Interview by Ty Long
New York designer and entrepreneur, founder of Hemincuff, designs with a personal touch.
Q: Right now, it looks like your main line is t-shirts. Is there anything particular about Hemincuff shirts?
Our t-shirts are handmade in New York and take from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes to construct. My Dad and I construct the t-shirts together in NY from scratch. My shirts are super soft and we use organic cotton. I’m in the works and learning to create actual ready to wear, which will include denim, sweaters, polo’s, ties, dress shirts, hats etc.
Q: Fashion collections are often about having something new to say. What are you trying to say with Hemincuff?
Hemincuff is my life story to the world. My father loved to (cuff) his denim jeans when he was young because he always believed it was the style and always wanted me to keep my denim through my childhood years. My mother used to (hem) my clothing with a sewing machine during her spare time.
Each [Hemincuff] piece will be handmade, placed in a special handmade bag my parents made, and I will hand write the clients name on the bag and sign my name on it to give it a personal touch. Which designer does that? I don’t know one. Each piece will be super limited and each product will be numbered.
Q: Wow, that’s definitely personal, can you sustain that kind of attention as you grow?
Yes! Hemincuff is about the people and I have to connect as much as I can.
Q: You use a lot of celebrities in your advertising. Do you think American consumers need to see famous people using products to buy them?
I feel that having celebrities wearing your clothing plays a strong role in advertising. The American consumer is extremely visual and auditory. I learned this from working in retail for 5 years. If they see a celebrity wearing a new t-shirt and hear people speaking about how hot this product is, it creates a buzz. What is a good product with no marketing? The world will never know.
Q: Is there any fashion trend you see now that you like?
I really love elongated shirts. It just has that super edgy look that just gives you a mysterious/exclusive look. I love the wearing all black trend and wearing sneakers with a tailored suit trend.
Q: How would you describe your style?
An edgy, fun, exclusive style that resembles who I am. I am always wearing 1 of 1 pieces that other designers will create for me. You will catch me wearing my own products most of the time. You will catch me wearing slim sweatpants, dress shirt with a bow tie with my 1 of 1 painted boots and custom G-shock which was created by designer “Tyko Moon” who is like a brother to me. Follow @tykomoonx to view his work. This guy is a beast in design and is a good person to gain inspiration from. I just love wearing things that no 1 has and that are made from people that the world knows about.
Q: Your initial funding came from the proceeds of your can recycling. Is there good money in cans?
There is a lot of money involved in the recycling business. It takes a lot of hustle and good connects to make a lot of money. A friend of mine owns a bar, so he use to give me 5,000 beer cans a month. Each can was 10 cents. 5,000 X.10= $500 a month.
I would go with a friend with his 2-seater van and collect all those cans to exchange them. I had about 4 bars that the owners gave me permission to take their cans. I also used go to the quiet neighborhoods in the Bronx and collect the recycle garbage bags from their houses. I would wear a ski mask and a Hemincuff sample hoodie to not be seen. LOL. It was a pretty dirty job, but, you know what? I got to do what I got to do to build the dream.
Q: Hemincuff hoodie with the logo? Might trace it back to you.
I can see the hoodie being released in MY “H” logo as a classic piece but I’m working on a hand painted design that will be printed on the sweater. PSST its a secret!! LOL Stay tuned.
Interview conducted via e-mail, condensed and edited by Ty Long