If there’s any question as to what makes Nineteenth Letter a marathon best-seller, look no further than the mind behind it: Sergio Scott. Whether it’s his iconic plaidana hoodies, or his cheeky takes on pop culture symbols from Astroworld to Apple, Scott’s designs pay homage to the qualities that define streetwear: playful, wearable, and inarguably unique. Below, the 36-year old designer talks versatility, Rick Ross, and the industry-wide need for kindness.
Where are you from, and where are you now?
I was originally born in Chicago, and raised in Calumet City. I now live in Ocala, Florida.
What is your first memory with streetwear? Were you introduced to streetwear and fashion through a specific person/place/event?
My first memory with streetwear had to be when I bought my first BAPE T-shirt back in 2006. It was a BAPE x Thor tee, I'm a huge Marvel comics fan. Back then, you couldn’t just buy BAPE on their website—it wasn’t even sold in the US. I copped it from Pondon on Ebay. I was in college, working retail part-time, so for me to be the only person in my city with an authentic BAPE tee was a big deal.
If you had to compress your personal style into one outfit, what would it be?
I would say that my style is definitely versatile, I don’t have one set style that I stick to. One day, you might see me in Just Don shorts and a vintage tee. The next, you might see me in Amiri jeans with the Amiri bandana boots and a biker jacket. And the next, I might be in a Mitchell and Ness throwback jersey.
When did you first feel inspired to create your own designs? When did you first start selling them?
One day, a friend of mine asked me “Why don’t you have your own clothing line? People would really buy your designs”. So I said to myself, you know what, I should have my own line. So I started out making Chiraq hats that looked like the old Compton hats from the early ‘90s, and they were a smash hit around the city. In one day I sold $1,000 worth of hats with no paid promotion, just word of mouth on Facebook.
Describe your design aesthetic in one sentence, if you can.
Visually eye catching pieces that can easily be a conversation starter.
Where do you feel the most inspired?
Just surfing the internet while at home. I’m a big fan of sneakers and vintage clothing, so I draw a lot of inspiration behind that.
Which living designer do you most admire?
Tinker Hatfield. He single handedly changed the way we look at sneakers, and made the Air Jordan line the phenomenon that it is today.
What’s your biggest creative or career milestone so far?
There have been so many. If I had to choose just one, it would be Rick Ross wearing my Chicago All Star Game Jacket in a photo with Dr. Dre. To have one of the biggest rappers in the industry wear something I designed, and post it on his Instagram page, is an awe-inspiring feeling.
How do you want people to feel when wearing your designs?
I want them to feel like they’re wearing something unique, something that you can’t find anywhere else. I firmly believe that people will support you if you give them what they’ve been looking for, whether they realize they needed it or not. I want them to feel like the product is so unique, it was well worth the money they spent.
What would you most like to change about the current fashion industry?
We have to be more supportive of each other, and put an end to this crab mentality. So many people only care about advancing their own name and making themselves rich. They don’t care about the people who want to get involved. I answer any questions that people may have, and people appreciate me for that. I may not give you my exact printer or factory information, but I will point you in the direction to find one yourself. So many people have a huge ego when it comes to the world of fashion, and it doesnt need to be like that.