NAME: Grant Kru
BIRTHPLACE: Erie, PA
Q: How has your upbringing influenced your style?
A: My upbringing has definitely had a large impact on my style. From a young age, my mom always had me in the newest sportswear, so i had an early love for the clothing. Then, I started listening to Kanye West at an early age, and that was my first exposure to the music industry and how it was influenced by clothing and vice versa.
Q: What do you love about Streetwear?
A: I love a lot of different aspects about streetwear, but I think the best part to me is that it gives people the ability to express themselves through what clothes they wear. For me, it’s the clothes I design. Another thing I love about streetwear is the close ties it has to hip-hop as a genre and how often the clothes reflect the current trends in music.
Q: How long have you been interested in streetwear?
A: I’d say my interest in streetwear started when I was a sophomore in high school, but I didn’t start designing until my sophomore year in college.
Q: When did you decide to start up your own business?
A: I decided to start my own business when I was a sophomore in college! it was early December of 2015 when I actually started designing the first set of items, and then, I officially released the first shirt in February of 2016. I actually still have a binder of designs from that first set of mocks that still hasn’t been touched.
Q: Explain how you choose the kind of merchandise KRU sells.
A: Truly, it all depends on my designing. For example, if i draw something up, I will always have something in mind as far as what type of garment it will go on. It’s never really chosen, it just kind of happens through the design process. I am not one to get a garment and then design for the garment.
Q: Who are your biggest style inspirations?
A: From a design standpoint, my biggest inspirations are Virgil Abloh and Gosha Rubchinskiy. My biggest style inspiration is Leo Mandella.
Q: Who is your brand catered to?
A: My brand definitely caters to artists and creatives, but truly, my ideal customer is anyone who loves streetwear. Interestingly enough, I have a new shirt coming out that I’m going to be shooting in New York City that emphasizes that artists and creatives are irreplaceable.
Q: Do you ever find it difficult to sell your products in Cleveland?
A: Not at all, I actually have a couple hip hop artists rocking my gear in the area and I’ve shipped a lot of product there in general!
Q: What are some of your goals for KRU?
A: Some short term goals are definitely to keep expanding my brand in Pittsburgh, New York, and Toronto. In addition, when I release my next season, I want to continue to drop clothes consistently after that. Long term, I want to continue to find more brands and artists who want to collaborate on collections and clothing capsules. Another long term goal I have is to expand the brand to England and France. Those are two places that I look to for inspiration, and I can’t wait to be able to visit them one day.
Q: What kind of trials have you faced as a young entrepreneur?
A: I can say the hardest trial out of everything was supporting the business financially. In addition, I had a lot of responsibility being a student who was always an entrepreneur and sometimes, I had to make sacrifices for my business and neglect my school work. Sometimes, it was incredibly difficult to manage both.
Q: Do you feel as if you encounter a lot of competition in your field?
A: I honestly don’t think I’m competing with anyone right now. In the beginning of my career, I definitely thought I was but then, I truly started to enjoy designing as an art. I no longer tried to compare my work to others.
Q: What sets KRU apart from other brands?
A: I think the variety of the clothes and garments that I release and the designs I create sets KRU apart. One of my favorite things to do is explore new samples and garments during and after the design process.