Mike Giron founder of Purple Heart Clothing – Interview by: J.305
Miami-Dade County was renamed Miami-Wade County July 1–7. The first week of the NBA 2010 free agency. The city of Miami shows love to the Heats all-star Dwyane Wade by renaming it. Not only was it the first step uniting the big three. It was the spark of inspiration for many in Miami and turned it into opportunity. Mike Giron is the founder of the Purple Heart Clothing. He’s been working with many artists, labels and local super producers Cool n Dre for some time on projects before launching his own line. Purple Heart Clothing is one of the many brands that have launched since the beginning of the season and has only gained momentum. We had an opportunity to speak with Mike Giron about Purple Heart Clothing.
305: What inspired Purple Heart Clothing?
Mike: Well back in the day I was doing a lot of graphic work. I had accounts with some of the big record labels to do album artwork and promo stuff like that. I was doing some work for Cool n Dre’s artists when Cool asked me if I also did t-shirts, which I never even thought of, and said “No but I’ll try it out”. That’s when we started to go back and forth with ideas and created a line called Dirty Royalty. It was something they were developing already and when I got involved we went full throttle with it. We were bangin out t-shirts every day and it got a lot of recognition and blew up. At the time I had a few things going on and Cool n Dre had their main focus on music. No matter how small or big [a business] this is a full time thing you have to give 100% just like anything else. If you don’t what’s basically going to happen is that its going to die out. So we decided to set [Dirty Royalty] aside until we were ready to go full throttle with it. At the time D-Wade was wearing Dirty Royalty a lot. After we stopped he asked me why don’t I do my own and pick it back up? That question is what inspired it.
305: So D-Wade was the inspiration?
Mike: That’s it right there. He’s the inspiration to my success. I surround myself with good people. I’ve known Wade, Cool n Dre equally as long. Cool is like my brother, blood wouldn’t make us any closer.
305: Dirty Royalty was a great concept, how does a concept help you develop the brand?
Mike: That’s one of the main things, have good concepts behind the shirts and brand. Once we start doing jackets, jeans, and button-downs you’ll see the direction of Purple Heart Clothing. T-Shirt wise its hard because everything you see now is either a remake or its been done before and someone just tweaked it a little bit. Where we’re trying to do something completely different and new. Something you haven’t seen done before. That’s the good thing about t-shirts it gives you that opportunity as long as you bring the creativity with it.
305: How do you feel about the many t-shirt companies that have sprung up since the beginning of the NBA season?
Mike: I like it. It brings competition and inspires. I know with Cool n Dre when they hear a hot beat it ignites ideas in them to make something better. When I see a t-shirt that another local artist is wearing I say “awesome concept” its cool. It inspires me to make something different too.
305: Purple Heart has a few main shirts like “Run MIA” and “Wade County”. What was your focus when coming up with the lines?
Mike: When I first started the line I knew that I wanted to develop a presence in Miami. I worked on strictly Miami based designs and concepts. The whole idea was to go city to city that way. Make LA and Chicago based shirts and hit every city like that. It picked up so much in a small period of time that it kind of got overwhelming. Especially when we did the Wade County shirts. I never expected it get as big as it got. Dwyane Wade wore the shirt on ESPN and the next day I woke up with every news channel sitting outside of my house trying to get an interview.I never expected that, of course I hold high expectations for the company and myself. I didn’t expect it to happen that fast. The company hasn’t even reached its one-year mark. It’s reached a lot of success and I’m blessed and appreciative of everything that’s happened so far.
305: Do you run your work by Wade before printing?
Mike: Yeah man Wade is one of the most straight up people you’ll ever meet. He’ll tell you if it’s ok, alright, or if its crazy. I want him to say that the design is crazy like when he saw the Wade County shirts.
305: I’ve seen most of Purple Heart Clothing at SoleFly. Is that home base for you?
Mike: Pretty much, since the moment I met Danny and Chino (the two owners) they welcomed me with open arms. They’re easy to do business with and their very professional. It’s what makes that one of my favorite stores. We opened our companies a month apart so we’re in the same position. Our companies are doing great as Miami based companies.
305: Do you find it difficult as a start up in Miami?
Mike: What I knew from working with Dirty Royalty helped a lot. I can’t even imagine if I wouldn’t have gone through that experience because even starting Purple Heart I took a lot of loses. There’s a lot more to it than it seems. People think that they can design some t-shirts, print them, and sell them. There’s a lot more to it and a lot of work. I don’t even look at my loses. I see them as start up fees, charge it to the game. It’s a class with a one-time fee. That’s the way I look at it. Friends off mine now want to start up their own thing, which I’m open to do and once they get started they see how much work it is. A lot of them just say “I’m out man I’ll leave this up to you”. It’s just like anything though. Anything that’s worth having it takes a lot work. I’m sure you understand, anything you’re building from the ground up. It takes hunger and having the desire to accomplish your goals.
305: The Media says that the Miami Heat is the most hated team out. How do you feel about that?
Mike: You know what, everyone says the Miami Heat are the most hated team but to me the success that its brought, they’re the most loved team.
305: Are you looking into working with other Miami teams?
Mike: Right now we’re actually doing some stuff with the Marlins so we’ll see how that turns out. Can’t really speak too much on it but its in the works. Most of the teams know who Purple Heart is and love the shirts.
305: What’s behind the name Purple Heart Clothing?
Mike: The concept behind it was the direction that Ralph Lauren went with the Polo guy. We wanted to go with George Washington. He was the one who came up with the idea for the Purple Heart [Military Award] and the first recipient. When the Purple Heart was created it wasn’t intended for wounded soldiers but it became that. His morals and the things he had established we really fell in love with and wanted to go with that idea. We’re actually redoing the website and will go more into detail once its up. As the company starts growing you’ll see the clothing going into it.
For more birthday photos (www.WorldRedEye.com) from club LIV click HERE
For more information on Purple Heart Clothing go to: www.PurpleHeartClothing.com