Sleepless nights, stress and self-awareness are streetwear designer’s common enemies, and something Joe Firth, owner of Firth Clothing, experienced a lot of in the year of preparation it took to launch the brand.
Based in West Yorkshire but inspired by American hip-hop culture, the year planning has led to Firth’s launch in mid-October. Its been a success so far, the label is growing and motivation is high in Firth’s ranks.
“I live to see people wear the brand, take pride in wearing it, be excited in preparation for release dates and just generally show love. It motivates me to continually do better, work harder, be more innovative and do right by the supporters.”
Wear? Magazine spotted the label’s movements instantly after their launch and has taken intrigue to the brand ever since. The two worlds combined recently when Firth sat down for a conversation with Wear?. Here’s how it went:
Yo Firth, what’s good, want to get an ‘In Conversation’ underway?
Yes brother, let’s do it.
How’s things going with Firth at the moment?
It’s crazy, everyone seems to be messing with the brand and it’s like all my hard work creating this is finally being shown love, it’s dope.
Why do you think people are starting to connect with the brand?
I launched recently, on October 14th, and I’m noticing it already. People enjoy the creativity of it. The brand is heavily influenced by my love of old-school hip-hop culture – whether that’s the baggy fits, our LA Red signature tee, it’s even down to the font I chose for the branding.
I’m starting to hear that the people have the same passion for this era as I do and that’s what fashion is all about. People want to wear something that symbolises themselves, their interests, what they love, and this is so important to them. That’s why people fuck with us, and that’s why people wear Firth.
You mention hip-hop, who inspired you and what era do you gain the most inspiration from?
Most importantly it’s the late 1980/90s NWA, they started the anti-authority movement shown by their ‘Fuck Tha Police’ track.
I’m a big believer in everyone being equal, no one should have more power than anyone else and no one can tell you what to do or how to act and that’s what that era of hip-hop was about.
I hope to display this portrayal of the power of independence and being yourself in my clothing. NWA stood for something and because of that they left behind a legacy, that’s what I want to do with my clothing.
I want to represent the people that are passionate about something, anything. Of course, there are other hip hop artists I look up to especially the ones who went into fashion themselves – 50 cent with G-Unit, Wu-Tang Clan with Wu-Wear and even Pharrell Williams with Billionaire Boys Club’s Ice Cream brand. But NWA was definitely the most influential.
You listed some influential brands there, what’s the dream collaboration?
That’s a tough question. As a customer and a fan of other brands, collabs are my favourite. When you buy a piece from a brand collaboration it’s different, it feels more like a piece of history than an item of clothing.
The dream collaboration wouldn’t be with collab powerhouses like Off-White, Supreme and Gucci, it would be with Trapstar London. Although the Trapstar brand has a more British feel when compared to Firth, both brands are influenced heavily by hip-hop and I personally think the best collabs have to make sense in that way.
I’ve been waiting on Trapstar releases, buying pieces, following their work on social media for years now and Trapstar played a big role in motivating and inspiring me to create something myself. The owners of the brand weren’t handed anything on a plate – they’ve worked for it for years and nothing is more inspiring than that. I would love to eventually do a collaboration with Trapstar.
That’s the dream, but what’s the reality for Firth at the moment, what’s upcoming in the near future?
At the moment we’re just trying to reach as many people as possible, it’s time to grow the brand. I’m going to be showing a lot more of my creativity in the design process, especially for the winter drops.
I can’t tell you what’s going down but it is going to be very special and inimitable. I’ve also been in talks with some predominately female-targeted brands who are killing the game in the UK right now. A collaboration might be in the works which will see Firth catering to the female supporters.
Can you give us, and the fans, any hints of what to expect?
Alongside new fabrics and clothing items to fit the winter season, some very special image-based prints will be made and released in bi-weekly drops throughout the season. These prints will be inclusive in the sense that there will be something for everyone, including items primarily targeting female supporters. Just wait on it.
You can count on it, no-one’s going to be disappointed.
The Firth movement is underway, any shoutouts you want to give to people who helped you to this stage?
The support from my family and friends has been huge. My big brothers kept me motivated through the ups and downs, my sister inspired me with her own entrepreneurship and my friends always kept me level-headed and made sure I knew I was looked after.
Love to my supporters too. Without their interest, there would be no motive for the whole movement, I’m gonna continue to work hard and show my love for them always.
That’s family. Did they have an effect on your fashion sense, and, as a result, the clothes you’ve designed so far?
I’m the baby in the family, my siblings are all much older than me and all have very different tastes in fashion. I suppose my fashion sense is a melting pot of all theirs. One of them got me into and influenced by 90s hip-hop fashion in the first place – the baggy jeans, the tracksuits, to the shell toe trainers that Run-DMC made so popular.
And my eldest brother always had the flyest skatewear, always rocking Vans, Volcom, Thrasher, OG Supreme.
You can see these influences in Firth Clothing – it’s homages to Old School Hip-Hop and it’s anti-authority presence reminiscent of skate culture and skatewear. Firth Clothing is certainly a sum of all the influential people and brands in my life growing up, it’s so personal to me and I love being able to share it.
We love seeing it as well, thanks for chatting with us Firth, looking forward to seeing what’s to come. Any final things you want to say?
That’s it fam. Thank you for talking to me and supporting the movement, I fuck with WEAR?. I love what you’re doing for the culture, especially for the up and coming brands like Firth, it’s dope.
Joe Firth for Firth Clothing speaking to Wear? Magazine.
Images courtesy of Firth Clothing (@firthclo).