Keepin' Clean Ain't Easy : A Conversation with George Hammond (Owner of Clean Skate Co.)
Written by Norrin Nicholas
In 2015-2016, we saw a massive increase in the creative community; new streetwear brands being formed, artists emerging, mags & blogs putting themselves on the map, visual artists getting the recognition and shine they deserve. A lot has happened this past two years and we have no one else to thank other than the creatives behind these ventures and movements, the people who see their world as something they can alter and affect with their own art. In the beginning of this year, I had the chance to speak with George Hammond, designer and creative director of CLEANSKATECO, and get inside the mind of the young creative for my first interview ever. As we come to a surprisingly abrupt end of 2016, I figured why not holla at my mans George again and see how this year has been treating him since we last spoke. For those of you who never saw the first interview, that's ok too because this time you'll get a more in depth look at who George is. Hope you enjoy!
First off, who are you?
George Hammond hailing from Kalamazoo, MI
Can you explain what it is you do?
I make clothes I like and people buy them sometimes.
How did you originally get into making clothes?
I liked making stuff when I was young. I've always liked using my hands. When I got to college, all I was doing was computer shit and it's boring as fuck. So I started this brand, so I'd have something to do with my hands. Fashion and trends and wearing cool shit is cool but I'm not really as into that shit as much as I am just using my hands.
What's it like seeing the progression from just starting your brand to where you're at right now?
It's crazy. It's still super small but it's really cool to the support I got from around the country. Hopefully, it keeps getting bigger then I won't have to get a job when I finish school.
"Hopefully Clean will allow me to travel mostly. Around the country. That's my main goal. Other than that, whatever happens, happens."
How did you end up choosing the name CLEANSKATE?
I had the idea for CLEAN since like 2009 and I skate. I knew there was no way I could just call it clean only. So I added "Skate Co." beause we skate a lot. I don't make boards or anything like that tho fuck it.
How long had you been skating before you started CLEAN?
Like 5th or 6th grade, I think, like 6 years.
What originally got you into skating back then?
Idk really just randomly wanted a board one day. I hated sports and any after school shit, so I just skated instead.
So when you were young did you ever think you'd be doing something like starting CLEAN?
Not really. Always haven't really thought ahead to much. I don't even know what I'm doing next week.
So you're taking it all one step at a time?
Yea pretty much just make stuff that I like and put it out and see what happens.
Where do the ideas for new pieces come from?
My life and my friends. The best stuff I make comes from things in my life that are so common that I overlook them. I try to see that stuff.
If you could describe your brand in one word how would you?
How has CLEAN affected you personally?
I have made a ton of good friends from it. That's probably the part I like the best.
What's your favorite piece so far? Can you explain why?
Well, it was a bitch to make a ton of these but I like making jackets and coats the best and this has been my favorite so far. I'm not sure why I just think it's sick.
Last time we spoke was the beginning of the year, it's not the end but damn near lol. How has 2016 been for you?
It's been really good. I had to close for a while in the summer cause I was working full time and moving which sucked but other than that it was cool. Made a lot of cool shit.
Do you have any goals for next year?
Just grow the label. Make more cool stuff. More videos. Maybe some events. Hopefully, travel a little bit.
What should we expect from the new collection coming soon?
Jackets a parka beanies ski masks long sleeves hoodies.
How does it feel to be doing this all on your own? From what I’ve seen you’ve been doing a lot of work recently and have been try to yourself, is this also motivation for you to keep working solo?
I've tried to work with people but I suck at it and I feel bad when it doesn't work out. I have problems communicating and shit like that that's what keeps me solo really. I have control issues and seeing other people make shit and seeing the response they get makes me work harder I love competition.
Earlier you said you don’t think about the future a lot, but do you ever think about the future of CLEAN and what you want to happen in the future?
Hopefully Clean will allow me to travel mostly. Around the country. That's my main goal. Other than that, whatever happens, happens.
Is there anything you want to say to the people that will read this?
Words can't describe how thankful I am for anyone and everyone that has ever supported CLEAN. I owe y'all everything.
Below is a link to CLEANSKATE's newest collection lookbook! You can purchase whatever your eyes get glued to on Friday once the site is open, don't forget to follow CLEANSKATE on Twitter for more news on new releases and possible sweepstakes for chances to win CLEAN gear!