Category: Fashion & Style

Cool&Well-Dressed Presents: AUTHNTC: As I Overcome

The way I found this brand was crazy, man; real universal alignment shit. I had been looking at AUTHNTC, the Las Vegas-based streetwear brand, for a while. A couple months ago I hosted a listening party for my homie Caterpillar Jones. He’s from North Carolina, but he’s also lived in Vegas. While we were at the listening party, we started talkin’ streetwear (cause that’s what fresh niggas do), then AUTHNTC was naturally brought up in the conversation; I took that as a sign that I needed to reach out. One thing I love the most about AUTHNTC is the brand’s identity; they really care about their image and it’s apparent. In this interview I got to speak with Miah M., Co-Owner of AUTHNTC, about their popular “God The Plug” design, their recent pop-up shop, their level of exclusivity with limited pieces and a couple other dope topics.


King Phill: Are you guys fairly new or you’ve been around for a couple years?
Miah M.: I wouldn’t say we’ve been around, nor would I say we’re new. We’ve been at it for four years now, but only now are people getting to know us and are we getting more exposure.



King Phill: Did you guys come out of the gate with that identity we spoke on earlier or did it take those four years to really build out and craft an identity for Authntc?
Miah M.: We wanted the brands image to come naturally. We wanted it to be personal and reflect our own lives and likings. I wouldn’t say it took us four years to craft our identity; it took us four years to try to master our identity.



King Phill: I can’t put a distinct finger on the identity of the brand, but I love it; Authntc puts a certain energy in the air with it’s pieces. What do you feel the brand’s identity is?
Miah M.: You’ve seen that guy who knows how to skate really well, but knows how to dress really well too? Let’s just say a skate rat who’s wearing Saint Laurent or whatever; that’s Authntc. It’s where the street/urban culture meets the couture/luxury culture.

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King Phill: It looks like the “God The Son. God The Father. God The Plug.” design garnered a lot of attention for the brand; all the pieces with that design look pretty ill. What’s the concept behind that design?
Miah M.: Thank you! Many might not know, but I come from a religious background; I grew up in church. Over the past year, I’ve realize God is the plug. Not only have I seen him grant prayers in my own life, but I’ve herd of many people thanking him for what he has done. The holy trinity is also one that many are aware of when it comes to Christianity. It just felt right putting the two together when we were creating the design.



King Phill: What’s the concept behind the “As I Overcome” collection? Where’d the name come from?
Miah M.: As I overcome, is prayer. “Help us overcome the trials and tribulations in this life. For this is the land where we dance with the devil. As I overcome, let me be the wolf who leads wolves not a pack of sheep. For this is my prayer, Let us come into the palace to rest… we have become nothing but damaged goods.” It’s a prayer for help and guidance to overcome; that is where the name of the capsule collection comes from, “as I overcome.”
King Phill: How did the Pop-Up Shop & release event go?
Miah M.: Our recent pop up/event released went well! A good amount of people came out and showed love. It was very humbling for us!

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King Phill: Nice, the setup looked dope on Instagram. What imagery were you going for with that installation?
Miah M.: Thank you, I appreciate that! The installation was conceptualized to hopefully duplicate the same environment that a person would see if he or she visited the courtyard of a mental institution. That explains the TV set up, chess board game in the middle of the room and hand-painted pieces such as the “counting days” piece.




King Phill: I’ve also noticed Authntc hasn’t released any collabs. Are there any on the works or you guys just plan to not do any?
Miah M.: Yes, no collaboration projects yet nor do we plan to do any soon. Right Now we are concerned on personal growth.



King Phill: A lot of brands take that route; it’s always important to get yourself straight before you throw anyone or anything else into the equation. Are you open to collabs in the future?
Miah M.: Of course! Donnie and I always talk about collaborations and the brands that we want to work with; it’s just a matter of time and planning.



King Phill: How do you feel about producing limited quantity pieces versus larger quantity pieces?
Miah M.: My co-owner Donnie and I always frowned at looking like everyone else. Finding yourself wearing the same thing as someone else just makes you feel less “cool.” Producing limited quantities helps produce the cool, exclusive factor in someone’s style. There is a greater value in exclusivity than in the mass produced.

 

King Phill: I definitely feel you on that. What are some of the most exclusive pieces you’ve released? I saw this ILL Native American skull vest on your IG; looks crazy.
Miah M.: Thank you! The “Dead Man” BDU Vest has not released yet! More info on that particular piece will be out soon to the public. All of our collections/releases are released in limited quantities. The most exclusive releases we had yet were the “God The Plug” coach jacket and our hand distressed & painted BDU jacket. We got so many people asking and emailing us if were going to restock anytime soon and we said no. 

