Chicago’s Connor Sinclair recently sat down with Reel Bump’s DJ Sweendawg and guest-host Tray for an interview live on Sweendawg Radio. Connor is the owner of both Box Clothing and Faceless Design and a fan of artists such as Kayne West, Kid Cudi and Travis $cott.
Please note: Some issues at the start of the interview caused Sweendawg’s mic to cut out. It was fixed halfway through.
Connor: Had to shout Jake Biondo out. Alright, alright. Quick shout out to Chaz too. Chaz and Jake Biando, they’re like family to me. Shout out to Mike May, gotta hit him up with a shout out. Shout out to Pedro and Jose, they got some good music on the way.
Sweendawg: Alright, anybody you’re missing?
Connor: How about Kirey The Kicker, I’ll shout them out. They’re always rockin’ with it. Samo West American Hardcore of course and JustoLeek.
Sweendawg: Yeah shout out JustoLeek. Leek Season just dropped.
Connor: Yeah shout out JustoLeek, Leek Season out now, you know he’s coming with that new fire. It’s wavy, y’all gotta check it out I’m telling you. It’s the new wave.
Sweendawg: Thanks for sitting down to do this with us.
Connor: I’m glad I’m here too, I’m excited. This is the first interview, never been interviewed before so it’s cool.
Sweendawg: It should be fun man, let’s get into it. Listeners can ask questions on Twitter for us too.
Connor: Alright, if you have anything you would like to ask me, tweet it to @YoungSweendawg. Young Sweendawg. Got any questions for me ask ’em there. Oh and shout out to Cashier Fresh too, had to shout it out.
Sweendawg: So which started first, Box Clothing or Faceless?
Connor: Box Clothing started first. It started last year about this time and I painted some shirts over Spring Break. So that’s when Box started and then Faceless was only recently, around October when I started messing around with hand cut and sew and reconstruction.
Tray: What got you into the fashion scene or clothing?
Connor: I guess clothing ever since I was just a young kid I guess. My Mom said that I’d be dressing myself in my own clothes and my own outfits at a young age, but then I guess my style just kind of developed and then I really got into making, or the idea of making, my own stuff and dressing differently around the end of Senior year of high school, I’d probably say. At Winter, I guess second semester of Senior year in high school.
Sweendawg: And when did you graduate?
Connor: I graduated last year, so, this is my Freshman year at Community College right now.
Sweendawg: Do you fuck with Community College?
Connor: I definitely say yeah. I mean, I think it’s affordable, it gives you time if you’re a creative mind to work on your craft without the pressures of big Universities and going out every night. It’s definitely a different lifestyle, but it’s not bad in any way. You can also work.
Sweendawg: Have you thought about transferring in the future?
Connor: Transferring-wise for schools, kinda just up in the air right now. I gotta figure out what I exactly want to do. But, that’s why Community College is good, because it gives you time to figure out what you wanna do. If I want to keep doing the art and clothing, or if I wanna go into another field. We’ll see. I guess we’ll just see and keep on working at it and my career will find me, kinda just going with the flow with that.
Sweendawg: Tell us what you think about people looking up to you or your brand as inspiration for having a meaning behind the clothing or brand you’re pushing out.
Connor: I guess my 2 cents on that is that when I made Box Clothing, I made it because I was searching for a simple brand with a meaning that I could wear. It was actually wear under my flannels, but something simple and with a meaning. So, I couldn’t find any and decided to just make one, so that’s how Box Clothing happened. But, to go along with it – the meaning – I don’t think every brand needs to have a meaning, I think it’s just more exciting and easier to connect with people if there’s a meaning behind what you do. And I think, I guess everything that you do should kind of have a meaning because if it doesn’t have a meaning to you then I guess it’s kind of pointless. Then it’s probably just for money. I guess you should do things for a meaning, or find a meaning that is meaningful to you. I know that’s a lot of meanings but I think that makes sense.
Sweendawg: Tell us about the simplicity of Box and what makes it different than other people with or without a meaning.
Connor: I guess the meaning for Box isn’t too out there. I think a lot of clothing brands and art kind of centrals into the idea that, you know, be yourself. Don’t conform to what society wants you to be. I think a lot of people do that, but, I think Box kind of stands out because of that simplistic take.
I guess it’s my style put into clothing. So, some other brands have the same message and they do it differently and that’s OK but I just really like the simplicity, even my art, I try to keep things simple and, like I said, with a message. Simple with a message, it’s classic I guess. I like that too. The different part about the Box is also that it’s branding.
