Not only is our mate Junior devastatingly handsome and multi-talented but he’s also a really lovely bloke too. Having known him for a few years now via working with him on modelling duties for a number of brand campaigns and retail shoots we’ve done, we’ve followed the evolution of his footwear brand ‘Clints’ with interest and admiration. So image how chuffed we were for him when his first drop went on sale last Friday and sold out within an hour! So if you didn’t get a pair you can at least console yourself with this interview with Junior until the second drop in June.
Junior, can you tell me where you are from originally and what you studied?
Yep, from Coventry originally and pretty much stayed there until I went to Manchester University, most of my family had gone on to further education, so it was the chosen path. In my gap year after two years of studying, that’s when I really started to dabble into making garments – self taught via Youtube in my bedroom.
You have been modelling, is this what sparked your interest in fashion/design or not associated at all?
Not really to be honest. I first started making T-shirts when I was in Secondary School, so that creative element and initial interest was there already. I was spotted in Manchester shop Oi Polloi when one of the people that worked there asked if I would model for them and it went from there really. Never a career, just an ad hoc way of earning to pay the bills – it’s
such an irregular thing.
So talk us through Clints and how this started to materialise?
The progression to making apparel, which it actually was to start with, was very natural. I wasn’t sourcing my own samples at the time and I think I became disenchanted with it all because yes, I was making pieces I liked and would wear, but it wasn’t different or unique and it could be found in many other places – so there was no demand for it. I’ve always loved footwear and became even more inspired after reading Phil Knight’s ‘Shoe
Dog’, his journey was fascinating, so I started to make prototypes from old ripped up shoes and then putting them back together again. No failures, just a learning curve.
In the October of 2017, I was away modelling for Pure Magazine and Dickies (with Proper) and on the plane home I started to play with the brand design and name, people had told to keep it simple and so it became ‘Clints’ and I just knew that this was it. I made clay versions of the shoe as a conceptual model which then evolved into a CAD version to deliver to the factories.
What is at the heart of the brand for you?
The main objective is to have a purpose within the product and for the main focus to be around the way Clints is presented and the story told. The designs will evolve and of course won’t be for everybody, but what I want is for people to walk away from any interaction understanding the story.
Can you explain more about the product and the design process?
The idea is to bring something to life without restrictions, a free-form in terms of design. I want the consumer to see the outstanding quality, as well as the structural elements. Yes, there is a similar aesthetic to some footwear already in existence, but also we have more flexibility, like a running shoe and durability.
How did you settle on a price-point and where did you decide having the pieces made?
The approach is one with longevity, thinking about the long-term. I want to have product that will still be relevant in 5-10 years time and to be accessible. We actually sit just above the average price-point. It’s not too dear and it’s balanced.
Who is the audience, how do you think the consumer will view Clints?
It’s certainly for a younger crowd, but not exclusively for anyone in particular, that would be the wrong approach. I do want to have a strong identity and I understand the importance of staying faithful to that identity. Clints needs to sit comfortably in a space and to have relevance.
Who and what inspires you?
Wow, tough question because it changes all the time and I actually like it like that. I would say that I’m inspired by things from the past, but it’s hard to put a finger on one thing or certain person.
Where and what next?
Second drop is in June, 2020 and priced at £165. I’m not looking beyond that for now