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Something WICKED

By Holly Chernick

Streetwear began as a movement in the late 1970s with the popularization of Los Angeles surf culture. At its core, streetwear involves casual clothing that takes on a new light with each individual designer. WICKED Clothing, an online, New England-based apparel brand, provides high-quality and unique merchandise for customers with a strong interest in streetwear styles. JB Macaroco, the sole founder of WICKED, has been the company’s backbone since its conception in March 2014.

“The name ‘WICKED Clothing’ came about because I wanted to name the company with something that was synonymous with the area of New England…‘Wicked’ is a word that can be used in many different ways, from being something evil and dark, to something great and cool. I thought it was cool how I could use the meanings of the actual word to shape the brand. That’s why it has stuck,” said Macaroco.

For Macaroco, fashion was not a career he happened to stumble upon. A family background in design has shaped Macaroco’s dreams and has allowed him to find a balance between being a businessman and being a creator.

“I have always been in the fashion industry—really since birth. My grandfather started a small screen-printing factory in his basement, which is now the biggest screen-printing factory in New England…Ever since I could remember, I was in the factory running around and learning,” said Macaroco.

Macaroco is heavily involved in the production process at WICKED. He personally creates the graphics that are printed on the merchandise, and he is meticulous when checking the quality and concept of each product.

“A lot of work goes into making each piece…If it doesn’t come out the way I envisioned it, I either go back and tweak it or throw it away…A piece can take me from a couple days to a couple weeks [to complete], depending on how much work the piece itself entails,” said Macaroco.

With a particular image in mind, Macaroco gleans inspiration from designers like Chris Stamp from Stampd Clothing.

“The aesthetic of his brand is something I dream to be able to achieve someday with WICKED. Everything is super clean and sophisticated in a sense that sometimes I just sit in awe of the pieces and how they are presented. Stampd and Chris are definitely a driving force for inspiration,” said Macaroco.

Although Macaroco emphasizes that WICKED is mainly a one-man show—personally taking care of all aspects regarding design, printing, order fulfillment, marketing, and vendor research—he is grateful to be able to call upon friends as advocates for the brand.

“WICKED definitely wouldn’t be where it is today without [Jonna Mojica],” said Macaroco of the photographer who has set the stage visually for the brand. He also claimed that Leah Neves deserves credit for “everything to do with the women’s pieces from WICKED.”

WICKED Clothing’s upcoming fall/winter 16 collection is the line Macaroco has “spent the most time, money, and overall effort on.” Macaroco claimed that this collection is a defining moment for WICKED, and that he finally has the resources and experience to create the aesthetic he has dreamed of for the brand.

“Everything will be very minimal from the pieces, to the visuals, and even an updated website layout…The inspirations for the line are fall fashion essentials with a very minimalistic/high fashion spin on streetwear. You’ll be able to see that every piece intertwines with each other from color, to message, to quality. I’m really excited about this collection because I feel like it could make some waves in the fashion world and show that WICKED isn’t your regular independent clothing company,” said Macaroco.

With this new launch, Macaroco is finally expanding his brand by selling items out of brick-and-mortar stores, but he wants to make sure they are on board with WICKED’s values and vision for the brand.

“To me, it’s not just about being in a store to be in a store. I want my product to be featured in a store that fits the culture of the brand and that can cater to the customer base that I have already established with WICKED,” said Macaroco.

Managing an independent, online clothing company does not come without its challenges. Although Macaroco enjoys the freedom to take his brand in whichever direction he chooses, he claims that the rapid nature of the fashion industry and the brand reach are the hardest hurdles for a small clothing company to overcome.

“The fashion industry is so fast moving that you really have to be on top of designs and the direction of your collections months ahead of time…Brand reach is also a big challenge for small start-up fashion companies. You need to really know how to brand yourself and get great visuals to showcase your product in a professional way to gain the attention of customers, and to gain some respectability,” said Macaroco.

Although Macaroco envisions WICKED as a staple in New England, expansion is imminent. Los Angeles and New York are huge markets for streetwear, so Macaroco hopes to expand to those areas soon. However, WICKED’s roots will always be in New England.

“Without struggles, I feel like a company would plateau at a normal point,” said Macaroco. “You need to have constant growth in a company to keep it moving forward.”

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