Creator Series introduces the individuals who are using their inspiration and talent to push football culture forward.
Raymond An's 'Ray Beach Club' was the first online store to bring together shining lights of football culture, with gear from Nivelcrack, OBSCR, City Boys and others.
What first got you interested in soccer?
I was born in Seoul, South Korea and everyday I would play with my friends from the same neighborhood. All day, until you were forced back inside. Using parked cars as goal posts and playing on concrete. Best days of my life. I was also really good at it back then, so immediately I fell in love with the sport.
Who’s your all-time favourite player?
My favorite player of all time is Ronaldinho. I’ve played football my whole life, but I didn’t really start watching club football (only international matches, especially South Korea since I was born there) because our house didn’t have cable TV and online streaming/YouTube wasn’t like it is now back then.
Once we finally got cable TV, I started to watch the EPL, Champions League, La Liga, you name it. And one player I fell in love with was Ronaldinho. He was having way too much fun and stood out on the pitch. As I fell in love with Ronaldinho, I fell in love with FC Barcelona, hence I am an avid Barca fan to this day.
How did RAYSBEACHCLUB get started?
Through my love for the game, I also became a huge fan of football kits and became a collector. At the same time I was heavily involved with building Guerrilla FC and was also writing for Kicks to the Pitch and was being exposed to these football streetwear brands like Nivelcrack, City Boys FC and dope communities like Le Ballon in Paris.
I was always a fan of streetwear, and I loved what these brands were doing – targeting a very niche but passionate market, and the fact that they were still relatively low-key made them seem cooler than all these big market streetwear brands.
These football streetwear brands were not really accessible in the US as most of them were all foreign brands and I saw an opportunity to connect what I’m passionate about. Our main mission through having the online store is to help promote these brands to the world and give the spotlight to the brands, not my store.
There seems to be a decent creative scene in NYC – with projects
like CSNYC, Nowhere FC and Tens Club…
I am actually originally from the Washington DC area and just recently moved to LA. I am, however, very familiar with the creative scene in NYC since we are all somewhat connected. Paris is the biggest creative scene in the football world in Europe, followed by Milan and the UK. NYC is probably the only city to this date consistently testing barriers with football in the U.S.
I think CSCNYC really started the idea of having dope creative football teams that you see a lot of nowadays, and they don’t get as much credit as they deserve. Nowhere FC having collaborations with AS Roma and Inter Milan was really dope and cool to see the potential of the creative scene in football.
Tens Club is probably my favourite football-inspired streetwear brand from the U.S., shout out to Lu! LA, Portland, Miami, and Washington DC (Guerrilla FC) all have good things happening, but not as consistent and much history as NYC. I hope to bring a lot of that here in LA so stay tuned…
Which creative team do you think is doing the best stuff in fashion right now?
I don’t wanna sound biased, but a lot of people would also agree that Guerrilla FC is doing some dope things. We have some new collaborations being released this year as well as our continued partnership with Umbro. Our look is very different than some of the creative teams out there right now.
It’s really hard to look apart when most of us are using the same football jersey template, and it really comes down to how you portray your brand through your designs. I definitely can’t think of a creative football team out there with similar aesthetics like ours. Some notable mentions are the folks from Le Ballon and CSCNYC with their latest kit.
What’s your prediction for the World Cup?
My heart wants Messi to win. He is already the goat even if he doesn’t win it, but it would be nice to shut some people up. France probably has the biggest potential, and then the usual favorites of Germany, Brazil, and Spain is looking scary again.
In Christian Pulisic, USMNT has a proper star. How far can he go in the game?
I actually watched a Dortmund game in their stadium when I visited the city last fall. He was probably the best player on the pitch that day and I was really impressed. He has a huge potential but so do so many other players of his age in Europe. It’s exciting to see and hopefully more young players from the US follows his footsteps.