Introducing Youth Machine

Nous Culture recently got the opportunity to talk to Youth Machine’s creative director Clifford Lidell about the origins of the brand and what’s up next for them. In a time when many streetwear brands use the hype surrounding their label to drive up prices and neglect quality, Youth Machine stays true to their roots of quality and style at reasonable prices. Their ability to tastefully blend street grunge and clean aesthetic separates them from other streetwear labels. Check out their story and future below.


For those who’ve never heard of Youth Machine, what should they know about the brand?
We’re a Los Angeles based atelier that produces concept-driven collections of premium tees, sweatshirts, and other “basics”.

Who makes up the youth Machine team?
We keep the circle pretty tight. The core team is made up of myself, my wife, and a few of our best friends.

Why did you create Youth Machine?
Out of spite to be completely honest. I was frustrated with the growing trend of menswear brands selling t-shirts for hundreds of dollars. I don’t care who designed it, there’s no such thing as a $200 tee. So, it was really a challenge as to whether we could produce a line of custom tees and sweatshirts that matched, or surpassed, the quality of the overly-expensive designers, while offering those styles at reasonable prices. Quality has always been paramount, and we want that to be so blatant that it creates an immediate and lasting impression on anyone who feels or wears one of our pieces. We don’t cut corners.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I honestly tend to keep my head down… Not because there’s nothing inspiring out there, but for this project, it’s more about self-sustaining. The brand is a visual autobiography of sorts. So, it’s really all about things that inspired or guided me up until the creation of Youth Machine rather than after.

How would you define the Youth Machine aesthetic?
Hyper-clean grunge.

What is the brand’s overarching message?
It’s a perpetual calling for the youth to challenge the status quo, look for beauty in the uncommon, and embrace chaos along the way.

What does the future for Youth Machine?
We have some new collaborations that we’re really excited about, as well as some pop-up shops on the horizon.

Kevin Cha

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