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Clint – Dazed Spring 2023
Faux-fur coat SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO, denim blazer and trousers OFF-WHITE, cotton tank top AMI, brass, metal and glass crystal cross necklace and gold-plated brass, rhinestone and glass crystal necklace DOLCE & GABBANA, all other jewellery as beforePhotography Gabriel Moses, Styling Felix Paradza and Mark Mutyambizi

Clint rules the world

Clint is the Oz-like figure pulling the strings at cult British streetwear brand Corteiz. Ahead of a new collaboration with Nike, he gives his first-ever interview – which may also be his last – on the label’s spectacular rise

Taken from the spring 2023 issue of Dazed. You can buy a copy of our latest issue here.

A full version of this interview can be found in the Dazed spring 2023 issue

Beyond a certain point of success, assumptions can take hold of the truth, a phenomenon that Clint is accustomed to. Discourse follows the divisive figure – sometimes characterised as abrasive, arrogant or conceited – often leading to projections which arise from a general uncertainty surrounding as to who he really is. There are a plethora of critiques and hot takes aimed at debasing his seemingly whirlwind rise. It’s a familiar trope: the local success story humbled once it reaches further than previously imagined. Little is left for any real conversation to take place when hearsay fuels speculation and accelerates clicks. On the one hand, some of this is attributable to the fact that, until today, he has never accepted any request for an interview about either himself or his streetwear behemoth, Corteiz. Still, he is by no means mute, as his off-the-cuff tweets, Instagram stories and DM sagas attest to, a partial view into his world. He is indifferent to the the shifting sands of opinion as the truth holds weight – ever-present and rooted in the facts of his real life. 

It’s fair to see why people may assume he is a haughty figure because, in some respects, he almost leans into it with his characteristic mischievousness. But there is more than meets the eye here. There’s an unexpectedly endearing quality to Clint in close contact. So much so that, when asked (as I repeatedly am) about the man behind one of London’s most notorious streetwear brands after our conversation, I find myself defending him like an old misunderstood friend. He’s not half as moody as he may often appear in pictures. In fact, he spends a fair amount of time laughing his way through our conversation. Mid-sentence, he’ll frequently bracket in sympathetic disclaimers, announcing with a quizzical tone that he has no idea how I will make sense of his indulgent storytelling. His answers are long-form and wind-down roads that lead to several other avenues of visible contemplation, punctuated by thoughtful silences. 

Clint’s story began at Central Middlesex Hospital, where he was born not half a mile from the first office he rented and operated out of – about 250sq ft of space. He still rents the office to this day, in part for storage but also for sentimental reasons, and it’s here we’ve been invited to speak with the designer today. Located between a Budget Food Wholesaler and a Travelodge just off the M25, the outdated exterior gives no prior warning of the rapidly ascending star housed within. It’s the kind of building you’d expect to soon be developed into a number of overpriced new builds. But its location is of note, just a stone’s throw from the estate he grew up in as a child. It also happens to be side-by-side with the hotel his family had to live in after being evicted from their home. “I was 20, in my third year of uni, and I came home from my grandma’s burial in Nigeria to an eviction notice saying we had a week [to leave],” says Clint. “I still have a picture of it on my phone. That moment changed how I saw things. You come back from somewhere after grieving and you’re slapped with reality.” After the eviction, he took refuge on his sisters’ sofa in a flatshare in Stamford Hill. “They didn’t use the living room for a good six to eight weeks because I was in there,” he says, “and that was when I started Corteiz.” Arguably, his success has permeated the consciousness of a generation of young creatives who skipped art and fashion school in favour of blank tees and a burning desire to make something of themselves. It is certainly a beacon of light that shows young people a new means of success, achieved on their own terms.

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