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Welcome To The Gates of Hell

HELLGATE is a clothing brand based out of Los Angeles that's been dropping some of the hardest graphic tees of the year. We spoke with the founder Justin about his experience starting Hellgate earlier this year and beginning to make a name for himself to now gearing up for the release of his highly anticipated new drop. In addition, we also spoke with Justin about the inspiration behind some of his most iconic pieces, what we should expect to see next, and his plans to make Hellgate known worldwide while giving others opportunities to create.

Where are you from?

Justin: I’m from Los Angeles, CA.

When did you start Hellgate?

Justin: I started back in February of this year.

How did you come up with the name?

Justin: One day my friend and I were brainstorming and couldn’t think of anything but later that day he texted me and asked what I thought about “Hellgate."" I liked the name and never looked back so shout out to the homie Jorge.

What made you want to start a clothing brand?

Justin: I was always into streetwear and at 16 I was influenced by skating so I had printed out a few skate inspired tees to sell and give out to the homies. Seeing other brands come from nothing made me think I could do the same.

Were you always interested in fashion growing up?

Justin: Not necessarily high end fashion but I did like shopping. I always prefered buying shoes over clothes.

Talk about your most recent “Down Bad Paradise” collection that just released. Where did you come up with the idea for those pieces?

Justin: The “Down Bad Paradise” collection was my first ever collab drop. Each design set its own vibe. The “Down Bad Paradise” tee was initially inspired by an Ed Hardy type look. That was an idea Nato had suggested and I did my best to add my own style to it. The “SRT/Lightning” tee was inspired by a vintage Nascar shirt that I have.

It was a collab with @litefortunato1, correct?

Justin: Yeah.

What made you want to work with him?

Justin: Nato has always supported me from the first drop until now. He’s a very talented artist and super underrated.

What makes you want to work with another artist or designer in general?

Justin: Good intentions and like minded people.

Are there any other artists, designers or brands you want to work with in the future?

Justin: Yeah there are many. I’ve connected with a lot of brands at this point. With time and patience things will begin to fall into place but just expect to see big things coming soon.

Where did you come up with the idea for the blue all-over print design from your release in April?

Justin: I wanted to introduce the flame and skulls for my first official drop so I tried to make a timeless piece that I can incorporate into future drops. Expect to see the “Flaming Hellgate skull” more in the future.

What does your creative process look like when coming up with a new design?

Justin: Every concept is different. There’s times when I get stuck brainstorming and have a hard time trying to find what direction to take the design in. Eventually the idea clicks and I work off the vibe. The final steps are making sure everything is perfect so that it comes out great in person.

What was the inspiration behind the Hellgate “Godzilla” tee?

Justin: I wanted to bring a dark retro vibe into the design. Just seeing retro letters is nostalgic to me so I went in and thought of the perfect vibe and concept.

Where do you draw inspiration from in general?

Justin: Mainly vintage tees.

What made you want to release the flame Hellgate pants?

Justin: As an upcoming brand I needed to catch people's eyes and I knew the pants would be the perfect piece to make that happen. It was the perfect execution for that drop and it sold out.

Are there any other garments or accessories you want to experiment with in the future?

Justin: There are many cut and sew pieces that are currently being made. There’s so much I wish I could show but it’ll have to wait. You won’t be disappointed. But I do want to make an art sculpture that I can place in front of my crib.

What should we expect to see next from Hellgate?

Justin: Many attempts to create cool garments in hopes that people can wear it and love what they see. I hope to not stop anytime soon and actually make an impact on the culture and wherever it takes me.

What do you want Hellgate to become at the end of the day?

Justin: A vision and art that everyone can rock with. I want to put Hellgate on the map and make it worldwide. From there I just hope to expand and give others opportunities to create along with me or for themselves. I want to eventually help others do the same and give them that platform to grow. Let’s all win together.

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