It’s like McDonald’s having their golden arches. You need something that people can kind of latch on to as a symbol and I think Box, as a symbol, almost like the ‘V’ in VLONE you know, something like that. If something is to be a movement there has to be a symbol kind of attached to it. So I think that’s why Box is good as well.
Tray: Do you have any fashion inspiration, or anyone that you look up to?
Connor: Fashion-wise, I watch some of the runway shows. Stuff like Raf Simmons, Vergil, I’ll hop over to like Balmain or Gucci, but, that’s just sometimes to like watch the art. Not too much of my pieces have really serious fashion incorporation’s into it. You know like high fashion stuff. It’s more just streetwear. I like that it’s not too high fashion, but Faceless is kind of getting a little more into the higher fashion realm.
For inspiration-wise, I guess Virgil would be an inspiration for the cut and sew stuff because him and Midnight Studios were the first people that I kind of saw doing that, or at least I did. So, I thought about that.
Other inspirations with art, or their brand-wise, would be kind of like the Warren Lotus 1-of-1 pieces and Father Steve. And even Ask Pizza kind of idea. And also as an inspiration would be probably be Ian Connor, with just his shoes and his marketing ideas. I think, yeah.
But other inspirations outside of that for style, I’d probably say my Dad to be honest. He’s got the freshest pieces and I’m not scared to even just go in there and get one of his Ralph Lauren jackets, you know. He’s been rocking the Nike Air Force 1’s since I can remember. So, he’s definitely fye, and I think that kind of goes along with the brand of just even Box just being classic and sticking to the simple things, you know. So yeah, I guess that would be my fashion inspirations on that.
Sweendawg: Tell us about that last Box Clothing drop you did, and you were donating to the homeless in Chicago?
Connor: Yeah so for the Cozy Crews drop, which we had 3 crew necks and we charged just $30.00 we tried to keep it affordable but what was going a long with it was that for every purchase from the collection we’d donate a blanket to the Chicago homeless. I guess the idea behind that was that I realized that I think the brand could’ve been more than just a way to make some extra cash and I think with the even little platform that I had, I had the power to at least help out people you know.
If anything, help out people, maybe start a little more of a movement towards volunteer work. Just helping out people in need. I think that other designers and brands can put a little bit of their time once every season, if that, to help out the people in need and kind of help out their hometowns as well. So that’s what went behind that collection.
Sweendawg: Word, I really fuck with that. That was some smart shit to do man, for real. Did that get more people following Box? Like did you notice that Box got more followers after that?
Connor: I don’t know exactly how many we would’ve gotten if I didn’t say that, so I’m not sure. But I think that people who bought from this collection and I’d just like to thank – I guess on this topic – thank you for everyone who’s bought pieces in the past or supported the clothing in any way. But, people who bought from this collection I think were able to feel like they were helping as well, you know? And kind of connect, not only with Box, but with people that were helping so I don’t know if it exactly got more people but I hope it got people more excited to be able to help each other out.
Sweendawg: Are you going to do more Crazy Legs pants?
Connor: It was just a 1-of-1 piece but I may end up doing different colors. So I may do a pastel pink Crazy Leg, maybe like a light blue. Just basically go thrifting to see if there’s any other crazy pants that I can turn into Faceless jeans or Faceless pants. But yeah, those were just for fun and I’m glad they kind of blew up because that kind of shows the theme and what Faceless, the vibe of that collection and that brand, is going to kind of be once clothing starts coming out.
That colorful, fun, just crazy kind of look that maybe it’s not a pair of pants you’re gonna wear every single day, but it’s definitely a pair of pants that you wear out and get a few looks. Those are some crazy legs, you know what I’m saying?
Sweendawg: No bullshit, that was a smart way to put it bro. I like that tag you’ve got on the back it says ‘No matter what race you are, sex you are or sex you have, we are all connected’. What made you come up with that slogan bro?
Connor: That’s another one of the meanings of the two clothing brands. So, for Faceless it’s exactly what you said which I think will go on the tag of every piece of the Faceless clothing, that ‘No matter what race you are, sex you are or sex you have, we are all connected’ and I mean, I know that’s true. I believe in it and it’s just the idea that I don’t think you should be judging based on any of those traits and just putting it in a fun, colorful art form is almost a good way to spread that message, and spread the art. Just connecting with the people I guess. And that kind of goes along with the whole blanket drive as well, in trying to move these clothing brands to helping out the public a little more, and a little less flexing I guess – I guess I got annoyed of that. You know, you could do something better with this money.
