Living Life & Having Fun: Evolve Clothing / Virginia
After my usual daily dose of digging and perusing Instagram, I stumbled upon an independent apparel brand that really stood out from the rest: Evolve Clothing. What really caught my eye was their fresh take on street wear style. Thinking it was too good to be true, I checked out their website and was not disappointed. With quirky, fun pictures of real people wearing the clothing and sunglasses online, and their easy to use website, they had me hooked. As luck would have it, the owner and founder himself was kind enough to answer a few questions.
Ashley Roberts (AR): How have you helped build “Evolve Clothing”?
Evolve Clothing (EC): Evolve was created by, artist and musician, Andrew Hanson in Central VA in the spring of 2005. I was pretty bored with flashy and over-priced “lifestyle” brands saturating the market and wanted to create something more raw and original. We were never really so much focused on being a “clothing line” per say but more of an artistic movement or familia for positive and like-minded individuals. Evolve is just about living life and having fun.
AR: Where do you find the most inspiration?
EC: I find the most inspiration from everyday life encounters. Music is a huge part of my life, so a lot of inspiration comes from the certain vibes from whatever music I am into currently. Be it hip-hop, punk rock, reggae, old country…Whatever. Over the past ten years we’ve spent a lot of time on the road taking trips across the country. All of that time meeting new people in different cities (selling t-shirts and sunglasses out of the trunk of our car to continue the journey) always played a part in our daily inspiration. We’re into skateboarding, surfing, outdoors, art, old cars, so all of that seems to play a part as far as our market is concerned but also just mainly about getting out and doing something positive with your time.
AR: What practices or routines do you think set you and your independent brand apart from the others?
EC: Evolve has always stood out from other brands because plain and simple, we do our own thing. Like the old Groucho Marks quote, “I would never want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member”.
I am not a person that sticks to one style of anything, so with Evolve we organically just blend styles. That ends up appealing to people from all walks of life. For ten years, our target consumer has ranged from teenagers to seniors, wealthy to poor and every race or sexual orientation that exists under the sun.
From the get go, we have never been afraid to get our hands dirty. We have always been hard workers who did it all. Originally we did all of the screen-printing ourselves, until we couldn’t keep up with orders and had to out source to a local printer. We create durable, yet affordable products so the people who get stoked on Evolve can actually afford it after paying their electric bill.
We’ve done tons of sticker campaigns, sponsor pro skateboarders, musicians, pro kayakers and artists. Always handled all of the business side of everything. We go the extra mile. With every order I hand write a thank you letter and let people know whats happening with Evolve. We want people to know we are real human beings just like them and are grateful for their business. We also always hook up packages with free stickers or whatever new music we are promoting. I think all of that transcends into each individual customer feeling like they are part of something. I guess we’ve just never been afraid of being ourselves.
AR: What’s your advice for an aspiring designer? The do’s and don’ts that you’ve learned along the way...
EC: Don’t take yourself too serious. Create something that is unique and that you are passionate about. The world is full of “flash in the pan” brands that are out to make a quick buck. As a company we are barely scratching the surface of where we want to be…but after 10 years, I’ve seen a lot of “brands” come and go. The majority of them were just selling something that was trendy for a minute. Think of longevity. Authenticity lasts a lifetime.
AR: If you could collaborate with another designer, who would it be?
EC: If we could go back in time… Paul Newman. I am not sure if he actually ever designed any apparel but he is just bad as s***. I’d go back in time and just want to kick it with him and hope that some of his style and realness would rub off on me.
But now a days…. there is this visionary artist Chris Dyer who I’d love to link up with. He has done tons of amazing artwork all over the world from murals, to working with skateboard companies, private companies, his own apparel company Positive Creations and other visionary artists like Alex Grey. He’s just a positive like-minded artist and all and all just seems like a real dude. We’ve had contact over the years thru Evolve but it would be sick to officially link up and collaborate together.
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