 

Cool&Well-Dressed Presents “Diamond Supply Co.: Part Deux”

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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

Redress Raleigh Gives Independent Eco-Designers A Platform & Educates Us Along The Way

If many of us are honest, when it comes to responsibly made clothing and eco-fashion, we are often excited about the creativity and idea of helping our planet, but resistant to the idea of wearing the clothing out of fear it won’t be fashionable, wearable, or affordable. If you have already joined or are interested in joining the eco-fashion movement, you may find it difficult to locate clothing and resources that won’t force you to sacrifice your personal style, break your pocket, or completely inconvenience your current lifestyle. Responsibly made fashion shouldn’t be intimidating, seem inaccessible, or exclusive. It should be fun and creative for us all, buyers and designers alike.

To address questions consumers and designers have about eco-fashion, I met up with Beth Stewart at a quiet local coffee shop in Raleigh, NC, right across from NC State’s campus. We chatted about her organization, Redress Raleigh and their mission to “nurture independent designers and educate people about the impact of their purchasing decisions”. She shared her excitement about their approaching annual fashion show, the birth of the organization, goals they’re reaching in the eco-fashion community, and how we can all take small baby steps towards making our wardrobes more “green”.

The way we think about apparel is changing as leaders pop up in the industry pushing us to consider our clothing as more than merely something to put on our bodies or a fashion statement, but to consider it a statement of our beliefs. Redress Raleigh advocates for that type of change in Raleigh, joining a host of like-minded designers and organizations around the globe. Just as our wardrobe allows us to express who we are, it also allows us to practice caring for the world we live in.

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Beth Stewart, Redress Raleigh 2016 Fashion Show Photo By: Phill Loken

Since 2009, Beth Stewart and the Redress Raleigh team have been providing designers in the area with a platform to showcase their collections, while also developing their business skills by linking them with priceless education and mentorships.

It all started as just an idea, when Beth realized that although the fashion industry was providing us with beautiful garments and fantasy, it was missing an important focus on the real life impact clothing has on the earth and people. Redress held its first fashion show in 2009, with twelve featured designers and a venue all in place, yet they weren’t even sure if anyone would attend. To their surprise, the room filled to capacity, helping Redress realize the public is not only interested in the creativity behind responsible or eco fashion, but many people would also like to be educated about its behind the scenes process and impact.

What originated as just a side project led to Beth discovering her passion, going back to her alma Marta NC State University to obtain a Masters in Textiles, leaving a 5 year career in architecture behind, and living by the motto of “let your creativity work for you”.

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Photo By: Phill Loken

Sustainable living has become more mainstream, especially in the food industry, with the popularity of organic, local, vegan, and other diets. We’ve also seen an increase in solar power, hybrid vehicles, and recycled materials being utilized around us. Redress teaches us how to transfer that thinking into fashion and to just #GiveADamn about the true cost of our clothing-how it was made, who made it, and how it impacts the environment.

Redress considers three categories when selecting designers. They must be:

Innovative- Fashion forward & look cool. Be something people want to wear.

Wearable- Made out of actual textiles. No plastic bags or anything else sown into a dress.

Accessible- Everyday people can wear it, afford it, and see the quality.

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Photo By: Phill Loken

As Redress educates us-the consumers-the designers are also learning. Realizing it’s just as important to feed the business thinking side of the brain as it is to feed the creative spirit, Redress provides designers with a required three month education program focusing on business skills development, which simultaneously allows them the added benefit of coming to class in person to build relationships with one another and learn from each other. Additionally, each designer is paired with a mentor from within the industry from whom they receive relatable advice and guidance.

After each designer’s last look walks down the runway, there’s the daunting question of “What’s next?” The Redress team does their ground work by constantly searching for clothing manufactures and seeking out the customer base to link designers with. When asked about the future of eco designers, Beth said, “In order to make a difference, we need people doing production and reaching more consumers. We want designers to grow after the show”. She’s even excited about what news of the opening of New South Manufacturing, a new cut & sow factory in Raleigh means for the city.

This year, six special designers showed their collections at the CAM Raleigh Museum-a newly renovated warehouse, with features that perfectly matched the aesthetic of the designs. Seeing the looks move on the runway allows attendees to see how wearable the clothes are and realize eco-fashion isn’t some unobtainable world that won’t fit in with their current style.

