Rufaro Junior Clint is a young Black British model, a graphic designer, and until recently, a footwear designer. At age 21, Clint was already making waves in the footwear industry after coming out with his own brand.
It all started when he was studying business in Manchester and he decided to take a gap year in his second year. He then started watching different tutorials online which led him into designing. Clint was already into clothing, but he was now learning how it actually worked.
One thing led to another and he just kept watching more and more videos. Clint also read a book called Shoe Dog by Phill Knight, the creator of Nike. The book, according to him, gave him an insight into building and creating a brand.
“It gave me an idea of the ups and downs and after reading, I believed I could do it. Seeing the face behind the Nike brand was so interesting to me and it really made me think it was possible to build something from the ground up. I soon started making clothes, then shoes. The first few looked good aesthetically but weren’t functional. I started finding different ways to improve the quality so that people could wear them,” he told tcsnetwork.
Clint’s biggest inspiration has been Virgil Abloh, who he said exposed him to all the different compartments of a shoe which left him thinking about the process in a new way. “For example, by simply labeling the laces with ‘shoelaces’ and exaggerating the stitching on the Nike swoosh with a zigzag pattern,” he told Versus.
Clint teamed up with a European footwear company called Novesta for his first pair of shoes. His debut footwear was in 2020 which sold out soon after it was released. Since then, he has embarked on a path that has seen his brand develop into more than an average footwear line. His brand has gone viral, with many people showing interest in his designs.
Despite going viral and being projected as the next big thing in the fashion industry, Clint wants more attention to be focused on Black creatives. In this regard, he started the “Inspire Change” initiative to bring more attention and resources to Black creators.
“In the footwear industry, BAME designers are under-represented,” he wrote on his Instagram post. “When I was starting up, one of the biggest challenges for me was identifying Black independent footwear designers that I could look to for inspiration. So I’m starting the ‘Inspire Change Initiative’ as an attempt to bring in my brothers and sisters in the field I work in and provide resources to create their own shoe design from scratch.”
For upcoming designers, Clint said because the future is unpredictable, they must endeavor to bring new ideas to the table and ask the right questions.
“What I’ve learnt recently is that no one really knows what they are doing and the future is unpredictable so the main objective is to bring new ideas to the table and ask the right questions in order to achieve what you set out for yourself.”