Little Devil Clothing, age 13, iconic and highly-acclaimed BMX clothing brand, died at Derek Adams’ trails in Trappe, PA on Saturday, October 18, 2008, following a courageous battle with conservative high school principals throughout the course of its fabled life.
Little Devil was born in 1995, in the basement of BMXer Derek Adams, somewhere on the outskirts of Philadelphia, PA. In its early years, Little Devil thrived on infamous t-shirts featuring slogans such as “I Heart Your Mom,” Little Devil, 666, Genuine Evil,” and ankle socks emblazoned with the numbers 666. Its logo, a simple one-line drawing that formed a horned devil-head, became a figurehead almost overnight throughout the BMX world. And Little Devil’s irreverence snowballed into a movement that BMXers in a changing world identified with. Early team riders included Sandy Carson, Keith Gower, Eben Krackau and Rob Sigaty.
In 1998, Little Devil released its first video. Dubbed Seek And Destroy, the video catapulted Little Devil, along with some of its then unknown riders, into the international BMX spotlight. Filmed and edited by Darryl Nau, Seek And Destroy featured sections from Garrett Byrnes, Van Homan, Chris Stauffer, Marvin Loetterle, Brian Iarocci, Pat Juliff, Mike Ardelean, Adam Aloise, Rich Hirsch, Derek Adams and more.
As a brand, Little Devil continued to gain notoriety, inciting complaints from churches, schools and even in public places for those that swore by the brand. But naturally, this notoriety only served to make Little Devil even more of a well known brand. Following the release of Seek And Destroy, friends of Little Devil, including West Chester local Ryan Dunn, began appearing in videos dubbed CKY, lighting themselves on fire and intentionally injuring themselves using random objects such as shopping carts and skateboards. Two years later, segments of CKY were being used in the MTV show Jackass, featuring Dunn wearing Little Devil zip-up sweatshirts, t-shirts and hats.
At the time, the Little Devil team boasted such talent as Van Homan, Garrett Byrnes, Jason Enns, Matt Beringer, Josh Stricker, Kris Bennett, Marvin Loetterle and Nate Hanson. And in 2001, Little Devil returned with its second video. Edited by Derek Adams, Criminal Mischief became an overnight sensation, having been burned into the minds of the many BMXers that would hit the repeat button over and over again in the coming years. The worldwide premiere, in Binghamton, NY, caused fired-up BMXers throughout the city to be kicked out of bars, hotels and restaurants, with many a finger pointing Van Homan’s way (on account of his legendary section.) The video also marked the first time that a car had driven over a handrail after being grinded by a pro, and is still considered by most to be one of, if not the most, influential BMX video ever.
Around the same time, Little Devil had moved to King of Prussia, PA, devoting more than half of its warehouse space to ramps designed and built by Nate Wessel. The ramps would go on to be featured in scores of videos, magazines and even a few skits on Jackass. New riders were also joining the Little Devil crew, including Dave Osato, John Heaton and Alistair Whitton, while some early Little Devil riders went in search of greener pastures, including Garrett Byrnes, Josh Stricker and Kris Bennett. At the time, Little Devil’s line continued to expand, including jeans, jackets, a full line of t-shirts, backpacks, hats, wallets and button-ups. The designs were not as in your face as some of the earlier workings, but for those in the know, the message remained the same.
In early 2005, Little Devil again moved to Norristown, PA. And, to put it bluntly, Little Devil went nuts. The new facility allowed for Little Devil to build what would become one of the world’s most talked about indoor bowls, giving birth to countless sessions from the many pros that visited the cul-de-sac building in a quiet industrial tract. As before, the bowl went on to be featured in countless videos and magazines, spawning a few replica bowls throughout the world and allowing for Adams, along with the Little Devil team, to stay warm during the winter.
Over the next two years, Little Devil maintained its momentum, employing the Internet to host a range of Web videos on Little Devil TV, bringing new names onto the team such as Randy Brown and Geoff Slattery, and hosting in-house BBQs on the weekends which featured demos from the Little Devil pro team, basketball shootouts and clothing sales. But in a May 2007 article from Dig BMX Magazine, Adams mentioned something not many BMXers were ready to hear. In an article that spotlighted Little Devil and the impending future, Adams said, “I may have to kill the devil.” Sadly it seems, Adams’ foresight would come to light with the recent passing of Little Devil.
Little Devil is survived by two videos, father Derek Adams, stepfather Mike Clarke, Uncle Van Homan, brother Orchid Footwear and a legacy in BMX that will never die. Long live the devil.
In lieu of flowers, go buy some Orchids. (I kill myself sometimes….)