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As I stepped out my cab Saturday afternoon the warm temperature put me at ease comgin from snow back home and the sun in my eyes grew as wide as the bean. There I stood in awe of the storefront of Undefeated. The brand that pushed me further into street wear. I always had ordered my items from the site or a second party and even to the point where when relatives went to Vegas I always said hey could you swing by a place for me. Now it was my turn as if I have never seen anything before and had the chance to actually go to the store and not wait like a five year old at Christmas for a package.
I instantly grabbed my camera fumbled it around almost dropping it and took a photo of the store. As I walked through the threshold of the black tinted glass doors. My jaw dropped as I saw the flashing strike sign on the back wall. There I was greeted by a young gentleman about mid 20‘s. For those who aren’t aware UNDFTD, originally from Los Angeles world renown street wear brand with a sports theme with such past exclusives as Jordan IV’s and Nike dunk, Adidas, New Balance and Puma collaborations you name it they just about done it. I had the great pleasure to chat with Mr. Patrick Renaud who is the manager and a internal force with UNDFTD Las Vegas since day one. As we talked about music, his background and also a brief history lesson. Here’s what one of the players that keep this team undefeated.
PR- Patrick Renaud
THA- The Homeboy Andres
THA-Can you please give the people a run-down about yourself?
PR- My name is Patrick Renaud I’m 25 I’m originally from New Orleans. I moved back and forth between Vegas and New Orleans with hurricane Katrina. I actually lucked out and missed it just because I ended up here for six months out of the blue. I went back home a few months after it hit and helped out with my family for six months.
My whole working life I was always in this type of business, I was a manager at Footlocker and Champs. I wanted to get out of that just because after you work long enough (laughs) you get tired of it if it not something you love.
I moved up here and I was like I want to do something I love and one passion is cooking. So I went to culinary school and when I was up here I met a good group of people. Such as, Chris Julian who owns Fruition and a vital part of the Vegas community. He was one of the main pieces who brought UNDFTD to Las Vegas and while I was in culinary school we became good friends. As that was going down he hit me up one day and asked me “Hey what do you think of coming to work at UNDFTD their going to have one in Vegas and I know your prior work history and what you do. I think you would do really good.” I told him I was in and the rest is history. I liked the aspect of footlocker and that I worked there late 90’s – mid 2000’s during the times where most of the sought after releases came out. At that time the feeling you got from certain shoes coming out and to see the reaction of the people was great. But the feeling after working yourself into the ground for a few years it became a hassle. With Undefeated I have been here since opening day over 2 years ago and now the manager of the store and still wake up with a smile everyday when I come to work. Its a beautiful thing.
THA-What direction do you see UNDFTD Las Vegas headed?
PR- We’re always trying to take it above and beyond. L.A has been there… they’re LA. (Laughs) we’re trying to do our thing here since we’re the only store outside Cali besides the two in Japan. It’s a little bit different for us but we’re trying to do things the UNDFTD way with a Vegas flair. We like to do lot of parties and get everybody involved because Vegas is a transient place where you have a lot of people who live somewhere else for so many years of their life and then relocate here for a few years. We’re trying to get a culture going in Vegas with the things we do between the three stores that have to do with us which is Undefeated, Stussy and Fruition. So we try to do things like that to bring the community closer together.
THA-How would you describe Vegas style?
PR-Vegas style is melting pot, you see everybody rocking everything. A lot of people switched their style in the last few months I have noticed though. you had a lot of people that were wearing a lot of Nike and Jordan who switched to basic Chuck Taylor’s or basic vans for a more clean look.
THA-What separates undefeated from other street wear brands?
PR-I just think when you see an UNDFTD logo you just know it’s going to be official. Everything has to be to the highest quality when have a release. I feel good when I see a new line and the direction it goes or the theme it carries.
Like the newest one is with Fidel/White Sox
THA-Yea I saw that can you elaborate on that?
PR- Basically that whole idea lies in that Fidel was actually professional baseball and basketball player. And the images on the shirts are official images when he was playing professionally in Cuba.
All of the pinstripe pieces and the New Era caps are based on the 1919 White Sox, that was the year they threw the world series.
THA-Why do you think UNDFTD chose to have an athletic aspect? Not many companies have a general theme behind them and some do Such as supreme has a skateboarding foundation. What can you say is the drive behind that?
PR- That was their main focus when starting the brand was they wanted to be a sports themed brand to bring it full circle with the things we love and love to wear. Personally most of the best memories when I was younger all fall back on sports as it be watching or playing and I think that is what the brand is all about.
THA-Do you see another possible location for UNDFTD?
PR- it’s definitely possible that’s one thing they want to do is grow, there’s no question where its going to be at but I’m pretty sure there will be something coming up..
THA-You know Chicago’s always welcome. Just so you know I’m just throwing that out there. (laughs)
PR- (laughs) I’ll definitely let them know
Mr. Patrick Renaud, The Homeboy Andres and Mr.Corey Williams
THA- what is your favorite shoe?
