What’s going on, by birth, my name is Rafael Antonio Vallejo, I am a 21 going on 22 year old entrepreneur who started his own Clothing line Called Consistent “Creating Only New Styles in Society To Evolve New Talent”.
How was life growing up?
I was a chubby boy who was always by my mom’s side, constantly observing peoples actions and what was going on around me. I was fortunate to have a hard working mom who ALWAYS made sure my sister and I were good. Whether it was working two jobs or not taking a day off for a whole year so she could have enough money to take us on vacation. I can honestly say that between living with my mom and sister, I had a mature mentality for being so young. My house was the house to be at when we were kids so I always had my friends over which was cool because that’s what allowed me to be so free spirited. My friends and I were ghost hunters, dinosaur slayers, secret agent spies, etc. Because I had such a dope childhood I think imagination and connecting with people stuck with me and it honestly helped me become who I am today.
Growing up on the South Side of Chicago was pretty awesome because I was so close to the city but didn’t really live in the city. I had the Pulaski Orange line a couple blocks from me so as I got older that was my go to in order to get out of my hood and explore the concrete jungle. I got into an awesome high school but it was on the West side of Chicago so I had to take the train every day. That really allowed me to leave the south side and explore a whole new area. I met some awesome friends who are like my only friends today haha. I killed it in school, A’s and B’s all day. I always made sure I had good grades because if not my mom would make me sit at the kitchen table and turn on this light my sister called “the homework light”. I hated that light so much. The good grades, self-drive, and awesome support paved my way into college where I would receive a full paid tuition to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.
When did you first begin to witness you had creative talents?
Man, I think I realized I had creative talents when I was like 5, 6 years old. When I say I had a wild imagination, I’m talking a wild imagination. I could turn any wooden stick into the most awesome laser gun one minute, than a crazy two sided sword the next. When I would visit my grandma I would play with my toys on her stairs and would create this battle field that lasted days. I was that kind of child growing up and everyone would just let me be that child which was cool. I was always creating in my head so it was only a matter of time before it started to come out. I loved to draw but my favorite thing would have to be coloring. I loved to color and bring these black and white images to life. I picked up the hustle at an early age because I would retrace the cool pictures from the coloring books and try to sell it to other kids as original art.
The idea of graffiti or art on the streets really grabbed my attention at a young age and really stuck with me. Before you know it I was trying to recreate these words that I would see throughout the city. One piece of graffiti that really made me want to do that kind of stuff was this spell out off the Stevenson expressway which read “CMKINGS” huge off this rooftop. I was in 5th grade noticing this stuff and before you know it I was asking “how do they do it” or “why do they do that”. Fast forward a year, I had to transfer schools for a stupid purpose but they say everything happens for a reason. I met this kid who was also into graffiti and next thing you know it he was bringing me around his friends who were into graffiti. I now had these answers and they all became one meaning. “Get your name out there as quick and clean as possible and DON’T GET CAUGHT”.
Fast forward to my freshman year in high school, I started taking the whole graffiti thing more serious and tried to progress. I had to take the train everyday so I was peeping spots to explore and paint, busting little tags here and there, sneaking out at night to go paint, but most of all I was trying to perfect my craft every damn day. That self-motivation eventually opened doors to different mediums such as acrylic paints, spray paint, markers the list goes on. After that I realized that I wanted to be an artist and I was going to do whatever I could to make sure that happens. I didn’t know what kind of artist I wanted to be and that was the hardest thing for me to figure out. As much as I loved painting on canvases or drawing letters on walls, what really stuck to me was the whole graphic design aspect and when I learned that I could create t shirt graphics and wear my own clothing I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
You’ve been through a few different creative endeavors, but now your main focus is on your clothing company Consistent. How did Consistent come about?
Consistent came to me when honestly, I had no clue what I wanted to do with future and my time. I was super frustrated with myself because I was in college taking all these classes, getting all types of inspired but wasn’t making no moves. I was staying active in the “art world” but I wasn’t out there spraying so I wasn’t happy. Winter 2015, I was at a burger joint super lit and it hit me. I was thinking of words to represent who I am and what I would want to represent and just like that “CONSISTENT”. My eyes lit up, I did like this mini jog to the front counter of the burger spot asked for a pen, hustled back to the table, grabbed a napkin and the rest was history. I wrote Consistent on the napkin and broke it down “Creating Only New Styles In Society To Evolve New Talent” on the first go so I knew it was meant to be.
