A Brand For The Outcasts And A Voice For The Unheard
is clothing brand based out of Maryland that's giving a voice to the unheard through their custom garments. We spoke with the founder Darius about his experience going from being an aspiring pro gamer to starting Hello and now designing his own skate decks and clothes that've caught the attention of some big names in the underground music and fashion scene. In addition, we also spoke about the inspiration behind some of his staple pieces, what we should expect to see from Hello next, and his vision to become a voice that inspires people to get up and chase their dreams.
Where are you from?
Darius: I’m from a small town in Maryland called Clinton.
When did you start Hello clothing?
Darius: I officially started in December of last year when I came up with the idea. I made the first pieces two months after I had the idea in February.
How did you come up with the name?
Darius: It’s a real funny story. I told my friends that I was gonna start making clothes and chase my dream and we were on PS4 playing Black Ops III and I remember screaming “hello” into the mic. My friend told me that I should name the brand that and it just stuck. When I actually thought more about it there was a really deep meaning behind it. So the whole idea for the name just came when I was gaming with my friends.
What’s the meaning behind Hello?
Darius: Most of my life I was either ignored or not taken serious by friends and family. Growing up I was looked at as an outcast so Hello was my way of saying that I exist, I have value, and I have something to bring to the table. The brand is for anyone who feels ignored without a voice or feels like an outcast.
Has gaming had a big influence on you?
Darius: Oh definitely. I have plans for gaming designs and I also have plans for making gaming accessories. Controller skins, PS4 and Xbox skins, and just a whole bunch of gaming accessories. I'm really excited to come up with designs and concepts for that since gaming is a huge passion of mine in addition to making clothes.
Were you always artistic growing up?
Darius: I was always into art and anything that dealt with expressing myself. I really love viewing and understanding a totally different perspective on life and learning from the experiences of others. I expressed myself and my creativity through a lot growing up with the way I dressed. I was picked on a lot because I dressed totally out of the norm for my area.
What was the inspiration behind your famous “skeleton and the devil” shirt?
Darius: That one piece in particular is probably the most personal design to me because of my past relationships. I was always open and honest with every person I’ve dated, and every time I’ve been done wrong and left looking stupid. So being in a whole lot of toxic relationships left me feeling empty which I symbolized with the skeleton, and the dying rose with the petals falling off is me giving my complete love to the women I've dated and them being the devil by doing me wrong.
Are a lot of your designs hand-drawn?
Darius: There are some that are hand drawn and then some that I make in photoshop or in this other software called Gimp. That's where I come up with most of my designs and concepts.
Where did you come up with the idea for the “flaming angel” tees you recently dropped?
Darius: It really came out of thin air. Right before I went to sleep one night I wrote down in my notes to come up with a concept to symbolize your burning desires. I went to sleep and had this dream where I saw a statue on fire. I immediately woke up and went straight to my computer and tried to get as close to that image as possible on a shirt.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
Darius: I definitely draw inspiration from the life experiences that molded me into the person I am today. And also just going out to art museums or the skateboard scene, urban scene, music scene and really just absorbing everybody's energy. I draw inspiration from almost anything. Anime is a huge inspiration as well.
What does your creative process look like when coming up with a new piece?
Darius: If it isn't coming naturally for me it doesn't really work out. I throw myself outside whether it’s going for a walk, listening to a certain song, watching movies, shows, or anything where ideas can come to me. The moment an idea comes I rush to my computer and bring it to life in the best way I possibly can.
Where did you get the idea for the reflective Hello jackets?
Darius: I was in California and I remember seeing somebody wearing the Supreme x North Face collab that was reflective. That really caught my attention and I wondered what happened to people making reflective stuff. So I told myself that I was gonna make a reflective jacket even if it’s out of style since I like the whole concept.
How did you come up with the idea for the 3D “H” for the Hello logo?
Darius: One of the things that really catches my attention is the vaporwave vibes and the old Windows 97 aesthetics. Every time I would watch a Palance video or a Bronze 56k video and how they did things since I really love their whole aesthetic. So I really wanted to make something that stands out in that way. Nothing crazy but something that plays tricks on your mind. The 3D “H” is a real simple design but if you really look at it it plays tricks with your eye. You think it’s going one direction but then you think it's going another so it's really cool.
What made you want to design the Hello skate decks?
Darius: I’m always skateboarding. That’s another one of my passions where I can get away from reality and let out emotion so I thought why not make my own skateboard? I started coming up with random designs and my friend named Jarontae mentioned something to me about making a meme board because nobody else is doing that. So I found really good decks and put memes on it and it turned out really cool.
Has skateboarding always been a big part of your life?
Darius: Most definitely. Every time something would go wrong whether it was a relationship, family problem, or just life hitting hard I would go out and skateboard. I would go out with my friends and skate to get away from a lot of my troubles.
Is a Hello skate team on the way?
Darius: Possibly in the future. I really want to make skate videos. That’s definitely on my bucket list so when I can in the future I want to make it happen.
Are there any other garments or accessories you want to experiment with in the future?
Darius: I know in the future I definitely want to experiment with making shoes and other miscellaneous items that you can use on a day to day basis like water bottles, cups, and coasters. Supreme has random miscellaneous things they sell and I think that concept within itself is really awesome. But I think I'll only make miscelations things that I know I’d use on daily basis.
Jonny Ransom has shown lots of love rocking the brand in the past. How did you get connected with him?
Darius: It’s crazy because I met him a long time ago. We didn’t really become close initially but we met at this skatepark in Maryland called Cosca. We met there but didn't really say anything that solidified our friendship or anything like that. But one day I was working this car detailing job and my close friend Jarontae told Jonny about my brand and the vision that I have and he told me Jonny really liked my ideas and the concepts I’ve been making. He told me to DM him so I did and Jonny and I became brothers after the first couple of convos. He’s really the nicest dude ever. Our connection really solidified through my friend Jarontae.
Are there any other brands or designers you want to work with in the future?
Darius: Most definitely. I really fuck with Sam from Half Evil just based off of the fact that he’s a really pure person. I can tell he’s a really good dude. And definitely Jaden from Lowe Life. I’m working with my homie Zack from @software777
. I want to collab with my close friend Henry from Frndshps. Also Parker from Absent, he’s killing it. He makes some really dope ass designs. And Sukamii. Whenever I look at Sukamii I get Bape vibes. Those vibes from the characters take me back to old school bape when Nigo was actually a part of the brand before he sold it and did his own thing. There’s so many other people I want to work with. Also Jonny from Ransom out of pure respect for what he's doing for the culture.
What should we expect to see next from Hello?
Darius: I’m gonna drop a piece in August that has a really strong message behind it. I wouldn't say that it’s more targeted towards women but I think it’ll be something that women can relate to. From what I’ve been seeing and experiencing with my friends that are women I really think this message has to be addressed in some kind of way. So it’s just gonna be a piece with a strong message behind it.
What do you want Hello to become in the future?
Darius: Honestly I want Hello to become a movement in the future with clothing, but also with everybody that chooses to associate themselves with the brand as a real positive, uplifting thing. I feel like there's a lot of creatives out there that don't really have a voice to motivate and push them to follow their goals and dreams. For me personally I just want to be a voice that people can relate to and somebody that really inspires people to get up and chase their dreams.
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