Big in Ohio: Floyd Johnson

Published August 9, 2012

Floyd Johnson, better known as “Floyd From Ohio,” is based in Cincinnati, but he gets around. A friend may have run into the 27-year-old while he was snapping shots of Olympic stars in LA (part of a recent project he just wrapped with Nike), or a photographer you know might have posted a picture of him on your favorite street style site. But even if you’ve never seen the up-and-comer in person, there’s a larger chance you’ve caught glimpses of his most recent venture, a collection of hometown-inspired apparel and accessories, OATW (Ohio Against The World), which can currently be purchased at Cincinnati’s Fabricate Boutique, OTR, and Contemporary Art Center.

“I wanted to make and wear my own T-shirts,” Johnson says of what inspired him to start the line, which began as a collection of tees and crew necks with “Ohio Against The World” printed on their fronts in strong capitals, via his father’s self-made silkscreen machine. “Having the utility at home to screen-print was pretty much the platform that started it all.” Johnson cites his father, who still does screen-printing for everything from family reunions to corporate events, as an early inspiration. “He also sometimes does summer youth enrichment camps to teach children in the community entrepreneurial skills, as well as how to screen-print.”

Floyd’s work broke way beyond the local scene once the designer incorporated an idea that caught his aesthetic eye. “I had come across some old Patricia Field acrylic hats that read ‘SEX,'” recalls Johnson. “I became fascinated with that idea and figured out a way to make it appropriate for my work.” Soon enough Floyd’s hat could be seen via Instagram on fashion-forward folks like Chloë Sevigny, whom Johnson snapped with the cap when he bumped into her at St. Marks’ Trash & Vaudeville. “She said she loved it and that it was awesome,” Floyd remarks. “Then she gave me a hug and said ‘Don’t go freaking out.'”

Even though Floyd may have kept his cool, no one else did—the original hats are, at the moment, all sold out. Now prepping a bunch of new inventory (including new versions of the hats with multi-colored acrylic type, a crewneck sweater with intergalactic silver sleeves, and a black tank top flanked with the OATW logo) to be sold from the brand’s upcoming website, the tastemaker’s buzz is bigger then over.

“My goal is to keep making things happen,” Johnson says. “And to go on a date with Keyshia Cole. But that’s more of a wish than a goal, I suppose.”