It was a sunny Sunday afternoon at Sqirl and a long line snaked the corner of the café as people were waiting to squeeze in their brunch. The sun basked its light, baking the concrete with its harsh UV rays as everyone was standing in line.

Among the crowd, a man with a small bluish-black beanie, black and white pinstriped overalls that said "Pom Pom" on the back, navy blue terrycloth sweater, vintage silver-framed sunglasses and black mule-like shoes stood next to me. With a black vintage biker leather jacket draping over his shoulders, it accentuated his tall and thin frame. I was excited to meet him and he introduced himself as "Josh". The moment we were face-to-face, I realized that the Josh that I was talking was the Josh Scholl behind Skim Milk, an LA-based menswear line that collaborated with indie rock icon and Hedi Slimane muse Ariel Pink.

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What made you become a designer?

Necessity, I guess you could say. Like, I hadn't had any formal training, never took any classes in college. I always love t-shirts and there was a time with stupid sayings on shirts like "If you're looking for your girlfriend, she's at my place last night", but douche shit like that like bad spring break shirts. I was into photography like Juergen Teller and early Terry Richardson. I was just like this is the type of art I had on my wall, so put this on a t-shirt. So, that's pretty much... I wanted something for me to wear and I gave it to some of my friends in the industry. One [of them] owned a boutique in Chicago was like "let's bring it in the store" and it snowballed into the other things. I love brands like Acne a lot and started making stuff like this that's not a t-shirt [gestures to his t-shirt] and the started reworking them. I brought some over.

That's really interesting! May I take a look?

Sure!

I remember that you have two clothing lines - Skim Milk and WHOLE - which happen to be inspired by dairy. Why did you choose to name your clothes after milk?

Well, the interesting this is... the brand was called Designer Drugs, originally. There's these douchey music producers/DJs who call themselves Designer Drugs and they threatened to sue me if I didn't change the name.

Oh no!

No, but it's fine. I was starting to get attention from blogs and shit and was like, "Fuck... I don't know what to do here!" I conducted a contest where you get 20 free t-shirts... anyhow, Skim Milk was the name of that I went like. WHOLE kind of made sense. Missy, here, touch this fabric. [Scholl pulls out oil spill t-shirt from his bag.] It's not typical for a t-shirt, right? It feels amazing. It's similar to the fabric that some girls use for leggings - it's not much spandex. It doesn't hug. Isn't that crazy?

It makes so much sense now! [I touch the t-shirt and it was incredibly soft!] It feels like you're touching milk. Initially, you created Skim Milk to design and sell men's t-shirts. What brought you to sell men's t-shirts?

I think it kinda goes with the stuff that I wanted to wear. Music had a big influence on me. Even for example, one of my favorite bands is The Brian Jonestown Massacre and the lead singer [Anton Newcombe], there was a documentary about them, and he was a crazy genius. I was like, "I want an Anton Newcombe t-shirt!". So, there was no way anyone's going to make anything like this. So, I made it for myself. In each line, I probably do a couple things that probably don't sell very well because I wanted to make it. Sometimes, you get shocked because a lot of people like that, so you just never know. Even with the Ariel Pink shirts, the Skim Milk ones [that he collaborated on] are very weird. Like when I first showed it to him, he was like, "Dude, those are so fucking weird. I love it." It was a badge of honor because if I'm too weird for him, you know what I'm saying? But he liked it. So, I'm just trying to push ideas and each other.

It's really good that you're pushing ideas and when two great minds think alike, who can't ask for anything better? With the Ariel Pink drawings, I was surprised that he sold over $1,000. It's so OG to have portable art on you.

He made them on little pieces of paper, but I made it on t-shirts. Sometimes, it was kinda difficult to put it on a shirt without losing what the image looks like.

It can run the risk of looking pixelated. You just launched WHOLE as a luxury unisex line. So, what brought you to create a unisex line?





In a similar way, it's necessity again because I love Japanese and Scandinavian brands. I just wanted to start making my own in that vein. It's about getting the right cuts and fabrics that work, so that's why I kind of did it. As far as the unisex aspect, girls have been into the WHOLE because it's not feminine, but the fabrics can lend itself to someone with a soft touch.

It kinda explains what you meant by luxury. You said that WHOLE is more upscale and oriented to the luxury side of things. How do you define luxury?

That's a good question. Hmm.... if you'd have a luxury automobile, I guess you could say higher end. [Pauses.] I'm thinking outside of fashion. Luxury to me, [is when] the brunch could go for four hours and you just don't care. Or just like friends chilling on the couch all day and being so calm. Like having that sense of delight, does that make sense? I don't know if that's an answer to your question you're looking for.

It's good that you think outside of fashion and I honestly wasn't expecting that. I'm glad that you said it, though. Don't feel bad because I need more people like this every day. Speaking of your line, for WHOLE, you collaborated with Ariel Pink. How did this collaboration happen and how did you two meet?

We met because we kind of hang in the same circle of friends - I always admired him. We have a lot of mutual friends and so, a good friend of ours connected us. We go to the same parties and stuff, so I asked him and we started rolling.

I'm happy you two met!

Yeah, me too!

This is the perfect collaboration and I can't ask for any better as to what I'm seeing now.

Oh yeah. It was easy to work with him and I mean, he's my favorite musician for sure. He's such an innovator; he's one of the few people doing something innovative in rock 'n roll.

