The History of Brain Dead

The History of Brain Dead

Haven Neiman

The History of Brain Dead

Kyle Ng + Ed Davis

First originating in Los Angeles by designers Kyle NG and co-founder Ed Davis, Brain Dead has grown to surpass the standards initially set by previous streetwear entities. The label identifies itself as “Not one person, nor an idea.” While implementing heavy references to various subcultures such as underground comics, skateboarders, punks, and more, the label caters to those who embrace the subculture spirit. Brain Dead’s new Spring 2022 collection has arrived, and in celebration of the brand’s latest delivery, keep reading to learn more about the origins of the Brain Dead.


Considering the bizarre nature of Brain Dead, it isn’t all that surprising that the concept of the brand itself began with a simple email from co-founder Kyle Ng to co-founder Ed Davis. Both Kyle and Ed came from interesting backgrounds before joining the initial collaborative project of Brain Dead. For instance, Kyle Ng is well-known for working with the tech-sportswear label AXS Technology, which heavily referenced the 60s and 70s California counterculture. In addition to AXS Technology, Kyle worked with the accessories brand Farm Tactics, which commonly drew from vintage textiles and classic looks. With Ed Davis, the Australian native is best known for his help with the early days of Melbourne’s iconic Doomsday store, along with the label Rat Brain.


On a random day, while working at AXS Technology, Kyle Ng received a Rat Brain tee as a gift. Kyle Ng was inspired by the graphic t-shirt, as it represented interests that struck a chord within his passions and interests. Knowing the shirt’s graphics were designed by Ed Davis, Ng chose to email him directly and propose a collaborative effort between the two that could eventually grow into a full-fledged brand. Although slightly hesitant, Davis agreed. Shortly after this brief communication was the birth of Brain Dead in 2014. What first began as a simple conversation quickly grew into a creative collective of artists, Kyle Ng and Ed Davis, who had the vision to stand out from the standard streetwear offerings. They both realized they had the same passion for things like B-movies, underground counter-culture, and other bizarre concepts.


Heading into Brain Dead, Kyle Ng was already disillusioned by the fashion industry’s significant attachment to consistently seasonal product releases and believes that each collection should organically grow on its own time. This belief system has since served him well, as Brain Dead’s tendencies to avoid feeding into the continuous cycle of ‘hype’ that surrounds more modern labels. Kyle Ng and Ed Davis recognized that a simple graphic t-shirt is the ultimate platform for messaging, and the two wanted to make it affordable and wearable to the public. The graphic t-shirt’s perfect canvas allowed the duo to display their passion for experimentation and discovery. To them, Brain Dead was much more than a clothing brand. It was a way for them to present their unique interests surrounding previously underrepresented subcultures. As the embodiment of counter culture, Brain Dead makes an effort to reflect creative expression before the arrival of the internet while expressing subcultures such as post-punk, skate, comic lovers, and more.


Since 2014, Brain Dead has gone from simple graphic t-shirts to offering a full-fledged range of apparel, headwear, accessories, footwear, and more. The brand intertwines Kyle Ng and Ed Davis’ love of all things creative like film, nature, comics, skateboarding, etc. It creates relatable imagery reflected and translated onto boldly graphic designs placed on various offerings. As the brand has grown, it has become more comfortable creating various stand-out pieces within each collection that differentiate themselves from a simple graphic tee. Brain Dead is inspired by those who consume it, and Kyle Ng and Ed Davis find inspiration from unexpected places with their extreme and unique mindsets. When it comes to each of the co-founders’ roles, Ed Davis is responsible for researching graphics and references and assembles his ideas and vision into a collage. Kyle Ng then takes those initial ideas and puts them in the context of the brand. This method between the two creatives contributes to Brain Dead’s eclectic nature, separating itself from trends.


Aside from Brain Dead’s continuous collections spread each year, the collective label is responsible for various notable footwear collaborations with premium brands. Brain Dead’s love of collaborations shines within each delivery, as the brand’s philosophies have resulted in an impressive selection of high-profile brands in the fashion industry. These brands include Reebok, Converse, Asics, and a recent apparel collaboration with The North Face.


By straying away from trends while staying true to its eclectic nature, Brain Dead continues to produce deliveries that reference the labels’ counter-culture subculture aesthetic. Kyle Ng made what would later become a ground-breaking decision when sending that email to Ed Davis, as the streetwear label continues to grow and make an impression on fans worldwide.


Brain Dead's new Spring 2022 collection is available now at all retail locations + online. To shop the new delivery, click here.

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