What is Cav Empt?
Cav Empt is a Tokyo-based brand created by Sk8thing, Toby Feltwell and Hishiyama Yutaka in 2011. The name derives from the Latin phrase “caveat emptor”, meaning “buyer beware”, emphasizing the responsibility of the buyer to be aware of what they are about to purchase. The brand itself is as enigmatic as the founders themselves, who met working for NIGO’s A Bathing Ape. Sk8thing in particular, who always wears masks, is one of the most legendary names in streetwear, being responsible for the branding and design language of some of the most iconic Japanese labels like Bape, Goodenough, Human Made, WTAPS and more.
What kind of products is Cav Empt known for?
• Staple pieces like t-shirts, hoodies and canvas jackets
• experimental and disruptive graphics
• digital and glitchy underground design aesthetic
• references to London and Tokyo subcultures
• high end materials and production methods
• the brand name Cav Empt is often shortened to C.E.
A brief history of Cav Empt
While Sk8thing is one of the main pieces to the historical Urahara movement of 90s Tokyo, Toby Feltwell started working with NIGO in the early 2000s in addition to holding positions at Mo’Wax Records and XL Recordings. Hishi on the other hand has a background in production, which he continues to practice until this day at Cav Empt among other things. When A Bathing Ape sold to a Hong Kong conglomerate, the
trio discussed ways of continuing to work together. As the lights in Tokyo went dark due to the great Tōhoku earthquake in 2011, Sk8thing, Feltwell and Hishi decided to launch a new brand of their own, resulting in the creation of Cav Empt. Rather than expecting financial gain, the group wanted to preserve their cherished work environment and relationship.
What is Cav Empt’s cultural impact?
In a world, where streetwear has become mainstream and part of a mass-consumed culture, Cav Empt remains as lowkey as it can. While easy access and an influx of available information flood our lives, the Japanese brand keeps most of their references and immediate inspirations to themselves. The founders have been a part of the industry through all of its stages. From the time streetwear was an exclusive club
only meant for those in the know, to its explosion in popularity in the 2000s. Having seen it all, C.E. questions the reality we live in and constantly searches for alternatives. This attitude has struck a chord with audiences worldwide, offering them streetwear’s initial authenticity and honesty in the digital age.