Much like the area’s thriving yet exclusive underground hip hop and rock scenes, exciting fashion is available in the DMV only to those who seek it. Without an established industry to support large-scale, professional-caliber productions, scrappy local independent designers are distinguished not by the vastness of their work but by their subtleties and consistency.
The tag for DRIFT Apparel USA doubles as a mantra for today’s creative class: “Not All Who DRIFT Are Lost.” Founded by Arlington’s Luis “LeftFingers” Lizama and operating within the Bespoke Universe collective, DRIFT is finding its way into Washington’s closets with subtle but evocative streetwear design. A glance through the 2017 DRIFT Look Book reveals a handful of familiar graphic design tropes intertwined—clean logotype, Japanese characters, traditional tattoo illustrations, vaporwave pixelation, etc.—to great effect. Their new line finds Lizama refining and updating his video game-inspired aesthetic, while keeping the signature DRIFT feel consistent throughout.
A proclaimed graphic designer, illustrator, motion graphics editor, musician, and DJ (and more), Lizama is expanding the multi-media footprint for DRIFT and Bespoke Universe. Select branded engagements at venues around town (Songbyrd, The Fridge) featuring local MCs and DJs (Sir E.U., Trace Lee, LeftFingers) allow DRIFT to showcase their work in a more natural environment than, say, a gallery show. Fans of DRIFT are rabid and growing in numbers. Be sure to add one of their hoodies next time you’re playing Hipster Bingo around the city, and keep your eyes on the clouds.