For some, streetwear is like a cult. There are unwritten rules and sartorial discrepancies that break folks down into sects; the athletes, the high fashion rippers, the hipsters, the skaters, etc. All of them subscribe to or are loyal to specific brands. These brands represent certain aesthetics, sections of individuality and at the same time collective mentality; they become tribes. However, what happens when a grassroots movement becomes the beast it circumvented?
In 2004, amateur filmmaker Louis Loizo set his sights on a brand he grew to love and represent – “Pervert” – for the subject of an investigative documentary, choosing to focus on the early ’90s streetwear giant’s founder, Don Busweiler.
Busweiler’s brand grew into something so big that he had the likes of Janet Jackson rocking his wears. Loizou recently mentioned that Pharrell may have been paying homage to an old “69” design from the brand in his “Happy” video.
Major success seemed imminent for Busweiler, so it came as a huge surprise (to outsiders) when he made the abrupt decision to give it all up for the pursuit of a true Christian life.
Via his Kickstarter Campaign Loizo breaks down his film How Can I Be Down and its significance to Don Busweiler’s story:
‘How Can I Be Down’ is a documentary I worked on between 2004 and 2007. Unfortunately through lack of funds I was never able to complete the project and it’s lay in limbo ever since. HCIBD tells the story of Don Busweiler – founder of Streetwear clothing company ‘Pervert.’ In June 1995, just as his company was on the verge of major success, Don gave away everything he owned and joined (what was then) a mysterious religious cult – The Brethren or The Brothers and Sisters.
Take a look at the trailer for Loizo’s How Can I Be Down above and be sure to visit his Kickstarter page to find out how you can donate and help him finish off this extraordinary documentary. You might even see some familiar faces from the realm of streetwear thrown in the mix.
For more information on the project as well as what inspired Loizou, check out his interview with Oi Polloi