After many months of stalking we finally got an interview with the much loved brand NNC London, you’ll know from our previous post that we are big fans of NNC. We met up with Marty, creative director of NNC and had a fantastic session getting to know everything about the mind behind the brand.
Certified: How did NNC start?
Marty: I’m from Kennington *Shout out Harlem Spartans* so coming from a rough background, I was known mainly for my catchphrases which people found funny, so one of my friends said I should do my own clothing line and put catch phrases on it, this was the time when a lot of brands were popping up. We started designing it and I had the influence from my Uncle who owned Forreduci, seeing those designs come to life, that inspired me to start my own brand. It’s been 5 years now and we’re still going.
What other brands inspire you?
Marty: Playdot for sure, when we first saw the Skitz beanie and we took it into our school and saw the hype it created, I knew I wanted to do it, but I never wanted to do it alone.
Did you know anything about fashion design?
Marty: To be honest, no, I just started drawing, at first mimicking the Forreduci designs, and from there I just learnt. My fashion teacher at St. Cecelia’s (Jessica- shout out to you) put her trust in us, she gave me a MacBook because wanted to us to excel, she wanted us to get our head down and do well.
How did the name NNC come about?
Marty: I remember we sat around thinking of a name for ages and my boy was just like, why do you need a name? Why cant you have no name? Then after speaking to a friend of ours, she said why don’t you think a bit deeper than calling it No Names, then I thought of No Names Clothing and she advised we abbreviate it to NNC and at that time no other brand name was abbreviated. I wasn’t feeling it at first but then it just grew on me.
So now you like it, what does NNC mean to you?
Marty: No names means that your name does not define who you are, anyone can wear my clothes, regardless of who it is aimed at, you wear it in your own style. It’s not a brand to fit a person, it’s a person to fit the brand. All our pieces have a concept behind it that is deeper than fashion
Certified: Even the camo print hoodie Marty is wearing is discreetly made up of question marks which is NNC’s Logo as he points out to us.
What’s the split like between you and your business partner?
Marty: Well to put it simply, I’m the creative director, and Lloyd is the back office operations and finance. We split the work according to our skills.
What is your biggest success to date (Apart from speaking to us)?
Marty: I would say doing House of Vans in collaboration with IAMNEXT. That was a dope collab with House of Pharaoh- who I originally knew from Kennington through football and my connection with Sam. That was our first major exposure and we got so much traction and followers from it.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a designer?
Marty: The money aspect without a doubt! Take note of every item of clothing that leaves your hand. Track your finances, you can make loads of money and not be able to show it if you’re not responsible enough to account for it.
How do celebrity endorsements happen?
Marty: To be honest we’re not too big on giving artists our clothes, but if we make a connection with an artist we will send them items but we don’t expect them to promote it. Like with 070 Shake, we appreciate her music so we wanted her to have it has a gift, same thing with Stormzy.
Being real, we are not too fussed on who wears it, Celebs don’t run my business, if they wear it I’m happy, if they don’t I’m still happy, no one is bigger than the brand. If every stranger I met wore the brand, I would be so content.
What would be a top goal for this year?
Marty: Definitely to do a pop-up this summer, I want to meet the people buying my clothes and say thank you to them. (At this point you know we had to talk about One by One as the place for pop ups).
Are there any new collections coming soon?
Marty: I want to release a new collection inspired by The Proud Family, it’s called The Believers Club. For someone like me, you could say I wasn’t destined to make it, but here I am, and that’s why this collection is so powerful to me. Being a believer is also tied to my faith as a Christian, and I just want people to know that having faith is important and they can achieve what they set their mind to.
What is one piece of advice to give to young designers to become CERTIFIED?
Marty: Your vision is bigger than yourself. Find something that is more important than you. Don’t make your vision all about you, but understand what is bigger. For me, it’s putting God first, that’s what is bigger than me and I leave it all to him. Why are you doing this? If you’re doing fashion to make a little change, you won’t be in it for too long because when things get tough you will quit.
Marty: Knowing what is bigger than you will help you keep going. Be prepared for failure, because failure isn’t even failure, its progression.
A huge thank you to Marty for giving us such a down to earth, interesting, and inspiring interview. We look forward to working with NNC throughout the year and beyond.