Five years can yield a lot of change, and for those of you that have been following the journey of Maxie and his business, Nap Or Nothing, you’ll have seen that. Speaking to him five years ago, Maxie known primarily for his music was beginning his journey into fashion. Now as a successful business owner his next goal is nothing short of admirable. To help the next generation of creatives prosper.
Euan Makepeace: It’s been a few years since we last spoke with you. How is the Maxie we’re talking to today different than five years ago?
Maxie: I’d say the biggest thing that I’ve taken from the last few years is just how my experience in the industry has grown. Back then I looked at my business as just making and selling clothes. My mindset was, ‘I want to get into making clothes, I have a couple logos, let’s see how this goes’. I didn’t know how long the situation was going to last at Lafayette Square, but the people have come, and they’ve supported me.
EM: What has that looked like for the store?
M: The store was a lot smaller then, and it’s not only grown with the clothes. We had a photography studio in there and a recording studio in the beginning. Now those studios have grown so much that they’re not even in the store anymore. Now it’s all just dedicated towards the clothes.
EM: When you first opened the store, you were known for your music and the store was a side venture. With the success of the store, has your focus changed over the last few years?
M: It’s funny because my people are on me about that so much. I feel like I still make as much music as I did back then, but it has flipped as far as my clothes being in the forefront. The clothing gives me an instant result as far as people vibing with it, saying it’s dope. I now see that the music was a stepping stone for my clothing. I don’t know what my clothes will be a stepping stone for, but I am looking forward to it.
EM: Collaborating with other creatives, whether that’s on clothes or on photo or video projects, seem to be a big part of Nap Or Nothing’s output. How important are those collaborators to you?
M: In the beginning, collaborations helped with the branding of the store. I had as many dope, cool, artsy brands that I could find in the store. It was strategic too because I didn’t have as many pieces myself. Through those collaborations I have made bonds and formed brotherhoods and we have built a clothing culture – we all grew with the store. The biggest relationship that I have is with Slumhaus Originals and now the store only has my brands – Nap Or Nothing and Poverty Sucks – and Slumhaus. The store has grown so much that I don’t have enough room for other brands except the house brands. That’s a blessing, but at the same time I would like to house more local brands. Since I’ve started, there are many dope brands in Indianapolis that are thriving that I would love to work with.
EM: Who are the young brands or young designers that you’re working with at the moment that you think are just going to kill it in the next few years?
M: I work with Blacksheep Collective who I actually met through one of PATTERN’s events. The co-founder – Byron Elliot – is a graphic designer so we collaborated on a piece called ‘God Bless Nap’. Since then, I have been working with them and for 2021 I have Byron on commission to design a few things for me. If there’s anyone to keep your eyes on it’s them. Byron’s incredible and [Blacksheep] do great work so I’m looking forward to more greatness. Fitz is another great artist. He just started to put some of his designs on clothes and I think we have to watch out for him. His designs are so interesting, he has something.
EM: Where do you see your position being in the industry in Indianapolis, are you at the stage where you are now leading the way or do you still feel like an up-and-comer?
M: I’m in both. I’m still growing, there’s always room for improvement, the design can always be more dope and I can always put in more time. At the same time, I understand my role because others have put those shoes on me. I have to embrace that. Indianapolis’ clothing culture is only going to be what we build it up to be and it’s up to us to make it as big as possible. We have the opportunity to be the forefathers of the culture in Indianapolis so why not share the knowledge. There’s no intimidation factor here. I know that I have my supporters and by sharing connection and rubbing elbows there’s an opportunity for it to grow in everybody’s favor.
EM: So what is it in your industry, or the arts in general that you think Indianapolis is missing?
M: We just need more of what we’re already doing. I think a lot of things that we’re already doing are the first of what it is, or it’s being done better than what’s been done before, so it feels like it’s the first. I think going harder, continuing to believe in what we’re doing and continuing to build up the next generation will keep us on the path of greatness and success.
EM: You’ve mentioned before that you want to start some of your own social programs too to give back to the community. Can you tell us a little about what your goals are with this?
M: This is an area I am still working towards, but closer to Christmas I’ve done events where kids can come and get free haircuts and we give away clothes. I am trying to get a program started with my videographer and photographer to build a pipeline where we can work with new models and new creatives and build a network promoting them and their art. Like I mentioned, I have a recording studio, we have the store, and we have the video and photography studio. This program would allow us to teach artists how to be musicians, teach them about merchandising, branding and photoshoots. Just like a one stop shop for it all. These are things that I am working on right now, but I am always looking to be a part of the community and continuing to grow the culture.
EM: What’s the first thing on your list for 2021?
M: The biggest thing for me right now is to find more space for what I am doing. If I can find a location to keep all these projects in-house, I feel like I can have something really special. I have something special on the west side of Indianapolis, but I want to have something special somewhere else as well. I want to see if what we have here can grow in a different space. I think I’ve got it under control on the westside where I can have one of my employees run it while I expand somewhere else. I think that’s the biggest thing going forward in 2021.