ORiGiN: EUCLiD, OH
ORiGiN: CLEVELAND, OH
John and DiAndre met and connected while they both attended Notre Dame College, noticing that they shared similar styles. Since that day, they have managed to design and create one of the most unique and detailed clothing lines coming out of Cleveland. DRiP has the exclusive interview with the creators of UNDERGOD, a brand that has greatness on its horizon!
DRiP: What was life like for you growing up?
DB: Growing up was good and bad. I seen a lot of stuff coming up in Cleveland, and my mother moved us to South Euclid. She taught us to be more well-rounded and how to talk to different types of people. I wanted to be effective in my community and culture despite all the negative factors around me.Grandma raise me up in the church she’s my guardian angel.
JT: Both parents were in my household. I have two brothers and a sister, and we always were provided with what we needed. I don’t have any complaints.
DRiP:What inspired UnderGod?
DB: A lot. UnderGod was created as a way to express myself in a great way.
DRiP:What does UNDERGOD mean?
DB: UnderGod means all things are under God. Everything is inspired by him. All things come together as one to push creativity. Our goal is to inspire the youth. It’s about innovating and trying to change life as we speak.
DRiP:Who came up with the design aesthetics?
DB: I came up with design aesthetics. We started off doing designs inspired by Supreme and brands that we were interested in, but we like to focus on details. We never want to jack someone else’s style. We don’t bite other designers, we create
our own. You are selling the most genuine piece of yourself. It must all be real.
DRiP:How long did it take you to start up your own brand?
DB: It’s took a lot of years of sacrifice. I went through some financial tribulations and depression. I was kicked out of my mom’s house. I went with my dad to Florida for a little. When I came back I hooked up with the wrong people, and I lost alot of money. Then I met Jon and we started to create. Undergod started officially in 2010. The site started booming in 2013.
DRiP:I know there are a lot of aspiring clothing lines coming out of
Cleveland. How is UnderGod distinguished amongst these?.
DB: We are trying to do something bigger than ourselves. Forget the hype, we want to inspire. People don’t realize how important it is to pay attention to detail. John is very detail oriented. People only see the results they’re not there for the grind. They wasn’t with us in the gym. Tezo told me you can only be the greatest you. He gave Undergod a shout out when he wore our jacket in the DigiScale video on MTV. That was an emotional moment for me.
DRiP: What obstacles have you had to overcome to be successful?
DB: Financial setbacks and family issues. Fear within yourself. What if people don’t like what I put out? I was struggling with doubt. I have to stay focused and to stay hungry.
JT: Thinking broke. Don’t blow your profits, invest and maintain them. We had to understand that we may have to get another job just to finance a project.
DRiP: How would you describe UnderGod’s style and the style of a UG wearer?
DB & JT: UG wear is innovative, multi functional, greatness. Our signature look is the raw detail. We like to tell stories with our clothes so they have a very unique concept, and that’s it.
DRiP: Who do you make clothing for (target)?
DB: We can’t put an age limit on our brand for real. We make clothes for the people, purely. We want to be consistent.
DRiP: What makes everything you do worthwhile?
DB: Seeing family smile being able to get back to friends. It all makes the hustle and grind worthwhile.
DRiP: What’s the most important thing you want to communicate with your
customers through your brand?
DB: We care. We want customers to feel confident when they walk in a
room with our garments on. We want them to feel like they’re wearing something built by hand, something that makes them feel like royalty.
DRiP: What is the most sought after piece from your line?
DB & JT: The 3M joint, our reflective jacket. It sold super fast.
DRiP: Has UnderGod been in any fashion shows? Where and when?
DB & JT: Yes, we’ve been in three or four. Runway Mayham, Heart of it All,
the Kingdom Art Showcase held at Blessed Hope Baptist Church, and the Dreams to Reality show. We will be in the upcoming Runway Mayham show as well.
DRiP:Has city of Cleveland inspired any elements of your brand?
DB: Of course. The “got to get it” attitude that everyone has inspires us. Cleveland is the city of hustle. You got to do something to eat, to live, and I feel like I have to do something bigger than myself.
DRiP:If you could choose any designer or artist on earth, Who would you
collab with in the future?
JT: Go Yard. They don’t collaborate with anybody.
DB: Virgil Abloh, because he contributes so much to culture and youth. He gives them a chance to shine. His Off-White and Pyrex Vision were about the youth. When you make it about people they will support.
DRiP:Short and long term goals?
DB & JT: Short term goals are to get ready for the fashion show coming up and our collection in October. Making sure every detail is on point. Long term goals are to get our vision across and doing more content-based things. We also plan on interacting with customers more.
DRiP:Favorite thing about being an entrepreneur and fashion designer?
DB: When kids tell you that you have inspired them, and when you go somewhere and you have fans it’s an indescribable feeling.
DRiP:How do you feel about the Cavs bringing the championship title to Cle?
DB & JT: 216 for life! It’s a great energy in this city right now!
DRiP:Favorite piece from clothing line?
DB: It hasn’t come out yet. I’m so focused to get out what’s in my head. I honestly like it all!
JT: My favorite is the 3M hat.
DRiP:Any projects coming up?
DB: Yes. Should be dropping something the end of October.
DRiP:Where can we find your line?
JT: Our website is iamundergod.com. You can find us on Instagram and Twitter @undergodbyfield.
DRiP:One thing the world should remember about Undergod?
DB: We are the culture. Every brand is a part of the culture, and we are just a piece. We are pushing the culture forward.
MERCHANDiSE PHOTOGRAPHY BY: LEVAR ELLiOT