Every week, Nick Holiday sits in on group therapy sessions with Shia LaBeouf and Kevin Abstract of Brockhampton. He and the other 12 members of the Brockhampton collective take a break from their cell phones for a couple of hours and talk about how they’ve been feeling.
“We open up on our emotions and just support each other as a group,” says Holiday, who is sitting at an Alfred Coffee in Melrose, constantly checking his phone for calendar updates. “They are all led by Shia and Kevin.”
Holiday is a 24-year old from Missouri who designs merch for Brockhampton; created festival merch for LaBeouf’s theater company, Slauson R.C. Theater School; and creates pieces for his own line, Holiday. If you listen to Brockhampton, the rap collective that reaches a rabid young audience with its emotionally honest lyrics, group therapy sessions with its costume and merch designer make sense. And if you look at the product Holiday creates for the group and himself—hoodies covered with “Real Boy” and T-shirts that say “It’s Time I Start Taking Care of Myself”—the weekly meetings make even more sense.
“Some of the clothes have been made from a really dark place,” says Holiday, who draws inspiration for his designs from previous relationships and life experiences. But he goes on to say that despite some of his pieces being melancholic, he doesn’t want sympathy.
Holiday was an ambitious 20-year-old living in Missouri when he met Kevin Abstract in 2015 through Twitter. Kevin was seeking an eager creative to manage merch for his first international tour, and Holiday reached out to the Texas-born rapper. They hit it off and Kevin invited Holiday onto the tour. Holiday paid for his own flight to Europe and was tasked with handling all of the tour merchandise. He met Brockhampton member Romil Hemnani and later connected with the rest of the group in Los Angeles.
“I was freaking out,” says Holiday. “I was thinking, ‘What if I fly all the way out there and they just leave or say they are good without my help?’”
That didn’t happen, and Holiday has since become a part of the collective’s creative team made up of Henock Sileshi, Weston Freas, Rob Ontenient, Kevin Doan, and Ashlan Grey. The group is responsible for Brockhampton’s merch and their memorable stage outfits—they’ve done everything from accent orange jumpsuits with blue body paint and wear bulletproof vests covered with identifiers like “fiend” and the other F-word.
“I am not in charge of their individual style, and sometimes I get afraid of that word ‘stylist’ because these dudes are so creative and so good at their job,” says Holiday. “They are fucking awesome. They show me new stuff every day, too.”
In terms of merch, Holiday says it isn’t unusual for the team to produce 80 shirt designs in a week. He follows Sileshi's direction and then opens up his latop and designs the clothes. Then the entire group approves them.
“We have become accustomed to working under pressure. I help with designing, and BH’s general expertise is always taken into consideration because they are a boy band,” says Holiday.
Before designing for Brockhampton and moving to Los Angeles in 2016, Holiday began in a high-end fashion boutique in Missouri where his mother worked. He spent most of his childhood there, schooling himself on luxurious brands and fabrics.
Inspired by young creatives like Zac Clark from FTP (FuckThePopulation), Holiday started to think about launching his own clothing brand when he was around 18, while he was working at a St. Louis streetwear store called SwedlLife. In 2013, he introduced Stay Broke, which was at first made and sold at Holiday’s modest apartment in St. Louis. The brand revolved around graphic tees and hand-drawn sweaters. Holiday felt like he wasn’t doing his business justice and decided to dismantle it around the time he started working with Brockhampton.
He introduced Holiday in April 2017, knowing that innovative marketing strategies would make it successful. His goal was to create a brand that was more universal. Every new collection is dropped on American holidays like National Self -Care Day and is only available for around three days on his e-commerce site. He never restocks the product, which includes $28 shirts usually covered in uplifting personal mantras, and has featured items like jackets and backpacks promoting environmental awareness that were released on Endangered Species Day. He’s collaborated with brands like Chinatown Market, Utmost, Foulplay, and Neighbors, along with up-and-coming artist, Deb Never.
“Holiday is supposed to bring confidence and comfort; anyone can wear it in the form they want to,” says Holiday. “Holidays are a part of common knowledge, but they can be interpreted differently, just like Holiday as a clothing brand. The key is to embrace yourself.”
Brockhampton’s fifth album, Ginger, drops today, but it’s already released merch on its site. The items include a white tee with six computer-generated blue faces of Brockhampton printed on it and another tee displaying the performers’ metallic suits and red shoes designed by Marni.
“We knew what kids wanted,” says Holiday, “and I was listening to the album and painting in my head how would this translate into specific designs that would favor the fans of Brockhampton.”
Holiday is also beginning to help co-design and produce clothing for Friends With Animals, model Tavia Bonetti’s brand. He wants to get more into costuming for feature films. But as for his own brand, his expectations aren’t as concrete.
“I feel like the future of Holiday is going to do what it needs to do, and I do not want to get in the way of that. I just want to let it be.”