Story by John Hood
Cushy would be a compelling concept even if its name didn’t evoke dreams and desires. Billed as “a one-stop shop for businesses to get their vision realized”, the company’s officially called Cushy Gigs, but everyone in town knows it simply as Cushy. And when we say everyone in town knows this outfit, we mean literally everyone. Just slip into a Cushy t-shirt and make the rounds in Wynwood and see what kinda fast and unanimous reaction you get. Then again when the main man behind the brand-stander is a made member of the renowned MSG Cartel, it’s no surprise Cushy’s known by folks far and wide. What is kinda surprising is that no one pegged the name to the concept before now.
“I was looking for a cushy gig and I couldn’t find one that I liked so I started my own,” recalls Cushy capo Alex Vahan, simply summarizing the simplicity of it all. “Turns out I had the job for me all along.”
Formed just 18 months ago with $5K and a fistful of moxy, Cushy’s already become the go-to place for anyone looking not just to realize their vision, but to refine it as well.
“Whether you come to us with something fully formed or a scrap of an idea written on the back of a bar napkin, we can help take it to the next step,” says Vahan.
That next step could be something as integral as a logo or as exponential as a line of t-shirts, each as visually striking as the talent that concocts it. In addition to his colleagues in the Cartel, Vahan heads a quartet of specialists that expands according to the demands of any given project. In house there’s Mike Sakezles of Like Mike infamy on silkscreens, Brian Mitchell handling printing and Pucho doing a lot of the illustration. Add that to the cadre of art ops Cushy can cull from as needed, be they from MSG or Few and Far Women, and, well, you’ve got quite the arsenal.
And, as you might suspect, it’s an arsenal that’s armed some of Miami’s finest minds, from both sides of the proverbial tracks (and causeways). There’s Purdy Lounge and Blackbird Ordinary, Best Buddies and Downtown’s Shoe Gallery, in addition to the likes of Diablo Dimes, Kreepy Tiki, Iron Forge and Primary Flight. It’s a roster that reads like a Hot Sheet, and it’s proof positive that cool seeks and begets cool.
Hell, even Cushy’s headquarters can be read like a roster of with-it. Inside there’s what Vahan calls the “Girls on Girls” series; that is a regal wraparound of chick figures rendered by chicks, including many of the aforementioned Few and Far crew. Outside, on both the roof and the facade, is a series of sides from the likes of Quake, Chrome, Crook and the rest of the MSG contingent. That said HQ sits on the edge of Wynwood and faces the 112 gives Cushy an undeniable visibility — and an air of utter legitimacy.
“It’s funny”, says Vahan. “It started with painting walls and it ends with painting walls. Only this time it’s all above board.”
When asked to sum up the what of his outlaw legitimacy, Vahan adds:
“Cushy’s a legal hustle; that’s all it really is.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.