“The more you know about something, the more you realize that you know nothing about it.” —
“This quote speaks to the true DIY (Do-It-Yourself) nature of KnowNothing. Sometimes there are things that you have to teach yourself how to do; like another old saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Yet, sometimes learning how to fish is not as easy as it seems. You have to try and fail a few times before you actually understand what it is you’re doing. From knowing nothing to knowing something, there is always the need for trial and error. Some creatives see this as an obstacle for them to overcome, while others see this as an opportunity to learn and grow from their inexperience.
While many of us may not inherently know what we need to better ourselves, some understand that although you may never know, that should not stop you from doing what needs to be done. Two creatives who embody this ideal to the fullest are Malachi Shockley and Francis Thomasovich, the creators of the Kentucky-originated brand KnowNothing. At its core, KnowNothing is truly the manifestation of two creatives with a vision that could be brought to life, however, the method of creation would not be as traditional as they thought.
A week ago, I had a chance to speak with them about the definition of the brand, their experiences with it, and what is in store for their future. Lucky for me, I caught them just before they were prepared to release their first collection of 2021 the “Projections Collection.” During our interview, I learned as much about KnowNothing as I learned about them. Their methods of work, the way they communicate, or how they execute their ideas in record-breaking time. A well-oiled machine is nothing without the gears inside, and it’s safe to say that Malachi & Francis are the cogs that make everything turn.
The KnowNothing Interview
Malachi and Francis created KnowNothing together with no prior knowledge of how to get into streetwear, yet their passion to create quality pieces that represented their ideals was more than enough for them to start their empire with no questions or regrets. Their inspiration originates from their own interests in art; from Malachi’s Punk Rock influence to Francis’ interests in his cultural background with Russian Art/Fashion. Like a box of Legos, the two came together with their own plans and created something bigger than either could imagine doing separately.
Originally hailing from Kentucky, KnowNothing is an amazing example of the artistic vision that some of us (hopefully none of us) would believe only exists in the more “famous” states. Deep within the Bluegrass of Kentucky is a talent beyond comprehension and creations that make some “famous” states work look almost amateur. With this knowledge, the KnowNothing team understood its significance in the creative culture as a clothing brand, but also as a representation of a place where if you don’t do it yourself, you’ll never get what you desire.
“When you continuously outsource everything you do, you never learn how to do it. You just learn how to order it. You can only get better when you try, learn, and fail. Otherwise, you’ll never know anything.” – Francis
KnowNothing’s roots reside in its innate DIY motivation. While Francis and Malachi were putting together their ideas they came to an understanding that everything they needed to be successful was already with them, but it was about how they used these tools for their art that would manifest their success.
The brand originally was created in 2012 with its first official release being in 2013. At the time Malachi and Francis were just bringing some of their own ideas to life with no knowledge of the potential they both shared. The two came together to turn two separate plans into one solid idea. Which would end up becoming KnowNothing as we see it today. Since 2013, the two have continuously put together the foundation of what KnowNothing is just off their handwork alone—and from this continuous work comes the fruits of their labor, the products of KnowNothing.
The initial team consists of Malachi and Francis; with Malachi working in Philadelphia for Urban Outfitters and Francis working in Kentucky as a freelancer. The two have only been separated physically for a few years, but this has not stopped their production at all. If anything, the distance between the two solidified that if they were going to continue their work then they would need to dedicate their time to it whether together or separate.
“Malachi and I see each other what? Two? Three times a year?…. but the synergy never stops, with the way that technology is nowadays it’s way easier for us to stay connected. It’s almost like he’s there even when he’s not.” – Francis
In their off time, both minds come together to create KnowNothing. The team also works with their fellow in-house production team 2026inc to bring some of the KnowNothing ideas to life. Along with this however is the entire support system of KnowNothing and the many different creatives outside of their circle that they collaborate with. As much as it is Francis and Malachi, it’s every other person with a piece of clothing that has the words “KnowNothing” on it as well.
Since their start-up, KnowNothing has had several successful pop-ups and events, and have had plenty of pieces some would already deem a classic—one-piece, in particular, is their “Je Ne Sais Pas” tee, the first KnowNothing brand piece. A cloth-stamp of the meaning behind KnowNothing as a whole, as well as the groundwork and inspiration for the future of the brand.
“You’re sitting in class, and your French teacher asks ya something and you’re totally clueless. You reply “Je Ne Sais Pas,” because what do we really know?” – KnowNothing
In 2015, the brand also released their first pair of cut & sew denim jeans which would further inspire their DIY drive for every collection. To them, the ability to create such a quality piece of clothing like denim jeans was a report card covered in A’s. Not only did this prove their outside-the-box execution-style, but it was a success amongst their supporters. Another stamp of the KnowNothing mentality.
With the creative culture we’re in today, longevity is the last thing some people consider when thinking about their creative careers. Some want fast production, others like to move slower. Some people follow trends, others move their own way. Some intend to do as they can for as little time as possible, whereas the KnowNothing team’s first initial thought is always longevity.
The time and effort that goes into creating these pieces give them deeper value than your average “once-a-week” streetwear drops. Every piece comes with a story and with that story comes with an experience for the buyer to live out themselves. Their hands-on work makes their pieces more heartfelt and personal than ever; as mentioned, earlier a very big staple to the KnowNothing supporters is their very rare KnowNothing pieces and how they too are apart of the legacy. Meaning that every buyer holds a piece of Malachi & Francis with them because they too, know nothing.
“We were around a lot of creatives & influencers at the time[….]and we both knew we wanted to go about things differently. We weren’t ready to blow at that time, but that matured us and the brand into what it is now.” – Malachi
Their upcoming collection is special to them as this is their first official release since the beginning of quarantine and the first release of a brand new year. They took their time sitting down and actually living their lives again without the blur of reality we call life pre-quarantine. And with that time comes an extravagant piece of work that truly reflects the creator’s values. A featured piece out this collection is a pair of sweatpants described as a “Comfortable yet a very stylish look, with all the bells & whistles included.” A favorite amongst Malachi & Francis—as well as some other in-house creatives and friends of theirs.
With this collection, they looked at it and wondered about how they could be more fluid with their release, while also building a bridge towards other collections. Before they would start each collection one-by-one from scratch, but with the excess time that came from the quarantine, the KnowNothing boys decided to take a more suspenseful take on their collections. Where one will drop and the pieces that come behind it will lay the groundwork for the next collection, and so on and so forth.
“We’re here for the long run. We’re trying to make clothes forever. I don’t wanna burn out or ride any waves, instead, we’ll just make our own wave. I’d rather build our community organically.” – Malachi
The newest KnowNothing collection is planned to release on 01/13/2021 via their webstore knownothing.us. You can also keep yourself updated on the new collection as well as future drops from the KnowNothing Instagram account. Also, be sure to follow both Malachi & Francis on their Instagram accounts to keep up with their personal endeavors and other creative adventures.
As the year begins and The Boys From Nowhere start off in great spirits, we bring this article to a close. Thank you to Malachi & Francis, as well as the entire KnowNothing nation for sitting with men and allowing me to write this on your behalf. Thank you to the audience members who attended the live interview, and thank you for taking the time to read this from top to bottom. Before I go, a word of advice—Be wary of the curse of knowledge, because those who know everything soon realize that they know nothing at all.
Visit www.knownothing.us Now
PROJECTIONS COLLECTION FULL LOOKBOOK
Edited by Francis Thomasovich & Malachi Shockley