Tattoos, fashion, surfing, spearfishing? Designer of clothing line Old Fame, Steven Esterley, is just an all around rad guy. After spotting his line, we knew we had to reach out and learn more about the man behind the clothes. Coming into the industry on a whim, Esterley has turned helping some friends with graphics into his full-time passion and career. “I actually got asked to get in the clothing industry when I was tattooing. These two brothers had a company, they came to me to do t-shirt graphics and then I started building on it and adding more and more and they eventually found out I wasn’t really their avenue of what they wanted to focus. So I took it over and went full throttle with it.” Old Fame builds on Esterley's own personal style with sleek, simplistic silhouettes and exciting, unique details. All self-taught, he says he learned the hard way. “I just had to find fabrics that I liked and compare them for like days and just base them on what felt good, all a trial and error.”
Growing up in a family of professional surfers, Esterley was always around the water and nature - in his own passion for the sea and natural elements he find inspiration for his line. “I’ve always been into stones, I collect taxidermy and things like that and I’m always into natural elements of things whether it’s stones or symbols. I really like organic matter, just the way things come together are so beautiful. I get a lot of inspiration from natural colors from the earth and how they combine, it gives me all these different ideas.” One idea is a surfboard collaboration with pro surfer Matt Parker. “I took a photo of a piece of onyx stone and printed that onto carbon fiber paper and it’s wrapped around the board and it’s matte black and super cool, that will be coming out soon. I try to do everything outside of the box, completely different,” Esterley said. Another inspiration for his own line as well as life is his passion for art. “I don’t go at it the traditional way with fashion, I get most of my influence form things that aren’t in fashion, like different forms of art from when I was tattooing, like art nouveau.”
Before Esterley began his journey into fashion, he was a tattoo artist. “I knew that art was the thing I loved the most and what I had a knack for,” he said. After constantly drawing on himself as a child, he bought a tattoo machine at 15 and began tattooing his friends. He now uses his artistry and tattoo talent by creating his own logos and prints. ”I’ve always loved art and tattooing is just another form of making art. I try to mesh them together. I’m always doing something, like hand drawing a label or logo, all the prints, most of those things I do by hand, it always ties in, instead of doing it on skin, it’s on fabric.”
The possibilities are endless for Esterely and Old Fame. The name of the brand has really lived up to the designer. “It’s like being famous the old school way, not by being trendy or being a follower, that I’ll admit seems to be more common nowadays, but it’s being famous for what you as an individual have a core passion about.” Hard work and passion, we’re all about it. Find out more about Esterley in our little game of 21 Questions.
Craig Steven Gubbins Esterley Jr., but I go by Steven.
Favorite ice cream flavor?
Baseball hats or beanies?
Favorite brand that is not your own?
Staple article of clothing in your closet?
Tacos or sushi?
Three words that describe your personal style?
Simplistic, dark, minor details.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Zoo Keeper because I love animals.
Bricklberry, Daniel Tosh made the show.
Vodka or whiskey?
Dogs or cats?
I have one of each and my wife will kill me if I don’t say cat. They’re both equal, I love both of them.
Three artists you are currently playing on repeat?
Moby, Between the Buried and Me, "Ants of the Sky."
How do you spend a lazy Sunday?
Sitting on my deck with a beer and my dog.
‘70s, way better music than what we have now.
Favorite outfit you've ever worn?
What I wear every day - a good pair of Levis or black skinny jeans and a t-shirt.
Favorite experience as a designer?
Seeing someone on the street wear my clothing for the first time.
Long hair or short hair?
Somewhere you want to visit that you've never been?
Words to live by?
Don’t become influenced by society.
Shop the latest from Old Fame at OldFameClothing.com
By Mischa Teichgraeber