Fast forward two weeks, I was flying from Chicago back to Denver so my brother from another mother Dylan the Granger Ranger picked me up from the airport. It was a long 6 hour drive back to Durango so there was a lot of talking, looking out the window and I ran it by him. I lowered the music and was like “Yo I have an idea but I don’t know if it’s worth pushing”. I spit the whole idea of Consistent, told him what it was about and after there was there was this 7 second awkward silence. He turned to me with this huge grin and was like “Tone, people are going to rock with it. I rock with it, I’m stoked”. From that point on I was going to do whatever I had to do to make it happen.
With starting a brand, there’s always adversity you face in the beginning. What difficulties have you faced so far?
Where do I start? I wish this journey was all sunshine and rainbows haha. My first drop I went all out. I had my good friend SKOMP AIR Crew design this maneki-neko “the fortune cat” because it represented good luck and fortune to the owner. I had the shirts in three colorways: maroon, white and black. They did not sell I could tell you that. I was like “damn, no one is rocking with it”. You know I was expecting to sell out, and that’s when my first learning experience happened. I was getting ahead of myself and I was being greedy I won’t even lie. I had to remember I’m new to this game and I’m a no body right now and that is okay. I changed my approach and figured I’m not going to make my money back from this drop, I can at least get the name out there and get people to rock with me. So I started giving them away, I was asking for $8 shipped just so I could buy the envelopes and ship them. I wanted to make sure that the people who supported me were taken care of.
The second drop is about to kick off and this time I have people who are super stoked. Again, I go all out and drop 2 designs so people can have options this time. At this point Consistent had 3 members, my boy Granger Ranger, Smyle and myself. We had a studio at their house and it was legit. We had our own four color screen printer, a flash dryer and some wooden screens our friend had donated to us. We burned the screens, we’re about to start printing and the first shirt we go and do the wood from the screen cracks. At that point we had a deadline and we weren’t going to make it if we didn’t print that night. The print gods were with me that night because I somehow stabled the frame back together and we were able to print. I could honestly keep going but I like to look at these difficulties as learning experiences because if I didn’t go through them, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now and that’s a fact.
As a company, where do you see Consistent going?
I don’t even look at Consistent as a company, I look at it as a movement. I could sit here and say I want to be the most recognized brand and that I want to be the best but that’s not what I’m about. Consistent speaks for itself, I want people to strive to be the best that they could be and to Create Only New Styles In Society To Evolve New Talent. I want Consistent to represent the individual who has an idea, passion and goal and that they are willing to do whatever it takes in order to achieve that. Within time I would like to expand and network within different cities and push the movement worldwide. I would like to get into some stores as soon as possible. I don’t want to be no high end streetwear brand because there is more to it, and I would like to use the idea of clothing in a stylish but motivational way. I’m in it for the longevity and even if it doesn’t reach the hype world, I’m okay with inspiring the next young blood to step out of their comfort zone and be Consistent with their self. An idea lasts longer than an Entity and that’s what we are as people. If you remain Consistent with yourself, you could live forever through your art, ideas, creations, and passion. I want to keep pushing that energy to better the next. That’s where I see Consistent going.
How was the popup shop you had at Campus last month?
Mind blowing I can tell you that. Shout out to Campus real talk because they believed in me enough to let me have my first show there and really rocked with me. I was the intern there so it was super chill learning how to run a store and what effort it really takes to have a successful shop. They have an awesome space available and they are open to all ideas which allows a unique experience every time. I was hella nervous I can tell you that, and I had no clue what I was doing. At that point I was just trying to fake it till I made it and it was successful. There was an awesome turn out and almost everyone who stepped in walked out with some sort of consistent gear. I had live music going on throughout the night, my guy DJ ANEM was on the turn tables killing it, my good friend MISCHF who had the crowd in the zone, and my guy CHRIS RUBEN who was spitting that fire. While the music was juking, I had live painting going on by the homie SENTROCK who did this awesome Consistent mural. It was live and for the people who showed up I thank you.
What could we be expecting from the brand as the rest of the year rolls out?
Phase 1 was a complete success so for sure there will be a phase 2. I can’t really say much but for the Fall / Winter season, but expect some new gear including wind breakers, hoodies, bomber jackets and more. I want to change it up and have each drop incorporate some kind of theme to play off one another. I’m ready to start now but I have to step back and build up the hype a little bit. I will say though, September is my favorite month so Phase 2 will come sooner than we expect.
When it’s all said and done how would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as That One Native Kid who Created Only New Styles In Society To Evolve New Talent. That one person who inspired you to do better and be that amazing person you’re set out to be. I’m huge into motivation and bettering the self and that’s what I want to present. We live in an ugly world right now but if one person can change the mentality of others to do something positive, it can spread like wildfire. I want to be that person who impacts someone enough to set off that light bulb, that’s what I’m all about.
Keep up to date with what Consistent is doing by