Man, I don't know what it is, but I was going through some pictures on my Facebook & myspace pages, and I was taken aback by just how much I've been photographed in Dirty Coast Shirts... I honestly just have 6 (six) of their shirts, but from looking at my photos, you'd never know it. I'm also not particularly fond of being photographed in the first place which only adds to the extreme oddity of this phenomenon.
At the SXSW Skratch Session
I first heard about Dirty Coast from lil Doogie. I know, I know, never take advice from a puppet, but in the Doogie Shirts video he just burned those words in my brain.
"Dirty Coast got dem shirts, big shybe on the scene. Come to Five-Seven-Zero-Four Mag-a-zine. (repeat chorus X4)"
So that became my mission, I absolutely needed to get a Dirty Coast Tee. More specifically, I NEEDED a Doogie shirt. As we all know when you go from wanting something to needing it, it becomes a responsibility. So I headed on down to good old 5-7-0-4 Mag-a-zine. As I was passing the Jefferson St. corridor through all the cool little boutiques, I was looking for Dirty Coast on every storefront.
"I really don't remember seeing it out here," I said to myself...
There's no way I could miss it though. The address is burned into my mind. So I pass Whole Foods...5600 Magazine.
"Awww yeah!!! I'm getting close!!!!"
Then I peep it, and at the last minute make the left turn into the parking lot. I finally got there, and Doogie led the way... As I enter, I become surrounded by local flavor. Not only are all the shirts beautifully designed, but every single one of them is in some way Louisiana themed, more appropriately, New Orleans themed. I looked around...
"Damn, wow!!!! It's the Supa Saint picture that Doogie was rapping in front of in the Dirty Coast video!!" I'm like a kid going to a new candy store.
Supa Saint is another local internet phenomenon I'd become familiar with while doing my "research" on Doogie and Dirty Coast. He really does capture the spirit of every single Saints fan in this city, but I digress.
(L to R) Beverly Skillz, Kid Sister, Tony Skratchere, lil Doogie, A-Trak
So I begin to eye the merchandise. I realize, I've seen some of these designs before. Whoa, "Be a New Orleanian wherever you are". That bumper sticker had been on my car for months. Now I struggled to remember who gave me that sticker. How had I not come upon this t-shirt paradise before??
Scratching at Sasha's House
It was a t-shirt paradise. Being a designer myself, it was a design nerd's paradise. There were little subtle digs at pop culture, homages to other t-shirt brands, rip-off's of logos tweaked in Orleanian fashion. There was a Supa Saint shirt and the coup de grace... Doogie.
So, I grabbed a Doogie shirt and eventually settled on a Supa Saint shirt. I went up to the counter with my purchases...
"Why did you choose this one??" the guy behind the counter inquired pointing at the Doogie shirt.
"Because of Doogie, I love his videos. It's the funniest thing I've seen in a long time!! I've been talking Doogie up to all my friends. That sh*t is the TRUTH!!!" I replied.
"Those guys are friends of mine."
"Well, tell them that I'm a fan. I can't wait to see how far this goes... I think all it's going to take is the right person to see this and Doogie will have his own show on TV."
Me and Doogie in the Grotto
The guy thanked me for my purchase and gave me some free stickers. I walked out feeling like I had just bought a gold brick, or a really rare comic book. I couldn't wait to sport my Doogie shirt. I WANTED people to ask me about it, so I could tell them how genius the videos were, and how I'd found this gem of a t-shirt store uptown. Well every single time I wore the shirt, it had exactly that effect. This was a pretty long time ago, before the magazine covers, before the big room shows at One Eyed Jack's, before Doogie was rapping with PNC, waaaay before his album came out. I was trying to figure out the exact date. I left a comment on the day I first saw the video on Vimeo, but for some reason I can't figure out how to view the comments. I was the first and only person to leave a comment on the Doogie shirts (uncensored) video. If someone could please tell me how to view them I could give you an exact date.
Well fast forward to today, and the real point of my story came when I saw a Dirty Coast twitter post about posting your flicks on their flickr group. I just went through all the pics on my computer and various social NOTworking sites, and I realized how many pics I had wearing Dirty Coast couture. I've played at least five shows in which I wore a Dirty Coast tee, and I've been photographed by friends in almost every bar or social situation. It all boils down to me just being a big fan of Dirty Coast and feeling a sense of pride when I wear their shirts. I'm not sure whether it's about supporting local business, or the "cult of cool" started by Doogie, or that the designs are just flat out fresh, but I do seem to enjoy being photographed in them.
You can check out Dirty Coast at the aforementioned address, also at www.dirtycoast.com Stop by the site, sign up for the mailing list, keep up to date of special promos, official Dirty Coast events (like DMC New Orleans *shameless plug*). Stop by the store. Check out the quality. It really has to be seen to be believed. You can also add the Dirty Coast myspace and Facebook through the website portal. You can also follow them on twitter @dirtycoast Check them out!!! They are officially what's happenin' in New Orleans.