PR- Favorite shoe…Jordan XI.
THA- Any particular reason why?
PR-That was one of the first shoes I generally wanted and had to have. But the first shoe I can completely identify seeing and being intrigued was in the 1993 finals where the Bulls were playing the Suns. Jordan was wearing the Jordan 8’s I was ten years old and I just wanted the shoes with the straps, so I mean I didn’t know when stuff released and where to get it at ten years old. Then in 95 and 96 Jordan had been gone and the last two shoes the IX and X at the time were not my favorites. Now I appreciate them for what they were now. But the Jordan XI came out, back then it was much more enjoyable to have to watch the game see what a player is going to wear. I used to record games just to see what he was going to wear that next game. At that time in 95 right when he came back he wore the Jordan XI’s in the playoffs that year. I remember seeing the Jordan’s XI and there were no blogs or message boards and just seeing them I was like “Man what is that!” everything happen and they lost to the Orlando Magic then the next year he’s wearing them again. Then playoff time comes around and he’s wearing the black and red’s. I remember telling my mom “I want those shoes so bad, please get me those shoes!!” I was begging her for weeks and finally she was like “Ok lets go.” We go to the local footlocker in town and I asked do you have the new black and red Jordan’s he’s wearing in the finals right now and the worker said “No sorry, they sold out a couple of weeks ago”
On top of that a funny story at the same time I’m in the store, the old school foot locker with the turf green carpet and the crazy running wall in the background and the backboard behind the register. I remember there was this stoop underneath the shoe wall they had lined 1994 red black and white Jordan I’s for $29.00 all across the bottom .Just looking at them I was like “What are these?” it was ‘96 and I was 13 years old, I didn’t know what came out in ‘85 and at the time there was nothing else to look at and I was like “These are the old ones. I want the new ones.” So long story short my mom ended up getting me the next pair of Jordan’s that came which was the white and black XII”s, that was the first pair I got and appreciated. From then on I just tried to get every pair of Jordan that came up. 90’s basketball stuff is my favorite and if you come through the store you’ll see me with something from my favorite era.
THA-UNDFTD is a well respected brand how do you think it keeps it self so well balanced?
PR- I think it has to do with the amount of locations we have. Being we only have four locations in the U.S which gives us less saturation where you can only get it from these few spots. We do have a web store but I also feel people want to have the experience of coming into the store and seeing everything in person. Also I think its just because the quality of the product is always there. Everything is supply and demand. Stuff comes in and out and one of our most popular items is the basic strike logo tee. Its funny because we’ll get it in an it sells out so fast and people still come in that’s what they want, basic supply demand.
THA-Where do you see the direction of street wear headed?
PR- I cant say its going in a specific way. There’s so many people doing so many different things and taking it in so many directions. I just hope everyone can keep it in the best graces. Less pieces, better quality, consistency and it will be the best that it can possibly be.
THA-Why would you say Las Vegas was chosen as the first store outside LA?
I feel it was chosen as a bridge to different possibilities. You have your main places like LA and New York. Out in New York I feel there’s an abundance of places not to say nothing will ever happen in New York but Vegas is fertile grown, nothing but room to grow. Like in Chicago you guys have a lot of good spots there too with some really great people there. A lot of the other bigger cites have a pretty prominent scene. Here we have a scene, but it didn’t have the stores to give it the boost it needed. Now we got some of the best and are still growing as a community.
The great selection at Undftd Vegas.
THA-How would you describe Las Vegas sneaker collectors?
PR- like I said before its pretty crazy a lot of the people I knew were really heavy on stuff but some slowed down or were looking older stuff going back to original styles. A lot of people end up starting over because they sold a lot of their sneakers. The new generation has started and their just getting in and finding their niche, just a few years back when you were trying to get the next Jordan’s coming out or AF1s. Now you have other brands and styles that people are interested in collecting too. Its a lot different these days and hopefully it just gets better and better.
THA-How would you describe your style?
PR-My style is just me. Everybody that knows me… knows me. If I can get away with some basketball shorts and some early 90’s basketball shoes. I’d wear that everyday of the year if I could get away with it. (laughs)
THA-Does music influence your style?
PR- I’m really into music but it doesn’t per say influence my style.. Music is probably my number one passion out of everything but it hasn’t made me dress a certain way. I’ve kind of dressed the same way pretty much since I was in my teens just a nice pair of kicks that I always wanted and something that complimented them nicely. I try to keep it simple, nothing too crazy that’s me.
THA-Who are some of your favorite artists?
PR- Nas is my overall favorite MC. In general some of my favorite artist are: D’angelo, Erykah Badu, Marvin Gaye, J Dilla. Some of my new favorite artist are Jay Electronica from New Orleans, Blu from the Cali and Black Milk from Detroit. That’s some of my new favorite artists and this is the first time in a couple of years that I’ve really had a couple brand new artists that have impressed me so much.
THA-I want to thank you for your time it’s been a pleasure I really appreciate it.
-The Homeboy Andres