Travis Carter – BKE Streetwear

Say hello to Travis


Where are you from?

Plainfield, IL (suburb near Chicago area).

What’s your favorite place in the world?

Chicago by far. I say that because that’s the place that inspired me to even begin taking the steps that led me into doing what I do now.

What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?

As far as for clothing, that list could go on and on, but some things that I have my mind set on at this moment is basically making pieces that you can wear no matter what such as jewelry, socks, wristbands, hats, etc. I want to be able to make things that anyone can wear and not have to spend what they would on a hoodie, but still be able to support the brand.

How do you define style?

I’d define it as something that you develop over time with trial and error, as well as constructive criticism given by people that have more experience. Once developed, it can be what defines you and what sets you apart from the majority. Hopefully, it can be what gets you recognized by the right people that can lead you onto the path that you plan on taking. It’s also really just who you are as a person and your preferences as far as what you wear.

What was the inspiration behind starting BKE Streetwear?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to do something to make a name for myself. The thought of creating something and then marketing it, and people actually recognizing your talent has always sparked my interest, as well as just being able to do something you love for a living. I picked up graffiti in 2011, and over time, I made it into one of my main outlets, whether I was in school or at home. I was pretty much always doing it, and so eventually, I came to the conclusion that I was having fun, but wanted to share it. In turn, I came up with the idea of putting them on shirts; however, I didn’t have the resources to do so for about a year and a half. During that time, I kept planning until the end of 2015, I got my first order placed. Originally I wasn’t even planning on starting a brand – I was actually just going to make some for myself to wear around and maybe if family wanted them, but then I figured it’d be crazy to see other people wearing it.

Who is responsible for the designs?

I do all of my editing and graphic work myself, and I’m for the most part, self-taught.

How do you find inspiration for your designs?

Usually, I like to try and keep the graffiti/street art feel in everything, but I know that I can’t just put graffiti on a shirt because a lot of people wouldn’t be able to read it. Throughout the years of watching other artists and brands, I developed a general sense of how I can combine graffiti with maybe what people would call “main stream” fashion to create the designs you see on my clothing. However, you will NEVER see me put out something that wasn’t at one point sketched out on a piece of paper or in some way shape or form, drawn/edited by hand.

Who is the BKE wearer?

Pretty much anyone. I say that because I don’t want to place a limit or say that if you’re not this type of person, you shouldn’t wear my clothes. If you like it, then by all means, you can wear it. However, if I had to put a label on who, I’d say my main supporters are people who like the urban/skate culture. Even though I’m not the best at skating myself, I feel like street art and graffiti fall into that category – but really, if you appreciate street art or just like the way it looks, then by all means you can wear it.

Tell us about your career.  How did you get into it?

I started off as a graffiti writer, but I realized that what I was doing wasn’t going to lead me in the path that I was trying to pursue – it came down to either quitting or finding a better way of putting my name out there.

Do you have any projects you’d like to show off?

I currently have new windbreakers coming in soon! You can check those out on Twitter or Instagram: @traviscarter42 or @bkestreetwear for both.

How does BKE stand out from other streetwear lines?

I like to use the fact that a lot of my designs originate from hand drawn sketches and my graffiti/street art background, whereas a lot of the times now, you see these brands just putting out shirts with a simple straight letter font and maybe a picture as the background. I’m not taking shots at any of them, because obviously if it wasn’t appealing, they wouldn’t be popular, but I do take quite some time on making my designs and I really try to make sure that I’m putting in real effort into making a design that I like before I try to get anyone else to.

What types of models do you look for when shooting adverts?

For now, I’ve been mainly using myself as a model, partially because I like doing it, and second, because when I make something, I picture myself wearing it. If I can’t do that, then I won’t make it. But I have also worked with a good friend I have in Philly who is a rapper – his name is Spiz The Prophet, and he’s modeled some of my clothes as well. Twitter: @spiz_theprophet | Instagram: @spiz1990

How do you stay current on design trends and integrate them into your line?

I like to watch certain brands such as Bape and Boy London, as well as the things that some of my idols such as Wiz Khalifa wear, and then use those things as somewhat of an inspiration to decide what I’m going to do next. Of course, I won’t take their ideas or try to copy them, but I use them for inspiration for things as little as just the placement of the logos.

What are the top 3 tips you have for models looking to book shoots for e-commerce?

  1. Be yourself.
  2. Make sure you like what you’re wearing before you try to get others to.
  3. Be original.

What is the most life-changing event that you’ve experienced?

I can’t really go into depth about this, but I guess I’ll just say a run in with the law and the luck I had coming out of that.

What’s your greatest failure, and how did you overcome it?

Attempting to alter my style and what I enjoy making in hopes of reaching a bigger audience or meeting the expectations of people who didn’t appreciate what I do. I was impatient and thought that if I did what everyone else was doing, then people would show more interest, but I quickly realized that if I do that, then how am I going to expect to stand out from the competition? So I went back to my roots, took some time off, and had to go back to what I wanted to do and remind myself why I’m doing this and how I don’t want to look like every other brand. I’ll always say I’m a graffiti artist or street artist – I just don’t use the typical way a graffiti artist would use to get my name out there.

What’s your greatest achievement, and how has it shaped you?

I’d say landing myself a spot on the shelves of my local skate shop (@jericsskateshop), and I’m not saying that for the obvious reasons such as the notoriety and the potential exposure that can bring me. I say that because I did that on my own with little to no help – I mean, yes, I had to talk to some people I knew to get in contact with the owner, but I made that move and took the initiative to go in there and present myself as a business owner and that’s hard to do when you’re 16 and people look at you and expect you to fall into the stereotypes. I know that I work pretty hard for what I want in life, but at the same time, it’s hard for me to call it work when I’m just doing something I like, too. It’s one crazy feeling to see something you’ve created in a store or being worn around almost daily. And although I’m here saying I did that on my own, I do have to give credit to anyone and everyone that’s supported me, whether they do for my art or my clothing brand, they’re the ones that gave me the confidence to even consider doing that. So of course, I have to say thank you so much to anyone that supports me, and I hope that I can keep this going and really make this my future and leave some sort of legacy.

For anyone that wants to get in touch with Travis, here’s some contact information:

FStop: Profile

Twitter: @traviscarter42 | @bkestreetwear

Instagram: @traviscarter42 | @bkestreetwear

Travis, thanks for sharing your story with us! 🙂

If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Also, remember to download the FStop app for iPhone here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *