HR: How would you describe your style?
Fox: I would say it is eclectic. I don’t really conform to one type of style. You couldn’t call me a hypebeast. You couldn’t call me a hipster or a sneakerhead. I just try to throw in different elements. I just go with what I like. I can throw on boat shoes with a streetwear tee and cargo pants. The next day a retro tee. The way I look at it, if you have to spend more than 15 minutes getting ready, then you’re over-trying. You’re over doing it. Go with your first instinct. It is usually the right one.
HR: What inspired you to go from the idea of starting your own business to the action of starting your own clothing line?
Fox: I was sick of paying $30 for a t-shirt when I felt like I could do a much better job and I could do it myself. So I just started drawing my own designs and logos. I started bringing in other people for a more compressed logo and before you know it I had a t-shirt line up and running. I felt like 90% of what I was doing was better than almost 90% of the market. I figured “Why not?!” So I took a shot in the dark. It was something that I have wanted to do for a long time. It wasn’t until about three years ago where I actually thought to myself that I could really take my ideas and put them onto a t-shirt.
HR: Being a person who is taking something from an idea to an action and realizing that not everyone is going to be your best supporter. Can you describe the reaction people gave you when you first told them you were getting into the fashion industry?
Fox: I would say it varied. I had a lot of people that were 100% there for me. They wanted nothing but the best for me. Then, I had the people that were like “Why don’t you put your time and effort into something else like marketing or advertising?” “You can’t make a career out of doing that.” There were people who couldn’t see the dream. The way I look at it, the world needs settlers. They need people who give up on their dreams. But I’m not one of them. There’ a lot of people who are giving up on their dreams and they just want to drag me down with them.
HR: What motivates you to continue with the brand?
Fox: My main motivation is my daughter. I want to be able to succeed so that I can give her the life that I didn’t have growing up. So I can have her financially stable. At the same time, I just hate working for people so being my own boss is ideal – making my own hours. I have a passion for it. I love what I do that’s what keeps me motivated. I have an idea and I don’t jump on it. Then, I see another line had that idea but I didn’t jump on it. It motivates me to jump on it as soon as I think of it.
HR: How do you balance life and entrepreneurship?
Fox: It’s hard. I am a full time father. I have my daughter about 4-5 days a week. It’s an adjustment. There are a lot of events that I miss that I feel like I need to go to. So what I am trying to do now is delegate [marketing and networking] and bring in some of my good friends who have been there from day one with the brand. For the most part, it works and soon she will be going off to school. I will have a lot more free time then.
HR: I saw the Japan Relief Tee. Nice design. Would’ve gone well with the sneakers I might wear to Sneaker Friends this year. Also, I liked the fact that your company used what it had to help someone in need. Some people feel like you have to have this great amount of reach or money but I like the fact that your company used what it had to make an impact. How involved is Cleanup Clothing in its community?
Fox: I remember when I first woke up and watched it on the news. I felt very moved by it. I was talking to my good friend, Max. We were talking about it and just put Cleanup Japan and just did a Japanese sign. It looked really dope. I said we should put this out and send the proceeds to the American Red Cross. A few things happened so we weren’t able to put it out right away but there were cleanup efforts still going on. So we decided to put it out right then, better late than never, and sent over the money. There aren’t a lot of things that get international recognition like that but if there is something going on that we can help, we try to help as much as we can. Any of the t-shirts that don’t sell from the last season or two seasons ago, we try to donate. So, we try to help as much as we can with the budget that we have.
HR: Who is Cleanup Clothing’s target audience?
Fox: People that like simple clean designs that are crisp. There are some t-shirts that you’ll give yourself a headache from trying to figure out what the point of it is. Anyone 15-30 years old that rocks streetwear and wants something different than what’s on the market.
So as his target audience, I know you want to know where to pick up these items. Well look no further. If you are in Philly, Abakus Takeout is now carrying the line. If you are in Huntington, NY, stop by EastWest. If you have online purchasing access, click the store names for the links. Heads up! A pop up shop in Atlanta is likely in the near future.
Fox: We make dope clothes. If you want some, buy some.