Sweendawg: So no flexing?
Connor: I mean you can flex, it doesn’t matter. It’s just humor.
Sweendawg: So in the Faceless, the series that you drew on Twitter with the cities. You had the city series that I seen and then I seen the stone series as well – the 2 pants and the kit. What are you going to do with those pieces? Like are those gonna be prints for portraits? Are those gonna be tees? What’s up with that?
Connor: For the series for Faceless I guess it’s just an easier way to categorize the art because I find that in certain drawings I have different themes you know? So I’ll have the more doodle kind of look but then I’ll have the realistic portraits and then I’ll also have the cities but in the future I want to take the best, or in my view the best, pieces that I’ve created and start actually putting them on bigger canvases or wood pieces instead of just on a piece of copy paper.
I definitely want to branch out into bigger forms of artwork where instead of it just being a piece of paper, you could eventually maybe see it in a gallery of it’s own or somewhere. But yeah, I wanna branch out into true painting and bigger pieces and maybe for the city series, continue on doing cities and then, I mean, I think it would be cool to see those on really big pieces as well. Just have a collection of art based upon that. You either sell that or keep that collected.
I guess Faceless, it’s just a lot for Faceless, gonna keep progressing. It’s all small right now, 1-of-1 pieces, artwork done on copy paper, but I think in the next year everyone’s gonna kind of see it take it’s full form.
Sweendawg: What part of Chicago are you from, first and foremost?
Connor: I’m in Lake County, so that’s about 30 minutes out of the city.
Sweendawg: Are you seeing a lot of people from out there showing you love as far as your Faceless and your clothing goes? Or are you getting like a global following?
Connor: So for the Box stuff I was actually tracking the locations where we shipped to and we reached, I believe, it’s been 26 states now. From coast-to-cast too, so I thought that was real cool. We have some in Alaska as well, Hawaii, spanning from California, Brooklyn, a lot of it’s centered – or there’s a lot centered in the East Coast along with the West so I kind of wanna see if we can push it out to Cali a little more. I think that would be cool. And maybe the South a little more.
In the city, I know there’s people in different colleges wearing my gear so I thank them for supporting and reppin’ the brand out there in different colleges. I guess that’s all I’ve heard for the Box, and for the Faceless – haven’t really released any pieces yet except for I did a 1-of-1 shoe for my friend Charlie Walker. So shout to Charlie Walker for giving me a canvas for that. He has one of the 2 pairs I’ve made of Faceless shoes so I’m working on that as well.
Sweendawg: So say people want Faceless work can they holler at you with the price for the piece they want the work on and the price for your time and get their own 1-of-1 Faceless piece done?
Connor: That’s definitely been the idea on what might occur. I haven’t sold anything yet other than those shoes to Charlie Walker but before that, and with the Crazy Legs, I have received messages that are stating ‘Oh, how much are those going for?’ Right now I just say nothing ’cause I wanna start collecting the 1-of-1 pieces and then maybe I can go show ’em to boutiques in bigger cities. So I guess to finalize the question is that if someone did ask me to do a 1-of-1 for them, I think definitely.
I guess we’d have to go over the price and I’d have to look at the piece to see if it’s even possible but I’m all for that. Creating on other people’s favorite clothes I think that’s cool, putting my art on it – using it as a canvas. So I’m definitely up for that and I think now is probably about the time that I’d start completing that because I’ve done a few pieces on my own so I feel confident in doing that. That would be fun, collabing on a piece almost.
Sweendawg: I’m looking at all this Box shit again, what’s up with the Box slogan? You wanna go back over what that means again bro? ‘Live outside the box. Think outside the box. Do what you want, be what you want.’
Connor: The main saying of Box is ‘Live outside the box, think outside the box’ and the Box, obviously it’s a logo to be attached to, but it has that meaning. It’s basically placed around us whether they’re visible or invisible that stop you from being who you truly want to be.
It goes even simpler from there, live outside the box – you know – live outside of these constructs and be the person who you dream to be, and then think outside the box and don’t conform to another person’s belief. Come up with your own, research, be your own person. That’s the whole message behind Box and the slogan ‘Think outside the box, live outside the box’ and that’s what’s on the sleeves of the main sweatshirt and long sleeves as well.
