RINGLEADER: AN INTERVIEW WITH ANGELO DESTOUNIS

RINGLEADER: AN INTERVIEW WITH ANGELO DESTOUNIS

Ringleader visionary Angelo Destounis is a creative who is addicted to the world of football and fashion. From starting out as a buyer in the fashion industry, Angelo's passion for football and the culture which surrounds the beautiful game, has taken over and gone on to allow him to forge his own path in the creative industry.

We caught up with Angelo for this week's creative in the spotlight feature, to hear all about what's keeping him awake at 3AM, what drives the ideas and creative output behind Ringleaders and his newly created online soccer store.

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Cult Kits: For those that don't know you Angelo, can you tell us a bit about your background?

Angelo Destounis: I've been in retail & fashion for over two decades now, and launched a business at just 18 years old. I started as a flyer boy passing out promotional pamphlets for hip hop shows, and worked my way up, from Buyer to now Creative Director. Football always gets the best of me, no matter what I try to do and so I decided to pursue the Ringleaders brand full time, as well as recently dropping my solo project, called Angelo's Soccer Shop

CK: Yes, we love this... Tell us about those shin-pads...

AD: Well, known as Angelo's World Wide Soccer Shop, launched on my name day, (November 8th - for your Greek audience out there) it was like having a baby! This project was simmering inside of me for over 15 years. I was honoured to work on the branding with my longtime partner Jeremy Wirth, one of the best Art Directors and Graphic Artists I've ever met. Alongside Ringleaders, we've aimed to create two beautiful brands that are completely different. On a spiritual level it's a Yin and Yang experience for me, as I am able to separate my ideas and channel them in the right place. The psychology of this journey has saved my artistic life, while exercising my skills as a Creative Director. 

 

cult kits angelo interview ringleader shinpads

 

cult kits angelo interview shinpads

 

Besides showcasing items from my archives, I make shin guards! I specialise in customisation for anyone looking to enhance their playing experience. I like how my customers want photos of their loved ones, their favourite athletes, club logos, their roots and even their faith displayed on their shin guards. It's like making a Tattoo. After every transaction, I tell my clients: "At Angelo's Soccer Shop, we CARE about our customer's safety!". It's deeply inspiring to watch someone play knowing he is protected by your shin guards. 

 

"The process is both psychological and spiritual. I am not sure if it's a gift or a curse, but I have ideas every 30 seconds, so at times it's like trying to manage a typhoon in my head." 

 

CK: Tell us a bit about your work with Ringleaders.

AD: Ringleaders started as a t-shirt brand! I was immersed in fashion at the time, surrounded by skate, streetwear and sneaker culture. During my travels as a Buyer, I spent more time talking to my sales reps about Football than their new collections. And so I discovered a niche, a love and thirst that had no fix. After I released my first capsule, slowly but surely I was able to attract a community of like minded creatives that were looking for a team to play on, a safe environment that is more about togetherness than achieving competitive results. 

 

cult kits angelo interview ringleaders midnight cup

 

cult kits angelo interview ringleaders girl blue bib

 

"After I have a vision, I have to email myself or else I will forget. This is a painful process at times, as it can be at 3AM while sleeping, or in a gathering with people all around me."

 

Over the years I have realised many of my childhood dreams, from playing on snow, to organising a tournament inside a rave party, (shoutout to my partners at Moonshine) for playing a match in the dark with headlamps. I can't believe how much I have been able to create and I can only thank the Ringleaders for that. Without their support this would be impossible. 

CK: Do you follow a certain team or are you more a lover of football across the leagues, so to speak?

AD: Well, currently I am completely enchanted by the Canadian Premier League. 

CK: What do you think of the current crop of shirts? Do you have any standout shirts so far?

AD: I prefer previous eras than the actual one we are living in now. As a collector, I would like to see stronger story lines and more "swagger". However the fabrics being used are impressive, that side of the industry is constantly evolving. I was happy to see Maharishi finally get a collaboration. I also wish to see more heritage brands have a stronger presence. Besides the "big" three, the rest of the landscape is dominated by mass volume production companies. I feel like I'm watching an accountant's Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet dancing on the pitch. It is a business after all, right? 

Shop ALL Unique and divisive designs of football shirts here.

 

cult kits angelo interview football shirt collection

 

cult kits angelo interview afghan x hummel signed shirt

 

CK: What's your earliest footballing memory?

AD: This single second memory is but a small glimpse of seeing Maradona lift the World Cup on the television. I can still feel the warmth of his joy. His soul was as vast as the universe. 


Shop ALL International football shirts here.

 

CK: Tell us about your style and approach to your work with Angelos Soccer and Ringleaders.

AD: Yes of course... As I mentioned beforehand the process is both psychological and spiritual. I am not sure if it's a gift or a curse, but I have ideas every 30 seconds, so at times it's like trying to manage a typhoon in my head. The visions I have are lightning fast and they all have some potential to them. I did theatre as a teenager, and so my experience as an actor plays a big role in the development of my projects, campaigns, events and collections. I am blessed to have a solid team of creatives around me, and if I can't edit the overall picture, they will help bring clarity. 

 

cult kits angelo interview angelos x manuel rios

 

CK: Do you have a specific process in approaching your creative output?

AD: Absolutely! After I have a vision, I have to email myself or else I will forget. This is a painful process at times, as it can be at 3am while sleeping, or in a gathering with people all around me. The worst is when I am driving. I have to stop the car. Once I am at peace in my creative studio, I draw the idea on paper and I save it for whenever I use it. My "To-Do Lists" keep me on track. 

 

cult kits angelo interview sketchbook

 

CK: Who or what inspires your work?

AD: I was a buyer for both apparel and sneaker brands, so I am always looking at what people are wearing, their behaviour and what they are doing. People watching is an art, because you imagine their lives, habits, routines and rituals. Ultimately, Ringleaders crew inspires me the most. The characters and individuals on the collective are incredible. At times when my energy is low, just being around such beautiful souls brings me back to life. 

CK: Are there any creatives/artists out there currently who you admire?

AD: I really like Salehe Bembury, Martine Rose and Virgil Abloh (forever). 

CK: Is there a creative/player or brand you'd love to collaborate with on a project/collection?

AD: Roberto Baggio and Diadora. 

Shop ALL Legends and Heroes shirts here.

CK: What are your plans for 2024? Can you tell us anything about projects you have in the pipeline?

AD: Yes! Ringleaders x EA Sports FC 24 is dropping really soon... we also have an art exhibition coming in February, a Dark Match part 2, as well as more clothing collections on the way. 

As for Angelo's, if all goes well I will have the biggest project of my career... just conversations for now but I would love for it to come to life.  

CK: When can Cult Kits collaborate with Angelo... 

AD: I already have ideas. You know where to find me ;) 

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