Conflict Creates heART: Building A Brand No Matter What Pt. 1
Urban Angel Designs© was realized by me, Preston Kirton, in the last days of the summer in 2005. “I was looking for a way to express myself and some of the thoughts I was having in a way that I wasn’t able to do with the design projects that I was working on for clients at the time.” I had just graduated from Sheridan College for the animation program and, having completed the program in a less-than-stellar fashion, realized that I could not see myself doing that as a career for the rest of my life.
It didn’t excite me and it was miserable to really dig deep within myself and come to an understanding that with all the support from family and friends that I knew I was not going to do what was expected of me and that I made a big mistake going to school for this. “I mean, this was a world-renowned program that Disney, at one time or another, was hiring graduates from directly out of third year. And I wanted nothing to do with it by the end of third year.” To say I was rocked to my core about who I thought I was and where I thought I was going in life was an understatement.
“I went from thinking I was going to be the Michael Jordan of animation in the first year going into the program as a freshman straight out of high school to working at a factory job doing a job that I hated and not being able to make enough money to even consider making a dent in my student loan debt.”
Luckily enough, I had met two of my best, lifelong friends (to this day) in college that wanted to start a social network that specifically targeted a Hip Hop urban culture crowd. This was before Facebook was even dreaming to be born and Myspace was the dominant force online for social networking–which wasn’t even a term used yet. We made a lot of noise early on and began building a name for ourselves within Canada and the States. Eventually, it was looking as if it wasn’t going to take off the way we would have liked it to due to internal issues and external pressures but we had learned a lot about business, networking, and the ins and outs of the entertainment industry which was absolutely invaluable. To get a glimpse of what starting something like this can show you about people and the ruthlessness of business I suggest every up and coming entrepreneur go and watch The Social Network to give you a small idea of what we had to go through.
With a now failed venture under my belt, a dead-end job, and aimlessly jumping from freelance project to freelance project for a small Canadian music marketing & promotions company, I was hanging out outside of a Hip Hop event at Revival in downtown Toronto when it hit me: I had a passion for art and clothing that I never really indulged though it was always a driving force for me in the back of my mind. I mean, I had done a lot of drawings back in college but I always had the thought process that animation was the safe bet and the thing that I should stick with. The term ‘Urban Angel’ popped into my mind and I meditated on it like it was a mantra. It just carried with it a vibe I couldn’t shake. I did a few drawings of concepts that were triggered by reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X and another book entitled the Baron Son.
I had other influences like Nas, The Boondocks, Eddie Murphy’s The PJ’s, and Todd McFarlane’s Spawn but it was really Malcolm X‘s autobiography that really pushed me creatively to create a brand that was conscious, aware, and helpful towards the urban community that I was apart of at the time. I became obsessed with creating this brand that I felt had to be “Soul Food masquerading as Eye Candy.” I would work on it on and off over the next couple of years in-between freelance projects for clients and my full-time day job. For me, this was something that is going to get done and get done well no matter how long it would take and it would be well worth the wait.
After putting away a decent amount of designs since that time, I’m confident that now is the best time to finally allow the world to see the fruits of my labors. I think Toronto has come a very long way in regards to style, apparel, and the fashion industry and the social climate is now ripe for people to see the vision that I have and what I can bring to the table in terms of something new, provocative, and fresh. Hip Hop, Afrocentric art, anime, comic books, pop culture, current affairs, and World events have all played a role in creating the imagery and themes of the Urban Angel brand.
“I love Toronto. I love me city and I wanted to make something that reflected us as well as touch the world on a broader scope.” The brand is something that will traverse different races, creeds, cultures, and varied influences from around the world yet stay amazingly cohesive. Toronto is the perfect example of that because we have so many cultural influences and diverse people that there isn’t any way for me to show the world the very essence of Toronto through my work by not showing them that. Toronto is everyone. Literally.
Enter Urban Angel…
Urban Angel Designs© is a creative brand that illustrates that life is not about finding oneself–it is about creating yourself through passion, persistence, and perseverance. We support those who know that true creativity is free, rebellious, and willing to “Dare Something Worthy” straight from the heART.
The brand embodies the truth of creativity itself–that being able to create is Gods’ gift to you and what you do with it is your gift to God in return. Keep pushing, keep hustlin’, and keep grindin’. Don’t settle for an imposed mediocrity, normality, and/or status quo if it’s not something that YOU choose for yourself.
