Hell On Earth
is a brand out of Hollister, California that's been making noise in the underground this year with their devilish designs. We spoke with the founder Jonny about his experience starting the brand and everything he's learned along his journey that's led him to have his clothing worn by the likes of Lil Raven, Wifisfuneral, and many other big names in the underground music scene. In addition, we also spoke about the pieces on his upcoming release, his relationship with his good friend and lead designer Jay, and what we can expect to see next from Inferno.
Where are you from?
Jonny: I’m from Hollister, California.
Have you been there your whole life?
Jonny: Yeah for the past 21 years. But I gotta get out soon, I think I might move to Texas.
Why would you move to Texas?
Jonny: I think there’s good opportunities for the clothing scene out there. There’s a lot of events always going on with brands that I know. I like interacting with people in person since it means more than having an online persona. It’s also cheaper out there since California’s really expensive. I just need to get out too since I’ve been here my whole life and I know there’s so much more to see. We’ll see where I move but that’s for sure an option.
When did you start Inferno?
Jonny: I started Inferno in September or October of 2018 and I created the name in August of that same year. It was a slow but steady process. I knew I wanted to do something big but I didn’t have the tools necessary to make it happen in the beginning. In January or February of this year I started to take it more serious and get more steady with everything we're putting out.
Where does the name come from?
Jonny: It came from some darker experiences I had growing up that influenced me. The idea behind it was to represent hell on earth.
What made you want to start a clothing brand?
Jonny: I think not being able to have the money to buy everything I wanted in the beginning. I realized that I was spending my money on stuff that I could be making myself with my own meaning. And I knew the passion was there to make my own thing.
Has art and fashion always been a big part of your life?
Jonny: Art has always been a big part of my life. In my baby pictures my mom always had me fly but I didn't know a lot about fashion growing up. There’s not really a scene for it in my city so a lot of people are just following whatever trend is going around. But as a kid I was always drawing, painting, or doing some form of art. I don’t think it was really conscious but I started drawing cut and sew runway type pieces when I was young. It ended up coming full circle since I grew up and I decided I wanted to try it for real.
Let’s talk about your upcoming release this Friday. What should we expect to see?
Jonny: The's a T-shirt coming in orange and really comfy crewnecks that come in white and black. It’s not the vintage kind where they’re really big but more of a slim fit. It was originally supposed to just be a friends and family drop where I was gonna give pieces out to friends and people that helped along the way, whether it’s someone that motivated me or my homie Jay who designs for the brand. The design is from the homie Filthy64
who’s been going crazy. This is actually the first time we’ve outsourced a design from somebody. I think for a while I was closed off to outsourcing art but if it’s the homie that I like and respect I don’t see a problem with doing it. I think it’s good to do if you already have a sense of direction. But I just had the design laying around and thought it would be great for this piece. It’s gonna be really limited so that whoever gets it feels like they’re part of the family.
What’s your relationship with Jay?
Jonny: He’s the reason why I started being able to be more consistent with Inferno. I really knew I wanted to make the clothes so I’m more on the production side of the business. Now I’m getting more into the designing side too but I do a lot of the production and shipping and he helps design a ton. He’s been there since the beginning. In August last year he made the first logo and 3D renders of tees. He wasn’t into all that originally but he decided to pick it up to help me out and now he’s got his own lane doing art, designs, renders, everything. He’s going crazy with all that.
There’s trucker hats coming with the release too right?
Jonny: Yeah, the trucker hats come in black and green with the Inferno logo and a little frame around it. It’s a little signature piece to hold over for the new release. We have a big collection coming out either in August or early September. It’s gonna be my signature collection with 10 plus pieces.
What’s your favorite colorway on the crewnecks?
Jonny: I think the simple black, white and red crew neck since it goes with a lot of things. I’ll wear it with black jeans in an all black fit. The white and green stands out a lot too and is super clean. The orange really stands out too.
What does your creative process look like when you’re coming up with new designs?
Jonny: I think it used to be really different. But now I make a list with a ton of ideas and I have whiteboards everywhere in my room and in the studio. I decide to make a certain piece and then I get inspiration from all around, whether it’s something on the side of a semi truck or a store that has a certain logo. I see different things and then depending on what products I want to make I’ll start getting ideas and then work with Jay to make the designs happen.
Do you think your design style has changed since you started?
Jonny: It’s changed for sure. I’ve cleared a lot of stuff off my Instagram and only kept the products that were highlight pieces. This isn’t a bad thing to do and I’m very open about doing it but I feel like other people want to hide that they do it too. It’s all about evolving. I think my mindset is to make more timeless pieces instead of making something just for the money or just to put something out. We’re starting to create more by going into Blender and creating 3D renders and then turning them into a full design. We’re bringing whole concepts to life now so it’s for sure progress.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Jonny: It's all about reflecting on life. I was in a darker place the last time we talked and not even knowing it I was listening to dark shit that would influence me. So I was getting my inspiration from the things I was watching or the things I was consuming. But now everything is more off of day to day life experiences. I might go out one day and see a colorway that stands out, or I might be at the record store and see a VHS tape with a cover that inspires me.
What was the inspiration behind the “Welcome To My Nightmare” hooded long sleeves?
