Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Isaiah Green, founder of Full Circle Nation, a streetwear brand out of North Carolina.
So Full Circle Nation over here. Tell us, what is your brand all about?
The brand started as a way to showcase my art. Then some of my friend’s artwork. Basically what we do in Greensboro, Charlotte, all of North Carolina, just as friends and as a community, that’s really what I wanted to showcase with the brand, more so than just fashion, even though that is kind of what we’re moving into with the cut and sew. But that was showcasing art, is always going to come first.
So, besides you, who else is involved?
I got a couple friends usually, that help me with helping shoot look-books. I usually hire a group chat that I just show everyone my designs. I am working on a short film for the brand so I am going to have skaters, and I’m going to interview several people, and I’m doing music with it, so I need some people to help me with music. So I definitely have a ton of people to help me with the side stuff. But as for design, most of it’s me besides collaboration.
Are you looking into other brands right now for collaborations?
Yes. I got two in the works. I can’t share who they are, but I think people from Reddit are really going to love what we put out in a couple months.
So they’re on the streetwearstartup subreddit?
Yes. Little hints.
Pieces being dropped left and right; I hear you. So what made you want to start a clothing brand?
Really, I wanted a way to do something with my art, because I’ve been drawing for a long time. And my friends, a couple of them wanted some of my art on a shirt, so I did that. I just put Full Circle Nation — I’ll describe that brand name in a minute — but I put “Full Circle Nation” on there; they liked it, and all their friends liked it and eventually more and more people started asking me to start selling shirts. So I opened up a legal business, and I opened a website as well and started selling from there.
Fair enough. And you said you were going to go into your name — Full Circle Nation. Where’d that start and how’d you come up with that?
Yes. So me and my friends, we’ve been going to this camp, like a sleep-away camp ever since we were like 10. And we would just call ourselves “the inner circle” because we thought we were all the cool kids, and we wanted to kind of keep everybody out, because we were the only cool kids there; that’s what we thought.
But eventually, it just kept growing and growing until the point where we were all 15; there were a bunch of us, so we just called ourselves “the full circle.” And then “nation,” that’s just because I wanted to showcase the community between not only the people that I’ve known but people from around the world. So I just added on the Nation to it.
I noticed some of your art has a grimy look to it.
Is that just your doodling style? Or how’d you come up with that kind of look?
Yes, it’s usually just my doodling style, because I do kind of, whenever I need a new design, I’m going to take pictures of my sketchbook; scan them, color them, and whichever ones I like most, I’ll post on Instagram, and whichever ones get the most feedback, those are the ones I usually make into the tee-shirts.
So what are you trying to do differently from other brands?
Definitely, at first, we were just doing DTG, screen printing, hats, all that — basics. But I’ve really gotten interested in cut and sew. So Love, the guy who runs Wrong Crowd, has really gotten me interested in cut and sew. So he’s been showing me how to make tech packs and stuff. Over the next hopefully 8 or 9 months, you’re definitely going to see some more garments that aren’t just your normal hoodies and stuff that come from most start-up brands.
What would you say is your best experience with running a brand so far?
Definitely the first time we sold a physical tee-shirt, me and my friends were just running around at school; one of my friends had a tee-shirt from my brand; someone asked them if they could buy the shirt off of him, and I was in that class, and I was just looking at it, because I don’t think anyone at the time knew I ran a clothing brand. But he sold it, and then I had to give him my jacket because he didn’t have any clothes besides the shirt, which was really hilarious to us. But we got like 30 bucks out of it.
So you sold your first shirt off your boy’s back?
Yes. That was definitely one of the coolest moments.
That is pretty cool. Looking forward to next year — you said cut and sew… Any other future goals for the brand?
Yes. I definitely like to do a pop-up shop, with a couple other brands from North Carolina, hopefully, this coming summer. I have a couple that I’d like to at least do a collab with, if not, do a full pop-up. But that’s something definitely to look out for if you live in Charlotte, or Raleigh, or Greensboro.
So who are you inspired by to do the brand in your other art? Who do you look for inspiration?
Definitely, a first, it was Tyler the Creator. I feel like from the moment you step into my website, you can definitely feel that inspiration. Because he’s another young black person who’s gotten successful at very different things. He’s very cool with that. His confidence — I hope to one day have his confidence in everything that he does and says. Childish Gambino, Donald Glover, the musician, and actor — definitely some brands from streetwear start-up. Wrong Crowd — that’s my guy; I talk to him every day. The guy who runs Get Some Sleep is definitely an inspiration to a lot of people including me.
And then Steady Hands. Wesley, the guy who runs Steady Hands is definitely an inspiration as I’m looking to go into cut and sew because I think he does it the best out of all of us.
Absolutely. I got a Steady Hands shirt in the closet right now.
Oh, awesome. Yes, he definitely makes some good-quality stuff.
Alright. Curve-ball — if you could only live with one condiment for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Barbecue sauce. I absolutely hate Ketchup, so that’s gone. Mayonnaise is gone. Honey-mustard is alright, but it’s not as versatile as barbecue sauce.
Say I’m going down to Greensboro; where’s the best place to eat at?
The best place to eat at? Oh, that’s tough … Let me think where I’ve been eating a lot recently. Dang, that’s a real curve ball. There’s a place called Cherry Pit Cafe; it definitely has some delicious food, like soul food, southern food. So if you’re coming down here, I’m going to have to treat you to that.
Sounds good. Alright, it’s Friday night; it’s 10 PM; where you at?
Honestly, I’m usually just at home. Maybe a friend will be over. But usually just drawing or painting. Reading, listening to music.
You’re listening to music, any music recommendations?
Music recommendations. The new 21 Savage and Offset Project is fire to anyone that’s reading this who hasn’t checked it out yet. You’re sleeping. Smino, out of St. Louis — he’s definitely fire. Yeah. Those are a couple of people to check out.
Check out Full Circle Nation and all other brands mentioned below: