My dad was 19 and my mom was 17 when I was born. My mom left Corona del Mar High School because she was pregnant and went to a continuation school. She started at Cal State Fullerton when I was three weeks old. She ended up studying education and becoming a sixth-grade teacher. Four years later, they got married.
My dad didn’t go to college; he took some classes, but all I know is that everything he learned was because he went out, grinded, bought computer programs and was self-taught. My dad wasn’t given an easy positionwhere you have all the resources you want and have a wealthy family. His mom was 13 when she had her first child, and she tried her best. My dad had to hustle to get his. He did a lot of moving during his childhood, from Chicago to San Francisco to Oakland to Piedmont, then to the Philippines, and eventually ending up in Orange County—all that before he was 11 years old. He did a lot of jumping around. I think having a child put a fire under his ass. Maybe college was too slow for him.
I have a vivid memory of our house in Costa Mesa, where my parents moved after they got married, walking through the backyard to the garage, where his creative kingdom was. Everything started in the garage. He had his friends over: TYKE AWR was sitting there—he’d just got done doing multiple canvases—and my dad was working on the computer. It was cool. I remember my dad got jeans, and he and his friends were in the backyard drawing on them with paint pens and then going to sell them at boutiques around L.A. and Orange County. From a young age I felt the energy of his creative work.
Growing up in Costa Mesa was fun. With the parents I have, things like skateboarding and creative thinking were pushed. Surfing was also pushed, but I didn’t get into it. I’m a skater, to be real with you. There were always a lot of people around our house, because my parents were still young. The vibe growing up with them was trippy—their friends were artists, fighters, designers, skaters, musicians and surfers; everyone was always at our house for UFC Fight Nights. My best memories of my dad and me are of us playing video games and him taking me skating, walking me to school and picking me up after—small quality time. That mattered most to me. Before he started RVCA and it kicked into full gear, he was around a lot.
I had rules, like “Don’t hurt someone unless they hurt you first,” and “Don’t instigate shit.” I feel like my parents tried their best to put rules on me, but me and my dad have more of a friend relationship. It wasn’t always like that; I had to earn it by being more accountable. That meant having integrity, being honest with my parents—through all the bullshit and the good stuff. My mom was my force field a lot. She was always really overly nice about disciplining me. My dad and I are more like brothers—we grew up together. He was older when he had my other siblings (ages 11 and13). It’s so cool to watch my dad bond with them. It’s like from an uncle’s perspective—they even call me Uncle. When my dad’s at dinner with the family, he’s always taking pictures, and then he uploads them onto hard drives. He just naturally documents. He always says he wishes he had more pictures of himself when he was growing up to show us.
We were in Italy recently, and we saw a bunch of people wearing RVCA and it was like,“Whoa.” I’m just proud of him. When I see stuff like that, I’m stoked on my dad, because he grinded and came through. His ultimate goal was to provide for his family and be a good man. That was something he verbalized a lot. Besides doing a good job with his interests and fashion and art, family is put before everything. My dad has sacrificed physical health for his family. He would do 48-hour shifts. The business went from a garage to a warehouse to an even bigger and better warehouse. He would be designing, talking to artists, curating stuff. He did a bunch of projects. He likes to do a lot of projects that aren’t involved with clothing, too. He’s always bringing up the people around him.
Do I feel like there’s a lot to live up to? Absolutely. My dad has been invited to the White House by the Obama administration as an example of a successful small business owner. That’s pretty special. I don’t know how the fuck I’m about to do that. Really, I don’t. The pressure is on.
Sometimes I think my dad is unlucky to be so warmhearted. I don’t think some people realize how much he does for others outside his family. He helps a lot of people, friends and strangers, straight up. He’s a people person. I don’t think my dad will ever forget where he came from, or the people who have been with him on the mission.