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Photo By: Phill Loken

When asked about how Redress will continue to grow and cater to both designers and consumers, Beth said, “Moving forward as a non-profit, we’ll be having a lot more events involving the public and get people involved with growing with us.”

Now, it’s time to figure out which one of Beth’s tips for “greening” your wardrobe you can start using today:

Stop buying fast fashion. Period. There are so many other places to buy like consignment and resale shops. Particularly in Raleigh, there are a lot of resale shop where you can find killer pieces, and the best part is you don’t have pay full price for them.

Take care of your clothes. Mend things, then you can wear them again. Resole and re-heel your shoes.

Wash your laundry on the cold water setting.

Consider how much you going to wear it. Eco-fashion Activist, Livia Firth, says you should think about wearing an item 30 times before purchasing it.

Get More Tips & Get To Know This Year’s Designers In Our Q&A With Them Here.

More photo’s from this year’s show, below.

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Find more info about Redress Raleigh, donate to the non-profit, and more at redressraleigh.com/

 

Tommy Hilfiger & Gigi Hadid Are Taking Us to the Carnival for Their Fall Collection Debut

Gigi Hadid is becoming a hard woman to ignore. She’s already taken over most of the fashion world by storm with her beauty and carefree personality. So much so, she ended up becoming the face of a Tommy Hilfiger fragrance – The Girl. The two have even started working on a collaboration line for the Fall 2016 fashion season, Tommy x Gigi which drops September 9th, 2016. Earlier this year, in January, Gigi posted a teaser of some very nautical looking patches with anchor motifs, ropes, her name, and in various shades of red, white, and blue. 

In true Tommy fashion, the duo have opted to lose the typical fashion line launch by choosing to have a carnival in honor of the release. On September 10th, the carnival and the collection will be open to the public. Patrons will also have the opportunity to purchase items from the carnival through the Tommy Hilfiger website. This is an homage to the current trend of “see-now-buy-now” that has been ripping through the fashion industry lately. Various designers have decided to do away with the traditional fashion calendar and make way for consumers to purchase collection items immediately and directly. It seems as though Tommy and Gigi saw the appeal in the method and have decided to try it for themselves. The carnival takes place at Pier 16 in NYC’s South Street Seaport, appropriately nicknamed the “Tommy Pier” for the occasion. Nothing like fun, games, and fashion to say goodbye to summer.

Six Sustainable Fashion Designers Give Tips On How To “Green” Your Everyday Wardrobe & Designs

These six special independent designers were selected to show their most recent collections at Redress Raleigh’s annual fashion show. Redress Raleigh has been providing local designers who specialize in sustainable fashion with an opportunity to not only showcase their designs on runways, but also gain three months of industry education and a priceless mentorship. Simultaneously teaching the community to #GiveADamn about their clothing purchase decisions.

This year’s designers have given us insight into each of their unique brands, how they’ve grown with Redress, and tips we can all use to easily “green” our everyday wardrobes.

Their collections will be shown this Friday, August 19th at the CAM in Raleigh, NC. For ticket info visit redressraleigh.com

Rook and Roman

ashley mason design

Designer: Ashley Mason

Location: Raleigh, NC

Education: East Carolina University

Aesthetic: Dramatic silhouettes and bold fabric patterns. I work with an arching theme that allows my separates to easily mix and match. I create garments that are fun and fierce.

Words To Describe Latest Collection: Dramatic, bold, adventurous.

One simple step others can take towards making responsible fashion choices: Be informed. Know about the places you shop and where your clothes come from. It’s much more difficult to turn a blind eye to fast fashion when you understand the real cost of it.

How Redress has helped you improve: I have learned so much about the technical side of being a designer! It’s one thing to have an idea, but transforming that idea into a real manufactured garment is a long and complicated journey. Redress has educated me about all the grunt work that comes after the designing.

Words To Live By: “If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.” — John Irving

Perspectus Clothing

perspectus designs

Designer: Timothy Cohen

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Education: Self-taught designer

Aesthetic: Striking and colorful design with a purpose

Words To Describe Latest Collection: Graphic, colorful, invigorating, and thought-provoking

One simple step others can take towards making responsible fashion choices: Start by recycling your scrap fabric. Fabric can be broken down and reused to become anything from cleaning rags to car seat stuffing and insulation. Just search for your local recycling center.

How Redress has helped you improve: Participating in Redress Raleigh has provided me, and the other designers, with an eye opening experience into the business of sustainable fashion. We attended classes, taught by leaders of the local fashion scene. I was paired with a mentor who is helping me to prepare for life after Redress.

