Finding Beauty in Imperfection with The Incorporated’s Affinity for DIY
The Incorporated is a Seattle-born, LA-based apparel label that specialises in contemporary menswear. Founded in 2010, the brand has been worn by the likes of 2Chainz and Migos’ Offset. Known for its DIY aesthetic, from hand-painted detailing to reworked streetwear accents, the brand is taking off.
We spoke with the brand’s founder Mark McGinnis about what The Incorporated is all about. While it started off as a way to monetise McGinnis’ art, the apparel has become a platform for not just his art, but his political opinions and his own affinity for music. In its fourth collection, McGinnis likens the brand’s drops to the an artist’s mixtapes, and it’s finally time for the highly-anticipated “DEBUT ALBUM.” Learn more about the brand and McGinnis below, and shop its latest range at CLOT.com and JUICE stores.
Let's start with this - how would you describe The Incorporated? What does it stand for?
The Incorporated was my conscious decision to make money off of my art. Starting a brand, I had to find the intersection of my world and the world of business. While the final vision for this entity has become much bigger than clothes, (encompassing music, art and media) The Incorporated began as the clearest way to express my world through product. The brand has become the physical existence of this intersection, and will continue to grow from this foundation.
The Incorporated has been around for a few years now - but how has things changed in the past few collections?
The Incorporated is constantly improving, striving for higher quality, more progressive looks with every collection. I think we have gotten more focused and efficient in our work, but have not really changed in the process. Our surroundings have changed (we moved to LA) and our connections and resources continue to grow, but The Incorporated continues to pursue the same mission it always has.
The label is known for its attention to detail - like hand-painted graphics. In an age where everything is mass-produced, why is this important to the brand?
The Incorporated has always been inspired by the beauty in blemishes, mistakes, decay and individuality. If we are to inspire the unique parts of our customers and peers, then we must explore and express those parts of the brand as well. As is usually the case, it is not easy being different, the collections are sometimes hard to produce and complicated to sell, but it is at the heart of what The Incorporated is.
Can you give us a little insight on your design processes? Where do you find your inspiration?
I’ve been working with shapes, colors and materials for as long as I can remember. Ideas come to me from anywhere and everywhere: memories, vintage clothing, restaurants, songs, trash, travel, literally everywhere. However, the most important process for me is turning those ideas into real tangible products that can be useful for real people. Ultimately, the goal is to take this “inspiration”: ideas about cool logos and typefaces and imagery references, etc., and turn it into tools for people to express themselves, learn more and look cool.
How does being from Seattle influence the designs/brand if at all?
Seattle is a city built of outdoor gear and tech savants, which has its own powerful aesthetic, but not one that often influences “fashion.” I had to learn how to dress in a way that expressed myself, but didn’t seem “stupid” in a function based environment. This intersection of art and function heavily influenced the basic identity of THE inc.: the application of art into a product that is useful in the everyday lives of its consumer. “Useful” can have many meanings, but we hope that our products truly educate our customers, help them express themselves and inspire them in their own efforts.
Tell us more about Collection 4 and what "DEBUT ALBUM" means.
Plans for The Incorporated have always been heavily informed by the mixtape era of hip hop. Having released 3 collections thus far, as a small brand, I’ve often considered these to be our “mixtapes.” Just as any rapper with a few mixtapes and a street single out, it was time for us to make our “debut album.” With a few “features” in the form of collaborations and exclusives, our highest quality and most anticipation yet, “DEBUT ALBUM” is our first “full length official album.”
Anything exciting coming up for the brand this year?
January 1 was the opening of our Los Angeles offices, so that’s the most exciting thing. Col. 5, “The Patron Saint of Lost Causes,” will be coming in August and beyond that, just keep your eyes peeled.
TJ Gary, Mark McGinnis and Camille McGinnis
Photography / Jerald Johnson
Words / Helena Yeung