Sweendawg: What’s up with the American Hardcore Faceless?
Connor: So American Hardcore, another brand – but also an artist Samo West – and Samo West were working on the first collab or I guess the first piece of Faceless that will be released and it’s a collaboration with American Hardcore and Faceless. I don’t know I guess I like American Hardcore a lot, Samo West’s kind of aesthetic because mine, with Faceless, is a really kind of colorful and poppy and cartoon-y where as American Hardcore kind of has that like grungy aspect to it and, I don’t know just almost like a punk vibe to the artwork so I think it’s a really cool mix – I think the two coming together could make a really good aesthetic for a tee or a couple pieces.
Sweendawg: It’s going to be on a tee?
Connor: Possibly, yes, but I guess we don’t know how many, which designs yet, so we’re still narrowing that down. But that’s definitely coming up probably Summer 2017 – that’s in the works. For other projects in the works, for Faceless, is a hopefully full collection by next Spring so Spring 2018 and then maybe custom shoes this Summer? I don’t know. Custom authentics, but we’ll see. Faceless is always growing, the brands are always growing so we’ll just go with the flow and see where I go.
Sweendawg: So, you gotta tell them to make sure and go cop them Faceless pants huh?
Connor: True, yeah I’ll tell them to go check out the Faceless pants. I guess just check out Faceless and be ready for more releases for Box Clothing. We’re having a release this Saturday for the beanies in gray and forest green and then we’re also re-stocking all sweatshirts and the original long sleeve as well. This Saturday, the 18th.
Sweendawg: So the site is boxclothing.bigcartel.com.
Connor: Yep, and then the Twitter is just @Box_Clothing_ and then Faceless is @Faceless_Design.
Sweendawg: Where can they get the Faceless pins from?
Connor: Sadly for Faceless right now there is nothing you can buy. Go check out the art but releases for Faceless will start rolling out this year. So just stay tuned for that I’d probably say.
Sweendawg: Alright, and the first 10 orders this Saturday get a free button.
Connor: Yes, yes. Made some buttons. First 10 orders for Box Clothing get a button. The crew necks are just $30. The hoodies are $35. Beanies are $20, and the long sleeves are $25. So pretty affordable, good message. You get a free button too if you’re hot on the dot and get to be the first 10.
Sweendawg: What’s the time?
Connor: I’ll release it at midnight, CT time. I’ll tweet throughout the day so just check Saturday and it’ll be there. So for the first 10, it’ll be 12 AM CT time.
Sweendawg: So that means if you’re not in Chicago and you’re in Virginia or if you’re on this side that’s gonna be at 1 AM so your ass better be awake.
Connor: You better be awake.
Sweendawg: You got anything else you want to talk about bro?
Connor: I guess we kind of covered all the brands. Just thanking my supporters and people who have bought any pieces from me or re-tweeted or liked or just DM’ed me. I appreciate all that. For any other artists out there who are kind of trying to find their way into the industry or scene, I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in any way but, I definitely say just keep your head up through negativity I think that’s gonna be the hardest part entering this because once you reach a certain level or any level I guess you’re gonna be receiving hate from somebody that just either doesn’t like your work or is jealous and I guess my advice would just be always keep pushin’ through and follow your passion because that’s what makes life fun. Just following what you wanna do, just don’t stop. That’s all I have to say.
Tray: With the two brands, are you trying to go the designer route or the streetwear?
Connor: So the Box is gonna be kept the street route. So there’s not gonna be many high fashion pieces for Box Clothing, unless I’m gonna collab with Faceless or myself I guess on a different brand. But that’s just probably gonna be kept as the simple logos, the simple message and that’s just gonna be the streetwear, the street brand. But then the Faceless I truly do want to get into so more cut and sew pieces as well as adding that art to it. So I guess that may be considered a little more high fashion and then maybe way into the future if I continue this, and maybe go to fashion school or design school, have a different fully high fashion brand but until I get familiar with cut and sew pieces I don’t think there will be anything too high fashion there.
Sweendawg: Alright, that’s Connor Sinclair on the line.
Connor: Thanks for having me, you got any more questions?
Sweendawg: Nah bro, thanks for coming to the show man. Connor Sinclair the man behind Faceless Design and Box Clothing.
Connor: Thank you for having me, that was fun.