So, what is the collaboration process like?

It's different every time. With him, we knew he did artwork, those drawings. With WHOLE, the graphic t-shirts were just his artwork and I didn't do a whole lot to it. For Skim Milk, I kind of fuck with it for t-shirts. For the overalls and rain jackets, we just kind of chill in his place and talk about what we can do. I had [a pair of] vintage overalls that I wear all the time and I just want to design it and make my own myself. That's how it kinda came together.

I love the overalls with the "Pom Pom" in the back.

Thanks!

You're welcome! I didn't realize that Pom Pom was the name of his album. I can really tell how there's a unity to two artists coming together and I love the rain jacket. The way the transparent material looked [in the video] was cloudy and milky. Among all the pieces in the collaboration, which designs are your favorite and how would you style it?

I'd probably say the same as you either the overalls and the rain jacket. With the overalls, a lot of times, I don't wear a shirt underneath it. It's kind of farmer style. I do like to style with a leather bomber for a unique look. With the rain [jacket], it looks good with bright colored pieces because it's completely see-through. You know, an item like the oil spill or if a graphic on a t-shirt is loud with a band or something, then it's almost like an accent piece, you know what I mean? It's how I would normally style that. I like it with baggy pants. I tuck in my t-shirts all the time now.

I really like that look - tucked tee and baggy pants, then you throw on that little jacket over, it's really cute!

Thank you!

You're welcome! These days, the music and fashion worlds are crossing over to fashion thanks to artists like Pharrell, Courtney Love, Charli XCX, Rihanna and Kanye West, who collaborated with fast fashion retailers, luxury clothiers or sportswear brands. Since you're an indie company that mainly aligns with with indie artists [like Neon Indian], how does it feel to have the endorsements of indie artists?

Great, because it's like a squad. I can relate more to them and so many of them are huge. I think it lends itself to a type of scene of people who understand it and are passionate about wanting to buying it. Kinda of the same way where it's like, "Oh, I've never seen a GG Allin and Roky Erickson t-shirt!" Like some of the references are a little obscure. When they see it, it's like, "Oh my god, I have to have it!".

That's good that you mainly align with one crowd and it's also nice that they see you as a reflection of themselves.

What you know is interesting is that 50 percent of my customers have the same skeez. But then Another 50 percent are the streetwear dudes. You know like, for them, the new way of wearing streetwear is wearing obscure punk bands or metal bands. So, we definitely have that type of skeez, too. It's funny how a lot of streetwear dudes are into it. It's something that I did not expect. I love it.

Especially with the whole Thrasher type of shirts.

It's now OK to be in that scene. It used to be so macho. Like my necks were a little bit wide and some streetwear dudes would be like, "Nah, that's fag shit. My customers won't buy it." But now, thanks to Kanye, they're wearing wide necks and what was "fag shit" two seasons ago, they're now all about it.

Wow...

Say what you want about the Yeezy lines, [and] it just shows his influence on that segment.

Whatever musicians do, everyone will always say "yes" immediately. I can imagine the struggle of people having to wear your stuff in the beginning when they're scared of looking like that and now, they're finally open to it shows the progress. They know who to go to and it's you. Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?

Without putting too much thought into it, the first thing that comes to mind is that I think it'd be cool to do something with David Lynch. I think it'd be sick.

I believe so, too. I'm gonna see Twin Peaks references, Blue Velvet...

Yeah, yeah. The collaboration that I can show you, the fall winter '16, which won't be released until then, there's this photographer Fiona Clark. [Turns to a page in the lookbook featuring their collaboration.] She took a lot of photos of the trans scene in '70s in New Zealand. It was outlawed in the country until last year and it was just discovered. Here, I can show you what they look like. They're a little bit small, but you can... even then, that's a dude. But when you see the breasts, it's like "Oh my gosh". She did a great job with the background, the colors of lipstick, shades of beige and green. Her photos are amazing.

I like that one a lot, the Diana and Sheila one. [Looks at a shirt featuring two trans men.] It captures the character. I like how it's like art and fashion marrying together.

I was at a showroom and that's what some guy said to me, "Your line is more artistic and that's what separates you from the other brands."

The whole entire lookbook shoot is really different and you have this whole motto that reflects your whole brand called "Clothing for high class low lifes". So, what do you mean by "high class low lifes"?

I would consider myself a high class low life. You know, I love good food, I like cool clothes, I do like nice things and I like to travel. At the same time, I like nice IPAs and there's also times I wanna drink a High Lite 40 ounce. I like to go to shit dive bars... and that's more my vibe.

Gotcha... I can tell that the whole essence is kinda there. So, here's my last question: What do you hope to do in the future?

I want to branch out into other things as far as like... I'd love to do a shoe collaboration and expand the line and kind of make it into a collective. We have friends who are comedians, actors, photographers, film directors, you name it, almost be like a community where we do cool shit. A lot of us DJ - only records - and we kept all different types of music. When our squad does anything, Skim Milk is a part of it. Almost with DJ nights, film projects and do a collective like shows together. It's almost a lifestyle brand. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself as I want to make sure that the t-shirts are a part of it. I want to make sure that WHOLE does not take away from the graphics of Skim Milk. That still outsells everything. I'd say 90 percent of the online orders are dumbo graphic tees. [Laughs.]