Photos by Bradley Adair
Sanders Bohlke is a lot of things: graphic designer, business owner, musician, house-sitter, husband, father, Southerner. He is one of the owners of the Jackson-based design firm Land vs. Ocean (whose notable work includes branding for restaurants such as Saltine and Babalu), and along with business partner Brad Odom of Nashville, he has recently launched a new band/brand/ concept, Rookie Season.
As a band, Rookie Season plays R&B-inspired music, reminiscent of the sounds Brad and Sanders came to love growing up in the South. As a brand, Rookie Season sells urban apparel such as hats, jackets and t-shirts, which are available for purchase online. In the future, he hopes to expand the line to possibly include shoes and more streetwear options. Most Rookie Season apparel features the brand’s catchy and recognizable logo, which Sanders describes as “Helvetica bold with the kerning cranked super low.” Looking at the Rookie Season line, shoppers may draw comparisons to other brands that have formed their own subcultures, such as Supreme. As a concept, Rookie Season knows no limits.
“Rookie Season—the way we approached it and set up the name—is intentionally vague,” Sanders says. “The idea is that if someone were to wear a Rookie Season piece of clothing, someone who didn’t know who we were would think it is a streetwear brand and would want to wear the clothing. That might lead them to the music, or the other way around.”
In essence, Sanders is fostering a subculture, not unlike the way Kayne West has blended his music into a fashion line. In fact, Sanders thinks more musicians should follow the Kanye model.
“Art is art,” Sanders explains. “It’s not like, ‘Oh you’re a musician – you have to play music and sell your band t-shirts.’ Hopefully other musicians will open up to this idea and be as creative as you can possibly be.”
This year, Rookie Season released a record called The Collide. For Sanders and Brad, the meaning behind the album name is that Rookie Season is literally a collision of ideas because, all of their inspirations are colliding into one thing. Sanders is inspired by everything from movies to popular culture.
“I love film and cinematography, so weird things like that play into the fashion part of it,” he says. “Basketball is a huge influence – playing, watching the games. Rookie Season kind of allows me to ‘nerd out’ on everything that I love, and put it all into one project.”
Sanders started playing music professionally in 2005, when he dropped out of school to focus on his creative pursuits. Originally from Sardis, he started Land vs. Ocean in 2010 and moved to Jackson in 2014 to get the brick- and-mortar store off the ground. Located in Fondren next to Campbell’s Bakery, the Land vs. Ocean headquarters serves as an office and event space, where the staff host parties with different themes and develop iconic logos. Sanders no longer resides in Jackson (he divides his time between house-sitting gigs in Virginia and Florida), but it was while he was living in Jackson that he had the idea of creating Rookie Season. “It sort of hit me one day that all of this could live under one thing,” he says. o To shop the Rookie Season line or listen to their music, visit rookieseason.net.
For more information about Land vs. Ocean, visit landvsocean.com. You can follow Rookie Season on Facebook at rookieseasonrookieseason.