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Vans Community Series: I'll Call You Tomorrow

Vans Community Series: I'll Call You Tomorrow

We recently caught up with Raeland, Sade and Alfred of the Edmonton based collective “I’ll Call You Tomorrow”. They invited us to their work space and filled us in on their upcoming creative projects, including their pop up grocery store @lolasgiftshop and where they see ICYT in the next 5 years. We also joined them for a coffee at their go-to spot, @rosewoodfoods and got to hear about their favorite YEG musicians, artists and creatives, and what Van’s are in their current footwear rotation. 

Photos by: Vivian Han-Tat @thrvht

For those that are just being introduced, can you tell us what “I’ll Call You Tomorrow” is?

I’ll Call You Tomorrow or ICYT for short, is an art collective and lifestyle brand based in Edmonton, AB. Born from a need for community, our team is made of designers, musicians and multi-hyphenates. We have a full lifestyle brand that includes merch & apparel, home goods, and slowly working towards launching into food and drink product categories. On top of our brand we also host events, primarily art shows, music performances and parties. 

When did ICYT start? And how did the idea come together?

In its earliest stages, we were founded in 2015 after finding each other while working in nightlife. Because of these roots, we really value experience-first element of what we do and the community we’re trying to build.   

What have been some of your favourite projects?

Raeland: Chinatown Love Songs was a special moment for me. The whole charity collection is a love letter to Chinatown, and there’s a lot of hidden details in the pieces that are sentimental to my past. For example, the high-shine souvenir satin fabric in the hat is an homage to my grandpa’s satin Starter jacket he would wear after immigrating to Canada from the Philippines. As an added bonus, it’s also what landed us a feature in GQ, which was a surreal moment.

Sade: The Courtyard was a live music event hosted by CO*LAB, featuring Aladean Kheroufi and Good Information. It was the first event of its kind for ICYT. Despite having been involved for a while, it felt as if The Courtyard was my ICYT coming out. It was a definite turning point for me and my commitment to and investment in ICYT. I felt especially energized by that event; inspired and eager to see what we would do next.

Alfred: Seat at the Table is one I always look back on very fondly. Compared to other projects, it’s the one I personally contributed the most to, and I believe it was our first project to incorporate a charity aspect to it. I feel like seeing the community come together at that time support was uplifting, and needed. The actual event was hosted at Baijiu and Raeland brought on Langano Skies, a local Ethiopian restaurant as well to incorporate a new menu item. I also found it rewarding to just add an educational aspect to the event, sharing facts about African music through the playlist we curated, and a small table pamphlet we designed.

What is ICYT’s connection to Chinatown in YEG?

Raeland: Growing up in an South Asian immigrant family in Edmonton, my family settled down in an area of the city that wasn’t culturally diverse. Because of this, I had a lot of trouble navigating my cultural identity growing up. Chinatown in Edmonton, as well as the Chinatowns in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto helped me reconnect with my culture, while also showing me the multiculturalism and community spirit that I was looking for.

Fast forward, ICYT’s studio is located in CO*LAB, an arts building which intersects Boyle Street and Chinatown. Both areas have seen a lot of hardship over the years, so it’s important to me that we remain responsible neighbors and members of the community. 

Where do you see ICYT expanding in the next 5 years?

Raeland: I not so secretly want us to have a footprint in as many cultural touch points as possible. Whether it’s fashion, art, hospitality, playing with the formula of “What is ICYT?” in new contexts is what keeps things fresh and exciting for me.

Sade: It’s my wish for us to continue to be able to express ourselves through ICYT, whatever that may look like.

Alfred: Since ICYT started, we’ve been able to juggle and jump between many different creative avenues without it feeling jarring. There could be more in the future. Along with that, my hope is to operate at higher levels in the spaces we currently occupy. Overall continuing to collaborate with creatives within Alberta and beyond, and solidifying our audience across Canada.

What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of running ICYT?

Raeland: Seeing our work resonate with people to any extent is always such a surreal experience for me. Whether it’s a wild crowd at a party or someone overseas wearing our tees and hats, it always makes me feel grateful that people want to be a part of the community we’re aiming to build.

Sade: I’ve really appreciated how organizing with ICYT has challenged our internal relationships and offered us opportunities to grow and strengthen them. Our professional relationships have only strengthened our friendships, and that feels like a gift. When I say I’ve fallen more in love with Rae and Fred over the past year, it is in earnest. I don’t take for granted the respect, trust and courage that they offer me.

Alfred: On a more selfish note, this gave me something outside of school to put my attention to and gave me a path into working in very creative spaces, and in doing so, I’ve got to meet and work with a lot of cool and interesting people.  

And what have been some of the challenges?

Raeland: Production budgets and scale are always economic challenges any brand or company faces, though I’d like to think we’re taking that in stride while not letting it get in the way of the creative element of what we do.   

Can you tell us more about your new pop-up store “Lola’s Gift Shop” and how that came to be?

