Photos Crook Robbins
“What’s street about a lot of streetwear?” asks CMKS designer Cee. A Bronx representative, the 38-year-old is looking to take streetwear back to the streets with his new line. Consisting of four t-shirts, two long sleeves, three hoodies and a hat, CMKS, or City Morgue Kill Shit is simple but gritty in its design. The line features gun, key, and 1000gm graphics and aggressive logos like, “Fuck Your Life” and “Shoot or Get Shot.”
Despite having little experience in fashion, the CMKS designer was encouraged to create the label by a number of friends in the music industry. “If fashion is supposed to be cutting edge why is everything camo and plaid and all over prints?” he says. “People are sheep, there’s strength in numbers.” A fan of Born X Raised, SSUR, and Deadline Limited, Cee centers his line around the realities of the streets. “I’m not trying to make streetwear for those people. I want it to be based in the culture of the streets not in trends,” he says.
The first time designer doesn’t look up to anyone in fashion but cites ’90s throwback favorites like Polo and Louis Vuitton as his favorite labels. Like many people who have been hardened by life on the streets, he’d prefer not to discuss his past but he takes influence from the real world. When asked about the graphics, he says, “When you enter a certain league, certain things you associate with the good are the bad.” This dichotomy is indicative in the key and the gun imagery. “It’s better to have it than need it and not have it,” he says.
But at the end of the day, the CMKS fashion line is just another representation of the city hustle and Cee is hoping that people will embrace its raw message. “It’s just the international criminal culture you see everyday in movies and music,” he says. “Drugs and violence is as American as apple pie.”
Peep the full lookbook in the slideshow above and pick up Cee’s wares on the City Morgue website.