Travis Barker is a successful musician, who broke onto the scene with Blink-182 in the mid-90s. While his love for music has always been strong — he’s worked with some of the industry’s best in all genres — Travis also has a passion for clothing, and acted upon it with the launch of Famous Stars & Straps in 1999, not knowing it’d be here 10 years later and bigger than ever.
Today, the brand is one of the most well-known lifestyle brands on the planet, and has garnered co-signs from some of the biggest rock, rap, and sports stars. If you ask Travis if he thought Famous Stars & Straps would be this big back in 1999 when he originally launched it, he’d tell you “Nah, never ever.” But because his dedication and work ethic, he’s been able to turn the impossible into the possible.
With 10 years in the can and the future ahead of him, Ballerstatus catches up with Travis as he and his company celebrate the milestone. He reminisces a little about why he started the line, some of the highlights, and where they’re headed.
BallerStatus.com: It’s been 10 years since you launched Famous Stars & Straps. Looking back, did you ever think it’d become what it has today?
Travis Barker: Nah never, ever. I think anything I’ve ever sorta done that I really loved, I never watched it progress as it was progressing. It just kinda happens. That just means you’re enjoying yourself while you’re doing it, ya know?
BallerStatus.com: Why did you decide to start a clothing line in the beginning? Was it something you always wanted to do?
Travis Barker: I think growing up, I rolled BMX bikes, I rolled skateboards, I learned how to surf … I kinda tried everything. It seemed like in each thing that you did, there was like clothing you had to wear. It kinda like pigeon-holed you into that type of person — you were a surfer, or you were just a skateboarder. I grew up kinda doing everything, kinda confused, but I liked it.
When I did Famous, I started it, I just wanted it to kinda like be the answer to all that stuff. Just a lifestyle brand where you could be anything or anybody … any color, or any type of person could wear it.
BallerStatus.com: Along the way, every business goes through hard times, or rough patches where things might not go as smooth as you want them to. Was there ever a time where you just were like “I don’t wanna do this anymore?”
Travis Barker: You know what? There was stuff that pissed me off, or got me heated, but never so much where I wanted to give up. I don’t like to give up. I’ve always been the type of person that loves when my back’s to the wall, or a challenge, you know? It was a constant challenge for many years — all the hard work and passion really paid off.
BallerStatus.com: How involved are you today with Famous, 10 year later?
Travis Barker: I’m really involved. I’m not involved with shipping and receiving (laughs). I’m really, really, really close with my art department and my sourcing, and they’re still really good friends. There’s people at Famous, right now, that have been there since practically day one.
BallerStatus.com: Is there one piece over the years that is still one of your faves? Or still sticks out in your head to this day?
Travis Barker: I mean, there’s so many that I like. I mean, there’s artists that we’ve collaborated with … there’s always been great pieces. But, it’s like songs man. They all make you feel different, it’s hard to pick one. It all puts you in a different mood.
BallerStatus.com: Obviously, clothing lines come and go regularly. How hard is it to stay ahead of the game, and come with new designs every season?
Travis Barker: You gotta stay on your toes. You gotta stay experiencing things, living life, being inspired by things, and just love what you’re doing. I love designing stuff, I love writing music. I think everyone at our company just loves expressing themselves as an artist in some right.
BallerStatus.com: Famous has really began to appeal to a wide array of people from different cultures and styles — from skate kids to hip-hop kids. How does it feel to see your vision being embraced like that?
Travis Barker: It’s amazing (laughs). It wouldn’t never popped off back in the day. I mean, the same thing kinda happened in music. 10 years ago, 15 years ago, it was like you listened to one type of music, and you dressed like that and you were that type of person. Now, it’s like we’re in the computer age and the Internet and the iPods, and now, everyone loves everything. Everyone’s kinda inspired and listening to everything and wearing everything. I love it, man. This is the playing field I wanna be on.
BallerStatus.com: How do you feel about how the line has evolved over the years?
Travis Barker: This year, we did throwbacks from 10 years ago, so there was t-shirts we revisited from that long ago that aged well that we still loved and we printed and we sold to stores again. That feels good. Usually, there’s some stuff you do 10 years ago that you’re like “Oh man…” (laughs). But, this all aged well because it was from the heart. It was all true to whatever was going on at that time.
BallerStatus.com: What do you think Famous has been able to withstand the test of time?
Travis Barker: I dunno, man. A lot of hard work, a lot of knocking on wood, a lot of keeping it real and true to our roots and what we know.
BallerStatus.com: I remember seeing you at a video shoot in Watts one day. When you were leaving, you went out to your truck where you had boxes of clothes in the back. You opened it up, and just started handing out clothes to the kids standing around on the street. How important is it to give back? Or is it something you do without really thinking about it?
Travis Barker: I remember that day. I think there was a bunch that couldn’t get into the video, so they were chillin’ outside by the gate or whatever. I mean, if I’m getting something outta my car and I see a bunch of kids that would love a shirt, of course, I’mma hook ’em up. I was definitely that kid at one point, and I would’ve thought that was killer if someone would’ve hooked me up. So yea, we always try to give back. We always try to … the youth is awesome, it’s so important. It’s our future.
BallerStatus.com: Does it feel weird to be the guy giving out tees to fans, where at one time, you were that kid?
Travis Barker: You know? I never stop and think about it. I stay busy, so I don’t ever stop and really think about it like “What’s going on right now? How do I feel right now?” I always think about the future, but the thought of me inspiring or being a figure to some kid is awesome.
BallerStatus.com: So, what is in the future for Famous?
Travis Barker: Introducing footwear, some sunglasses, new cut and sew, just doing some of the same stuff we do.
For more information on Famous Stars & Straps or to cop some of their gear, visit FamousSas.com.