Some follow trends. Others make trends. As a child growing up in Largo, Maryland, Chris Warren and a neighborhood friend became trendsetters using fabric paint on shirts to create design to match the latest Air Jordans.
Both of them decided to go to separate high schools to play basketball and their fashion endeavor ended. But, Warren wasn’t done with fashion. At age 18, he moved to Baltimore, Maryland to study at Stevenson University and Warren began to explore the world of style.
“I began working for South Moon Under when I started grad school as a way to stay in the fashion industry,” Warren said. While working for the company, I was able to help with the men’s buying team to assist in forecast for the company. It was this experience that sparked my interest to dive back into designing clothes.”
In 2011, Warren along with Steve Segears and Milton Dunton started a line called SHFT Project. However, they thought the name of their brand was holding them back. In early 2012, the former SHFT Project team randomly met Adrian Curiel, a designer for Under Armour and decided to create a new brand, MINTLEN.
“Adrian Curiel, Milton Dunton, Steve Segears and I wanted to start MINTLEN menswear because it’s something that we all wanted to do,” Warren said. We are all men that know what we like versus what we don’t like. If it is something that we like the cost is not the issue, to an extent. We all have different styles and ideas about what is aesthetically appealing. We want to create a new cool.”
Warren focuses on marketing. Curiel is the lead designer. Dunton creates online presence. Segears handles finances. From the creative process to the design process, the MINTLEN team values collaboration and each other’s input.
“There is a lot to go into making a shirt,” Warren said. Adrian creates hundreds of designs and then we all pick the ones we like the most and critique them. Once the graphics come out the way we want it, we categorize them by collections. After all of this is accomplished, we look to see what each graphic looks like on different color t-shirts and using a variation of colors on the graphics. Once we find a winner, we stick to it and make it available to the public. This is not a day long process, it is weeks sometimes even months. We are our biggest critics. We make each graphic a certain way for a reason. We really pay attention to the details.”
“I would describe MINTLEN as a brand that has a new perspective of what men want in their wardrobe, but can’t find, Warren said. We carry a collection of luxury tees, graphic tees, wovens, pants, jackets, hoodies, coats, etc. We want to show men that they can step outside their fashion box and still fill comfortable/confident in the fabrics that they are in. It seems that all the cool stuff is hard to find, not reachable, or too expensive. It shouldn’t be like that for men. So we are going to make that change for today’s modern man.”
Mintlen’s future plans include opening a flagship brick and mortar store, having a strong following of customers and being featuring in GQ and COMPLEX magazine. This year, Mintlen is all about expansion.
“Our plans for 2013 are to have an entire line in several stores and having a stronger online presence for our brand,” Warren said. We plan on taking part in the Magic showcase in Vegas. We have many plans to create more products for our customers. We are non-stop working to coming up with MINTLEN product, which are made with the best quality. We aren’t taking the cheap route. We had a lot of success in 2012 but we want to become better than 2012.”
Shop here: http://www.shopmintlen.com/