Justin Gordon, otherwise known as ‘Gordo,’ has wanted to design clothes for as long as he could remember.

In 2013, Gordo started Heaven Royals Clothing – a street wear line dedicated to inspiring artists to do what they want – and be creative the entire process.

HRC shirt designs.
HRC shirt designs.

“You can choose your own lane, your own sound and message,” he said. “Have your own look. Do whatever you want to do to brand yourself to be different from other individuals.”

“We just believe the ones that are going to be different are the successful ones, on the highest level of all high levels,” he said.

Started with Melanie Leaks, who studied fashion merchandising and has an interesting view of the business side of HRC. “She also designs, and she’s cooking up some ideas as far as sew and stitch pieces,” Gordo said. “She helps me a lot, because she understands the business.”

When HRC began, Gordo started out with a business plan. From there, the company began and grew.

“It took a lot of preparation, because I didn’t know the behind the scenes work. Like distributors, who can print something, things like that,” he said.

After long hours of studying and learning the business, Gordo was able to gain confidence when it came to Heaven Royals.

“I’ve always wanted to do this, since I was a child,” he said. “I chose Heaven Royals because our main goal was to stand out when it comes to our brand – being creative.”

The Indy native states his biggest inspiration is his grandfather.

“He’s a welder and designs his own grills. When I was younger, he used to draw out everything and get measurements. Then after all that, he makes his own grills. He really inspired me to go into designing,” he said.

With a graphic design background, Gordo was able to bring that element to the drawing board.

“I got to the point where I learned the programs myself, so there was no point in going anymore – so I switched my major to Business Marketing,” he said. “So I can at least get the business aspect of it.”

Right now, HRC is rebranding. After releasing clothes, and seeing how things worked out, Gordo decided to head back to the drawing board to give HRC a fresh feel.

“It was still our brand. It was different, but basic. It didn’t speak the message of being different, creative and standing out,” he said.

Model wearing HRC.
Model wearing HRC.

To add to the fresh feel, Gordo said HRC is working on how business is done to expand on their audience.

“We try to help market someone we do a shoot with, to help promote the artist,” he said. “A lot of people here just do t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and hats. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the design itself doesn’t speak volumes, as much as it could.”

As a young, black designer, Gordo stated it’s all about communication to get work out there.

“Within the black community, branching out is easy,” he said. “Outside of that, communication is different. We have to present it differently. That’s my biggest challenge.”

HRC officially re-leaunches May 2, 2017. Until then, the focus is marketing, promoting and keeping their look fresh.

“We still do back work, like event marketing, branding, etc.,” he said. “We’ve got something in the works, we just have to wait on the right timing.”

Don’t want anything to be rushed, just everything to be perfect, he said.