Words to Live By: NC’s state motto: “To be, rather than to seem.” NC State’s brand statement: “Think and Do.”

Moon.Flower.Child

www.moonflowerchild.com

juliana design

Designer: Juliana Fadl

Location: Durham, NC

Education: Savannah College of Art & Design; Parsons Paris

Aesthetic: For the woman with a wanderlust heart- a traveller, a yogi, a city girl, a rural wanderer. She loves color, comfortable fabrics, and “Stands.Boldly.as.Someone.Different”. My clothing embodies global cultural elements, craft techniques of tribes, and styles of clothing in countries around the world. Bringing a blend of the past to a remolded present, so my girl can wear her flare in a place that needs some added life and beauty.

Words To Describe Latest Collection: Feminine, whimsical, romantic, free, natural

One simple step others can take towards making responsible fashion choices: Choose the options that are right for you. For me, while using natural fabrics is important, my preference is using the waste someone else doesn’t want, but that I still find beautiful. I don’t need to follow the trend and have new fabric produced in all-natural cotton, just to throw scrap waste to the side. I savor the dead stock and make it into something beautiful.

How Redress has helped you improve: It has been a great opportunity for me to not just make ready to wear, but a bridal collection. The challenge of working with simplified color of whites and creams, has allowed me to prove to myself the lengths I can take my designs. It has been great being part of a group of designers and creators to work with post college; as well as having a mentor who has guided me through her struggles and mistakes and advised me on how to work around those.

Words to Live By: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift” – Bil Keane. I have a tattoo that takes Keane’s words and mixes them up slightly. “Todays’ History, Tomorrows a Mystery”. Meaning: Use today as opportunity to create my own history. A past I can be proud of, a story to tell.

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UntitledgiveadamnDesigner: Piper Honingmann

Location: Carrboro, NC.

Education: Savannah College of Art and Design.

Aesthetic: Bohemian meets surfer meets punk meets classic American with color and clean lines.

Words To Describe Latest Collection: Colorful, comfortable, romantic

One simple step others can take towards making responsible fashion choices: Buy second-hand. I’ve only bought second hand clothes for the past 10 years, which is part of what has driven me to continue to expand my repertoire to include jeans. I know how hard it is to find the perfect pair of jeans at thrift stores. It takes a lot of hunting. When it has to be bought new, it’s best to buy local and organic. I’m working to expand what’s available to consumers.

How Redress has helped you improve: It has introduced me to people who share my interest in sustainable fashion. NC lost a lot of it’s textile industry after NAFTA, and it’s people like us who will have to rebuild it, but this time, armed with more knowledge about the “true cost” of taking the easy road to China. I’m a mom, partner; I work for my parent’s, and manage a community garden. It’s sometimes hard to push creating a line to the top of my to-do list, but Redress has forced me to do so and work fast. The education and connections have rounded out the picture of what I need for a successful start, especially the online marketing aspects.

Words To Live By: A Chinese proverb that applies to what we’re doing with the fashion industry in NC at this moment. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

UNITY OUTFITTERS

www.unityoutfitters.com

uo designs

Designer: Katina Gad

Location: Raleigh, NC

Education: North Carolina State University; Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles; Wake Technical Community College

Aesthetic: Apparel, jewelry, and accessories made in collaboration with women artisans from around the world. Our mission is to empower and aid the establishment of women owned and operated businesses and community based organizations by providing stable and dignified income to these artisans. We work one-on-one with artisans who produce culturally significant and socially representative textile art, providing them with a platform to educate others through speaking from their own experience.

Words To Describe Latest Collection: Classic, elegant, sustainable, fair-trade, ethical

One simple step others can take towards making responsible fashion choices: It is important to educate customers on the sources and labor employed to produce your products.

How Redress has helped you improve: It has given me great exposure and helping me spread the message of my brand to new people, opening new doors. The experience has also helped me to manage my time and process better.

Words To Live By: “Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” – Rumi. Shared with me by a former mentor and fierce woman role model.

Broadway Squared

maryashlynthomas.com

maryashlyn design
Designer:
MaryAshlyn Thomas

Location: Broadway, NC

Education: Meredith College

Aesthetic: For the woman on the go who wants unique, modern, and durable clothing that she can mix and match and transition from day to evening.