Jonny: Those are my favorite pieces because I felt proud designing it on my own. Jay helped
with the 3D render when we were gonna promote it but that was a design by me so it was cool. It was from a playstation game called Shadowlands which was crazy and twisted. The part about being trapped in my mind was a Kid Cudi lyric and I added the “welcome to my nightmares only one way out” quote because it felt like I was stuck in a dark place and the only way out of this would come when I died. I was coming from a dark place so it was the only thing I felt like I could make at the time.
How did Tracy and Lil Raven end up rocking Inferno?
Jonny: That was crazy. I’ve done this with a lot of artists but I’ve never put myself in a position where I’d give them anything just so that the brand can grow. I’m all about building a relationship with the people that I’m giving my clothes to. Raven and I will talk and he’ll hit me up for clothes and certain artists I respect I don’t have a problem hooking up. But the whole thing with Tracy, Raven, and Wifisfuneral happened either at a meet and greet where I happened to have my clothes on me or when I knew it was gonna happen so I was prepared. My homie Deja hit up Yawns who’s the DJ for GBC and asked for Raven and Tracy’s sizes so I already knew what sizes they were and brought them with me to a meet and greet. They all fucked with it and DM’d me after so it was cool.
Where did you come up with the idea for the Memento Mori piece?
Jonny: That’s another highlight piece in my mind. That’s Jay’s signature thing. I don’t know if he still has it in his bio but that was his thing for a long time. It was just the idea to remember death since we’re all going to a place that’s inevitable. The only way out of this world is to die whether we like it or not. It’s just something you can’t avoid. So that was Jay’s idea and he cooked up the whole design. He originally had a different design for that but he altered it to make it how we wanted.
Are there any other music artists you want wearing Inferno in the future?
Jonny: There’s been a lot of people already supporting like Polari and Jon Psycho. But I just want to shoot for bigger names because the pieces I want to make now are better pieces. So maybe Carti or Robb Banks. There are too many to name but I think the artists now will reflect the type of pieces I’m gonna make. I don’t want to underestimate myself since I know that I can create better things.
What’s your favorite piece you’ve dropped so far?
Jonny: I think the nightmare hooded long sleeves, those are for sure my favorite. And the pieces on the new collection will be crazy too. There’s gonna be cargo pants in there that are crazy in white and black, bandanas, license plate frames, and more. I want to make Inferno a household name. I don’t want people to sleep on it anymore but that means I can’t sleep on myself either. There’s a lot more to a brand than just making T-shirts and sweaters. A lot of the new releases are gonna be my favorite. As long as you're progressing the new things are always gonna be your favorite.
Are there any other garments or accessories you want to experiment with in the future?
Jonny: I have a lot of ideas. Sometimes I don’t like to say too much because I don’t know who’s gonna take those ideas, but I want to print calendars. I also want to make sunglasses. And I want to get one of our 3D renders and make an ashtray, maybe in the form of a skull with horns and take the top off the head for the ashtray. I don’t know, there’s so much I want to make. The opportunities are endless. I want to make matchboxes too and pillows are coming on the next collection, so there’s a lot. I’m always trying to think of ideas that go full circle. The matches go crazy since the name Inferno ties into it with fire and hell on earth.
Are there any other brands or designers you want to work with?
Jonny: Yeah, I want to work with the homie @donvoitier
. He’s blowing up right now since he worked with Pierre and he did the Young Nudy video game simulation visuals. I want to work with august
who’s the homie that was working with Absent. I’m thinking of designers and people that do 3D renders. The homie No Paradigms
too. It would be sick if he made visuals for the whole calendar. There’s so many people but those are for sure the top ones. I want to keep working with Filthy64 on new ideas and just keep working with Jay. Jay’s my favorite designer right now.
What’s it like when you see people rocking Inferno?
Jonny: I was at work yesterday and some kid passed by wearing the Reaper shirt. That shit always happens. I’ll be at work and people will just pass by wearing their Inferno. It always reminds me to never stop doing it. People don’t know the ups and downs of having a brand though. You can’t go on Youtube and look up how to start a brand and perfect it. Sure you can learn how to make a shirt or design but nobody teaches you the other things. There’s a lot of ups and downs but seeing people wearing my shirt is why I’m not gonna stop. That shit’s fire.
What should we expect to see from Inferno next?
Jonny: Just progress. That’s the only thing I really care about, just making progress and making sure I don’t get too comfortable. Expect to see more visuals too and more executed lookbooks and overall a more organized brand. At this point I need to organize myself better so that my ideas can come to life in the best way. I’m gonna be focusing on making more timeless pieces, whether it’s that license plate frame or 3D sculptures or action figures. We have a lot of ideas but it just takes time.
What do you want Inferno to be at the end of the day?
Jonny: I want it to be my full time job. That’s the main goal because I don’t see myself working for someone else. I haven't always been the best employee because my mind isn't there, but when I’m working and making clothes I love it. People tell me that Inferno is their favorite brand and I want it to be that way for a lot of other people too. If I can live and eat off of this that’s the vision. I don’t care about getting rich. People don’t want to talk about it but everyone gets creative blocks and get stressed out at times. Jay helps with designing but it’s a one person thing. I’ll be shipping till 4 AM some nights and then have to be up at 8 AM for work, but I know I won’t give up no matter what. To me it’s about leaving a legacy of timeless pieces and people will see that. Year two is gonna be crazy, just wait.
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