Interview with Elijah Steen
Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld once said, “Never use the word “cheap.” Today everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes (the rich buy them too). There is good clothing design on every level today. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans — it’s up to you.”
It is precisely sentiment that fuels Elijah Steen and the team at Goldigger, a high-end men’s fashion line based in Los Angeles. We recently caught up with Elijah and asked him to introduce the readers of Mode Culture Magazine to his new brand and also tell us about what inspires his style and attitudes towards collaboration. We know you, our readers, are very interested in what is fresh and hot, so it is our pleasure to introduce Elijah, Goldigger, and the next wave in men’s fashion.
Q Can you give some background on your new fashion line?
Yes, of course. So the brand's name is GD short for Goldigger, and it’s a high-end men’s wear. We specialize in men’s tops, and we use premium fabrics for our products. We use real leather and customized zippers. That our focus right now. It went from a private celebrity brand for the last three years to something that we now feel is ready for the general public.
Q What inspired you to create the GD line?
I initially thought I wanted to create something that I wasn’t able to buy but wanted. As an athlete with my physical build, it’s hard to find clothes that fit exactly how I like that look good, with good design. I wanted to design something that was casual but also something that could be worn to a fancy dinner.
Q Have you collaborated with anyone specifically for GD? Or designed anything specifically for a particular celebrity?
Yes. We started a campaign with a good friend of mine, Iman Shumpert. He plays for the NBA team the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is the face of our brand right now.
Q Who had the most significant influence on your work and inspired you to go through with it?
The most prominent name that’s influenced my work I would say was Justin Bieber. He was the first person to wear my shirt in one of his music videos back in 2015. That was the kind of motivation/validation that I needed to keep me going. I wanted to create more designs that would resonate with people because for me Goldigger is more than just a brand; it’s like a lifestyle and a statement.
Q How did Justin Bieber get one of your designs?
A friend of mine is close to Justin. When I first designed a shirt, I was thinking, “what do you do with a clothing brand? You put it on cool people!” So I asked my friend to see if Justin Bieber would like something similar to what I designed, and she said “You know what? I don’t know, but why don’t we go and ask him?”. Next thing I know, two weeks later, while in China filming his music video “All that matters” he was seen wearing my shirt all the time. Then his team got in contact with me, and I began working with him for the next year or so.
Q How long have you been working on the Goldigger brand?
It’s been four years now.
Q Is it something you started working on when you were in college? Tell us a little bit about school; you mentioned you were an athlete?
Yes, I started the brand in the fall of 2012 as a football player at USC. Being in LA and surrounded by inspiration, I did not want just to be another jock at USC, coasting off looks and muscle. I was going through it at the time, trying to find myself and also trying to discover what my real passions were all while playing football and trying to finish out a rough freshman start. I had some friends at FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) and we all went to check out the fashion district one day. Fabric, a penny board, and some cheap zippers were all that it took to get me going. I bought some cool patterned fabrics, and my friend put together my first sample herself. Ever since then the journey had begun. With my personality, I knew I had an opportunity to collaborate with people and get influenced by positive forces outside of the football field, so I took full advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime chance. The brands that I am working on now are a reflection of that time in my life and the influences I received. I am genuinely grateful for my experiences in downtown LA.
Q Tell us a little bit about the streetwear brand that is launching in 2018?
The line is called “Still Kids”. January 1st will be the date of our launch. My good friend Jacque Rae, a young, up-and-coming actor, told me one day that he wanted me to get some pieces to him and his assistant. We stayed in contact and met up at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills and suffice it to say; he loved what the pieces I brought him. Ever since then, I have been on my grind.
My street brand “Still Kids” is a retro, nostalgic gamer-inspired brand for all us adults who still have that young kid spirit inside of us. If you love street culture, arcades, skateboarding and staying cool, then this brand is for you.