Last year, I helped introduce the world to Creative Director and founder of Arvada Creatives & Co, Ryan Antar. Ryan was making his first steps with Arvada when we first spoke, the conversation was around his origins and his influences, but this time around, we focused on his current endeavor. I’ve watched Ryan as he successfully pushed and promoted his entire movement all by himself. Since then he’s received nothing but great acclamations for his designs and creative direction for his pieces, shoots, and pop ups. Recently I got the chance to speak with Ryan on Arvada as a company; it’s rise to the top and it’s plan to stay there. Let’s just say this is a long awaited part two of an unfinished series, we’ll call it…..
“THRU THE LOOKING GLASS: ARVADA Creatives & Co.”
So what is Arvada?Ryan Antar: Arvada is a creative family, company, movement, if you say. This is a platform for empowerment and recognizing the potential in the youth. When you hear Arvada, I want people to feel comfortable in themselves to go and do whatever it is they envision, no matter how absurd it may seem to others.
What would you say your overall goal is?
Ryan Antar: To inspire, to inspire, to inspire. Simply that, and doing cool things that help others… in other words, using creative ventures to provide humanitarian aid to Syrian Refugees or providing school supplies to a school. The goal is to build Arvada into a philanthropic and creative powerhouse. This in turn can make a huge difference in the world over time. Networking is very crucial as well, I’m trying to turn my role models into friends and frequent collaborators. I want to fuse many things together and that takes the participation of many people coming together.
How long ago did you start it?
I’ve had this idea since I was in middle school, I was about 11 years old when this started to take over my mind. All I thought about was Arvada, I didn’t know what it was at the time but I knew it was going to take over my life eventually and encompass all my dreams into one… making a difference while doing art, music, etc.
Where did the inspiration come from?
Ryan Antar: From my hometown Arvada, Colorado. I was born there and I will forever attribute all my creativity to that area simply due to my childhood experiences there with the overall beautiful nature and relaxing atmosphere there. I like to describe Colorado as a huge painting. Surprisingly, a lot of inspiration comes from rejection and the humility I faced at a younger age. It is hard to do artistic things or have radical ideas at such a young age when everyone around you is immature and doesn’t understand you, let alone your “insane” ideas that now they love. The same people who made jokes about me being a photographer or mocked in various ways are the same people asking for photo shoots now. It all comes in full circle, you have a passion that consumes you day and night, nobody understands you or your thoughts until it becomes the “cool” and “artsy” thing to do because their Tumblr looks pretty.
Ryan Antar: No hate, just disappointment in the sheer fact that people couldn’t acknowledge, let alone accept you until it benefits them. This past summer, I was hired as a photographer at a Baltimore open mic, and every artist was local but highly respected and are all great. My issue was, I was a nobody then, and it really pushed me. I was with my homie and I promised him like “man, nobody knows me now or anything I’m doing, but they’ll know one day”. It’s sort of cliche to mention this but it’s the full truth. I think being overlooked or simply unknown motivated me to push the envelope further into people’s heads to listen to me and my message, see my vision, and support me so we can all eat together at a huge dinner one day and laugh with all the champagne we want. It’s a dream, but that’s my vision.
Should we expect to see more pop up shops or similar events in the near future?
Ryan Antar: Yes and plenty. To anyone reading this, if you’re interested in having an event in your area, just contact me. Be on the look out.
Here’s a small gallery of Arvada photos from their new campaign
How would you compare Arvada now from when it was a blog?
Ryan Antar: It’s much bigger, much more organized, much more open. When it was a blog, It was just occasional posts of my photography with a Arvada watermark. I used to make beats, I named a song after Arvada and it got some attention, but I quit making beats to focus on school, designing, and photography.
Ryan Antar: Also at the time, making beats in middle school wasn’t the cool thing to do just yet, and I wasn’t comfortable with myself. I had so many ideas for what I wanted Arvada to be but I felt constrained and discouraged to make anything of it. Looking back, I realize my dream-killing environment as well as the fact that I was so young just entering the teenage life and I was already having thoughts bigger than my own age; owning a business, doing creative things, and helping others.
How long ago did you make the merger with Music and Clothing?
Ryan Antar: There’s always been an appreciation of designing as well as music. It’s nice to see how the fashion industry has become so fused with the music industry, especially rap. It just happens, I never force any movement or decision, they just happen when I want them to and when it’s natural. If it isn’t natural or genuine, I don’t want it. Over time, after doing clothing and photography you meet musicians and different types of people so that’s how music could have been introduced.
In an earlier interview you explained how Arvada isn’t just a clothing brand, what other avenues can you turn to when working with Arvada?
Ryan Antar: As I mentioned before, charity work is huge for me. I love helping and I think turning a dream of mine into something that also empowers others or makes a difference in a world where nobody really cares anymore is something special. My friends make music and I want to help them in every way I can for that avenue, I think this will open many doors in the future. The brand has to grow first and gain support before the real work begins and that’s what we’re doing. This is nothing right now, just wait.
Should we be expecting a project or multiple releases soon?
Ryan Antar: Yes. YTK is releasing Jimmymac very soon, sometime this summer. Reem Unknown will be releasing many projects throughout the year. We’re working on many things kept private for now but in terms of music everyone is very free-flowing and simply having fun.
The Arvada campaign has been shedding a lot of light on the movement itself, do you think this is giving the people a better understand of how much more Arvada is?
Ryan Antar: I hope so. That’s the intention so I hope the message is clearly being put out. Regardless, whether people support or not, we are happy and doing what we love. Freely creating is a huge part of being happy and being genuine is a huge part of being successful and I think that’s what people love. Everything is appreciated and everyone who supports knows the potential and greater message behind it.
What are your expectations for Arvada as far this year goes?
Ryan Antar: I’ve had goals set for so long now since I was a kid that they kind of get lost in translation over time, so things just happen without much planning because in my head it’s been determined that I’m doing that thing no matter what and I will achieve any goal I want in that moment. I hope that made sense, but really this year is about blossoming and beginning the real work behind our purpose. Just expect doper and doper things as we grow, and I hope everyone who supports grows as well.
How should one approach Arvada if they’re looking to work or collaborate?
Ryan Antar: As I said, I like keeping things small but branching out when the time is right, so if the opportunity is presented, and everything aligns, it’s taken. But in terms of that, honestly I’m open to anything and anyone so just message me on social media, email me (email@example.com). I don’t want to make it hard to reach out whatsoever, just be patient, I takes time for me to make things happen or respond due to the commitments I make for school.
Is there anything you want to say to the supporters that will read this?
Ryan Antar: Thank you to everyone who always shows love. Also if you’re inspired just let us know, we love to hear from people. Expect things to come full throttle this year and the continued support really keeps us going. I plan on having multiple events this year and I really want as many people to be able to experience them as possible. This year our releases will become more grand than usual and I think people will start to catch on soon. Thanks again.
Below is a longer gallery of photos taken from Arvada featuring new clothes, introducing members and models, as well as showing off their own style and perspective on their products and movement. For information on these pieces and more of Arvada’s future work you can follow them on Twitter as well as go to their website. We hope you enjoyed this interview!