park we increased participation which helped our members stay motivated.  We faced setbacks and achieved successes but, most importantly, we positively impacted the people we interacted with and improved in the process.

The pregnancy of my fiancé, and subsequent birth of our son, took me to a new state and phase in my life.   As a family man, I found I had less time to dedicate to my training so expanding ReGYMental had to take a backseat; to be rebooted at a later date.  In mid-December we were honored to become the parents of beautiful baby boy and as soon as my lady was cleared for physical activity, she made good on her pregnancy promises of working to return to her previous level of fitness and beyond.   As an avid boxer, and vegan lifestyle enthusiast, her determination inspired me to recommit to myself.  We quickly realized everything we do is an example to our ever-vigilant son, which placed our efforts in a new lens of perspective and level of importance.  We became workout partners a few months after she gave birth and, being competitive people, we began pushing our boundaries.   After a few months training, we ran our first 5k together.  The proverbial “runner’s high” had set in so we made plans for our first triathlon for early fall and first marathon for next year.

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And so the grind continues…Being a parent, a business owner, and an athlete, is a grand triathlon in and of itself; a multifaceted race towards self and our collective improvement so to speak.   In the late stages of preparing for a triathlon you must work on transitions and cross-training. Transitions are the part of the race between the swim, biking, and running phases.  Its primary focus is logistics. Cross-training is the portion of the training when you move away from training for an individual sport and begin training in combinations (swimming then biking or biking then running, etc.)   As I get deeper into my cross-training I see the lines between the three separate sports beginning to blur and the commonalities are creeping up on the differences.  The same is happening in my “grand triathlon” as the lines between parent, business owner, and athlete are becoming more permeable.   Although always short on time, being a father and an example has made me a more dedicated athlete.  Being an athlete has made me a more energetic father.   So where does Stolen fit in? Stolen fits right in the middle of everything.  Stolen is not only a vehicle to express our creativity but a business that can help us in providing for our families.  The responsibility of fatherhood keeps us dedicated to its growth. The link between our business and our families is prominently on display in “The Proud Unit” series. The intersection of Stolen and athletics can be seen in ReGYMental and our new “Triathastrong” design.

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It is our full intention to progress in each area and reinforce the connective tissue between them. Being a father is a lifelong mission. Stolen, while full of fresh, has plenty of room for growth.   My fitness goal is to complete (in 3 years) the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run of the Ironman Triathlon.  We’re built Stolen-tough over here…even Tony Stark couldn’t front on that.

Khairi

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Black August

“Black August is a time to embrace the principles of unity, self-sacrifice, political education, physical training and resistance.”

August is a month rich in history of highs and lows in the struggle for Black Self-Determination. From the births of Marcus Garvey and Fred Hampton, Reginald Lewis’ buyout of Beatrice Foods, and the 1st black nursing school to open at Spelman College to the arrival of the first enslaved Afrikans to the 13 colonies, the establishment of The Underground Railroad and the U.N.I.A and the revolts led by Nat Turner, Toussaint L’Ouverture and Gabriel Prosser, this month carries historical roots that cannot be matched by the one legislated for us to celebrate the same people each year. This is Black August. A month for us.

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The practice of Black August observation originated in the prison camps of California. Its purpose is to honor fallen fighters in the struggle for Black Liberation. Originally enacted by the San Quentin Six, the founding brothers abstained from radio, television, drugs, alcohol and loud, boastful behavior, as well as participated in a sunrise to sunset fast, strict physical training and a revolutionary study regimen. In the late 1970’s, Black August spread from California’s prison yards to communities throughout the country and expanded observation from the sacrifices of those struggling in California’s prison camps to include all our ancestors who struggled against colonialism, imperialism and for cultural empowerment. Today, many local, national and international organizations recognize Black August and engage the community throughout the month by way of study groups, festivals, concerts and community meetings.

This is my fifth year personally participating in Black August and the third year that we at Stolen Outfitters as a company have observed the month and tailored designs for those who embrace it, a practice that we plan to continue on an annual basis. Over the few years of observation, we have produced shirts to honor the lives and works of Gil Scott Heron, Marcus Garvey, Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu- Jamal. A portion of the proceeds from the Mumia shirts have gone to aid in his defense. We give thankhs to The MOVE Organization and Ramona Africa, in particular, for providing an avenue to help our brother. On a personal note, Sister Ramona has been an important figure in my own development, since I had the opportunity to spend time with her and Pam Africa over the course of a few days during Black August 2010. Her example inspired me towards a more proactive approach in regards to my passions, which include but are not limited to Stolen Outfitters.

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This year, we have more designs in queue(to be released weekly) and more plans for outreach in our communities. We hope our products can open lines of communication about people and topics that are important and inspire you to get familiar with those who have sacrificed, reflect on your own role in the community and increase your efforts in BEING the change we need.

