GENERAL EFFECT is about culture. It's a lifestyle. It's art. It's what we listen to. It's what we eat. It's what we wear. It's how we feel & how we live. It's creating and performing; representing a story, narrative, or an adventure.
This is not merch. This is Fashion. This is Streetwear. This is GENERAL EFFECT.
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ALL ELEMENTS
So what’s the deal with General Effect...
Well in short, I am starting a clothing brand. If you really know me and follow me musings and ongoings, you know this is (somewhat) a logical direction in my life. But even for those that keep up with me, and especially for those who don’t, this is what General Effect is all about. Warning, this is a LONG post!
When I turned 25 I made my first five-year plan. Before I turned 30, 35, & 40 I made a new five-year plan. The majority of these plans had to do with career, finances, life goals, etc. I have been fortunate to accomplish quite a bit of these plans, such as being able to survive on composing & arranging music by the time I was 30. CHECK MARK! And of course some goals, I was not able to complete. Such as my concert compositions accounting for 50% of my income by 35. FAIL! What can I say, marching band is far more lucrative than concert band (for me, anyways).
But it was a few years ago that I started to consider my five-year plan for when I turned 40. And I quickly realized that part of this new plan would consist of a direction NOT having to do with music.
I have loved and enjoyed fashion for a great deal of my life. I can still remember my first pairs of Z Cavaricci and Girbaud jeans, the first Polo shirt I wore, my first pairs of Timberland’s, and many other fashion trends that came and went as I grew from middle school, to high school, to college, and beyond. I remember wearing a blazer to an elementary picture day. I remember wearing button-down shirts and ties almost every day of my senior year. heck, my college nickname stemmed from the fact that I wore slacks to marching band rehearsals! And if you have known me for sometime, you know that to this day fashion is a big part of my life.
It was only a matter of time before I started looking into fashion and seeing what I could create. I have designed my own personal man purses, looked into creating my own shoes, and even have sketches for backpacks/messenger bags. I knew that I wanted to start with a shirt, as I felt that there was hole in men’s fashion between the t-shirt, polo, and button-down. The problem was I don’t sew, I don’t know anything about patterns, and I have no idea about anything having to do with the actual creation part of making clothes! So I called my friend Jennifer Pritchardwho worked in the fashion world after working as a band director around the state. She also earned her masters in horn performance as well as receiving an MBA. A well informed source of knowledge and expertise, that's for sure!
After what probably seemed like rambling for a while, Jenn advised me to harness my network of music folks. She wisely reminded me that there was this vast web of students, teachers, and colleagues that were connected to me by my compositions and arrangements. Her theory was that those people would be more inclined to support me because they knew and supported my music. My first target audience had been found. But what was I going to do and how was I going to do it?
Inspired by previous artists appropriating pop culture, corporate logos, and graphics, I decided that I wanted to have shirts that advertised Montoya Music. I wanted to create a limited amount of shirts that would create an air of exclusivity. Not only would these shirts advertise my music, but they would actually be a cool design that others would want and covet.
My first shirt was a TMEA exclusive that one could only obtain by finding me at TMEA. This white Gildan shirt was pretty plain and only featured my logo and tagline. Not exactly a must have, but it was the first shirt and it got the ball rolling on what I was trying to do with fashion and music. Shout out to Eddie Lopez for his assistance in printing and delivery!
When it came time to release the next shirt, I had an idea to utilize the adidas logo. Not only was this because of my love for the three stripes, but I noticed just how many students in drum corps, marching band, and winter guard wore adidas track pants and shorts. It was a no brainer! But I needed someone to make my visual ideas come to life.
During my time at Guardians I came to know Bryan Odom, a parent of a snare drummer in 2016-2017. It was a fateful meeting as he and I have continuously worked together since that time. Bryan answered every question I would have about ink, shirts, materials, costs, etc. Once we decided on the heather grey shirt with white ink, it was off to the printer.
The shirt was quite a hit and the hype was building. The second shirt was a black shirt which featured Montoya Music in the font and style of Marilyn Manson. This would prove to be my least successful shirt in terms of want and desire. I chalk this up to the fact that while many still knew who the group was, many didn’t get the design and how it played off of Manson. But I think people still wanted the shirt to support me and to feel part of an exclusive club.
My third shirt, the Montopoly shirt where a cartoon image of me replaced Mr. Moneybags and Montoya replaced Monopoly proved to be the favorite shirt of folks BY FAR. I had people texting, emailing, and messaging me asking how they could get a shirt. To this day I have people asking for me to release those shirts again! Worry not, for that’s coming down the pipeline (Joe Nuñez).
