For legendary street artist, Tex Moton, creating a streetwear brand that combined his talent for graffiti art with his love of food was a no-brainer, and consumers agreed. Originally introduced in 2007, YUMS, an acronym for “You Understand My Style,” quickly rose in cultural popularity with Tex as its Chief Creative Officer and found immediate traction with streetwear enthusiasts, celebrities, boutiques, and major retailers across the country who were hungry for Tex’s original artwork.
Behemoth NIKE took notice, filed suit against the smaller YUMS in 2009, and sparked a multi-year legal battle that resembled a modern-day David vs Goliath battle. As a result of the case’s outcome, YUMS is re-launching its signature Sweet Series sneakers, made possible by the Supreme Court’s decision in Already, LLC d/b/a YUMS v. NIKE Inc., 568 U.S. 85 (2013), and Nike’s first-ever covenant not to sue, which NIKE Inc. issued to YUMS, and the Supreme Court applied.
We spoke to Tex Moton, Chief Creative Officer of YUMS, to hear from him firsthand about his inspiring journey as a creative entrepreneur, YUMS’ comeback story, what’s next for the streetwear brand, and more.
Tell us about yourself. What inspired you to pursue this path, and how do your Dallas roots come into play?
I grew up in the Pleasant Grove neighborhood of Dallas in a single parent house with my mom and brother. We had limited means, but we always found inexpensive outlets for entertaining me and my brother through art. Art became the center for me, creating just brought me happiness! When I was in junior year of high school, I co-founded a graffiti artist collective called, Infinite Crew (I.C.), which gave me and my friends a creative outlet, unified the city’s youth, and inspired a whole generation of up-and-coming painters. The city of Dallas plays a huge part in my style as an artist because it’s a very fashionable and artistically visible city. Dallas, mixed with my love of hip hop, skate and streetwear culture, my love of bold colors, set the table early in life for my vision for YUMS.
What are some challenges you’ve faced as a creative?
As a creative typically it can be challenging to earn a living. There is a fine line between following your vision and having commercial success. The key for me has always been finding new ways to remain in a creative state. Aside from YUMS, I’ve worked with truly incredible brands and sports teams from the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Texas Rangers and Nashville Predators to Playboy and Coca Cola. I’ve been blessed to use my art to connect with people and bring joy!
What’s something you wish you knew when you were younger?
Growing up in low income areas there aren’t many role models in the community. I had to learn most things through the school of hard knocks, many mistakes made but many solutions found too! I wish we could see more creative success stories in the hoods, more paths and steps to follow in. I hope my story can inspire the next artist or designer of the future!
What are some of the most rewarding parts of your job?
I’m very fortunate to be able to work with a great creative team (including my brother) in a great work environment. We all build off each other and constantly push ourselves. It’s super fun, and I get to influence a whole next generation of creatives.
What advice do you have for other creatives and entrepreneurs who want to make a difference in their communities?
I would say a very important piece of the puzzle is connecting with good people. A hard working, conscientious, and moral team. Be patient and develop your craft, lasting success doesn’t come to most overnight.
Tell us about YUMS. Can you share YUMS’ journey and why it’s relaunching now?
YUMS, which stands for You Understand My Style, is a footwear and accessory brand that we first launched in 2007. We just announced YUMS re-launch this May and released YUMS’ renowned Sweet Series sneaker collection in the first drop. Now is the perfect time for YUMS relaunch for two reasons. First, sensing the world could use a dose of joy, YUMS believes it’s now time to reinvigorate that sensational happiness with its signature flavor-inspired collections. Secondly, the current release can be traced to the Supreme Court’s decision in Already, LLC d/b/a YUMS v. NIKE Inc., 568 U.S. 85 (2013), and Nike’s first-ever covenant not to sue, which NIKE Inc. issued to YUMS, and the Supreme Court applied.
What are some features that make YUMS unique from anything else on the market?
What makes us different in the marketplace is the fusion element. We have changed the way people relate to sneakers and think about collections, designs and product development by including unexpected details, like graffiti art on the soles of the shoes that can be seen through clear rubber bottoms. YUMS give this category life and personality, through the art and the connecting elements of the flavors they represent.
What’s your favorite “flavor” in this first collection?
In this initial release of the First Collection, I’d have to go with the Rainbow Sherbet! Love them all but I just love how this shoe came together! Those colors, and the balance flip from the right to the left. Something special!
What’s next for YUMS? Are you open to collaborations?
We have a lot of fun things planned for our supporters! Just keep one eye open #YumsLife
Do you have any advice for other independent brands out there who faced similar situations as YUMS?
My advice would be, find your lane. Where do you exist and what are you adding to the world. Also, what is your brand story and how does it connect with people?