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There is a new clothing brand on the block looking to showcase Lansing as a happening city.
Founded by Eastern High School graduates Noah Maldonado, Tony Allen and RJ Everett, Third Coast brands sports its flagship LNSNG line with 14 original designs on hoodies and T-shirts.
The narrative toward Lansing was negative growing up, LNSNG owner Maldonado said.
“It was drilled into us. Even from elementary school, if your family could get out of Lansing it was a success,” he said. “In high school, we had a perspective change on how we saw the city. It was a blank canvas, and if we were going to stay, we thought we should make an impact in a way we know how to.”
Launching a business from scratch was challenging, Maldonado said. “It is good to have a structure, but there comes a point where you have to leap and go for it.”
The team buckled down and worked on designs in 2017.
Maldonado grew up on the south side and fell into the world of fashion through buying, trading and selling sneakers.
“The sneaker culture was huge in high school. At the time I had a bussing job making $5 an hour with sucky tips. I would save up and get a pair of Jordans and resell them for a profit,” Maldonado said.
“It was a huge part of my life and this transitioned to clothing.”
Like the clean-cut striking sneakers he sold, Maldonado took a minimalist approach to design.
“A lot of times, a clothing line geared toward a city can be touristy and super cheesy,” he said. “It was important to us that our designs were clean and different. We are creating a culture here in Lansing that people are not used to.”
Some designs are simple as a shirt printed with “LNSNG,” while others include geometric repeating patterns and lyrics.
The design process involved working with Lansing area artists, including photographer Kayla Upshaw of Kay Eyes photography and touring hip-hop/soul artist Michael “Mikeyy” Austin.
The line has Austin’s lyrics on it and features his forthcoming album “Midnight Stereo,” which is set for a January release, with a cassette logo.
“We premiered the shirts on tour in Chicago, New York and Atlanta,” Austin said. “We were able to sell shirts at each of these cities, and it is cool to see them represented in these places.”
“For Noah, his idea was to make street wear that is really appealing,” Austin said. “But the struggle of getting things done at high quality, while making it affordable, is tough. To be able to do something like this shows what’s possible in Lansing.”
“A lot of people complain there aren’t opportunities here, but you have to create opportunities,” Everett said. “These types of things like clothing lines can be created here. It just takes people to build the foundation.”
LNSNG’s next step is to be stocked in local stores, Maldonado said.
“As Lansing is growing, we’ve seen the flipside of people wanting to live in Lansing. It is cool to see that transition and be a part of it.”
New developments in Lansing give the brand more emphasis, Maldonado said. “When a city is going through what Lansing is, a lot of things get pushed out. But we believe culture trumps everything. You can have as many systems and buildings as you want — if the culture isn’t there, it’s not going to matter.”
“Seeing the community’s support and how they reacted to the brand helps our vision going forward,” Allen said.
For more information, visit https://www.lnsng.co/