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A few years back I was sitting inside our booth at the Liberty Fairs trade show in New York contemplating my self-worth and the reason for being there. I really wonder sometimes if my time isn’t better spent visiting our retailers in person and on their home-grounds, rather than in the competitive retail environment where a multitude of incredible brands are competing for the same airtime. I don’t really know the answer, but in hindsight, I can look back on that particular show and know exactly why I was there.

A close friend of mine and long time contributor to Banks Journal, Ty Williams, had spoken to me many times about his old business partner and close friend, John E. The figure that he painted was one of unique talent and an astonishingly creative skillset in bringing together physical objects that never should feel at home together, and making them look like they were born to be beside one another.

Ty had mentioned to me a few days prior to the New York show that this person I’d only heard of in stories was going to drop by to say hi and give me a little critique on our wears. Maybe this was why the insecurities were washing over me. Again, I’m not sure but I do know now a few years on that this impromptu meeting with Mr John Esguerra was the reason I was there.

Over the next few years, John became many things to myself and Banks Journal. Most of all he has become a close friend and someone that inspires me to keep improving and believing in what we are doing. For a period of time we partnered with his store Single Double in Oahu’s Chinatown to create our first Hawaii-based retail space. It was ultimately more of a learning experience of the grittier side of Hawaii, juxtaposed with the Aloha Spirit that each and every person showed me while being there…rather than a commercial success.

As I got to know John and was able to see his creative mind at work in person, I knew he would be a perfect fit for a Curated Collection. If you’re lucky enough to know him you would understand how reluctant he was. Always humble with his creative endeavors and never one to want or need the limelight. Fortunately for all of us, John trusted us to take his vision and weave them into a collection that we are all incredibly proud of.

All of the campaign shoots that this incredible group of people I work with are special but this one had a different feeling for me. It could have been the space that we shot—being one that I had spent countless hours, days, weeks, and months working on. But I think It was the people I met like Martial Crum. This absolute gentleman welcomed me into his island home and showed me true Aloha. I am so excited for you all to see him gracefully filling the images for this Curated Collection.

Once again, we could never capture these memories without: Zak Bush (our photographer) and his assistant Adrian Alston. John Esguerra and his business partner, Justin Nakasone, for welcoming us into their space. Vincent Ocariza for capturing all the moments in between. And, Martial Crum for making the product look so damn good.

Our Curated Collection by John E will be dropping into stores and online on the 20th of September. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Be sure to tag @banksjournal for all of your Banks Journal outfit choices.

—Words & Images by Rama McCabe

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