Some say that fashion is taken too seriously these days.

Nobody smiles, and everybody wears black. Designers are the new rock stars, and plain t-shirts sell for triple the price tag. Q. Hudson is looking to put some fun back into clothing with her High End Junkie brand. The name might be intense, but the clothing is carefree, fun and not intimidating at all. I approached Hudson outside the Godfrey Hotel, where she was preparing to present her spring collection. Nervously smoking a cigarette, her style transcended well with the aesthetics of her clothing brand. Rocking a denim shirt with cutoff sleeves, black denim pants covered in paint and neon Nikes, Hudson might’ve been stressing out, but she definitely kept things cool as far as appearance goes.

HEJ15Born and raised in Chicago, Hudson has been making a name for herself in the city and beyond. Celebrities like Chris Brown have been spotted a few times in her clothing, all while receiving love on social media. Before her fashion show/pop-up shop, CUSP Magazine caught up with Hudson to chat about her latest collection and where she wants to take her brand in the bustling streetwear scene.

Q&A – CUSP Magazine & High End Junkie

HEJ2CUSP Magazine: What is High End Junkie? What made you choose that name for your brand?

Q. Hudson: The brand is a lifestyle. The way that [my girlfriend and I] came up with the name was that, we were going over so many names trying to figure out what can be a brand that could speak to the masses. In essence, it means that it’s the craving for something more high end. It’s a whole lifestyle. You want to have high-end vacations, a high-end dog, a crib or car. You’re chasing after that everyday, so then you become a junkie for it.

HEJ3CM: When did you decide you wanted to make your own clothing?

QH: I’ve been designing clothes since I was in high school, but I’ve never had a name behind it. When I was coming up, we would get thrift store clothes, and then me and my brother would alter them and make them look cool. I take that as I’ve been designing forever. I would take the shirts from the thrift store and cut it up, or I would paint and airbrush on it. Since high school, people would always ask me, “How can I get that”? or “Where did you get that from?” So, I got serious about it. I had this company with my best friend called AWOL, and we were just painting on stuff. It was almost like the Miskeen movement.

CM: It’s funny that you bring up Miskeen. That was a good brand back in the day. Were there any other brands that inspired you?

QH: I’ve been inspired by designers forever. I would say the ones that inspire me the most would be the ones that think outside the box. You have your Rick Owens, Jeremy Scotts — people that take a chance and just do something that everybody else isn’t doing. They end up creating the wave. I’ve always looked up to people who’ve gone against the grain. I also looked up to some classics like Ralph Lauren. His clothes are timeless. I have pieces that I’ve had since high school that I could still pull out the closet and wear right now. I’ve always been inspired by creatives.

HEJ4CM: Going into designing your own clothing, what was the most difficult aspect of doing your own thing? What was your biggest obstacle?

QH: The biggest obstacle was financial. I still work a nine to five. All of this is funded by me. So, all the resources, I’ve recycled. I’m reinvesting and reimaging the whole brand and trying to create more pieces that speak out to more people and break more borders. Financially, if I had that trust fund money, we’d be in Paris Fashion Week (laughs). I’ve had a lot of blessing with it. I’ve had opportunities that I didn’t think I could have. We’re still here, and this is our third year. It’s a blessing.

HEJ5CM: What goes into the creative process of when you’re designing?

QH: I’m an artist. I’ve been doing abstract paintings since even before I’ve been designing clothes. I think I try to creatively go crazy (laughs). I think limits scare me. If it’s something that I feel like I can’t do, I try even harder to use something that I’ve never used before.

HEJ7CM: Whom would you say High End Junkie caters to?

QH: The crazy thing about it is, going into it, I had in my mind who would wear it. It blows my mind, because somebody outside of the box that I created wants it. I would say luckily, it crosses over so many demographics. I got skaters rocking it. I have businessman rocking it … hipsters. It’s universal in my mind, because I feel like it just doesn’t speak urban, it could speak to so many other demographics.

HEJ9CM: How many pop-up shops have you done so far?

QH: This event at the Godfrey is one of the biggest. I’ve done pop-up shops every other month since I started. I haven’t gotten a storefront, intentionally, as of right now because of financial stuff, but these have proven to be good, because different faces come and different demographics.

CM: Pop-up shops are you presenting what you have to offer. Are you ever nervous?

QH: I’m nervous as hell. I was a wreck today. Ya’ll seen me when you first came in. I always have that nervousness, but I think it’s what keeps motivated and what keeps me going. It’s like, I’m nervous as hell, but I got to do this. It’s a good nervous.

HEJ8CM: Despite you not having a store, do you see yourself doing a traditional store, or would you stick with the pop-up shops and the e-shops?

QH: The e-commerce has been very good, and I’ve done small tours. I’ve gone to different cities and done pop-ups. I think, eventually, I want to open up a showroom. I don’t want a traditional store, but a showroom.

HEJ11CM: What brands do you feel have a heavy fashion presence in Chicago?

QH: It’s so many that were here before me that are heavy even now. I think about when I was in college and working at Nike, and Dave Jeff from PHLI had came in and he got his Nike account, and I thought that was the world. You think about Dave Jeff, Corey Gilkey, Leaders, Jugrnaut, Al (Alan Jackson) and Zoe (Alonzo Jackson) from Fashion Geek. It’s a lot of people that paved the way and are still doing it, and I look up to them.

HEJ10The pop-up shop proved to be a success, as Hudson showcased to a crowded room of spectators. The live mannequins of models that she provided displayed the range of her clothing brand. One thing should be taken into account when you purchase a piece from Hudson: she handcrafts all of her pieces on her own. Each piece has an almost custom touch to it, allowing for a more intimate experience with her customers. The new collection played with distressed materials, androgyny and bold coloring. You can purchase the latest from High End Junkie’s web store and follow it on Facebook or Instagram using the links provided.



Paige Bray