Name: Heather Lipner
Occupation: Creative Director / CEO of Clashist
Location: Los Angeles, CA
What was the a-ha moment when you decided to start Clashist?
This sounds so cliche but I was at the Chateau Marmont with Cory Kennedy and I showed her some very, very early designs on my iPhone and she was into it—which surprised me actually. I quickly sampled them and sent them to her. Within a week, they were on NYLON magazine’s Instagram and then stocked in their shop and I immediately sold 50-100 units. So then, yeah, it became a business. A-ha!
Tell us about your business model, what makes you unique?
We’re a commerce business—we make goods and sell them direct and wholesale. Our prints focus on pop culture commentary, something most people can relate to has more depth than just an abstract print. Our commentary at large within the fashion industry is unique as well.
How do you know which celebrity prints people will gravitate to? Do some celebrities have more internet clout than others?
Honestly, we don’t really know—it’s ultimately a guess, but overall we’re informed by said celebrity’s sense of humor in general and how they connect with their fans. For example, I love James Franco—he’s entertaining, anything goes, and you can tell he’s having fun. That’s great and we celebrate him.
How do you see online and offline ideas changing and growing in the next 5 years? 10?
The space between online and offline continues to narrow as technology connects the two. From a fashion development perspective, it’s about more efficient communication between the factory and client, speed of production, new types of ink and fibers that will make the prints last longer. From a consumer experience perspective, I think we’ll see issues behind buying, washing, wearing out, and metrics like price-per-wear being solved.
Because you are focusing on meme-centric content do you feel your production needs to move at an IRL pace?
Nah, that would be super-fast fashion. From a consumer and environmental perspective, that would be a waste of money and thus feel empty. We go a bit broader on topics that are deep-seeded in the apparel such as feminism, religion, and cultural expectations. If you step back and examine, what we’re really doing is poking fun at ourselves, the world as it is, and how very stuffy we still are, knowing that it will all change in due time.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from starting Clashist?
I have created and closed other businesses in the past, and of course I’ve been involved in others as well. So now that I know Clashist, the best lesson I’ve learned is that if a business isn't flowing easily, it might not be the right business for you. Meaning: Clashist comes naturally for me; I know exactly what to do, so I can trust my gut to predict trends and create unique products that people are into. When you know, you know—it’s like meeting your soul mate I suppose.
Favorite internet meme of all time:
Oh, you should check this out.