Clayton "Claytano" Kanemitsu’s Journey to Streetwear that Seeks to Inspire the World

Clayton "Claytano" Kanemitsu’s Journey to Streetwear that Seeks to Inspire the World

Clayton “Claytano” Kanemitsu has always followed his passion against the grain. Growing up in the heat of southern California, Clayton, now the founder of Ennovative Inc., a parent company to MLO Shoes and the IntrovertedExtrovert streetwear line, quickly became involved in the world of ice hockey, despite the warm weather. 

“Every moment of my childhood revolved around hockey and getting into a good college, everything else was considered a distraction. I was homeschooled my entire life and had to sacrifice a lot of normal childhood things like playing video games and hanging out with friends. Fortunately, the sacrifice eventually paid off and I ended up playing NCAA hockey in Massachusetts,” Clayton recalls. 

Despite the accomplishments he earned, Clayton began to become unhappy with where his life stood. To put it simply, hockey just wasn’t giving him the same passion it was before. He dropped out, moved back to Virginia Beach, and began working minimum wage jobs. At this point, Clayton knew he had to reevaluate his priorities and rediscover what he was truly passionate about and what brought him joy on a daily basis. He started posting videos on YouTube, and found huge success in it. Just by following his passion of playing video games and letting others in on the action, he had security to quit his job, drop out of school, and focus on creating a social outreach of over 200,000 people and was arguably the highest paid content creator for his size, averaging a gross revenue of nearly $250k per year. 

“I had found my passion. However, it wasn’t playing video games like I originally thought. I realized that my passion was to create and inspire. Through YouTube and other social media platforms I was able to express my creativity while having the opportunity to connect with and inspire millions of people around the world at the same time. This realization allowed me to think bigger, beyond video games, of other ways I could marry the two concepts,” Clayton outlines. 

In March of 2020, Clayton was able to do just that. He launched his sneaker company, MLO, where he was able to encompass his passion for creativity and inspiration. MLO gave him the ability to reach a large audience by designing high-fashion shoes for prices more accessible than other luxury footwear brands currently in the industry. While Clayton knows that designing and selling sneakers is great, he truly believes that what makes MLO unique is that they understand what it means to have an influence. 

“We understand that our voice, community, and influence should never be taken for granted. We see our growth as an opportunity to inspire others in a positive way and to pave a better tomorrow. We make shoes that move the world,” Clayton says. 

In a similar vein to MLO, Clayton also runs IntrovertedExtrovert, a streetwear apparel brand designed to represent his personal battle with introversion and extroversion. The same narrative is depicted throughout the entire brand, aesthetic, and details of each collection.

Fashion gives Clayton an outlet of creative freedom that has a positive impact on the community around him. 

“I saw fashion as a way for me to execute these same core values on a larger scale. After I made a career as a social media influencer, I started making enough disposable income to shop at stores like Gucci and Louis Vuitton and they inspired me to learn more about the industry,” Clayton outlines. 

With his new outlook, Clayton quickly realized that fashion was never accessible to him before he could afford it. Something he thinks everyone should be able to enjoy and take part in, he uses his position in the industry to fill the void in the industry with affordable, high-fashion products. 

Clayton’s journey is storied and vast, and so it’s no surprise that he has a lot of knowledge to pass along. Above all else, he encourages new entrepreneurs to understand the value of time, which he sees as the most valuable resource in the world. With that understanding, it’s easier to find purpose, and therefore, motivation. 

“Respect your time and respect others’ time. If you are building a business, make sure it has a purpose beyond financial reasons. Without a purpose your business has no meaning and if your business has no meaning, where is your motivation going to come from? Without motivation, it’s unlikely you will persevere to overcome the countless challenges you will be faced with,” Clayton explains. 

As a Japanese-American, Clayton was deeply saddened by the recent violence against the Asian community. His company values have always been toward paving a better future focused on empathy and inclusion. To show his support, MLO donated 100% of profits earned during the first two days of their release of their new shoe “DNA T250” to charities and foundations that aid in the fight against hate crimes toward AAPI communities. 

“MLO stands in solidarity with the Asian community and will continue to embrace our differences, using our voice to inspire true change,” Clayton says. 

Clayton can be found on Instagram, and both his brands, MLO and IntrovertedExtrovert, can be found online. 

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