Born out of the Graffiti, Skate and Tattoo scene of the 1990’s in San Francisco, Rebel 8 was conceived in 2003 from $500 dollars worth of savings and distributed out of a messenger bag by Joshy D and the legendary graffiti/tattoo artist Mike Giant. The whole ethos behind the brand is that you should never defeat yourself- anything is possible if you put your mind to it and you do not need corporate investment to make it big and you do not need state of the art equipment. All the artwork for Rebel 8 is taken care of by Mike Giant who prefers the old skool method of hand-illustrating and inking drawings before transferring them to screen rather than the usual computer generated enhancements and re-appropriation of imagery and ideas which seems like common practice for many fashion studios. Joshy D manages the business end of the company and oversees all aspects of promotion and marketing having the final say on what goes. Both have been long standing friends since Joshy first started a website documenting the huge impact that the fresh graffiti movement of the 90’s had had over the city. That site was called HiFiArt and with Mike Giant catapulting him self into legendary status around San Francisco graffiti wise, it was only a matter of time before the two would connect and collaborate artistically. Rebel 8 takes Mikes vision of Victoriana and local SF architecture and throws it into a melting pot of graffiti lettering, old skool iconography, skulls, tattooed hotties and fixed gear chic and produces a look which is not only unique but which is envied and emulated around the globe. Upon conquering graffiti and becoming a highly sought after tattoist, Mike shied away from both scenes to pursue his artwork, concentrate on Rebel 8 and riding his track bike. He is often found at Skullz Press, his studio/gallery on Divisidero where he works on artwork, sells prints of his artwork and distributes his numerous publications.
Rebel 8 has collaborated with many high profile fashion labels including Vans and Dickies. It lends itself to an age old Americana with its subtle references to Mexican and Cholo cultures and native Indian iconography that it weaves with its own street aesthetic while keeping its authenticity. This achieved through the ‘realness’ of its constituent parts. Both Joshy D and Mike Giant maintain their ‘self made’ ideal by staying active in the pursuits they promote within the brand.