Hoyd Breton and Kelly Keenan are Clockers, an apparel company that may be rated rookie, but itâ€™s creating a brew-ha-ha of hoopla, already. In September, Major League Baseball Properties handed a cease and desist order to the men for their use of the Chicago White Sox logo on their Green $ox shirts â€“ apparently, the MLBP does not find its own truths vogue in 2008.
The hit not stop the duo that live within different boarders (Breton lives in New York and Keenan lives in Toronto). Instead, the two men continue their early journey in the fashion industry, tackling challenges while making people look fly.
â€œBasically, the MLB were jealous of my knuckle ball.â€
Format: Please explain how Clockers materialized into what it is today.
HB: Clockers had been materialized from the day we hit the sidewalk on our tricycles. It just never found a name till late last year. I met Kelly and appreciated his genius. Clockers is the master title that we chose for all the items that our creative, oddly wired minds output.
KK: Hoyd was doing his thing with his custom hoody hustle, I was pumping out custom kicks here in Toronto and, basically, our creative trains derailed onto the wrong side of the tracks.
Format: Clockers is a Richard Price novel that Spike Lee made for film, in 1995. Clockers is a term for drug dealers, too. What significance does the word clockers have or mean to the brand, Clockers?
HB: Just as Spike Lee’s film is an adaptation from Price’s work, it can be said that Clockers continues in this train of adaptation. Clockers are around the clock hustlers. No matter what your field is; playing the harmonica on the cold benches of downtown NY in the bitter winter or bike messenger in TO right when summer hits. We’re all here to push something we enjoy doing, some get trapped in dead ends, but not us, not you. Clockers is as close to a word that we can get to capture that air of determination.
KK: High five Hoyd. Were not trying to play some card we don’t have. But, instead, trying to show how decent hard work pays off in spades.
Format: What’s better, “Crooklyn Dodgers” or “Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers?”
HB: Crooklyn Dodgers. Always original.
Format: Recently, communist China has attracted a lot of negative press for its exports: poisonous pet food, tainted seafood, lead paint on children’s toys and faulty baby cribs. If relations between America and China were to halt, how would your industry, the street fashion industry, recover from its severed connection to cost-effective manufacturing?
HB: Well if trade between the U.S. and Republic of China would seize, I think streetwear would be the least of our worries. As for our operation, it would keep running like if it was German engineered. None of our goods are sewn, assembled or made in China. Cost effective approaches are viable without having China in the equation, yes there would be a reduction of profits, but the benefits by far outweigh the cons. Also, quality is a prime virtue within the Clockers commandments, so lead laced cotton on our goods is definitely not an option.
Format: A portion of Clockers’ clothing is sports-centric. No Mas and Undrcrwn come to mind when sports-centric brands are mentioned. What is Clockers doing different than its sports-centric peers?
HB: First off, No Mas and Undrcrwn keep rocking on with the mic on, definitely respect both of their outputs. Our difference is, like you said, that those are sports focused as opposed to our A-to-Z liberties. We’ll go from sports to criminology and all bases in between to get our point across. Never stuck on first.
KK: Swish, swish.
Format: The Clockers Crash and Burn T-shirt may be paying tribute to Beastie Boys and Grand Royal Records, however, the imagery of the plane, smoke and fire conjure parallels to September 11, 2001. What is the message Clockers is trying to send with this T-shirt?
HB: I see where you’re getting that association from, but that’s not one of the interpretations that we designed. With that design we wanted to tell people that fame is followed by flame.
KK: The crash and burn shirt is of course taken from the legendary 1986 Def Jam recording, and we just wanted to bring to light the other layers behind it. It was meant to show the cool and breezy rock n roll lifestyle on the outside, but deeper and deeper shows how thereâ€™s always some tears involved with a man made hustle.
Format: Clothing brands have to be selective with the retail outlets that supply their products. What characteristics does Clockers look for in its store front or online retailers?
HB: We have a certain criteria for the shops that we wish to have distributing our goods. We want our people treated well. Sure we go into shops for the product but the service is what couples the two.
KK: Definitely respect is top on the list. If a shop shows respect, then we acknowledge it forever. Down to earth workers make us want to have them repping our stuff, as well. All too often we hear and experience some shitty bourgeoisie reaction. Folks definitely have to lighten up a bit.
Format: In Election 2008, will an African-American, a woman or a Republican be nominated American President?
HB: Well, of all three options, you’re really given one. It’s a political monopoly in my opinion, but I’m not going to pull a Hillary and not answer the question! I’d say I’ll put my money down on the estrogen.
KK: I report to Optimus Prime Minister.
Format: What are the challenges of being a young brand in a market that is always growing?
HB: One challenge I would say would be rolodexing resources. Ideas are easy, realizing them is what can be the hotter unpleasant side of the pillow.
KK: Iâ€™d say itâ€™s sticking with your guts and going full force into the wind tunnel is one of the toughest things for a new label to face. Things wonâ€™t come easy at first and thatâ€™s where most will get weeded out. As long as you come with the sweet stuff, and have faith in yourself, then people will notice.
Format: On September 10, 2007, a letter was written to Clockers by Major League Baseball Properties. In the letter, the MLBP essentially told Clockers to stop selling and making its Green Sox shirt. How did this story unfold?
HB: Well I guess the MLB didn’t like us putting the 1919 World Series on a platform once again. That’s really the only reason why we believe they requested that cease and desist order; not to name any other brands, but in this industry itâ€™s somewhat of a commonplace to spring off of existing logos to provide the people with a more precise statement. All is fair though, strictly aiming for strikes here on out with occasional curve balls to the big wigs.
KK: Basically, the MLB were jealous of my knuckle ball. Itâ€™s good to learn some lessons early in the game, though. Clockers always come through in the ninth inning swinging.
Format: The founders of Clockers live in different countries: one in New York, the other in Toronto. Does not being in the same city pose difficulties in the operations of Clockers?
HB: Ah, yeah. Two countries, two perspectives. We see the distance as an advantage, Kelly holds down the hustle in the frosty North as I hold it down here in this tri-state concrete chaos.
KK: Two countries ainâ€™t a thing with the daily e-mails and phone calls. Hoyd just road into my penguin guarded igloo in his cowboy getup not too long ago. Plus we get to spread our message in two of the greatest countries out there.
Format: Has Clockers represented itself at a fashion trade show, if so, how was that experience?
HB: We’ll be attending our first fashion trade show in January of ’08 over at Agenda. See what the west coast has waiting for us.
KK: I’m bringing a hammock, a basketball, and some flip-flops. Oh, and the shirts.
Format: What is in the future for Clockers?
HB: Clockers has a full plate. Looking for more to stack on top of it: from community betterment projects to regattas.
KK: Sponsoring a little league team would be pretty dope. For the label, we definitely want to expand into more lifestyle clothes besides shirts. One thing we can predict though, Clockers will keep on hustling. Count on Clockers to increase the potency.