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Inside the Industry With.. iLLSPiRE

PinMeUpAshley: Who is the person behind the iLLSPiRE brand and when was it officially established?

iLLSPiRE: There is no one person behind the name iLLSPiRE. The birth of iLLSPiRE occurred October of 2008 by two cousins, Aj and Cj, with a dream to encourage people to live more iLL. The duo was then invited to take part in the "Heroes Tour" [a tour of designers, dancer's and dj's showcasing their talent] where we were blessed to meet our now third member of the team, Mackie.

PinMeUpAshley: Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired the two of you to pursue a career in fashion?

iLLSPiRE: Why is it that I have to wear someone else's designs that I do not feel confident wearing when I can make my own? That is the feeling my cousin Cj and I shared, and we decided to make the change right then and there. We [then] decided instead of being stingy with what we wanted to wear [and keeping it] for ourselves we would share with the world.

PinMeUpAshley: That's what's up! So who are the key players of iLLSPiRE?

iLLSPiRE: Aj DunK, Cj Hendricks, and Mackie handle the behind the scenes things that go on to mold the name iLLSPiRE. Then we have the members that express the "iLL" in iLLSPiRE. First up is Pete Lopez, Greg Skroce, Javon Lang, they handle the decks (iLLSPiRE skaters). Next up there is Vic Perez, Taeko Carroll, Ian Eastwood, Kenny Bermudez, the hip hop dancers.

PinMeUpAshley: Wow that's a pretty big team. Of the iLLSPiRE team, who calls all the shots? Who can we credit for most of the decision making?

iLLSPiRE: Key word in that question is "team". No one person is the one to call the shots. Input from all of us is very important and needed to stay a team.

PinMeUpAshley: Okay cool, teamwork is the key :) What does iLLSPiRE mean?

iLLSPiRE: The definition of iLLSPiRE is inspiring people to live more iLL.

PinMeUpAshley: And what does it mean to be "iLL"?

iLLSPiRE: Being "iLL" is not joining a fad because everyone else is, [it's] stepping out of the box because you feel it's right. For example, you take a hat and instead of wearing it straight you bend the rim and draw a little art on it to make it your own. Now that's iLL.

PinMeUpAshley: Cool, I like that! So is it safe to say your team of young dancers and skateboarders epitomize what the iLLSPiRE brand is all about?

iLLSPiRE: That's a fair enough statement. They are beyond just the appearance, they are living what they do, because they love to do it. They help further define the meaning of iLLSPiRE.

PinMeUpAshley: Is there a reason why everyone in your team is so young? What message are you trying to send?

iLLSPiRE: Your definition of young might be different than mine. They might be young in age, but their skill and passion shows that they are well beyond that. With passion you are able to achieve countless things no matter how young you may be, or what background you come from.

PinMeUpAshley:Words of wisdom. How would you describe the journey of iLLSPiRE so far?

iLLSPiRE: This journey has been a blessing and it will continue to be. With every day that passes you learn another lesson that can either help your business or harm it, but I'm strapped in and I'm going to ride on this journey until the wheels fall off.

PinMeUpAshley: I can dig it. What are some challenges you have faced?

iLLSPiRE: The biggest challenges occur when things don't go your way as quickly as you wanted, or [when] you feel you don't not get the respect you think you deserve. I am thankful for these challenges though, because if they were not there than there wouldn't be the drive to continue.

PinMeUpAshley: I agree! I can definitely relate. What have your collections consisted of in the past?

iLLSPiRE: Unisex T shirts, hoodies, sunglasses, hats that have an old school meets new school feel.

PinMeUpAshley: Okay. So you mentioned you were prepping for your winter drop, what can we expect from this collection? How will it be different from previous collections?

iLLSPiRE: This collection will have similar things as the previous drops, but we will have new items of clothing. I would like to tell you exactly what it will consist of, but then that will ruin the anticipation. Just stay tuned to the site, blog, and twitter.

PinMeUpAshley: No sneak peek reveal, okay lol. What can be anticipated for future collections?

iLLSPiRE: The future is limitless, so depending on what's going on during the time, we might release something that might just shock everyone.

PinMeUpAshley: As I mentioned, you guys are all very young, and the success you've achieved already is very commendable. What advice would you give to those aspiring to design and create movements as you have?

iLLSPiRE: You may find many people that do not like what your designing but I guarantee there is a group of people that do, and it is up to you to keep going and reach out to the point where they find you. Stay cool. Live fresh. Be iLL.

PinMeUpAshley: Very true, great advice. Where can iLLSPiRE be purchased?

iLLSPiRE: Nine Lives Skate Shop and Hoboken Office in NJ. If you're not in NJ there are many ways to get in touch with us, which in turn we can process an order. facebook:iLL SPiRE twitter:@iLLSPiRE

Stay Cool.

Live Fresh.

Be iLL.

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