Streetwear brands don’t need influencers to make a difference

When Late Visuals’ Niall McGuire and Elliot Whiting started their streetwear brand, they had no influencer connections.

In an industry where knowing people opens doors, just look at the way people connect with Virgil Abloh, people vibe with Late Visuals without needing to be made to.

“We had literally zero connections in the industry and no ‘influencer’ friends, we knew we had to build a strong core supporter base,” Niall McGuire tells Wear? Archives.

We knew all our customers, pretty much, in the first year. It was mainly friends and friends of friends. It was a slow start but I’m grateful that it began like that because it kept us focused on what’s important.”

Originally created as a university hobby in 2015, the brand found its feet in 2019.

When Elliot and I graduated, we came to the conclusion that we either go all out on this or leave it.”

Releasing piece after piece, instead of collections, gave the brand a collectibility. Fans started copping every Late Visuals piece over multiple releases.

The creatives still spot people donning their original pieces.

“I think it’s important to always put out your best work. You don’t realise it at the time but you’re making something that will last. I’m happy with everything we’ve made.”

2020 saw the brand produce some of their best work. Bringing the NHS to the fore, Late Visuals created a tee to pay their respect for key workers during the pandemic.

“It’s been a tough year for everyone but especially for NHS workers. We felt in debt to them as there’s not much the average person can do to help apart from stay inside. We just wanted to do the best we can for them, they really deserve it.”

And, Niall and Elliot didn’t stop there. A restock of their ‘Black Multi Logo Hoodie’ saw the label make a big donation to charity.

For every order on Boxing Day, we donated an item of clothing to a homeless shelter in the Midlands. The UK is currently in lockdown so we’re waiting until it’s safe to go and donate,”

“We’ve got over 50 items of gloves, scarves, beanies, etc to give. I’m going to go buy some books to donate as well.”

2021 brings the opportunity to continue this work. Late Visuals have plans to do exactly that.

With custom tracksuits, shorts, rugs, accessories and more, along with a venture into music with ‘Late Sounds’, the brand are putting mental health at the fore.

“I hope we can continue to do our bit for charity. We’re making t-shirts for the ‘Forever 19’ football tournament, ran by my brother and his friends in memory of their mate Tom Rhodes,”

“What they’ve done is so inspiring and the tournament makes for an amazing day each year. The profit from the t-shirts are donated to Mind UK, a charity for mental health.”

Late Visuals have built their name and made an impact in society with no influencers needed. With the way they prioritise collective clothing, charity and their supporters, they are showing no sign of stopping anytime soon.

Niall McGuire on behalf of Late Visuals speaking to Wear? Archives.

Images courtesy of Late Visuals (@latevisuals).

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