Most Interesting People 2014: Glen Infante

Glen Infante


Why he's interesting: It all began with former Cavs players Delonte West and J.J. Hickson and a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Infante started streetwear brand Ilthy in the wake of an appearance by West on Jim Rome's ESPN show. The designer now sells T-shirts with his brand's logo in various fonts, hoodies emblazoned with "Cleveland Against The World" and snap-back hats with a one-eyed, sharp-toothed Chief Wahoo.

Sweet Success: In 2009, Infante was running Cavaliers fan site when a clip of West scolding rookie Hickson for not bringing doughnuts to the locker room went viral. Infante capitalized and made a T-shirt of West holding the breakfast treat. It became a hit with the 7,000 site members. "The website went crazy over it. They wanted it right away. I didn't even print them yet, but they were ready to buy."

The Hype: Infante used some money out of his own pocket to start making the shirts. As popularity grew, he knew he needed to brand it with something other than his fan site. But not until a conversation with the silk screener did he land on the perfect moniker. When the supplier asked Infante how he was dealing with the popularity, he responded: I love it! I love the hype! "After I hung up, I'm like, Oh, I love the hype." He eventually shortened it to Ilthy.

Artistic Impression: Many of Infante's designs echo Andy Warhol in his use of colors and celebrity. His doughnut collection features drawings of Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur and Bruce Lee holding pink-frosted doughnuts. "I wasn't good in school. I didn't know about Warhol or [Jean-Michel] Basquiat or any of those guys they teach about. As an adult, those artists are my inspirations."

Launch Jitters: In 2011, Infante opened a retail space in the Gordon Square Arts District. (He has since moved five blocks down the street.) "It was really exciting to build the first store. It went amazing." But things didn't sink in until after the grand opening. "I'm sitting there by myself while everybody's celebrating. And I was like, Holy shit, man, what have I gotten into?"

Next Gen: Infante shares custody of his daughter Zoey with her mother. He picks her up every day after school, and the two spend most weekends together. "She reminds me of myself a lot. She always wants to draw. Even when she makes a total mess with paint and stuff, I don't mind watching her draw."

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