I already let y’all know a while back that diamonds are forever. Now I’m back with a whole different perspective on the brand! This summer, my homie and colleague Jeff L., Co-Founder of Charlotte, NC-based blog & lifestyle brand The Clean Slate 704, interned with Diamond Supply Co.’s Design & Development team. During his time with the company, he learned a lot about the industry and experienced even more. In this interview, we speak on his time at the Los Angeles flagship store, the creative environment at Diamond, a usual day at the office and some other ill topics.
King Phill: What’s a usual day like working at Diamond? Cause I know you were between the headquarters and the flagship store in LA right?
Jeff: Yes, I interned at the headquarters and I worked at the LA flagship. I loved working at both for different reasons. I love working at HQ, but I love Fairfax because it’s in the mix. I love connecting with people and Fairfax is kinda like a tourist attraction, so I meet so many people from other countries, different backgrounds. Anybody who’s of the culture comes to Fairfax when they come to LA, so you never know what influencer or rapper may walk into the shop.
A day at HQ is always eventful just because of the knowledge I pick up on a daily basis. It’s a very relaxed environment both at the store and HQ. Retail and design go hand in hand in my opinion, so I’m glad that I can kinda fall right in between.
King Phill: What responsibilities were you given with your position as a Product Design Intern?
Jeff: It can range from a lot. From designing graphics, putting together tech packs, assisting the product development team or sometimes simply keeping the sample racks together and in order. Sometimes I dabble into other things around the office, but for the most part, that’s it.
King Phill: Word, sounds ill. That tech pack shit ain’t no joke. What were some of the hardest tasks you had to complete during your internship?
Jeff: The hardest task I had to complete was doing graphics for the annual sales catalog. It was a few hundred designs that I had to do it for, different color ways, etc. I had to have it done on a deadline in time for the trade shows. I stayed in the office overtime for a few days to complete this task.
King Phill: Word, they had you in there crankin’ out that work bruh; good shit. What’s the craziest shit that’s happened since you’ve been working with Diamond?
Jeff: Man, to me, this whole experience of working with Diamond has been crazy. This is the brand that put me onto streetwear culture in a way, so just being able to pick up the knowledge from a brand of this caliber is so mind blowing to me. I was always a fan of how they mixed skate culture, street culture, music culture and Nick’s lifestyle all into one; just understanding that it takes a strong team to do all of this and make sure things run smooth.
King Phill: I saw that you helped with styling lookbook shoots too. What’s your creative process with that?
Jeff: When it comes to stuff like that, I more so am just there to offer my opinion or assist with steaming and stuff of that nature. I observe a lot when I’m around this environment. One thing I learned that’s key to styling is making sure you’re telling a story with the looks you’re putting together; making sure everything makes sense, presentation wise.
King Phill: How was the Agenda Tradeshow? I saw you flexin’ on snapchat.
Jeff: Hahaha man, Agenda was lit. This was my fourth year going, but my first year on the brand side of things. It was dope observing the whole sales process, seeing which products the buyers from stores were picking up the most and which ones they shied away from; stuff like that helps me as a designer. I also have relationships with other brands, so I went around to their booths. Great place to network if you’re trying to get into streetwear. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t be working for Diamond if it wasn’t for going to Agenda those three years.
King Phill: Nice, I still haven’t had a chance to cross a couple Tradeshows off my list. What brands do you think had the best booths this year?
Jeff: Definitely Rare Panther, The Hundreds, and CLSC; I’m referring to Long Beach’s Agenda as well. Rare Panther had an installation set up, but didn’t show any clothing. The Hundreds booth was blacked out in honor of their new wildfire theme. CLSC’s booth was dedicated to this shoe collab that they had coming up; only the one shoe was shown. The rest of the booth was themed out in relation to the shoe.
King Phill: What’s your favorite collab you’ve had a hand in, is coming out soon or has already been released? That Ham On Everything L/S (shown below) was CRAZY.
Jeff: The pink joint! The event for that collab was dope too. I can’t really speak on too much though, but there is one collab in specific that I had a hand in creating concepts for. It happens to be one of my favorite members out of a well-known rap group.
King Phill: Ahhh, I feel you; can’t let the secrets out too early. What are some of your favorite pieces that are out now or coming soon, that you can speak on, that you had a hand in designing?
Jeff: Nothing that I had a hand in is out now, but I did have my hand in some things for upcoming season releases.
King Phill: Could you see yourself having a permanent position on the Diamond Supply Co team?
Jeff: Definitely! I love all of the folks at Diamond. I love the environment. It’s like a family vibe; great work atmosphere. I’m about to go back and finish out my last year of school and focus in on my brand (@TCS704), but coming back to Diamond once I graduate is definitely on the horizons for sure.
King Phill: What do you think were some best lessons you learned while working at Diamond?
Jeff: Diamond gave me an opportunity to not only learn about design, but also the business side of the fashion industry: Retail, collaboration breakdowns, wholesale, how to communicate with manufacturers, etc. I also learned that it takes a strong team for things to move smoothly. Diamond Supply has an excellent team and everyone there is good at what they do.
King Phill: Truly, it’s always best to get that hands on experience with anything. That business side is no joke; it separates the boys from the men, haha. What are the creative vibes like out in LA versus North Carolina? We both from NC and that’s home, but I always love being in a new creative environment.
Jeff: I agree. Being out here in LA puts me in a whole new place, creatively. My mind is a lot freer out here. I’m far away from everything. My creative mind is at its best when I have a free mind. I’ve came out here and brushed up my skills as far as design is concerned. The stuff I’ve been designing out here is my best work to date, I believe. We’re gonna be dropping a collection of Clean Slate stuff that’s been designed while I’ve been out here, late August. Close out the summer on a good note.
King Phill: Nice nice, any tips for anyone planning a trip to the west coast?
Jeff: Definitely get out to Fairfax, La Brea and Melrose for that street culture; that’s where all the cool shops are. Eat you some good food. Go out to Hollywood and Koreatown to party; just soaking in LA is so wavy. It’s a different vibe out there.