Interview with HYPE’s Creative Director, Liam Green: “Everyone’s doing it so make sure you do something different”

Originally featured in Volume 18 of tmrw

Liam Green is the brains and creativity behind clothing brand HYPE. As the  creative director for the brand, which he co-founded at the ripe young age of 17, he’s come round to the idea that it could be around for the long run.

At half 11 at night, having just arrived home from the office where he’s been working on the SS18 collection and some personal projects, Liam sat down to answer a few questions and talk to us about HYPE’s Hawaiian beginning, the brand’s collaborative essence and recommends you “don’t remortgage your house” if you’re looking to start your own clothing brand.

When the brand was launched in 2011, it revolved around and embraced Liam’s love for printing. “Printing is my roots, I’m really fond of it. Due to the recent climate, there isn’t much demand for it, so I tend to be [printing] less and less and working more with fabrics and fits. It’s cool though, as it helped me develop as a designer.”

He even predicts “it’s definitely going to make a come back sometime soon.”

Back when the brand was just a fledgling company, Liam thought the fashion landscape was pretty barren. “I wasn’t interested in plain garments and I wanted to bring some colour back to fashion, which was pretty drab at the time.”

Liam said, “the actual influence for my original print pieces was from vintage Hawaiian shirts.” And he notes that “literally” everyone was wearing them at the time. “And I thought – why isn’t anyone doing this on t-shirts?”

Liam hasn’t been shy to the fact he didn’t always expect HYPE to be as successful as it is today. After it’s initial bout of success, Liam said he “was in awe of the growth of the brand.” He said, “But recently I’ve been looking back and questioning that statement.” He says now that he can identify all the reasons as to why the brand took off the way it did but he still stands by the statement of never fully expecting it.

Looking to the future he said, “The kind of questions I’m asking now is all about longevity and brand placement. We’re working really hard behind the scenes restructuring a few things to align with these goals.”

HYPE’s collaborative collections are aplenty, with collabs created with nostalgic cartoons (like The Simpsons, because who isn’t nostalgic for the golden era of seasons 1-10?) and stores such as Selfridges, Topman and ASOS. It’s an impressive repertoire, of which Liam emphasises “it’s important you don’t just align yourself with anyone”.

Speaking of fashion’s possible-obsession with collaborations in recent seasons, Liam said he thinks it’s an important thing to have.“[Collaborations] help expose brands to different demographics and acquire a more cult following. It gives both collaborating parties an outsiders take on their brand, it helps brands break out the boxes they create for themselves and above all brings some fun back into fashion.”

But how does he bring that fun and keep HYPE’s collabs interesting? He said the answer is to “do cool shit and throw some parties.” Which should be the answer to all of life’s dilemmas…

And if you look at Liam and fancy doing it for yourself, he’s got a bit of advice for you. “Do it if you’re doing it for the fun of it, I wouldn’t advise anyone to go in headfirst expecting it to work as nine times out of ten you’d be extremely let down.”

“Above all, everyone’s doing it so make sure you do something different and hit me up, I’ll help as much as I can.”

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