The last shirt released for the general public (salutes) was my favorite of the bunch. I call this shirt and design “aniMontoya,” for the design of yet another cartoon character of me but this time, in anime form. For this design I commissioned John Suh to create this design. And to say he hit it out the park would be an understatement! I LOVE this design and use it throughout all social media, my YouTube channel, and even have the design on my hoody and jacket! John is another person that I continue to work with and challenge to this day. His talent, professionalism, and quality is top notch!
It was during this time that the idea for my own brand started to materialize. I realized that this whole subculture of band, drum corps, and colorguard folks was very underutilized and there wasn’t a huge market present to them yet. I decided that I was going to continue to use the network I had been using and market clothing directly to those affiliated with the marching arts. When Stüssy and Supreme started they designed for skaters and then it blew up. But what to call it?
In thinking of what to call the brand, I knew I wanted it to be separate from Montoya Music. I wanted it to not feel specific to band, percussion, guard, etc. and I knew I wanted it to sound cool and professional. Lots of names came and went but when I started to think about what they all had in common, it hit me like a box full of 6’s. BOA, WGI, & DCI all share a similar caption.
This was the link that connected everyone and it was going to be the name of the clothing line I designed for them:
GENERAL EFFECT | The Effectiveness of All Elements
My clothing line wasn’t going to be “merch.” You weren’t going to see clothes that said “just toss it,” or “one more time.” This was going to be apparel more in line with streetwear brands and fashion houses. This was going to be a clothing line FOR the marching arts, BY the marching arts (shoutout FUBU). The clothing would be high quality, unique, and current with the trends of the fashion world. It would be something one could wear with Nike, adidas, Puma, etc. And it would be something that anyone whose played an instrument, spun a flag, or even a just a general fan (salutes) could wear.
Once the name and mission of the brand was set, it was on to designing. Once again I called upon John to assist and even brought in Couchmen Drum and Bugle Corps' own, Zach Ashcraft to help make my doodles come to life. It is he is responsible for the finalization of the GE logo that adorns the website, marketing, and clothing. I went through dozens of designs, fonts, files, sketches, etc. until I finally got it right. And then came the actual clothing and materials!
I must’ve ordered dozens of shirts, hoodies, sweaters, pants, materials, etc. until I finally discovered the material I wanted for my first shirt. #TheGirl and I tried on every article of clothing, poured over every material, and discussed every detail regarding the clothing, graphics, rollout, etc. This wasn’t just going to be a Gildan shirt, or Hanes, or even the District shirts that I used for my Montoya Music shirts. This was going to be something of the highest of quality and something that would be very unique to my brand. And while the clothing isn’t 100% designed, created, and manufactured exclusively for GE (if/when that happen, I have the plan and pipeline in place), the distributors I found in Colorado met all of my requirements and produce a shirt that is unlike any other I have found. The quality of the shirt is unlike anything geared towards the marching arts, I can tell you that. Trust me when I say the comfort of this clothing line will be standard setting!
And that brings us to the present. Thanks to Heather Jenna New, paperwork has long been filed for General Effect, LLC and my partnership with Bryan Odom continues as his Mesquite Print House is the exclusive printer for General Effect. #TheGirl is basically the silent partner in this venture. I run every idea by her. I would be a fool not to utilize her fashion & marketing acumen. And let's face it, without her full support, I would not be able to move forward with this new path.
In my research it seems lots of streetwear brands start off with a t-shirt. And who am I to mess with what works?! So the first item released by General Effect is a black vanity logo t-shirt that can be pre-ordered through November 1. The next item will be a black long sleeve shirt, followed by a black sweatshirt, and finally a black hooded sweatshirt. All four of these items will feature the same GE | General Effect logo and branding. I already have designs, colors, and items ready for future releases. I do plan to move into other areas of fashion like pants, hats, accessories, and a few surprises along the way. though I will not be following the traditional fashion seasons, I will be marketing towards the three seasons of pageantry; winter guard/percussion, drum corps, and marching band!
So there it is, my next venture and the biggest goal in my latest five-year plan. Just to be clear, I don’t intend to stop composing and arranging music. That is still my passion and that will continue to be my “day job.” I will also continue my YouTube channel where I discuss and review fashion. And I will also continue to release Montoya Music/Documontary shirts for fans, friends, & family! While yes, I do have dreams of becoming a fashion mogul, I will settle for just making enough to pay for my harmless shoe addiction and paying the IRS every year for both Montoya Music & General Effect. :-)
And with that, I say, ARE YOU EFFECTED?