The Clean Slate

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lewis & Bull would like to introduce our readers to [The Clean Slate] an entity that is sure to become legendary in the near future. The Clean Slate is a rising, modern streetwear brand that every young style enthusiast should have in his or her closet. 

The Clean Slate has produced apparel that has been worn by the likes of:
Big Sean,
PlayBoi Carti,
Uncle Boof,
Big Krit,
Waka Flocka,
and ILoveMakonnen.

Earlier in the month of May, L&B sat down and talked with The Clean Slate Co-Founders Jonathan T. Mclean Jr., Jeffrey D. Lockhart, and DJ Pauly Guwop to discuss the brand. Below is the full interview between Lewis and Bull and The Clean Slate.

L&B: When was The Clean Slate established?
TCS: 2012, we just celebrated 4 years last week. 

L&B: What was your vision for The Clean Slate when you first started?
TCS: Honestly, there was no vision for it, we were in high school. High School was about to end, Jon was about to start a site. Before he started it I hit him up and said “You should let me go half on the blog and I’ll write about music and you write about sneakers and clothes.” It just started off with us talking about things that we like. From a writing aspect, I guess it was just relatable to people at the time. It was something that Charlotte didn’t have and we were capturing Charlotte culture and culture all around the world. It was something that our city needed at the moment, and it just became what it became.

L&B: We recently heard that Juelz Santana recently contacted you guys and put in an order for one of your shirts. Tell us about that experience. 
TCS: From my perspective, it was crazy. I grew up listening to him and just the fact that he was showing love and he wasn’t trying to sue us was surreal. It was just love and we actually got to talk to him and that was just surreal. It was a crazy moment. Clean had just walked in and said “We about to get Juelz on the phone.” After he followed me on instagram and left a comment we just called him and just chopped it up. It was five minutes on the dot. But that was some surreal five minutes.  

L&B: The first shirt you all sold was the Gucci Mane shirt right?
Clean: The cold tee. It started off, I think we got 15 of them.
DJ Pauly Guwop: “Real out the trunk with it. I remember that most of them, Clean & Jeff were just hitting them off on campus. Real out the car with it. I took like 3 or 4 of em, brought them over to my campus at UNCG.”
Clean: Those out the trunk days, thats when it was real fun and before things got really stressful. Now stuff just be stressful. But it’s good stress. Shoutout Gucci Mane.

L&B: The idea behind the t-shirt how did they come about? 
Clean: We always wanted to design clothes, and back when we were in the blog game we always said man, They don’t want us to design clothes because it’s like, we’ll kill that. And we knew that from the start. We knew that we saw something that other people didn’t. We used to sit in Crosby, back when The Clean Slate was a blog it stopped being a blog and The Clean Slate sat for like months, because we didn’t know what we were gonna do next. We got tired of writing, and we were going through a transition period. We didn’t want to do the blog any more and we wanted to offer more so everyday we used to sit in Crosby hall at the end of class for hours in the lobby just chopping it up, figuring out What are we gonna do next? Then one day I remember we were just like, let’s design something. 
Jeff: I remember I was having ideas and I was taking them to people and they were putting them on the back burner and I decided to start my own thing.
DJ: He was tired of having to go through other people.
Clean: We just had to take matters into our own hands in order to make things pop like we wanted them to. 

L&B: How many designs do you have right now in total and how many have you all sold so far?
Clean: We have seven to eight total at the moment. The shirt we’re about to release next, the Basquiat shirt. A lot of our shirts stem from other designs that we’ve done and we might not release it right away. But we might come back two three months down the line and we have an idea and we’re like, let’s flip this and then things just work out for a new design. 
DJ: It’s mad ideas just sitting in Jeff’s notebook. 
Clean: Ideas get scrapped everyday at The Clean Slate. One week we could be working on this idea and we’ll go hard for it and then I might wake up Sunday morning like, I thought about this, and this idea kills last weeks idea so then we decide that we’ll run with this. Then another week we’ll find another idea that kills both of those ideas and then we’ll go with this. So relatively speaking, the work ethic at The Clean Slate is organic but it still gets done. 

L&B: There are so many different streetwear brands around A&T. What have you done to stand out from the pack? 
Jeff: The front of the shirts were really hood, and the back was very artsy. People were wearing it around the cafe and people thought somebody actually died in our family. We wanted to give off that homemade, somebody in the neighborhood just died, so we’re about to get some t-shirts printed, vibe. 
Clean: Just be original. The whole time, we’re some fresh guys, so what we design is going to be fresh. That’s our aesthetic. We’re gonna design stuff that we want to wear and if you’re an influencer people are looking at you. They think, if these guys are rocking it then it’s fresh. So we just stayed true to ourselves and I think thats what did it. We’re not rushing anything and everything is natural. The Basquiat tee is natural. The conversation on the phone with Juelz Santana is natural. 

L&B: Where do you see yourselves in the next three years? 
DJ: Los Angeles, California or New York. 
Clean: I’m about to go to New York in two weeks so I see myself three years from now, I should still be in New York working, producing. 
DJ: Personally, I don’t think that it’s helpful for The Clean Slate to remain in North Carolina anymore. I feel like it’s a stunt on our growth. So I feel like all three of us especially, have taken steps to remove ourselves properly from this environment. Don’t get us wrong. We love the city and we got more love from Charlotte than you’ll ever believe but we feel like we really gotta leave here in order to do what we want back home so it’s time to dip. I want to experience new attainability. I want to experience a new scene with new resources and I think resources change a lot. 

Overall the experience was surreal discussing this brand and the futures of the individual co-founders seeing that the producers are well on their way to the top. Both have had numerous internships within the fashion industry migrating to and from various parts of the country to hone in on their skills as modern tastemakers. 

All photography courtesy of The Clean Slate

The brand produces a distinct graphic t-shirt design among other things and ultimately stands out from any other brand we've come in contact with. The Clean Slate (in our opinions) already blends in with the success of major forces in the sportswear market such as Supreme, Diamond Supply Co., and others. Mark our words, one day the brand will be worn by the masses and produced and sold worldwide throughout a variety of retailers. All Clean Slate Merchandise can be bought at Do not hesitate to check them out. 

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