“August is a month of meaning, of repression and radical resistance, of injustice and divine justice; of repression and righteous rebellion; of individual and collective efforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us.” – Mumia Abu-Jamal

Right on…

-Khairi

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Lab Work #6

I took a little time away from Stolen Outfitters to finish up www.hollagraphics.com. It was long overdue and continuously took a backseat in favor of the development of Stolen Outfitters but now we’re back up and better than ever before. Now that that’s out the way, back to Stolen….

I recently sat down with the author of the comic Jaycen Wise (who has his own name, Uraeus, but still responds to Jaycen Wise) and discussed using some of his art on t-shirts. Thankfully for us, he agreed and I set out upon the mission of producing a print fitting of the incredible artwork provided by John Jennings. Using a 280 mesh screen and a halftone process on the image, I was able to produce what I consider to be 1 of our most detailed 1 color pieces. You can help support the advancement of the Jaycen Wise Project here.

This shirt is now available in Moss (shown), Steel, Heather Grey and White. $35

 

 

The second piece is purely a product of my subconscious. I designed the center elements -consisting of 2 automatic weapons wrapped in bandages that form an ‘S’ and the first eye as the nucleus of an oval time portal- months ago. Last night -at about 3am- the line work that adorns the perimeter of the oval, basically fell out of my mind into the piece. After studying the forms, I started to see a bird in each corner of the line work. Completely unintentional but cosmically calculated. Can you see the bird or make out what species it is? What do you see in this piece? Does it give you a feeling or resonate in any particular way with you?

The shirt will be released as Fully Auto-Mummy. Colors have not been decided as of yet. Suggestions?

 

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Lab Work #5

We constantly search for garments to print on. Constantly. Sometimes we find pieces that we love but we know we can’t mass produce. This is one of them.

I have a thing for Converse Chuck Taylors and Varsity Jackets. I believe I was born in the wrong era. I should’ve been in Coolie High. This is the Pos Eye Varsity jacket. It doesn’t have the traditional leather sleeves varsity jackets are known for but at a ratio of 60/40 ( 60% cotton/ 40% polyester ) it was ideal for silk screening. Unfortunately, I can’t track the manufacturer down and my source only has a handful left. Problematic since I uploaded the pictures to Facebook and got leaned on for a couple of orders. Looks like we may have to outsource if the demand is great enough. That’s a good problem though.

If anyone is interested in this jacket, it’s going for $75 though the price may change dramatically if production is outsourced. Use the email on the Contact Us page for specifics.

-Don

 

 

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Lab Work #4

At Stolen Outfitters, we’re not particularly fond of either zombies or snitches. Zombies are mindless consumers of the living and Snitches are not always truthful or in the interest of justice. Since we make statements through fashion, we felt it was only right to billboard this notion on a shirt while playing off of pop culture…at the same damn time.

These are available for the Fall in Sand and Moss tees ($25) as well as heather grey crewnecks ($45). Perfect for Back-To-School (especially if you write your own curriculum.)

-Don

 

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Lab Work #3

We do a fair amount of work at Stoutfitters. Basically, we do everything short of sewing the shirt (and who knows what the future holds). Something we do regularly is Print On Demand. We do keep inventory of certain key products but we try to stay swift and changeable to adjust to the market and our target demographic’s taste fluctuations. Not everyone likes our color choices and we are open to suggestions. That pertains to shirt and ink colors.

Just recently, I got 2 orders from my strong peoples, Kaz and Sean. Their orders were considered Print On Demand because we didn’t have any of what they requested in stock and/or had to devise a colorway that didn’t exist prior to the order. For example, The Electic Geometric below is listed on the site but we only printed purple on black originally. The red on black from the shop page was but a theory until it was ordered and produced. This is how we resist commitment to dead stock and having to mark things down to move them. We experiment in our lab and compare notes with our clients to find out what’s wanted and what works. It’s a beautiful thing. 

Peace to Sean and Kaz for the support!

So don’t take the Contact Us page (it’s the drop down under Blog) for granted. If you have a request as far as colorways are concerned, by all means submit it. If it can be done, we will do it. You get to sport it AND a shout out in a Lab Works post.

-Don

 

 

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Hello world! (from the founders of Stolen Outfitters)

I actually enjoy seeing the Hello World post that represents the launch of yet another WordPress blog. Though they don’t always rise to power, they are all born with that ode to optimism “Hello World”. This is ours.

We built this site once before. It was a little edgier and way less functional. As the company grew, the desire for the public to purchase from us in an automated fashion also became more profound. We thought our brand of organic marketing made the company more personal. Everyone that ordered a shirt up to this point had to speak to the founders of Stolen to complete the transaction. The novelty didn’t always translate as hip. Also, you lose the 24/7/365 potential of online shops when your hustle revolves around emails and phone calls. They still have their place but evolution beckons.

As you can see, we’re still very much under construction but we felt compelled to re-establish our brand’s organic marketing platform by adding a blog where there wasn’t one prior. It’s only right. We’re doing a lot more now than when we started. bringing the printing responsibilities in-house has given us flexibility, joy, stress and a lot of reasons to take pictures and write posts to keep Stolen Alumni updated.

So here we are. Still building. Still printing. Still styling. Still refusing to stay still. Hello World!

– Don