DRIP DROPS of HIP-HOP from CHATTANOOGA
By Ben Banks
I reached out to an old friend of mine, Evan Heskje to chop it about his clothing and merchline Heskje Apparel. This dude has been fresh from the jump and it’s been cool see how far he’s gone since back then. He spent some time in China and is really working to perfect his craft. I can definitely see his brand going somewhere soon.
Where’s your brand based out of? What area do you feel like you best represent?
Evan: I’m from Nashville and that’s where I’m based now. And my brand is whatever’s in, keeping up with the newer stuff, and trying to bring in that West Coast style.
What/who got you first interested in design/art?
Evan: I’ve been designing ever since I was young. I was very influenced by the music scene; I’d watch what athletes and artists were wearing. Then I started making my own clothes when I was 12 or 13. I played basketball in high school, so I was always rocking different kicks matched with stuff I made. That’s how I expressed myself. I was the white kid with the fresh outfits, that’s just who I was. People knew me through my clothes.
Who are some of your current inspirations for designing/art?
Evan: The top dudes in the game; definitely Virgil with Off White. He created his own brand, then got signed on with Louis Vuitton. You just gotta be you and get people feeling a type of way. Everyone relates to fashion, everyone wears clothes.
What music artists have you been listening to a lot lately?
Evan: Lil Baby, for one, he’s from ATL. Also a lotta Spanish music like Bad Bunny. One of my favorites is Nipsey Hustle. Also my friend Sheldon Freeman, he’s a dope lyricist. Oh, and definitely Lil Uzi Vert; everyone was bumping ‘Luv Is Rage’ back in high school. Plus he’s a fashion icon.
What’s the story behind Heskje?
Evan: So, it started on Instagram, I’d make customized stuff. I couldn’t always afford materials, so I’d take different designer stuff, I learned to sew, and switched it up. My dad was suit tailor, so I think that’s where I picked up on fashion, clothes, and the value of presenting yourself. I want people to be feeling awesome and wearing what they want to wear.
Briefly take me through your process for creating.
Evan: I spent last spring and summer in China. It was crazy seeing the different styles and different reactions. Everyone in China was in style; with the jeans, denim, and track suits. It didn’t matter which brand, everyone was wearing what they thought was cool. I feel everyone copies in the fashion game, but it’s all about how weird you can be. I look for simple shit that I find cool and a lot comes from Instagram; everything is right there on your phone.
How do you balance designing and other aspects of your life?
Evan: Well I haven’t had a job in 6 months; design is my job. I created my own website, then made my own merch. It’s 2019, I gotta get out there and create my own shit. And it’s not all about money, this what I want to do. I’ll be sewing for like 2-3 hours a day sometimes, but it’s what I like to do. I’m outta of school, all I do is clothes right now.
What does design mean to you?
Evan: Design is something that a person or people create; something that’s put into action. It’s the ideas that people create, but then actually going out and physically making those ideas real. Music, clothes all bring out emotion, make people feel a type of way.
Where do you see your brand going in the future?
Evan: Collaborations. I’ve gotta Champion collab dropping soon and a Dickies collab coming in March. I want to make stuff for people to be happy or feel an emotion. I’m tryna be international, not just in Nashville. I’ve shipped orders to Norway, Poland, and Europe. There’s this huge bootleg mall in China that sells knockoff Dior, Prada, everything. I know I’ll made it when they’re selling bootleg Evan Heskje.
What things are you trying to change in the streetwear game this year?
Evan: I don’t want people to just be weird, make what you wear stuff you actually like. It’s cool to be original but don’t go crazy like 69 or Kanye. I’ve gotta runway show this summer, that’s pretty cool. The goal is to make what I like and not just for clicks. Gotta follow my own style, wave. Too many people are getting caught up in doing it for clicks, likes, or money.
What are some themes that you really focus on in your designs?
Evan: Lately, my own name, Heskje; it's Norwegian and I like it. Like I want that to resonate, this person created this shit with his own name. I’m passionate about designing things that people will like. This is best stuff I can make, stuff that people will actually wear. Heskje is gonna be the hottest shit out there and I personally made it myself.
What message are you trying to send to your audience?
Evan: Anyone can be fashionable, not just certain celebs. I like when people wear stuff that they like, not just the brand. It brings out individuality, you rock it because you think it’s cool. Whenever I’m sending out orders, I ask my customers: ‘Do you fuck with this?’ I want them to wear because they like it, not just because it’s my brand.
Which artist would you love to collaborate with?
Evan: I’d love to design with Dior, Prada, and Montcler. Making some Dior/Heskje sneakers would be amazing. There’s another brand called Chinatown Market that I think is dope; I want to eventually work with them. I want to branch out into more European styles.
What advice would you give to someone starting in design?
Evan: I would say, don’t think it’s impossible. I went to China for $500 and stayed in a shitty $12-a-night hotel. There are ways to create a merch line in the US. Do your research and try to get physical 3D designs made. Make sure you’re reaching out to different options and connections, you can do it. Don’t keep the designs in your head because you’ll go crazy, get out there and get your shit made.
How would you best describe your brand/style?
Evan: My shit is the best, cool as hell. It’s not streetwear and I’m not copying anyone. Whatever you like is always in and popping. My shit is personal, comfortable, and confident. Confidence is key
What are some other forms of media that inspire you? (Movies, art, TV, etc)
Evan: Music, for sure. I drive my friends and family insane because I always have headphones in. I’d encourage people to try listening to music for 24 hours, it’s like being in your own music video. Music videos are amazing, since they tie in elements of fashion, music, and film. Oh, and I forgot to mention Lil Tracy earlier; he’s also a big inspiration to me.
Where can people keep up with you on social media?
Evan: My Insta is EvanHeskje and on Snapchat, it’s EvanHeskje3. I’ve got two websites evanheskje.com, that’s where people can send stuff or pick pieces out and I’ll make something custom. It’s pretty cool because it’s like collabing with any and everyone. Then my merch line is at heskjeappearel.com
Tha Milk Drop is a site focused on highlighting the hip-hop culture in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but also taps into hip-hop worldwide. Each week we drop exclusive and new content from artists. Also catch the profiles and interviews of hip-hop artists and creatives.
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