FRESHNES – Interview and Brand Feature

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With many sneakerheads wanting to have something that not only looks good, but is a step away from what the rest of the crowd wears, shoes aren’t the only pieces of clothing that heads want that is unique. Over the past several years there has been an increasing demand for clothing that has sneakers in mind in terms of style, as well as limited numbers.

Nestor Hernandez, who goes by Nes, is the man behind an up and coming brand that has been getting alot of attention from big names including Karmaloop. Nes gave us a few minutes of his time to give us a brief background of himself as well as chat about his brand Freshnes.

You can find Freshnes at Karmaloop and at Big Cartel.

Matt Halfhill – Nice Kicks: We know about your T-shirts that you have done under your label Freshnes, have you done design work in the past before this brand?
Nestor Hernandez – Freshnes: I have actually. My background with design dates back to when I was young I just loved to draw things all the time. I never went to school for it, but I have been drawing ever since I can remember. I really started drawing alot of basketball stuff starting in ’84. Jordan came into the league and the Showtime Lakers era with Magic, Kareem, Byron Scott so I drew alot of basketball stuff starting then. At that time too, everything was all by hand. Computers were around but my family didn’t have one so everything was by hand for years.

Matt: When was it that you started to use computers for design?

Nes: Around ’98 or ’99 I had a friend who was a screen printer, so got a copy of the programs he was using and just started messing with it to learn the ropes. But by the end of ’99 I got with another friend who was interested in design too and we started our own clothing line called Nex Level Clothing. We did a few designs and got several stores to carry the line, but we found that the name of the line limited its growth. We got to the point where we wanted to grow it further and went to go get a trademark and we came to find that someone already had trademarked that exact name who was a promoter, but he listed in his trademark to cover T-shirts so there was conflict there.

Matt: Ouch that had to suck. Have you been involved with any other brands that you started up?

Nes: I came up with concepts for brands and designed pieces, but alot I just didn’t put to production. I did have one line after Nex Level called Supreme Client??le. It was based off of the main cats in ever industry. Like I drew inspiration from Jordan, Biggie, and other dudes who were at the top of their game in their respective industry. But again with that line I did 12 designs and moved onto other things.

Matt: Do you take alot of inspiration from hip hop and basketball for your pieces?

Nes: Definitely. I was fortunate to be around when basketball and hip hop were at their prime. I am a huge fan of basketball and I draw alot of inspiration from that, but when I’m not watching or playing ball, I’m listening to hip hop. I actually cooked up a shirt that I did that celebrated the three things that ever man needs: Hoops, Honeys, and Hip Hop.

Matt: Fast forward a few years, I first caught up with you when you had your line called Sneakerholic Originals that drew alot of inspiration straight from kicks. Why the move from hip hop and basketball to sneakers for design?

Nes: I’ve always collected Jordans. I would always try to match my T’s to my Jordans and at the time I really didn’t like the Jordan gear that was coming out so that’s when I decided that I am probably not alone and took it upon myself to make something new. Designing shoes is also something else that I do. Shoes take MUCH more time that T’s as you can probably imagine, but well worth the effort when you see the finish.

Matt: Have any designed any sneakers that have made it to production?

Nes: Not yet, not yet. That would be something that I would really like to do though! I have just done some concept sketches of several shoes for now, but maybe one day man!

Matt: Now the important questions, when and how did Freshnes start?

Nes: The line started in September, right after Magic. My wife actually gave me the name and I decided to try to mess with some designs and it just took off.

Matt: And almost immediately you started getting attention from places like Karmaloop?

Nes: Karmaloop reached out right away. They saw my stuff on Hype Beast and hit me up and said that they were a fan of the designs I had on there. They reached out within a month. It was crazy – by October 26th I already had my stuff for sale on Karmaloop.

Matt: Crazy, that is really fast! And for inspiration for this line?
Nes: You know Freshnes is something that I am really proud of. The designs are a mixture of everything that I am into from hip hop, to basketball, to sneakers. Its a balance and blend of my interests.

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