Today we had the pleasure of being able to sit down with Justin Escalona. Justin is the founder of the streetwear brand 1340 COLLECTIVE. In only four years the brand went from being just an idea in Justin’s college dorm room to a company worth more than $5 million dollars.
What’s the most important thing about building a brand?
Justin: “A lot of people’s minds immediately jump to “how can I make money?”. If that’s your immediate thought, you’re in the wrong field. Making a brand shouldn’t be purely based around making money quick. Building a brand is a slow process that needs tender and care. When you’re first starting off, channel your energy towards finding ways to make your brand interesting and unique. Once you have your original product, then search for ways to make money with it.”
Is it hard to make shirts?
Justin: “No. Absolutely not. The cool part about making clothes is that there’s such a low barrier to entry. Anyone can pop open Photoshop and cook up a design really quick then take that design to a local print shop. Realistically you can make a design and have it on a garment the same day. Literally go type in on Google “print shops near me” and I’m very certain you’ll find something.”
Where do you get inspiration to keep making new designs?
Justin: “I personally love to watch movies. Movies are my escape from the real world and let me just relax for a few hours. I love to be engulfed by the world these films are set in and imagine myself in them. When you lose the structure of the “real world” you’re able to think freely. The best raw ideas come from when you let your guard down.”
Can you make a brand when you’re still in school?
Justin: “Of course you can make a brand when you’re in school. I started 1340 when I was a freshman in college out of my dorm room. I’m certain when I say, if you truly want something, you’ll make it happen no matter what. If you want to make a brand and honestly really care about it, nothing will stop you from making it. I learned how to do extreme time management to navigate going to school, running a YouTube channel and a clothing business all at the same time.”
How do you build a social media following for the brand?
Justin: “I’m a strong believer in the absolute necessity of having co-signs. You always hear the word “hypbeast” being thrown around in the streetwear world. That word literally means someone who buys clothes that have hype. If you want to be considered “cool” in the fashion world, “cool” people need to wear your clothes. I work really hard on building relationships with musicians that I genuinely believe will become successful later down the road and make sure they’re always fitted in 1340.
Make sure to check out 1340 COLLECTIVE!