Raeland: Lola’s Gift Shop is a multi-brand boutique that’s dressed up like a convenience store. It’s named after my grandma (“Lola'' is Filipino for grandma), and draws inspiration from ethnic neighbourhood convenience stores. Lola’s started earlier this year as part of an initiative to bring awareness to the businesses and culture of Edmonton's Chinatown, and has since evolved into a new platform for us to engage with the community with. We recently launched “Lola’s Grocery Run”, a wellness initiative to get under-represented communities outside and active this summer season. We’re also gearing up for the launch of “Big P.M.P’in”, a collaborative Peach Mango Pie ice cream made by Filipino street-style inspired creamery DRTY Ice Cream

Collaboration seems to be an integral part of the brand, how do you go about selecting collaborators?

Raeland: Collaboration lets us expand what’s not only possible in terms of production and experience, but is also what lets us exist in so many different and new spaces. In leading our design and marketing efforts, when I’m looking for a collaborator I tend to fall back on the questions of: “What is the story I’m trying to tell here? Is this collaborator/collaboration part of that story?” and most importantly, “Am I going to have fun working together?”. If I can cross off enough of those boxes, it usually means we see things eye to eye and the collaborative process will be worth it.  

Who would be a dream collaboration/project or event?

Raeland: I’d hate to jinx it, so I’ll be keeping quiet on this one.

Sade: Idk if I’m allowed to share this…I’m sure Rae will cut it if not but I’ve been talking about organizing a basketball tournament for some time now and that is still at the top of the list for me. Ball tournaments meant a lot to me growing up and my dream would be to work with my brothers and ICYT to pull one off.

Alfred: It’s very half baked, but something involving tattoos, a big space and good music.

Who are some artists, musicians, designers or creatives you are excited by lately (maybe specifically in YEG)?

Raeland: I always remind myself that I get to work with some of the most creative, and talented people I know on the ICYT team. Despite knowing some of our crew for almost a decade, they continue to inspire me and keep me sharp. Locally, what Justin & Kyla have built across streetwear, retail & hospitality with their businesses is a big blueprint for me, with their latest endeavor Fu’s Repair Shop being my favorite spot in the city. I always love to shout out Edgar Gonzelaz of Andafterthat - he’s an absolutely great person, and made literally the only graphic tee I own (even including our own). In terms of designers, Hassan Rahim’s work is a big inspiration for me, and Aaron Levine’s enthusiasm and vulnerability towards menswear is a big part of why I’m into fashion in the first place. Lichen’s Christine Espinal also shifted the way I look at spaces as part of my design practice. Lastly, nightlife collectives like Kuruza and Yeti Out are also reference points I look to in terms of driving our experiences.

Sade: Salem is likely the most talented person I know and the unpredictability of their creative output is my joie de vivre. Vivian, thank you for shooting this, I am your biggest fan. Very excited by Coda’s work, hoping to get tattooed by them soon.

Alfred: There’s probably too much to count but in terms of music, I’ve really liked the output of guys like Ricci Paulo, iamjustmoe, and ARDN. Outside of that, Lil Zooms doesn’t just upcycle, but essentially remixes clothing and other pieces masterfully into the most eye-popping outfits, accessories, or even furniture.

What were your first (or most memorable) pair of Vans?

Raeland: I couldn’t tell you what my first pair of Vans were, but a few years back I picked up a pair of Our Legacy x Vans Vault Old Skool Pro ‘92’s  from gravitypope no less, and were instantly enamored by them. The subtle subversion of a classic through the little hits of orange and unexpected material choices perfectly combined the ethos of both brands. I definitely ran those into the ground.

Sade: My first pair were all black Slip-Ons. I got them during my all black phase during the first year of Uni. Most memorable pair are my royal purple corduroy Slip-Ons. I still believe that Vans made that pair solely for me.

Alfred: Honestly my favorite are also classic black Slip-Ons. At the time they were just a very clutch everyday shoe for the summer that I could match up with anything and both out of the house with whenever I needed.

What pair of Vans are you currently wearing and why did you pick this pair?

Raeland: I’m wearing the Anaheim Factory Style 73 DX in OG Black. As a strict uniform dresser, I aim to dress as comfortably as possible in the studio while also being versatile enough to step out for a meeting or go out after work. These are laid back and comfortable to handle long days running around the city, but are unexpectedly sharp when paired with trousers at night.

Sade: I picked the Anaheim Factory Classic Slip-On 98 DX. I picked this pair because the checkerboard print is an iconic style. I had a pair for nearly a decade that were destroyed, but that I was only recently able to let go of and it felt like the end of an era. But here we are again and during the shoot I was brainstorming possibilities for customizing them. I have some ideas for painting them and think it was Viv that suggested an embroidery moment, not sure what will become of them but… the era continues.

Alfred: I’m in the Anaheim Factory Sk8-Hi 38 DX. I picked these ones up because the playful flame design was striking but also a little subtle with the blue flames against the black. I was looking for something to stand out a bit more from my collection and compliment an equally playful outfit. And with its color palette, I know it wouldn’t clash with a simpler silhouette either.

Any shout outs?

Raeland: Big shout out to the rest of the ICYT team, partners & collaborators, much love!

Sade: Shout out Fenty lace briefs!

Alfred: Shout out to the Vans and Gravitypope team. It’s a pleasure to have this platform to talk more about what we do and hopefully share the love.

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