Beyoncé introduced the world in 2016 to her video music album Lemonade, reinventing the way visual storytelling was injected into a larger music project. The average music listener was only familiar with music videos -- a narrative told within one song. An entire album of songs hand-picked to contribute to a larger documentary style story was the first of its kind.
When Union midfielder Warren Creavalle came up with the theme of his latest popup store for his clothing brand Creavalle in Northern Liberties, he took his inspiration from Beyoncé’s visual album. The store, which opened July 7, intersected audio and visual -- the title was A\V Club (Audio Visual Club) -- with an ’80s-inspired capsule. A capsule is a time period reference. All eight of the previous popups, half of which were in Philadelphia, had a different theme and capsule.
A New York native who grew up in suburban Atlanta, Warren, 29, and his cousin Stephen Creavalle started the clothing line in 2014. Initially, it was a way to make family T-shirts. Now it’s a passion for Warren, who pours all of his creativity into it.
“Whenever we have an idea that we want to execute, we have a platform to do it underneath,” said Warren, who had just run over to the popup event following the Union’s 2-2 tie to Orlando City.
The overarching theme of Warren’s clothing brand is community and team, inspired by the people he interacts with on a daily basis: teammates, family, and friends. The unisex online clothing brand offers hats, shirts, hoodies, and socks.
“Having the people that you do life with, the people that are on your team, the home team ... the brand is centered around that," Creavalle said. "Whatever the team wants to do, we do it.”
He dressed up the rectangular space with various record players placed on tables and the ends of shelves. Albums from Bob Marley and other West Indies artists rested in front of the equipment.
On the right wall and back aisle shelf dangled 12 fake album covers. Warren asked 12 people among his family and friends to come up with a unique album cover and list of song titles -- titled A/V class of 2019. Similar to music projects released in a given year, A/V class of 2019 represents 12 different music projects premiering in 2019.
One of the fake album creators is Chelsea Coffey, Creavalle’s fiancee, who came up with the album Slipstream, to embrace what she calls “fake traveling”. A blue sky sitting on top of a bright sun setting in the background surrounded by clouds has allowed her when she is in an airplane to slip into a vacuum. She can knock down all of the noise and focus on her goals and dreams, which she hopes other people are able to channel when they see her cover. She says she was late to the game and created a playlist, so her songs weren’t original.
“[Creavalle] was like, ‘Chels, you know the whole idea was just to make up your own songs,’ ” Coffey said. " I was like, ‘Honey, I’m too far in. I need to share with the people, they need these songs in their life.’"
Coffey says she has watched Creavalle develop his brand over the last five years and he is always receptive to suggestions. She has proposed that they add some women’s clothing, and some different style T-shirts have been added.
“Warren has a very clear vision of Creavalle and he knows what he wants it to be,” Coffey said. “I’m so impressed how it’s grown, the reception it’s gotten from people.”
Creavalle’s teammates Anthony Fontana, Matt Freese, and Matt Real stopped by to show support for the brand. Real says when he first saw a teammate with “Creavalle” on his shirt, he didn’t think much of it. By the third time, he approached Creavalle to ask him about his apparel.
“I was like, what is that? I’m like, oh, that’s his clothing brand,” Real said. “I thought it was really dope. I was like, aw, whenever you have the next popup shop, I’m going to have to come through."
Freese had a similar first reaction as Creavalle strolled into the locker room wearing his clothing brand.
“Pretty much every time I’m like, yo, you need to hook me up with some of that," Freese said. "I’m glad I’m able to come out to this. I wanted to come.”
Starting out, the Guyana national team player said, things were rough. Warren and his cousin’s first shirt simply said “Creavalle”, printed on inexpensive Champion shirts. Months later, they graduated to hoodies, hats, and different style T-shirts. They created a pattern that has since changed. Now everything is done on a computer but he hasn’t forgotten his start.
“It’s just been an evolving process,” Creavalle said.