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Conversations with Gabriel Garcia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriel Garcia of Unlaced.

Gabriel, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Unlaced originally began as a podcast years ago. After a lengthy hiatus, we returned to the Youtube platform in 2019. With a change in mentality and aspiration to succeed, we wanted to bring a holistic approach to our channel that consisted of great and intentional branding. Once our new logo was created, we knew that we could go beyond the realm of simple “merch” for the podcast and could really tackle the world of streetwear. Immediately we knew we had to be different and bring a fresh approach to an industry full of amazing and talented brands. This is where we decided to really stick to our roots as sneakerheads and create an outlet of apparel that is influenced by the prolific world of sneakers and its intricate impact within pop culture. We all grew up in the era of graphic-heavy streetwear and because it was what we wore day in and day out, Unlaced began to organically shape itself into this embodiment, if you will, that pays homage to the founding heavyweights of this now extremely popular subculture-gone-mainstream.

Because our focus was always quality and comfort first and foremost, it made it very easy for anyone that supported us by purchasing one of our products to have a sense of fulfillment knowing they received an item put together and executed at a tier expected from one of the established, household brands, and not a startup. Not losing our sense of urgency in maintaining quality above all else has allowed us to maintain and grow a fundamental core and following that has gotten us further down the path than ever expected. This keeps us moving forward, always looking to release great products that align with not only an individual’s taste in sneakers but any element that peaks their interest in streetwear. From bold colors to bleached garments and puffed prints, we never want to box ourselves in and isolate the next person.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I know it sounds incredibly cliche, but this journey has been the smoothest one could ever ask for. Yes, diving into new ventures comes with research and tired nights. But if you can go into something understanding (to an extent) and expecting the requirements/hard work necessary to tackle the unfamiliar challenge, then you’ve already positioned yourself to have a positive mindset through these new and sometimes difficult experiences. Because we were all knowledgeable in different and overlapping subjects, it allowed us to focus on singular areas while helping where we could or asking for help when required. This approach brought relief to us all but also allowed us to really hold one another accountable whenever one of us felt necessary. So although struggles were present at different times throughout the journey, the road was always a smooth one. We didn’t focus on the setbacks, only solutions to move past them.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I don’t know if we can say “this is what we’re known for” just yet, but I do know we know what we do want to be known for. Unlaced is all about the details and we pride ourselves in having an eye for the finer things, both literally and figuratively. Having a quality approach to every step of the design process has become 2nd nature, but finding ways to incorporate design elements from the sneaker world without just slapping a shoe on a shirt and saying “…this shirt is for that shoe” is where we enjoy spending that extra time because we know that our supporters (often into sneakers themselves) will find as a cool and refreshing take on what they may be used to seeing when something is “sneaker inspired”. Using words like OG, Retro, Lifestyle (LS), Quickstrike (QS), and Friends and Family (F&F) in our product names is a direct page from the sneaker world and being able to conceptualize those words into something you can wear to complement any pair of shoes on your feet is how we want to enter the world of streetwear and fashion. This is why our Friends and Family tees are some that we are most proud of. Going through the different iterations, you not only see our progress as a brand but also the countless amount of sneakers that inspired the colorways across the many options that were made available over time.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
Never be afraid to spark a conversation with someone that shares similar interests as you. No matter how successful they may seem to you, being able to articulate those mutual interests to them while tying it back around to yourself or your brand will speak volumes to them. They’re able to relate to you on a personal level before you even make the conversation about yourself and the help that you seek for your brand through mentorship. While not everyone can take on the task of becoming a mentor, that doesn’t mean that the conversation you had with an individual before they declined your request wasn’t lasting and/or meaningful. Often times you’ll find that the person you spoke with is a far greater resource for you and your brand than you ever imagined and although you didn’t walk away with a mentor, you gained a relationship worth nurturing. This is how I approached my search for a mentor and after a few attempts, I gained not only an individual I get to call a mentor, but I opened tons of doors I never thought I’d even knock on. Again, none of this is possible unless you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and rub elbows with individuals that have gone through everything you’ve gone through and more. Take risks and enjoy the benefits that come from them!

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Image Credits:

Jose de Casas and Jose “CheapChepe”.

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