Enter Claudio, a 23-year-old Greenville entrepreneur who co-owns Piez Boutique, a local store and online presence. In 2016, Claudio began collecting shoes while working in construction. He’d come across a cool pair only to find the next hottest pair, which would often be more expensive than the last. “Now I need more money,” he’d often find himself saying. Then, it occurred to him, “I can sell these shoes I just got to get the ones I really want.” And he’d repeat the process. To be a shoe reseller was a bad thing then, but Claudio jumped on the train before it’s now become one of the most popular businesses.
Spending roughly $1000-$1500 a week on shoes, Claudio decided to apply for a job at Champs at Haywood Mall. There, he learned the back end of the trade and discovered more tricks to shoe-flipping. Eventually, he figured out methods he did and didn’t like in his approach to the game. Working at the shoe store also allowed him to get the top-tier brands and styles for himself, and his friends would always comment he had the coolest shoes. He thought to himself, “You can’t just have the shoes.” On the contrary, you have to have the whole outfit.
Modern clothes rub people the wrong way (pun intended) for many reasons. Materials range from cotton to nylon to polyester and more but are often quite thin. Sizes aren’t true to fit. Simply put, for Claudio, “quality of clothes isn’t up to par.” Thus, he wanted to start his own brand with unique streetwear, partially inspired by his own shirts he purchased from Champs and embroidered with the Evil Boy logo, a silhouette of a head, two eyes, and two horns. “They’re still in good condition [today],” Claudio states.
So what is Evil World? What does it mean? Claudio explains that Evil World is the overall bigger picture of his multi-faceted business plan and it’s kind of like J. Cole’s Cole World. It’s a cold world out here where lots of bad things happen. He refers to Einstein’s quote: “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” To Claudio, this means you could be bad, but you don’t have to be. Despite everything existing in an evil world—life, stores, music, food, etc.—we can live in a new world, a new community. The logo serves as a reminder we can be better people. Furthermore, it’s led him to pursue more than one component under the Evil World brand.
Inspired by a friend who used to record music, Claudio branched out into the music business. When you step into Piez Boutique, you not only get the latest street fashion and sneakers, but you also get The Venue, a space in the back of the store for artists to share a platform. Complete with a stage, a bumping soundsystem, professional lighting, and more, rappers can come perform and put their names out there. By providing this feature, Claudio hopes to give Evil Boys Streetwear more meaning. “Other people really didn’t have their meaning to it. I need[ed] to attach something to it to make it cool. You know, music tells stories,” Claudio states. If rappers wear a lot of street clothes, then his line could be the attire of choice, a uniform for the culture.
So what’s in store for the future of Evil World Records? Claudio shares that there are already a few local artists on the label, such as TYK Steezy and LjDaDeuce. He wants to continue offering support by bringing his own fan base to them to grow their audience. He’s also collaborated recently with DaVinci Kitsuné on their track “YSL Chanel” (@davincikitsune). “What I like to think about is, when Evil Boys touches something….if you collab with Evil Boys, your power level goes up,” Claudio beams. “So DaVinci’s power level went crazy.”
Clothing collaborations are also definitely on the shelf. The Goosebumps collab with Trey Johnson and the Protect collab with Kenzie are two of the projects Evil Boys Streetwear has under its belt. “We’re really just trying to go back to the basics. Evil Boys was supposed to be something gothy…it’s kind of, like, dark,” Claudio explains.
Where does Claudio see himself and the brand in the next five years? He wants to see the sneaker store flourishing and have another location by then. Evil Boys will be pushing into the mainstream limelight. “I might put it in Zumiez,” Claudio offers. “You really never know. Just growth in every aspect. The store is probably the stuff you can actually track. Everything else will just happen in its own time.”
Visit the Piez Boutique at 60 Airview Dr in Greenville, SC, Monday through Friday, 11AM-7PM or online at piez-boutique.business.site. Follow the store on Instagram: @piezsneakerboutique and the Evil Boys Streetwear: @evilstreetwearco.