Basketball season may have just ended (four months late, no less), but Flagrant Foul is here for the long run. Miles Jackson-Cartwright launched his brand during an unplanned hiccup of his basketball career, but managed to infuse his beloved sport’s DNA into every stitch of his simplistic designs. Four years later, Flagrant Foul’s lineup of classic basketball shorts continue to pay homage to the culture of the game, along with an off-court fit perfected by Jackson-Cartwright himself. Below, the 28-year old creative director and hoop star talks Future, quality over quantity, and streetwear’s small business renaissance.
Where are you from, and where are you now?
I’m from Valley Glen, California, which is a small pocket of LA, and I’m currently playing basketball professionally in Luxembourg.
What is your first memory with streetwear?
Like so many other creatives in this space, my first introduction to streetwear was wearing Jordan’s as a kid. My love for it really took off when I discovered NikeTalk, and being extremely active on those forums really became the foundation for the love and admiration that I have for fashion today.
If you had to compress your personal style into one outfit, what would it be?
I want to feel draped in baggy shit: oversized hoodies, huge T-shirts, all that. I value color and fit way more than graphics—with that comes a lot of blank silhouettes, and stuff that I can wear consistently. I’m a huge Future stan and one bar that resonated with me is “I spent 5 bands on a fit and wore it for 3 days.” I haven’t spent that much on some shit yet, but I only buy things I like—and if I’m spending my own bread on it, best believe I’m wearing it until they have holes in them.
When did you first feel inspired to create your own designs? When did you first start selling them?
2016 marked a turn for me, personally. I was cut from a team in Bulgaria, and had to be home when I should have been playing. During that time off, I was forced to figure out what I truly wanted to do if, and when, the ball stopped bouncing for me completely. Flagrant Foul was birthed through that. I spent months trying to learn the ins and outs of this space, but it took a lot of time to do it right. It wasn’t until earlier this summer when we decided it was time to lock in and start pushing our product. I didn’t want to just print on blanks or outsource offshore—building the infrastructure to have everything cut and sewn, and handmade in Los Angeles, took time, but we’re here now.
Describe your design aesthetic in one sentence, if you can.
A celebration of basketball culture, bonded through an emphasis on color and fit.
Where do you feel the most inspired?
I get all of my inspiration from hoop. I’ve been blessed with such an unique basketball experience, and one thing I’ve learned is that the sport is so much more than a game. It’s really a melting pot of cultures—that has allowed me to experience color, shape, fit, and design in so many different realms and from so many different perspectives. I really try to tap everything that I’ve seen or lived to make pieces that not only mean a lot to me, but also resonate with so many other people, while also celebrating this culture that I love so much.
Which living designer do you most admire?
Jerry Lorenzo, he’s my Michael Jordan of this fashion shit. Before I came back to Europe, I was able to go to his showroom preview for the new FOG collection, and I was in awe. The attention to detail, the range, the quality of the pieces...there’s no one better, in my opinion. I also have to show love to CelineFien—he’s flipped the entire sneaker community on its head with his work, and I’m super excited to see what he does as he transitions into making apparel.
What’s your biggest creative or career milestone so far?
Watching a NBA game and seeing players walk in the tunnel with FF shorts on! It was so dope seeing our product getting some play on basketball’s biggest stage. I’m also huge on family, and seeing my brother and my sister rock our clothes with so much pride is better than anything that I could have imagined or prayed for. Regardless of what we do from here, I feel like I made it because of how much they support what we’re doing.
How do you want people to feel when wearing your designs?
Comfortable, plain and simple! We spend crazy amounts of time perfecting the fit of our pieces, because I know how important it is to feel good when you’re wearing anything.
What would you most like to change about the current fashion industry?
Honestly, not much. Right now we’re in a beautiful space, because there’s more empowerment within smaller independent brands. With that has come more creativity and a range of pieces that we really haven’t seen before. This trend has also allowed more women and more people of color to have ownership in an industry that, historically, has worked so hard to keep people like us out of the game. I’m blessed to be able to play a small part in that, and I pray it continues on an even greater scale.