Feature Friday: Still Proud Clothing

Posted: December 3, 2010 by Is This Revolutionary? in Interview

As a fellow hardcore-punk fan and customer of his, I know how dedicated Gavin is to his business. The owner of Still Proud Clothing, this one man machine is shipping his line all over the globe from his base of operations in Florida. While promoting empowering messages, such as “Earn Your Respect” and “My Blood, My Pride”, Gavin took his unemployment and made it into something beautiful, embodying his “Underdog Mentality” line. I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago about the scene, his dreams and what is still to come.

Ben: First and foremost, introduce yourself.

Gavin: The names Gavin, I’m just a simple dude that runs this operation on my own.  I had always wanted to start a clothing line and took a chance while unemployed in 2009. Release by release we’re growing and ultimately my line is something I’m very passionate about.
B: Everyone already asked how you got into the clothing business. What I’m interested in is how did you get into the hardcore scene itself? What made you think, “hey, maybe this is where I belong,”?

G: Having been involved in my local music scene for years I’d hear the term hardcore and even had friends who were into it but it didn’t sink in for me until I caught my first real show. It was with Until the End and Where Fear and Weapons Meet at a little venue in Naples and that experience pretty much changed my life. Seeing bands on the same level as the crowd, the level of interaction and the intense emotion were what sold me. 7 years later I’m still here and still proud to call myself a hardcore kid!
B: You stated in a previous interview that you had a“distaste for the corporate lifestyle.” Can you expand on that?

G: I won’t act like I’m a total nonconformist (as I’m still in a 9 to 5) but having worked in that atmosphere for a couple of years it’s safe to say that I’m a bit at ends with it. It’s great to have a sense of “security” and a steady paycheck but I often feel like I’m trading dollars for life to companies that don’t have my greatest interest at hand. I’ve been unemployed before so I’ve been through that and when you go through that experience a new world of understanding opens up.  When I started SP for the first time in my life I had something to call my own, something with the utmost potential that also had the possibility to one day sustain me. I don’t want to trade dollars for meaningless work or be told when I can take off anymore, I deserve  to live life on my own terms contributing to the world in my own way and this is a motivating factor that drives me daily!

B:I bought the “My Life, My Fight” shirt, and it represented a lot for me. Can you tell me what’s behind the slogan/design?

G: I tend to look at life in terms of a battle because when it comes down to it we’re all fighting for something and we all face the possibility of pain and defeat. Whether it’s for beliefs, livelihood or happiness, we’re all trying to find ourselves and this shirt pays respect to that quest. In terms of design, I’ve always liked collar wraparound placement and figured that this one would be the perfect design to test it out on and I was very stoked with the outcome. Being big on symbolism I added boxing gloves to our logo (back design) as the amount of training and conditioning that boxers go through to excel at their sport is what I liken to life.

B: What are your feelings on the current hardcore scene?

G: A lot of people complain about hardcore saying that it’s been dead or lacking this or that but I don’t ascribe to either of those opinions as I think those people aren’t looking hard enough. Sure things have changed but that’s the natural progression of anything really. I appreciate the diversity in the music nowadays. Whether you like your hardcore with more of a punk or metal foundation, there are enough bands and labels keeping the torch well lit and the game interesting. I think that the internet has done wonders for hardcore because for the aspiring band, record label or fan it puts the world at your finger tips and makes networking such an easy task  that only builds more of a stronger, global community. Needless to say I don’t think that this music will ever leave my playlist because to me, there is no counterculture like it!

B: Why do you think your clothing has made such a large splash on the hardcore scene? I mean, it’s a rather large honor to have members of bands such as Thick As Blood wearing your apparel.

G: Sure, some of the bands that I work with are ones that I’ve known and been a fan of since they first started:  Knock em Dead and Thick As Blood being prime examples. I think that the words “real recognize real” explain why people in the scene dig our stuff.  I’m a hardcore kid and have been influenced by the music quite a bit in my life so I think you can definitely see the influence coming through our designs.  Not to mention 90% of the bands we sponsor are from the scene. Not just hardcore though but independent hip-hop is another genre I’m engrossed in and fascinated with so I think you can also feel a street vibe to our gear as well. Independent music will always be a huge part of this company but ultimately I think that our designs go above and beyond this. The idea behind Still Proud is to create designs that touch people on a certain level.  I’m a big advocate of personal empowerment and freedom of thought so I like to put out stuff that motivates but also has the ability to inspire.
B: If you looked back from 50 years in the future, what message would you hope that your label got across?

G: Ideally, if I could inspire someone to look at their life and the concept of limitation in a different way, I’d say that that would be a job well done. To step away from conventional wisdom (which to me is a façade) and carve out your own path with your hopes and dreams is something that I’m a firm believer in and what I hope to inspire others to consider.

B: Any big plans in store?

G: I do have a lot of plans in store for the future but before I can get there I’m solely focused on building awareness and putting out consistent quality releases. I’m a pretty optimistic person and ultimately I believe that it’s only up from here!

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