Continuing the Empowering Wednesdays series, may I introduce Ethan Clifton, another amazing creative who is more than making waves in the fashion scene in this little big city, Ethan is a local founder and fashion designer for fashion house Lonercult.When I started following Lonercult I knew I had to introduce these brilliant “Grunge Minimalism” street-wear looks to my readers, just brilliantly in time for the Fall and Winter seasons. The creativity in this city is on fire, and Lonercult is definitely in the forefront of designers to watch. I am excited to feature Lonercult this week as another empowering and impactful person to watch in Cincinnati in 2018-2019. Make sure to check the blog (VBintheCITY.com) for more looks from Lonercult this weekend >>>
1.When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a designer? What or
who inspired you to create the Lonerbrand? Your muses?
I started printing clothing just over two years ago when I moved to Cincinnati, but I
didn’t realize I wanted to pursue it as a career until very recently. I originally studied
graphic design, but left it to pursue fashion about three months ago. I had finally found
something I genuinely enjoyed doing, so why not give it my all? I look up to any
designer that starts from very little or from a non traditional background. Seeing entirely
self made businessmen is what truly inspires me.
2.Tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you originally
from, and how have your experiences in life shaped who you are as a
fashion designer and person today?
I was born in Dallas, TX and moved around a lot. Never really fit in
anywhere. Too punk for the preppy kids, too hip hop for the punk kids. My
style, interests, and attitude always isolated me. My friends and I were all
bullied at a very preppy, conservative, and wealthy high school, which
instead of making me conform, pushed me even further into the sub
cultures I was involved in. I learned to just keep my head down and not
care what people thought about me. If I stay true to myself, I’ll be happy.
That was a turning point for me, and I believe that mentality is reflected in
3. What was your biggest fear when starting your own line?
I honesty didn’t have any fears. I didn’t expect much to come from the
brand – I had my designs and learned how to print so that I could make
what I wanted to make… the brand was a coping mechanism, not a career
in the beginning. Thankfully, it’s shaping up to be both.
3. What daily routines would you attribute to your success?
Don’t sleep. And, despite what my parents would say, don’t get off your
phone. network. connect. Make mood boards and take pictures of
anything that inspires you.
4. What jobs have you had in the art world?
My first job was as a graphic designer and gaffer for a production
company in Little Rock, AR. I was 15. I then worked for a sister company as their lead designer. Switched to freelance shortly after, screen printing and designing
corporate jobs. Jake Gerth at Frameshop picked me up as a photographer and muralist, and soon rolled me in to a full-time position.
I still print, design, photograph, paint, etc as a freelancer.
5. Who are three of your favorite designers right now?
Virgil Abloh, without a doubt. Jun Takahashi (UNDERCOVER). Matthew
6. What advice do you have for those wanting to pursue fashion
7. Are there any types of clothing that you avoid wearing?
Chaco’s, Vinyard Vines, Ohio pride shirts, sports branded merchandise…. I
also do my best to avoid color. I’m too selective, even though I wear old
tees and ripped up jeans every day.
8. What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
I’d like to get a few more major events under my belt – I’ve done one
runway show at Columbia plaza, Working on a conceptual installation at
Dick Waller’s Art Space, a concert / runway at the Mockbee, And I’m
driving to Detroit with a photographer and models for a shoot. Hoping for
a few more pop up shops here and there. Maybe get my website back up
9. Why do you feel it is important for the youth and young
professionals of the world to be involved in the world of fashion
design and the arts?
These old guys running things won’t be around for long. Why should
people who don’t understand us dictate what is “cool” for us to wear? WE
are the influencers and the trend-setters. We just need a platform. The Arts
are a perfect way to make a change.
10. What is your personal signature style?
“Grunge Minimalism”. I try to combine all influences and art styles that
impact me into my work – brutalism, minimalism, grunge,
deconstructivism, rap culture, punk culture, graffiti… contradicting
elements from totally different parts of the world combining in an ungodly
Frankenstein’s monster of an art style (it wasn’t popular in my art school).
11. What do you love about the fashion scene in Cincinnati, Ohio in
Frankly? Not much. There is a prominent DIY culture that I do greatly
appreciate, but Cincinnati is still very conservative. Old School. It isn’t
exactly a fashion hub, although there are some really innovative brands
popping up. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Cincinnati, for
12.What are your Favorites from this past week?
Restaurant: Always Drunken Bento.
Read: 032C’s Summer edition
Music: the new Nothing album, “Dance on the Blacktop” Also still
listening to Dylan Brady’s “Dog Show EP” in the studio.
13.Where do you see yourself and Lonerbrand in 5 years?
I hope to have my own storefront selling streetwear, high end fashion, my own brand,
and interesting accessories / home goods. A studio space in an artist collective type
location would be sick as well.
14 Being an fashion designer can often be portrayed as being glamorous.
However, when just starting your business on your own, creating your designs,
trying to make sales, trying to contact potential new clients/partnerships, etc –
how did you motivate yourself during this time?
It’s rough, for sure. I got lucky, though, because this is my form of therapy – I make
my designs because I enjoy making them. What truly motivates me is the knowledge
that if I push hard enough, this could be my livelihood… I could potentially support
myself solely off of doing what I love to do, which is obviously the end goal. The only
thing holding me back is not pushing hard enough.
15. What’s it like running your own business? Describe your typical day.
I wake up, check my email first thing. During the day I am very inspired by my work
environment, the music I listen to, and the accounts I follow on instagram, so ideas are
always forming in the back of my mind no matter what I’m doing. The goal is to get
at least one event a month and one photoshoot every few weeks, so I’m typically
planing that in a group chat. On my off days, I hit thrift shops and boutiques looking
for items to repurpose for the brand. During lunch, I’m usually on my computer
editing photos, mocking up designs, or building on to my website (which is launching
soon). About once a week I will meet some friends at the hookah bar to talk and plan
business, and just to decompress. I work in the studio every night until at least two or
three in the morning because I’m an insomniac. Then the cycle restarts.
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