These Are Powers Represent the Sars Guard: “Easy Answers” Video

These Are Powers

{Photo by Michael Flack}

We just received an email about Brooklyn‘s experimental electronica trio These Are Powers from their publicist.  The message was sent to encourage us to view their new video “Easy Answers” [posted below], which is explained on their Dead Oceans recording artist page as follows:

The video for THESE ARE POWERS’ song “Easy Answers” was jointly inspired by the annual Ghost Festival held every August in China and the Chinese folkloric tradition of burning joss paper after the death of a relative or loved one. Joss paper has long been burned ceremoniously as an offering to the dead, representing all of the worldly goods that spirits may desire in the afterlife, including intricately detailed miniature paper replicas of mansions, BMW convertibles, laptop computers, karaoke VCRs, and large denomination “hell bank notes” or “ghost money.”

Once burned, these items are believed to join the deceased loved ones in heaven, and for lost spirits who still roam the land of the living, small paper boats and lanterns are bought and released, which signifies giving direction to these restless ancestors.

The one thing that doesn’t seem to be addressed anywhere are the crazy, unique fashions heavily featured throughout the video.  This was odd to me because, if anything, that’s what really tends to stand out the most.  Fortunately, the gear that the group is sporting throughout is more than just exclusive one-off pieces created for the shoot and envisioned by the director (Jacqueline Caste) and/or the wardrobe department.  I actually know the creators of the garments and, after the video, will be providing the information to obtain similar pieces for yourself.

Singer, Anna Barie‘s unitard {“Span Decks Bodysuit 3009“}, as well as Pat Noecker and Bill Salas‘ sweatshirts, were clearly constructed by Ruffeo Hearts Lil Snottie.  I immediately recognized the RHLS signature triangle patterns and trademark “Sars Guard” velcro hoodie face-straps.  RHLS headquarters, located in Redhook Brooklyn, is run by founders/Seattle-transplants, Mackswell Sherman and Sarah Jones who, “specialize in super quality, handmade apparel“.

The following quotes are taking directly from the mission statement featured on

Sarah Jones RHLSWe like to keep it small, ethical and homegrown. No outsourcing our labor overseas or even out of state (its all done under one roof). We use salvaged materials, dead stock from manufacturers, or vintage sweatshirts, and vintage cotton products as our source fabric.

Everything is made by our four hands from 100% recycled materials. Innovative function!

We are part of a wonderful business model called Parachute, (a new project by the founder of We are exploring ways to help cottage industry pioneers take their business to the next level and compete with mainstream fashion/production industry by providing subsidies and educational opportunities. By supporting RHLS you are supporting the future of handmade industry.

We believe by reclaiming the clothing industry, making everything locally and using leftover materials we can revolutionize production practices in many fields. We are taking responsibility and we believe consumers will get behind us and share that responsibility, yes, we still want to save the world, thanks mom.

I feel more than comfortable by openly vouching for RHLS and their intentions, as I have known Mackswell for the better part of 9 years.  Back during our days in Olympia, Wa, we took a class together at Evergreen, worked on projects and, at one point, even helped star in a short film together.  He used to live in a house commonly referred to as “The Mystery Mansion“, which once held an after party for, LA rappers, Busdriver and The Shape Shifters.  We both had a love for lyrics and I left occasional rap verses on his answering machine when he wasn’t around to pick up the phone.

Just prior to each of us, eventually, moving from Olympia to Seattle, I remember Sherman partaking in organized rap battles at a local Oly establishment.  The rest of the participants were generally trust fund kids that didn’t seem to have any real skills; just new era caps and the latest Atmosphere release.  Quantity, unjustly, tended to overpower quality and I remember him telling me that these teams of goons would only focus on attacking the gear that he was wearing, pat each other on the back for terrible one-liners, and cheer each other on.  I agreed with him and tried to reinforce that these kids were all full of shit, but seeing his designs get credit through publications like Bust Magazine and in the video above, speaks volumes more than I could have with simple words.  In fact, the members of These Are Powers are even featured in their catalog.  Fuck the haters!  I’m genuinely psyched to see Sherman and Jones‘ designs get the respect that they are due.  They are amazing people, so PLEASE BUY THEIR SHIT!

Peep out these links:
RHLS on Etsy
More Designs on their Flickr
RHLS on Myspace
These Are Powers (Myspace)


RHLS w/Mo Rocca on CBS Morning News

RHLS teaches you to make a space helmet hoodie


Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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