Get Familiar: Junior Clint
Photography by Olivia Jank | Interview by Passion Dzenga
The young self-taught designer behind our latest collaboration is Manchester’s very own Junior Clint. Building his brand from the ground up in the most literal sense, we decided to get familiar with him on the eve of the launch of the Patta x Clints Stepper to find out more about how his motivations and ideas come together to make CLINTS.inc such a refreshing part of the streetwear world.
Hi Junior, let’s start with what you set out to do with Clints and how you got started?
In the beginning I was set on hand-making footwear from scratch in my bedroom, with the aim of one day having my own footwear organisation.
What do you want your audience to take away from your projects, what’s the objective here?
The aim really is to create shoes with a purpose of use but have an element of nostalgic / commercial value.
Can you explain your creative process?
This can vary but it usually starts with the story I’m trying to convey to the audience. It can be inspired by anything from nature, a sport or a particular community of people. From there, I work backwards by identifying the shape of the sole unit and structure of the upper fabric. The last stage of the process is the colour-way and name of the model.
Do you design the footwear and apparel yourself?
Yes, all designs are by myself and I liaise with the team. There are 5 of us internally.
What’s the first thing you have designed that made you want to pursue this journey?
The first shoe I designed was an Off-White x Nike conceptual shoe which was inspired by the late Virgil’s 10 collection in 2017.
Where did you find your brand name?
When I began hand-making footwear, the intent wasn’t to have a self-titled brand name but as people were showing more interest in the concepts, there was more pressure to give it a name. So it was fitting to have a self-titled name and at the time it had a nice ring to it, so we rolled with it.
You are based 0161, Manchester, a city known for pushing the boundaries of U.K. expression, from Oasis, The Hacienda and in more modern times people like Aitch, how important is music to the DNA of Clints?
Music has played an important role in my creative process as it all stems from self-expression. Being part of a city that birthed some of the greatest musical elites is a testament to the general spirit that the city holds.
What noticeable differences and challenges do you think a brand has when it doesn't start in a capital city?
The biggest difference is the exposure to people that are making things happen in the capital compared to smaller cities. On the flip side, it’s good to cloud out the noise and focus on what is true to me.
Salehe Bembury recently called you his favourite designer and Virgil Abloh was spotted wearing your designs last year, what was your reaction to this?
It’s definitely humbling whenever I hear that in general, but when it comes from Salehe… who has countlessly set out the blueprint on how to navigate through the footwear industry without limitations, it means way more. He’s the truth. Seeing the late Virgil wearing the shoes is Mind-blowing. Without seeing someone who looked like me do it the way he did, I wouldn’t be where I’m at, extremely grateful.
You seem to have a lot of fun with your work, does it ever really feel like work?
Never feels like work for the most part! The aim is to make products that allow me and my peers to relive our childhood and when people get to experience these products, I know that I’m on the right path.
Why did you choose a Trek Shoe as your first release?
As a start-up brand, I really wanted to express the fact that the shoe functioned well and was durable. Going for a trek silhouette allowed me to deliver this narrative best as there are no short-cuts with design.
How have these lockdowns affected your creative process?
Lockdown has had its Pros/Cons. One Pro being that people are embracing local brands a lot more. A Con is that we face a lot of production delays. But I think this will get better over time.
What do you get up to when you’re not working on Clints?
I’m an Arsenal fan, so my spare time consists of me praying that we make it in the top four someday.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Bringing more silhouettes to the market and entering into diverse product ranges as a whole.
This is your first collaboration, how did this come about and how did the mutual visions come together on this project?
One of my friends from the Patta team approached me in late 2020 with the possibility of working together on Apparel and the conversation evolved to us collaborating on a new silhouette through our footwear infrastructure. The brand feels like family. When I’m wearing it I’m an individual that’s part of a bigger community, rather than a walking billboard. Which I think is such a good balance they’ve managed to create. Patta is Timeless.
What has inspired you to explore and create a whole new shoe silhouette?
My main aim is to develop leisure footwear for any occasion, so we are always creating shoes fit for purpose.
When it comes to Black-owned footwear brands, you can count them on one hand. Now in the contemporary fashion landscape do you feel like there is more room for people of colour to be brand owners?
Yes for sure! There are a lot of obstacles in the industry but I see more independent brands breaking through which opens up more room for us to enter.
The Patta x Clints Stepper is a match made in heaven. The two Black-owned independent brands, known for sneakers, have joined hands on this debut collaboration from CLINTS Inc. This being the lifestyle brand’s first time sharing a drawing board, it was pivotal for Clints and Patta to work on a project that reflected the values of both camps. The Patta x Clints Stepper comes in a Brown, Teal and Black upper constructed out of premium material adorned with Patta and Clints insignia. The real star of the show is the sole which takes on the classic CLINTS Inc logo and marries it with the Patta Script logo in a contrasting White and Black palette.
Manchester’s finest, CLINTS Inc entered the game with a mission statement so loud it couldn’t be ignored. With their limited releases of retro-inspired sneakers and apparel, they have carved their own lane and revived the contemporary British streetwear scene. Patta also shares its roots in Europe, calling Amsterdam home, but shares the Black ancestry of Clints. The collaboration feels organic and very aware of the ever-evolving fashion landscapes which have allowed both the brands to have a voice in previously exclusive spaces.