We support those who know that creativity never stops and it never forgets to ask “Why not, what else, and what more.” – Preston Kirton | Urban Angel Designs©
“Push the limits, ask questions, and embrace the challenges of life on your terms and with your beliefs so that when you look at yourself in the mirror you know without a shadow of a doubt that you did everything in your power to be the very best that you could possible be.”
I originally had a completely different logo for the brand but over the years I’ve come to realize that what embodies the universal appeal of the Urban Angel brand is the current version because it represents the daily human conflict between our negative and positive aspects of ourselves and the day-to-day struggle of our lives. The brand doesn’t aim to preach at anyone but it does aim to highlight certain issues in a creative way that people can identify with and get behind as something that represents them and their daily hustle & weekly grind. It tells the tale of a “Conflict Creates heART“; that anything worth having, worth daring, is created by working and striving through a conflict no matter the odds. “This brand represents everyone’s real life.”
“Urban Angel is about cleverly using creativity to pose questions about the space that we inhabit. It’s a brand that provides amazing eye-candy while at the same time gives you a real food for thought. It’s the embodiment of juxtaposition. The candy will taste nice but doesn’t do anything for you in terms of nutritional value whereas food you need–it’s a necessity towards your very survival.”
“Conflict Creates HeART.”
“Toronto has a lot of talent in regards to the streetwear, fashion, and apparel. I’ve seen what some of the brands up here are doing and the authentic, grassroots following that they have manage to create for themselves. The fashion industry, especially in the urban streetwear sector, is a hard hustle plain and simple. To really make it in this industry you have to want it with every fiber of your being–you gotta eat and sleep this stuff with a passion.”
Posed for a 2017 mid-summer release, Urban Angel Designs© will not only aim to have the same success as other brands in the country but become a mainstay in the fashion scene locally here in the city of Toronto as well as garner attention on an international level. Guaranteed.”
Push the limits, ask questions, and embrace the challenges of life on your terms and with your beliefs – P. Kirton | Urban Angel Designs©
With the first release, the theme is “The War on Love.” It speaks to the youth of today in a very profound and direct way because of all the things that they are seeing taking place in the world around them and the lightning fast pace that these events are occurring at in such a short span of time. Looking back at our adolescence and remembering how dangerous and unforgiving the world can be at times is something that people of all walks of life can relate to.
To someone just coming into their own and entering the cusp of adulthood, it can really appear that nothing is genuine and truly real–that everything around them is out to get them and that there is no real love. This first line really speaks to different thoughts and feelings that circulate around love & war and coming of age in a society that seemingly eats its young.
The main thing is to put a message out there in a creative way for people to process the way it looks to them and, more importantly, the way it makes them feel.
Being somewhere in-between eye-candy and soul food is where a lot of the future thinkers, movers, and shakers of tomorrow are going to be making there decisions.
“Things need to look really, really good and intriguing. You got to captivate their senses entirely. This, and future generations, are just like that because that’s how they have been brought up by us because of ‘fancy algorithms and all this hard-hitting market research’. However, looking amazing should never come at the cost of authenticity and being real. Real is always more beautiful and deep down they know this even if they are not always able to express it in ways that an older generation can understand and meet them halfway with.”
Urban Angel is a line that aims to meet them where they were at and on their terms and that dealt with their realities and their truths.
As a pre-launch, Urban Angel Designs is releasing some exclusives that will never be seen again to wet people’s appetites as to what we have coming in the future. You can get these exclusives at www.designbyhumans.com.
“These were designs that I thought would give people a visual excitement about what the brand is capable of doing design-wise in terms of providing really cool graphic tees. These are a small collection of images that I thought would look very cool but didn’t really carry with them the whole ‘conscious message’ vibe that I usually have merged into my more current work and that is the foundation of what the Urban Angel brand is known for.”
These designs are vibrant, fun, and full of imagination and, although they won’t be available with “The War on Love” line, I do believe that people should be able to get their hands on these before I completely shut the door on these and get down to business with ‘cornerstone designs’ of what makes Urban Angel the up and coming brand destined to make some waves. Urban Angel is coming and its coming with a passion and a flare that the streetwear market hasn’t seen in this fashion for a very long time.
“To really make it in this industry you have to want it with every fiber of your being–you have to eat and sleep this stuff with a passion.” – Preston Kirton | Urban Angel Desgins©