Roy Choi Taps Jeff Staple for Best Friend Capsule Collection

Launching at Choi's new Las Vegas restaurant Best Friend
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Image via: Jeff Staple

Image via: Jeff Staple

LA food truck icon Roy Choi, of Kogi BBQ fame, recently opened his first Las Vegas restaurant, Best Friend, inside the Park MGM. Today, the chef and Jeff Staple will release a collaborative capsule collection celebrating the restaurant.

A pop-up shop inside of Best Friend will be selling a limited run of hoodies ($80), long-sleeves ($55), short-sleeve tees ($45) and hats ($40). Each piece is 1 of 200. 

Release Date: 2/4/19 7pm PST

Best Friend (Inside Park MGM)
3770 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109

 Jeff and Roy were both able to take some time out of their days to answer our questions below:

Freshness: You've collaborated with many people and brands over your career, how do you go into each one with a fresh slate (or build on something you've done previously)?

Jeff: 
We’ve been doing this for like two decades plus now of street culture and collaboration, and I think one of the reasons why we have been able to have such longevity is because we treat each one individually. We don’t have a cookie cutter formula for how we go about doing these things.

I really try my best to understand the intent and the goal of my collaboration partner, and then acknowledge my own intent and goal, and then try to figure out the best possible happy medium. What’s worked out for the last two decades is really good stuff that comes out of that mutual understanding.

I feel like a lot of the problems that happen with collaboration projects that don’t strike a nerve with the general public is that it feels either one-sided or not authentic. I think by embracing both minds in the collaboration, we’re able to come up with timeless and really special collaborative projects.

Freshness: How did this collaboration with Roy come to be?

Jeff: This collaboration happened super organically. Roy and I have known each other for a couple years now. I had always been a fan of Roy’s work before I met Roy. If I’m not mistaken, I believe it is the same for him. There is a mutual respect we have for each other’s craft. Sometimes they say ‘don’t meet your heroes’ – but it is always nice when you meet someone you are a fan of and they turn out to be really genuine people. And that was the case with Roy.

After we had met, he told me about his new project in Las Vegas with Best Friend and it really hit close. It was the most prolific and grand project he had ever worked on. We did a talk together at SoHo House LA – and it was right around that time we met to prepare for the talk, and he gave me the details on the restaurant. I don’t remember who asked who first, but we decided at that point that we should definitely do something together to celebrate it.

Even the work process was very organic. We started to then work on some designs and pass them back and forth to each other, and we’re super excited to launch it.

Freshness: How/why did you decide to work with Jeff on this launch?

Roy: It was organic. Been a fan and now a friend. Sometimes when you connect with someone who is creative, shit just happens naturally and is smooth like ice cold milk and a warm cookie.

Freshness: Streetwear and food have been colliding more and more, what are your thoughts as to why and do you have any favorites so far?

Jeff: Yeah, I think it has definitely been happening where there is this collision of food and street culture. I think the reason why is because young people are so inundated by everything happening on their mobile phones, social media and the internet – that anything that sort of has an “in real life” experience that can’t be captured on social media is valued. It is really important to them.

So if you look on the streetwear side, like waiting in line for a drop, or trying to be 1 of 300 people that owns this t-shirt – those things are highly valued because it’s not something you can just be a part of on Instagram.

In my opinion, the food culture is the epitome of that. No matter how many followers you have, or how many likes you get, or how much money you have – if you want to experience some amazing dishes from an amazing restaurant, you have to figure out a way to get your ass in there. You can’t just do it on your phone. So many other things on social media can be perpetrated to make it look like that you are something that you’re not. But being a true food connoisseur, you have to go out there and eat the food. It has synergy with the street culture in that way.

I think as social media and the internet become more and more pervasive around every aspect of your life, these things are going to become more and more important.

Roy: I guess we are the F’s of the world. Fashion, Food, Fuck Ups, Fucking, Fun. Same wavelength type of shit.

Freshness: Do you imagine collaborations will become part of opening a new restaurant in the future?

Roy: I hate trends. Collab to Collab. Not just for the bag. But yes, I think our worlds are so close like neighbors sharing a patio. Finally we are really sharing that patio. But this is something I’ve been doing for the last nine years or so on the low. This is the first official though. It’s exciting.

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