Name: Dylan Chenfeld
Swank: designer, creator of RooftopsNYC
Check out his gear: rooftopsnyc.com
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Bravo’s Chef Roblé & Co., you may have seen Roblé wear one of his “I Met God, She’s Black” tees. 19-year-old New York City native Dylan Chenfeld has caught the attention of many heads with his RooftopsNYC clothing line, having The Maine and Sleeping with Sirens rock his apparel. In this week’s Family Swank, RooftopsNYC founder talks about a divine revelation, being an Underdog, and ousted governor Eliot Spitzer.
Mass Appeal: I first saw your slaps (stickers) lining the streets from 59th street down to lower Manhattan. Did the idea behind creating RooftopsNYC start out that way?
Dylan Chenfeld: The idea really came after the “I Met God, She’s Black” shirt. First came the shirt; I made one shirt to wear around and got a really great response, so I decided to make more. I know I needed some kind of brand name for a website so I chose RooftopsNYC. Once I had the brand name I thought stickers would be a cool way of getting it out there. All my friends are always throwing up stickers, so it wasn’t hard.
MA: What’s the science behind the name “Rooftops”?
DC: I went to high school for 9th and 10th grade downtown, and after (also during) class my friends and I would kick it on rooftops in the ‘hood. The name felt natural.
MA: So what happened when you realized God was a woman and Black?! Did She tell you to make a T-shirt in Her honor?
DC: Yeah, pretty much. She said get the word out, and here I am.
MA: Are you planning on just staying in the sticker and T-shirt game, or is expansion in your future?
DC: There are plans to expand. We launched our first hat and tank top this week, and are currently designing hoodies and some more outerwear stuff for winter. I really wanna do skateboards, so hopefully I’ll find a way to make that happen. I have an idea that’s scarier than my Internet search history.
MA: Aside from your line, I know you’re into music. Talk to me about that.
DC: Music has always been my love and focus. I’ve been a songwriter/guitarist for as long as I can remember and everyone in my family is involved in music. I played in bands with my younger brother for a while and am now currently in a band called Your Underdog. I’ve also worked at record labels for the past few years—that’s the closest thing I have to a day job, so to speak.
MA: What’s the correlation between music and fashion?
DC: I think they are both pretty connected: it’s art. As a musician, I can say that most artists are (even if secretly) interested in fashion and other arts; I know I love drawing here and there. One of the ways Rooftops initially got out there was me going to the dudes in bands I’m friendly with and giving them the shirt. I think the fashion world takes a lot of cues from the “too cool to care how they look” musicians, so in a way they inspire each other. I know very little about fashion, but I feel like growing up I was dressing like whatever band I thought was cool, I think that’s how a lot of kids do it. I still have hella jean khakis from the early nu metal years.
MA: Chef Roblé seems like he’s an avid supporter of yours. How did the bromance start?
DC: Hahaha I’ve never seen it phrased like that! Roblé and I had a mutual friend, but weren’t aware of who each other were. He saw the shirt on my friend Oren on Instagram and started posting about it. I asked Oren to connect us, we started emailing and I sent him some shirts. Weirdly enough like a month later we where actually both in the Hamptons at the same time so we kicked it out there, for the first time in person. He is a dope dude. We may collaborate together on something together on the future.
Side note, I think the sentence “we were both in the Hamptons at the same time” is the douchiest thing I’ve ever said.
MA: Who would you love to see rocking your T-shirts?
DC: Let’s see… Last time I was asked that question I said the Pope and Justin Bieber, what can top that?
Alex Turner, cause I saw the Arctic Monkeys last night and they were sick, but definitely Bill Maher and Eliot Spitzer.
MA: In 10 years, I…
DC: Can’t say it [because] it might not come true!
MA: Favorite quote or motto?
DC: Tough question, there are so many good ones.
If you argue with a dumb person, to a stranger walking by you, you will both look dumb.
MA: Rooftops is…
DC: New York City.