Be a Kid Again
Shop Your Youth
These are the messages that the brand-new Canadian clothing company RetroKid.Ca want to instill into their patrons. The two business owners, Eric and Steve, (who are Canadian born and raised themselves), are recreating apparel with iconic imagery of brands and businesses from the not-so-distant (Canadian) past.
Being that Canada is such a close northern neighbors, it’s hard to remember sometimes that is truly is a separate country. One with their own brands, stores, and popular culture. The flagship line of shirts from RetroKid feature logos from shut-down businesses that were popular in the (Canadian) 80s. Quoting from the RetroKid site itself:
Celebrate Your Childhood
Remember the rush of hopping on your bike and racing to the corner store to buy some Big League Chew? Or, the amazing feels of playing outside with your friends until after the street lights came on? How about the many times you kept it cool by throwing out the plastic Biway bag your mom gave you for lunch before you even got to school? Honor your Youth. Rep your inner Kid.
Today on PopLurker, we’re showing off the first line of items, which are on sale right now on RetroKid.Ca All prices below are listed in Canadian currency, and the company will ship to the United States as well!
Make sure you scroll to the end too, because we interviewed Eric Bauza to learn all about this amazing new company!
In addition to their website, RetroKid is also hanging out on Instagram.
About the Business Owners:
RetroKid curates your youth by celebrating the memories and nostalgia you remember most as a kid. They pay tribute to some of the most iconic brands of your childhood through timeless design, authenticity, and quality apparel. A t-shirt says a lot about who you are; and who you were. Rep your inner Kid. Be a Kid again.
Eric grew up 10 minutes away from Mike Myers in Scarborough, Ontario next to a very large hydro field, which may explain his large funny bone. A man of a million voices and a walking encyclopedia of useless Seinfeld and Alf trivia; he’s also the voice behind hundreds of famous cartoon characters. Seriously. Google it.
Steve was born a true 80s-baby, with a Walkman in one hand and an NES controller in the other. He’s watched every single movie at Blockbuster at least twice and can recite all the lines to the oscar-robbed 90s movie Bloodsport. His alter-ego is Smooth McGee, a basement DJ who’ll happily troll the dancefloor with R&B slow jams.
PopLurker got together with RetroKid co-owner Eric Bauza for an exclusive interview and learned more about this incredible start up apparel company:
Hey Eric! Welcome to PopLurker! I’m so excited we could snag this interview with you to go along with the article about your amazing RetroKid apparel company. Would you please give us a little bit of background about your website and clothing line?
RetroKid actually started out as a little side project that you create when you’re just goofing off with friends. But eventually, my friend Steve Gaskin, who I’ve known since High School, and I got talking and realized we’re just both T-shirt aficionados. You know me, I’m a T-shirt connoisseur. I’ve been buying graphic T-shirts since before it was cool. And I stuck to my guns and now I have a giant graphic T-shirt collection!
So, the same thought occurred to me as it did for my love of voice over: Why don’t I take this same passion that I have for T-Shirts and turn it into a possible career and open up a business?
After that, Steve and I were trying to decide how to make ourselves stand out. Nowadays, there are so many T-shirt websites, places to buy them at the mall, big companies, competitors…how were we going to stand out in a market where there’s a bunch of white noise? That’s when we decided to venture into an area where we knew like the back of our hands—our childhoods and where we both grew up, which is Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
We decided to start there. We took a step back to really stop and figure out why growing up in Canada was so funny to us. Being from Canada and having moved to the United States, I’ve never felt more Canadian! When you leave where you’re from, you just always go back and it is home. It’s your comfort, your security blanket. Now that I have a son who is going to grow up in the United States, I kind of want to get him back to Canada as much as possible to show him that this is where Mom and Dad are from and why we’re so weird.
There’re just some things in Canada that we don’t have here. Case and point, Tim Hortons Donuts. But then, not only is something only in Canada because it’s regional, but then sometimes a small-town business shuts down and we’re left with that nostalgic memory of it. Tying it back in with RetroKid, that’s exactly what our first line of apparel focuses on—out of business Canadian stores.
And here is what’s so brilliant about that, Eric. I think back to my own childhood before I could read, and I think about the imprint of logos in my head where I knew what a store was before I could even read. I saw the swirling S logo and I knew it was Sears. The logo has since changed, but I see that image and that iconography, those semiotics and sign symbols, and it takes me back to my happy place where I didn’t have to worry about anything.
Exactly! It’s about being nostalgic for and remembering a time where you didn’t have to work, where food was put on the table for you, and that’s what we’re harkening back to with our first collection. If you look at the clothing, we have both BiWay and Bargain Harolds. Those were two stores that were somewhere between a dollar store and Target. You could buy household items and housewares. But you could also buy clothes– very cheap and inexpensive clothes. If your mom bought you a shirt from BiWay, everyone knew you were the poor kid. Back then, that meant everything. It was your whole profile. As a parent now, I can appreciate BiWay when you need to save a buck. But back then, you were mortified if your mom came home with a BiWay shopping back. It’s not like today where kids’ fashion all sort of blends. Back then, everyone knew.
What’s next for you in the pipeline? Do you guys have any visions for upcoming projects or apparel for RetroKid, or are you going to launch this first batch and sort of see what happens?
This first collection of clothing is definitely an experiment. It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like this. The majority of my work as a voice over artist is in the United States. I’ve recorded a few cartoon voices in Canada, but the amount of years I’ve spent outside of Canada is significant. I’m 38 years old and I left Canada 15 years ago. I’ve spent a good portion of my life here. And this is the first time I’ve ever really had my own business. Steve has his own business and works in retail, but this is his first venture into fashion, apparel, and branding.
This is a fun thing to do with someone you’ve been best friends with for years. It’s like getting to see the new things you learn when you move in with someone. Steve is a lot stricter and more organized than I am. I’m pretty loose and casual, but I’m the artistic one who comes up with most of the designs.
Here’s some breaking news: We’ve contacted companies who have the rights to a lot of old, Canadian preschool shows and other children’s programming that have been off the air for decades, but burned that tattoo in our memories. One of the companies we reached out to got back to us and we’re in talks to do a line with them! We can’t announce quite yet what that show is, but it meant a lot to us growing up.
If you guys end up doing Today’s Special, The Odyssey, or Degrassi, I’ll just die. Please, please, please make it happen!
Oh, Degrassi is huge! We have to go back to Degrassi. The college that I went to was actually the interior shots for the school they filmed Degrassi at. Sentential College—so technically, I went to Degrassi for college. If we’re talking about the original Degrassi, that is.
There’s three of them. An old show from the late 70s called The Kids of Degrassi Street, then the 80s shows Degrassi Jr. High and then Degrassi High before the newer Next Generation show happened on Noggin. Yes, I know—I’m very lame.
You are our target customer! This is amazing. Let’s talk about Degrassi! But that’s exactly what’s happening here with RetroKid. We’re targeting a very niche audience, and hopefully we find our people out there. And that they find us just the same!
We’ll Lurk until it happens, I promise!