Founded in 2004 by Adamu Chan, and Jae Knox, Red Clay is a semi-established brand out of the Bay Area. Fresh off of their respective grinds as a television show host in Tokyo (Adamu), and a t-shirt designer in California (Jae), and disenfranchised with the San Francisco scene at the time, Adamu and Jae set off to develop a line representing experiences and ideas specific to the Bay. Three years, and six collections later, Red Clay is releasing a full collection available across the globe.
â€œOur overall design aesthetic focuses more on subtle details and quality than catchy colors and graphics.â€
Format: Please introduce Red Clay and its respective founders.
Adamu Chan: Red Clay is a two-headed monster made up of myself, Adamu, and my partner, Jae Knox. I take care of design, marketing and sales and Jae handles most of the finance and daily operations.
Format: Before starting Red Clay, Adamu was doing a television show in Japan. Whatâ€™s the story behind this?
Adamu: There is no real story behind this, it was just my job out there. I was the host of an entertainment type television show. However, living in Japan laid a lot of the framework for starting the company. In 2001 when I started living in Tokyo, for a lot of the kids that I was hanging out with in San Francisco, Japan was something of a â€œmeccaâ€ for streetwear, a place where you could find goods that others wouldnâ€™t be able to get their hands on. Nowadays, everything can be had on the Internet. In the profession I was in, I was able to meet and become friends with many people at the forefront of the industry, which had a large influence on me and fueled my desire to start Red Clay.
Format: At the same time, Jae was running a successful t-shirt line. Why the transition into Red Clay?
Adamu: I think for both of us, we wanted to do something that had more of an international appeal and that was more than just a t-shirt company.
Format: What does Red Clay mean?
Adamu: Red Clay is a Freddie Hubbard Jazz tune that I think captures the feeling of what we are trying to express with the line. My name, Adamu means â€œthe first man born from Red Clayâ€ as well.
Format: 2007 marks the third year for Red Clay. How has the line grown since 2004?
Adamu: Weâ€™ve grown in all facets of the company from design to distribution. I think for us, and most of our contemporaries in this so-called â€œstreetwearâ€ industry, the past few years have been a growing process for all of us in terms of learning how to grow a brand, the ins and outs of running a business and how to produce quality garments.
Format: Which markets are most responsive to Red Clay, and why do you think these specific markets take to the brand?
Adamu: New York has always been good to us since the beginning, LA and SF as well. I think our aesthetic appeals to a very urban frame of reference. Living in metropolitan areas, around so many people, makes us want to differentiate ourselves from others. Red Clay caters to that search for individuality and I think people are drawn to that.
Format: Please discuss the development of some of your favorite garments from the Red Clay Fall/Winter 07 collection.
Adamu: Iâ€™m a jacket dude, so those by default are my favorites. We will be dropping a shawl collar fleece pullover next month for Holiday that I think is somewhat of a new look for streetwear. A classic look reinterpreted. Keep a lookout for the quilted lambskin leather baseball jacket as well.
Format: Red Clay focuses much more on pattern and texture than the average streetwear brand. Please discuss the influences behind this decision.
Adamu: I donâ€™t think itâ€™s necessarily a formal decision, but more about the brand identity overall. Our overall design aesthetic focuses more on subtle details and quality than catchy colors and graphics.
Format: To what degree does Red Clay identify with the streetwear market?
Adamu: Itâ€™s funny because I feel like a lot of discussion lately has been centered around what the streetwear industry is and where itâ€™s going. One of the things I noticed, and Iâ€™d include our brand in this observation, is that a lot of the companies that are at the forefront of the industry are in the process of figuring out intelligent ways to differentiate themselves from the rest. While I think this is always a motivation for most companies, it has become a more concerted effort over the last year or so with the explosion of the streetwear market and the proliferation of brands. Streetwear as an industry, as this â€œindustryâ€ has to be redefined and reinterpreted, or it gets stale and dies. Look for a shift back to basic.
Format: Recently, Red Clay teamed up with Empire distribution. How has this partnership helped develop the brand?
Adamu: We are constantly thinking of ways to expand into different and new markets. Our partnership with Empire reflects one of those moves.
Format: Anything else youâ€™d like to discuss?
Adamu: Just like to thank those that have supported us and helped make a great brand.
More Info: http://www.redclaydesigns.com