Run by Lyz Olko and Josh Conner, Obesity and Speed has steadily become a downtown designer(s) of choice for New York cool kids and big-time celebrities alike. The company’s creed? “Do what you feel, and sleep when you’re dead.” Olko cites punk cinema as a strong creative influence (she mentions The Fabolous Stains and American Hardcore as favorites). Many appear to agree with the blunt doctrine: the brand’s grungy garments have been seen on the likes of Ke$ha, Fergie, Misshapes DJ Greg K and songstress Sky Ferreira—the latter two can even be found giving face in O+S’ ominous, amusing tees, tank-tops (“Bite It You Scum” and “Hope For The Hopelss” being just some of the screenprinted sayings) and other inventive items on the company’s website.
And although the line has already become a city staple (at least to crowds that are familiar with Ferreira and Greg K), its rise to eminence only started a short time ago. “I was still in school at SVA at the time, and we made one shirt,” Olko says of her and Conner’s humble beginning. “It was a very constructed, tailored blouse, with pearls draping over the shoulders. A celebrity stylist bought it, and then things started very quickly from there.” Nowadays, O+S can be found in stylish shops like Bond St.’s Oak, Trash and Vaudeville, LA’s Kitson and Barney’s New York. With stores reaching as far as Australia and Japan on the brand’s impressive stocklist, Olko is sure to appreciate every achievement. “Selling to major stores, seeing celebrities wear things . . . these things will never not give us confidence or inspire us,” Olko notes.
Olko and Conner are in the process of taking the line to the next level-the two recently partnered with 17-year-old director Mukunda Angulo’s collective The Wolfpack and Wayne Yip on a Tarantino-tinged short film entitled “The Poison Hit” (which can be viewed below), and are now prepping a collaboration with Killcity Jeans. “Josh and i have been fans and friends of the brand for some time,” Olko explains. “We like the same music as [Killcity founder] Drew and his girlfriend—thus, the collaboration was born.”
And although Obesity and Speed may be geared towards the young, reckless and punky, that doesn’t mean the line is by any means restrictive. “I gave my mom one of our shirts that says ‘wasted effort,'” Olko quips. “She really has no idea, but I think it’s sweet.”