I met Dee & Rick around 2002 while they were hanging around the outside of a Downtown NYC event. A few days later, I bumped into Dee at another random event. It was obvious from the first time I met them that they are extremely unique characters with confidence and charisma for days. They were young and extremely hyper, but very hungry for information and thirsty for new experiences. It’s hard to put into words what makes the Twins so special, and it may sound cliché, but they simply have “IT”. Their “IT” might be, or not be, your thing, but it attracts people to them and the things that they do. When I met them they did not have a direction, but they clearly had that thing that creates an audience around them. People would always ask, “what do they DO?” since they seemed special. They are motivated by their own whims and not afraid to do things exactly the way they want without concern for people’s opinions. They are rich with opposing yet complimentary personalities, their style and charisma is not for everyone. They are astoundingly unique and endlessly creative, and that spirit was something that I felt needed to be encouraged and directed from the second that we met.

I immediately welcomed Dee & Ricky into my circle, exposing them to ESPO, my staff, my office operations, my creative process, and many other people and processes to raise their awareness, expose them to our work ethic, and hopefully help them find a focus for all of their creative energy. It was obvious from early on that Dee & Ricky would forge their own path. They needed to be free to go at their own pace and develop their unique skills without the confinement of a more traditional route.

About a year after our meeting, I noticed that the Twins had begun wearing flat cheap enamel belt buckles made to resemble a classic Nintendo controller. The buckles had no dimension and were poorly manufactured. I couldn't help but wonder why someone would produce a fake 2D controller when it was obvious the buckles could easily be made from the real thing. It took just a little work to find/develop the proper technique to secure a real Nintendo controller to a buckle. Once we worked out all the kinks, I knew this would be the ideal project for the Twins. I made it my mission to focus their energy and ideas into the creation of this one product. We kicked things off with an Xbox controller. It was much too enormous and outlandish to be practical for most people, but it was fun to make and wear. I actually used it in a presentation to the marketing people at Microsoft/XBOX. Upon seeing people’s reaction to the initial buckles, I set about furthering the concept. I coated the XBOX controller in a metallic finish to make it appear brass-plated. We all liked the idea, and the Twins started wearing them immediately. The response from everyone who saw the buckles was amazing. From laughs to offers to buy them, we knew it was something fun and worth doing a lot more of. We quickly began to hand make loads of buckles from Nintendo, Sega, and XBOX controllers as well as a whole host of more obscure video game controller and cartridge related items. From the start, we could not keep the products in stock. They were selling faster than they could be produced. The video game buckles eventually evolved into the Lego buckles that really put Dee & Ricky on the map. Sold at high-end lifestyle retailers worldwide, they were ultimately utilized as the premiere accessory in Marc Jacobs 2008 Fall Show at NYC Fashion Week.

The rest is history. You can see what Dee & Ricky are up to with a simple Google search. From collaborating on watches with Casio’s G-Shock to a line of footwear and items for PONY, from clutch bags for Joy Cioci to a new restaurant in Clinton Hill Brooklyn, the Twins success has been amazing. It’s hard to guess exactly where the twins will go next with their ideas but they have already succeeded on many fronts. We work together to this day, spending hours brainstorming, dreaming of the impossible, and designing new projects for themselves and other brands. I am still in the mentor role, but more importantly we are close friends. Now… where is my check guys!!!

This folder contains some examples of our creative collaborations from the beginning to the present.