That tiger on those jackets though.
Eugene of Team Terrible had a shoot scheduled earlier in the day before our sit-down. It got postponed so instead he bought a kitten, as one does. I say that to say, just know throughout the course of this interview, it could be heard meowing, running on top of furniture and bodies, and clawing at its leisure: so just imagine that as you keep scrolling. The little guy had a fresh new environment and ahead of it a lot to get used to.
“I just hope he doesn’t fuck up my Air Max’s” Eugene thought out loud.
Coming alive under my camera flash, those jackets with that logo became a hot ticket item since the brand’s launch in 2013. But that’s not to say the spirit of them wasn’t bubbling inside of Eugene those years prior. After going on about everything from his memories of the street wear scene in the early 2000’s, to 90’s Hip Hop, Bay Area skateboard culture, and his love of vintage clothing, it makes sense how his own personal aesthetic eventually culminated itself into the form of a clothing brand. It’s inception wasn’t so much intentional though, he would explain. Matter of fact, if I had to force the comparison, it more or less started with him, too, getting used to a new environment and fucking shit up.
“We would go out, get drunk, and act crazy,” he described. “Team Terrible” was just something he and his friends would shout for no particular reason as they bar hopped. A San Francisco native, the cost of living in the city drove him to the East Coast and it was in Baltimore where the idea struck him to make team jackets for his small circle to get drunk and act crazy in. The way he frames the brand’s rise feels spontaneous and accidental. It was organic, but it hardly came out of thin air.
He worked at HUF starting around ‘05. Street wear had yet to reach the trendy heights it sits at now and the climate of the city was tangibly different. In hindsight that was the perfect time to be in the environment and soak things up. It was less about hype and more a genuine love. His coworkers were of similar minds, one being the owner of Black Scale, who around that time just started dipping his feet into clothing. He also worked at True around the time these brands the Haight is known for started gaining prominence. Back then there was more room for people to do their thing. At that point, Eugene was doing things like altering Starter jackets and sewing patches into them. He was a skateboarder and a hip hop head.
I asked him his top 10 rappers and he burst into laughter, struggling to narrow it down. The first name was Sean Price.
San Francisco “wants you to pay $1300 for a box…with rats in it,” he went on to describe. Out of necessity he found himself leaving what was becoming a more tech-oriented city and one night in Baltimore I suppose those years out here just clicked. When his friends back home laid their eyes on what was, in hindsight, the first run of Team Terrible jackets, that was the smoke. Then when he made a run of 15 jackets specifically for his SF friends and shipped them out, that was the fire. From there it was a wrap. The demand was so high, he decided to print some shirts with that same logo and they sold out online instantly. Jay-Z, Prodigy, Jadakiss, and Fabolous were the next rappers he started listing off.
Eugene’s based back in SF now. Having sold his product on shelves throughout California, Tokyo, and Mexico, he returned to the city after feeling it all out. With a lot more experience and knowledge of his surroundings, he talks about his future plans framed with all that he’s learned and everywhere he’s been. By now his brand pumped out bombers, tees, hoodies, coach jackets, and bucket hats among anything else that didn’t get mentioned. He’s gone off and tried different designs and styles and to this day that tiger logo is his hottest and most consistent item. The city is different now and so is the scene. I asked him if any current trends influence him or any of his upcoming ideas and his answer was an almost definite no. He has a very clear idea of what he likes and what his aesthetic is.
Common, Cam’ron, J.R. Writer, and Buckshot were the next names he listed.
The scene is over-saturated with brands at the moment and more than anything he’s focusing on staying consistent. He describes tigers as strong, respected, fierce, and outside of just simply loving the animal, there’s something about that strength and independence that I think is inherent of the brand’s character. He skates, collects vintage clothing, and turned his love of Starter jackets into a brand and he plans to keep doing him and staying true to himself. This is less about hype and more about genuine love. He struggled to name his tenth top rapper. Because it’s hard when you’re a real fan of it all.
“Snoop,” he threw out, making plans out loud to cop a vintage Snoop tee sometime soon.
What up, Team Terrible!