The Genesis of Streetwear in Boise 

Deathproof Coffee and Genesis Project will host a runway show, pop-up and concert

click to enlarge genesis_collage.jpg

Genesis Project

In its latest edition to hit European newsstands, British GQ wrote that when it comes to fashion, streetwear is leading the conversation and is, in fact, "the new luxury." In today's digital world, street-wise brands are lighting up social media platforms like Instagram and gaining levels of popularity that didn't exist a decade ago. But with no clear steps on how to create a brand, there's a new order to the fashion playing field.

To that end, Genesis Project, a Boise-based high-end streetwear company, will have a runway show on Friday, Oct. 19, at Deathproof Coffee, a recent addition to the 10000 block of Fairview Avenue. The show will feature 14 models and seven new designs, though only two will be released and available for purchase. Organizers will also host a pop-up shop and concert, including performances from local hip-hop/rap artists MJD, Tree City Mafia, ROSSFILMS, Dami Exodus, and Ylti.

Genesis Project was founded in 2015 with the goal of inspiring people to live their passion. It was more of a conceptual design company in its early days, and co-owners Riley Robertson and Mikel Bengoa said they were trying to find their footing.

"We didn't really sell anything back then. It was more of a project and experimental point where we tried to figure out where we were going to fit," said Robertson. "Were we high-end? Were we streetwear? We were trying to find our niche."

But since Genesis began selling its product about a year ago, Robertson said the brand has made great progress. A stylized take on everyday wear, the style of the Genesis Project brand reads as an intersection between the athleisure of YEEZY and the graphic style of OFF-White. And though it has found its niche in the vein of streetwear, Robertson said that label doesn't define Genesis.

"We don't fit into a box," he said. "We like to aim for a high-end street style, but we create anything that comes to the mind, comes to the heart. Our slogan is 'Expressing interior through exterior.' We want to express our feelings and thoughts, and put them into the world through our designs."

The brand was more or less born out of the idea of the American Dream—that people can achieve their goals if they apply themselves. Through hard work and determination, however those might be defined, success can be within reach.

"We want people to know that you can start from a new beginning, hence the name 'Genesis,'" said Robertson. "Start pursuing anything that you want and use it as a career. Don't limit yourself."

"Youth" was the ultimate inspiration for the Genesis Project brand. Bengoa said young people inspired him when he was admitted to RAW Artists, a collective of artists from varying disciplines, because they haven't yet been molded by society, and express themselves without fear of judgment.

Genesis Project offers a wide range of products, from long-sleeved t-shirts to hats and fanny packs. Robertson said that eventually, the company would like to break into the European market and source materials from across the pond. Right now, Genesis Project is primarily outsourcing domestically, doing small runs of product until they sell out. With its latest collection, though, the brand hopes to achieve a higher-end aesthetic.

"We started out buying and printing on shirts, but now we're getting more into the high-end streetwear look, so we'll get into more cut-and-sew custom pieces," said Robertson. "We're drafting the patterns and doing all of the sewing, stitching [and] labeling in-house."

Robertson said that when Genesis Project started looking for venues for its upcoming show, Deathproof stood out because of its willingness to collaborate. Deathproof Owner Mike Verlennich and his son, Nik, were very encouraging, and it was their cooperation that made Robertson and Bengoa choose Deathproof as a venue.

"We found them and they showed us a stage area they have that has a capacity of 500 people," said Robertson. "They're really passionate about what they're doing, and that really resonated with us and what we're doing. They asked us, 'What is your biggest and wildest dream for this and how can we make that happen?' That's when we knew that this was the spot."

An important note to attendees: The runway show starts promptly at 7 p.m. and the doors will close, so Robertson advises getting there around 6:30 p.m. to see the runway event. Once the runway ends, the doors will reopen, at which point the concert and pop-up will begin.

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