Recently, I spoke with Melvin Conner, the owner and founder of Get Hi!P Society, a Virginia based clothing brand that originated on the college campus of IndianaTech. Get Hi!P Society is a rare, bold and refreshing streetwear brand that epitomizes the meaning of marching to your own beat and standing out from the crowd. They are planning a lot for the new year, while they celebrate their 4-year anniversary.
What inspired you to start Get Hi!P? Do you always want to created your own clothing brand?
MC- I always wanted to start my own brand. When I was in college, I would walk around campus and see everybody wear the same stuff. I told myself I would rather be different and stand out from everybody else. So I decided to start Get Hi!P Society to do that.
Why did you choose to call it Get Hi!P Society? Is there a story behind the creative spelling of the name?
MC- My friends and I would always say "Get Hip" and I always heard this phrase everywhere I went. So I thought to myself "Let me turn this phrase into something." I was actually in my dorm one day, thinking of another word to add to the end of the phrase and I decided on "Society," and that's how it came about.
Was it difficult for you to start your own clothing line while being in college?
MC- Not really. I would do all my school work first then focus on the brand. It was kinda easy actually because I had help from one of my homeboys that went to college with me. He helped me out with it, so it wasn't really that hard.
What were some of the trail and errors you went through to get GHS started?
MC-Trying to find a graphic designer, because I couldn't find one at first. But I took a class on Photoshop in college, so intially I was like, "Let me use these skills and create designs for my brand." But sometimes the work didn't come out the way that I wanted and stuff like that. So that was a problem for a while.
The other was trying to get a screen printer. The quality of the shirts weren't really up to par of what I what I wanted them to be. I knew the people wanted quality, they don't want to pay for anything cheaply made. So that was something I needed to address, too.
What did you think Get Hi!P was going to be 4 years ago when you started it?
MC-I was hoping it would be a way bigger brand than what it is now. I mean, it has a little buzz right now and I honestly didn't think it would get this far. I didn't really think it would get that much attention. I thought once I created this brand and it would die out in like a month or so. But, it has been holding on, so I've just been taking it and running with it.
What did you do to celebrate the 4 year anniversary?
MC-We tried to release some shirts for it but it didn't really work out that way. We're currently looking to get new people to help with the brand, so the big celebration will come for the 5th year anniversary instead.
Why do you choose to self-label the brand as “Rare” on your social media sites?
MC-Just because you can't get it anywhere but my website. It's not in stores, and it's an underground brand. Not many people in the DMV know about Get Hi!P Society, and that's what I want. I would prefer to keep it localized and limited rather spaced out everywhere.
What or who influences the style of GHS?
MC-The Pink Dolphin clothing brand in California influences the bright colors of the brand and stuff like that. I just throw my own spin onto it.
What’s in store for Get Hi!P Society for the holiday season?
MC-Not really at the moment, we're actually looking for a new manufacturer that can do everything for the needs of the brand, that way we don't have to keep going somewhere different for each piece of clothing. So we're planning for 2016 right now.
Who would be your dream person to collaborate with?
MC-I'd say Pink Dolphin would be the main brand I would want to collaborate with, because they inspired Get Hi!P so much.
Where do you see Get Hi!P in the next 5 years?
MC-I see it being more well-known to the public and maybe getting into 1 or 2 stores. One of the East coast and one on the West, preferably. Little boutiques that sell more underground brands, or regular streetwear stores.
Learn more about Get Hi!P Society:
Article by Alysha Rayyn @barelyhippie