How a South Central L.A. clothing designer is changing the narrative of his hometown
Hip-hop artist and rapper Anderson .Paak can be often spotted wearing bold-colored heavy-knit beanies in orange, red and teal.
He wore a white beanie when he performed at Jimmy Kimmel Live in May. .Paak sported a bright yellow one in a September Rolling Stone magazine feature. And just recently, he donned an orange beanie during a Power 106 interview in November.
What people may not know is that those famous beanies are designed by South Central Los Angeles native Kacey Lynch.
Lynch, 25, established his clothing company Bricks & Wood in 2014. His company has brought him recognition and notoriety these past years, but Lynch aspires to create something more than fame and fortune.
Lynch said he aims to “build a platform bigger than clothing” and change the narrative of what it means to be from South Central. Through his brand, he urges outsiders to “look at [the community] as art” rather than a neighborhood ridden with poverty, gang culture and crime.
When it first started, Bricks & Wood was based in his grandma’s South Central garage. Now, Lynch operates from a studio off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Arlington Avenue. He has no employees, just family and friends helping him out. He sells retro T-shirts, coffee mugs, shorts and heavy-knit beanies.
His styles are minimalistic. Clothing ranges from muted to eye-catching colors. Pants, headwear and mugs sport a vintage look with their distressed, neutral colors and basic designs that are reminiscent of 90s streetwear style.
.Paak isn’t the only celebrity wearing his gear.
Lynch’s clothing brand has also caught the eye of well-known hip-hop artist Tyler the Creator, who wore a beanie from his collection on the cover of the Fall 2018 issue of GQ Magazine.
He said Tyler the Creator was a “turning point of the brand being taken more seriously.”
However, Lynch said he doesn’t let the celebrity appeal of his brand get to him.
He’s using his brand as a medium to capture the beauty and potential of his hometown. In photos of his products, Lynch documents the “grittiness” of South Central by photographing real people, like his grandmother, against neighborhoods with graffiti and cracked pavement.
In his childhood neighborhood “The Jungles,” Lynch captured his grandmother in Bricks & Wood clothing to highlight the juxtaposition between his community and how it is perceived. “The Jungles,” an area lined with palm trees and courtyards, is a neighborhood near Crenshaw in South Central.
Lynch said the photoshoot featuring his grandmother shows that “what comes out of [his community] is not negative.”
As part of Lynch’s Made in America campaign, he designed a T-shirt with a logo featuring two women and a man that represent the various backgrounds and cultures of workers who manufacture the garments. The campaign was shot in Launderland Laundromat using the people of South Central as models.
For Lynch, working from home serves as a primary form of inspiration for his work.
“One thing I really enjoy is just being in the place where it all started. It’s easier to remind myself what and why I do what I do,” Lynch said.
Now, Lynch has many goals for Bricks & Wood.
“As much as people may think they want to keep their brand small and to themselves, it gets to a point where when it grows, it’s out of your control,” Lynch said.