A$AP Rocky wears his clothes, but the Midnight Studios designer is inspired by the Sex Pistols.
In an unassuming apartment, smack dab in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles, there’s a young guy sitting with his laptop on his couch and watching “Trainspotting.” It’s a little bit loud — you can hear Renton talking to Begbie from the long and cavernous hallway — but the neighbors won’t complain because it’s 11:30 a.m. on a Wednesday. And while you might be thinking to yourself right now, “This is exactly what I’m doing, why is there a story about this?” you are probably not one of the most sought-after young fashion designers today. Did A$AP Rocky wear one of your creations in a music video? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Shane Gonzales, the designer behind the brand Midnight Studios, is the 22-year-old sitting in the middle of his creative art space, eyes wide as he looks at the “heroes” of Danny Boyle’s 1996 masterpiece. “A friend of mine is reading the book [‘Trainspotting’] and he says that it’s really hard to understand because it’s written the way that these guys talk,” he says. You can see the wheels turning in his head.
Gonzales’s inspirations are at every turn in his immaculate studio — vintage punk posters, custom skateboard decks, art books and action figures adorn the walls as a semi-permanent mood board. The impact of the ’70s and ’80s punk scene, which he first discovered through playing “Tony Hawk Pro Skater” as a teenager, is present in his fashion icons (Vivienne Westwood and original Sex Pistols merchandise) and his creative process: “My process is taking newspaper clippings and random pictures that I find, cutting them out and collaging them.”
Following in the steps of DIY zines and show posters, Gonzales has honed his designs into raw street style menswear collections featuring jackets, sweatshirts, accessories and, of course, his iconic collaged T-shirts. “Midnight kind of started with me just doing the T-shirt thing,” he says, looking around at his designs. “The T-shirts are still our best sellers.”
Before the limited release of his Red Bull Sound Select Presents: 30 Days in LA collection this Sunday, Gonzales showed us some of his favorite things in his studio (“It’s just a whole bunch of random stuff.”) and told us why he loved them so much. Check them all out below.
“This is my personal collection for the most part — I do a lot of renting out to stylists because some of [these pieces are] like 20 years old. This on the [left] end is mostly Midnight stuff. There are only like two stores in Hollywood that carry this kind of stuff, but a lot of it is from Japan and some are from auction sites.”
“I like this jacket because it’s got these [mittens] built into it. I don’t get much use of it here in LA, but maybe if it rains … “
“I’ve been holding onto a lot of these forever because I haven’t had a chance to get them framed. A lot of them have come in the inserts of old records, some I’ve just found at old record stores. I don’t cut these ones up, but at Headline [Records on Melrose avenue], they have a huge collection of old punk magazines and they’re a couple bucks each and they’ve got boxes of them so I just go in with 50 bucks grab a bunch of them bring them home and go through each page and cut them all up.”
“I almost have all of these Sex Pistol dolls. The ones that I need, though, are really expensive.”
“This is some old Sex Pistols shirt that I found in Japan. I can’t really ever wear it though because people don’t notice that it says ‘DESTROY’ at the top of it so they just think I’m wearing Nazi propaganda. It’s supposed to be an anti-Nazi shirt.”
“This apartment [is my favorite place in LA], I don’t really leave here unless I absolutely have to!”
Check out more images of Gonzales’s work space below.