It’s that time of the week again and, right on time, Chris is back with another superb streetwear feature…
Even some already established companies/ brands are finding it hard at the moment, so you’d think coming across new brands to feature would be harder than ever. Well, not necessarily; it seems a lot of people out there are seeing an opportunity to try and make something for themselves and it’s actually pretty exciting out there.
We were recently contacted by a very new brand – established just last year, and with their first release having only just landed this summer, they’re as fresh as they come. Nottingham-based hao. Clothing have an intriguing, Chinese-influenced style and ethos; we chat to them about who they are, the meaning behind their influences, and the UK streetwear scene…
Ni hao, hao. (Hope that makes sense…?!)! Who are you guys? Haha, yeah that works man! We are Jack & Jake, from Nottingham (born and raised!) but with fam in China – hence the Chinese references in the brand.
What were you up to before hao., and made you decide to start a brand of your own? We were boys from day (nursery tings!), we grew up together and were always planning on doing something with t-shirts because we love(!) t-shirts. We first started producing t-shirts and running club nights with an old collective we were part of called KWG; Kids With Guns – changed to – Kind-Worded Gentleman (Mums weren’t happy with the first name).
We became a little tired of the route we were going down and decided to leave it for a bit as we both went to Uni. Then, in the start of our 3rd years, just after coming back from China – travelling and visiting fam, we were really hyped to get something going again. And so hao. was conceived!
You were inspired by a trip you took around China – tell us a little more about the trip, what inspired you and how that all feeds into your brand and designs… Arrrrr man! China was too heavy. 5 of us went out for a few months and just learned so much about a culture that was totally different to the way of life we were used to! It was also just hectic! We all went a little insane on night trains and stuff went down that can’t be broadcasted but yeah big times -haha! But what inspired us was China’s fast-paced cities, especially Shanghai, seeing the locals adapt streetwear to fit their way of life. From the party heads in the clubs to the ballers down at the courts, it was awesome as everyone had their own style. We want to try capture that in our own brand.
As a brand that was established last year, and with its first release this summer, you’re fairly new – how have you found starting and getting a brand off the ground in the current economic climate? It’s been pretty good. Nothing’s ever as easy as you think – it’s always tough to get the name out at first but then as word of mouth spreads we’ve managed to build up a little following.
We’ve had really positive feedback from everyone and we are always looking to expand our brand and ideas so it’s only up from here! Our mixtape page has also allowed us to promote our brand and support local artist around Nottingham – which has definitely strengthened hao. as a brand. We have also been fortunate to be linked up with a pretty cool printers that produce our t-shirts to the high quality we aim for!
The streetwear scene seems to be steadily getting bigger; how do you plan to set hao. apart from all the other brands? We try and set ourselves apart from the other brands by sticking to our Chinese roots – by using Chinese words or references.
Along with using our connections with artists and photographers (like our link with Jonnie Miles in the ‘Boy Solider’ tee [shown below]) to create one off pieces that are mega vibes! Everyone will be speaking Chinese when they inevitably take over so it makes sense to start conforming now haha! We also plan on moving into cut and sew clothing so we can create completely unique and custom clothing. But you’re right, the streetwear scene is getting bigger – but that ain’t a bad thing. It just means more nice clothes to buy and brands to take inspiration from!
As a new brand, what’s your take on the UK streetwear scene? We love the UK streetwear scene and think it is full of so many great forward thinking brands! Its just a shame we ain’t millionaires or we’d be supporting all these amazing brands, no doubt! There’s always going to be hate in the UK because we’re all pessimistic saps but that’s just life.
I know this is a tough question for a a brand just starting out, but where do you see yourselves in 5 years time? Any long-term goals for the brand? Yeah! We aim to be producing a lot more products while keeping the quality of the products at the core of each design. Another key goal for us is to get over to China and start selling our products there as we know a few stockist have displayed interest in the brand. Jake’s also going out to China in the near future so it looks like a step we are going to be taken sooner rather then later!
Top 5 favorite songs/albums/current playlist?
- frank ocean – Thinkin’ Bout You
- A$AP Mob & Flatbush Zombies – Bath Salt
- Joey Bada$$ ft Capital STEEZ – Killuminati
- Hudson Mohawke – Chimes
- Juga-Naut & Vandal Savage – Stocking Caps
Any shout-outs? Big up our boy Juga-Naut killin’ it. Out to the boys in Kappa Gamma who are doing the next hao. mixtape. Nice one Mums & Pops!!
And there you have it. Safe to say, hao. are a very interesting brand and it’s great to see a brand coming out with fresh influences. The future looks very exciting for them; the ambition of going global and getting their products into China soon is a fantastic goal to have – I can’t wait to see the outcome.
However, in the mean time, they obviously need support from these shores. Give the brand a ‘Like’ and keep up to date with what they’re up to on their Facebook page. Also, if you wanna get yourself a tee, head over to their website. They currently seem to have a sale on, and two of their tees are a bargain-tastic £12.50! Can’t say fairer than that.
And if you’re a brand looking for exposure, why not drop Chris an email?