Words To Describe Latest Collection: Versatile, Modern, Comfortable, Bright

One simple step others can take towards making responsible fashion choices: Fast fashion is so tempting for a multitude of reasons. For me, I’m tempted by the cheap price tags. A a big step in beginning to make eco-friendly fashion choices is to simply cut down on the amount of fast fashion items you’re buying and purchase a couple of quality investment pieces instead. You don’t have to overhaul your entire wardrobe at once – that’s not practical or financially feasible for most people. But in choosing only a couple of quality pieces at a time, you’ll eventually be able to build a wardrobe of items you can feel good about.

How Redress has helped you improve: As someone who is in the beginning stages of starting their business, the seminars have been invaluable. One of the biggest takeaways for me was learning that I won’t necessarily be able to do it all alone, and I don’t have to. There are certain tasks and projects I will need assistance with, and Redress has given us access to an awesome network of individuals and businesses who are there to provide that assistance.

Words To Live By: I constantly tell myself, “Breathe and be still.” Psalm 46:10 (“Be still, and know that I am God …”) reminds me to not worry about what comes next. As long as I’m using my God-given talents for His glory and working hard to achieve my goals, everything will work out exactly how it’s meant to.

 

 

 

photo credit: redressraleigh.com unityyououtfitters.com

Cool&Well-Dressed Presents “Community 54: The Local Hooligans Takin’ Over”

 

Glad I got the opportunity for this one, it always nice to get that real wisdom from someone who’s done a lot and been in the game for a while. Last month on my trip to New York, I got a chance to slide by the legendary Community 54; I felt nothin’ but love as soon as I came in. Instantly connected with the Creative Director, Daymon Green, and got a full tour of the place; it was lit. Someone of you may know of Community 54 from their legendary A$AP Rocky & Spaceghostpurrp show back in 2011, but aside from being a dope ass venue; they’re an incredible streetwear brand too. In this interview, Daymon and I speak on Pop-ups, where the name Local Hooligans originated, his thoughts on the state of streetwear culture, their recent collab with Smoke DZA and a couple other dope topics.

King Phill: How’s your day been man?

Daymon: I’m on a stay-cation currently. Sittin’ on a rooftop lookin’ at Central Park West; amazed at the city of New York.

King Phill: That’s very classy man.

Daymon: Sittin’ on the roof at the Park Of Meridian, like a rap lyric. About 70 floors up, lookin’ at the park.

King Phill: That’s ill; very inspirational too, man. I bet that’s a good place to clear your thoughts and everything.

Daymon: it’s like fishing. You can leave your cottage and drive your boat 20 minutes and try to fish or you can actually just throw your line in at your own dock. People forget what they have in their own city, you know? So you travel like 20 hours to go investigate and check shit out. Every once in a while you gotta do that in your own city, especially if it’s New York. You’ve got so much shit to see here, it could take a life time.

King Phill: Just to go travel, hit all the spots and all the little areas. So what’s your position or role in Community 54?

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Daymon: I’m a Co-Owner with Jason Jacobs and Joel Reilly. I’m also the Creative Director, slash Social Media Manager, slash clean the floors when they need to be cleaned.

King Phill: A man of many trades.

Daymon: If you’re thinking of become an entrepreneur or you are one and you only do one thing, that’s very rare. Most entrepreneurs have to do a million different facets of their businesses; most of them not glamorous, if they hope to survive.

King Phill: You’ve got to be able to do every task that comes with that position and everything else around it.

Daymon: Yeah, 100%.

King Phill: What are some of your best memories so far at the store? Whenever I think of Community 54, I automatically go to that Spaceghostpurrp and Rocky Halloween Party (shown below).

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Daymon: Yep, that was my birthday; October 30th, 2011. It seems like an eternity ago. Rocky’s on billboards and in the window of Dior stores around the world. That was 5 years ago on the Lower East Side in a little grimy spot with a bunch of friends jammed together for the opening of some clothing store that didn’t look like a clothing store. Being written up in the New York Times was a highlight. In the article they did called “Ghosts From The Past”, it was all about vintage streetwear. It was basically us and Flight Club who had a vintage concept at the time. Another highlight was opening a store in Toronto on 11/11/11, ironically; none of these things really planned. Toronto opened with no funding; we didn’t really have enough money to do one and we did two, so that was definitely a highlight. Numbers are all around us; they mean a lot, whether you like it or not.

King Phill: So you caught Rocky and Purrp at their early stages. What new artists do you think now are gonna be bubbling out just like they did?

Daymon: Berner, he’s down with Taylor Gang. He already has his lifestyle brand kickin’ and his music kickin’; he’s really connected to everyone that’s poppin’ right now. I think Berner is gonna be someone that’s definitely gonna be big. Another member of the A$AP Mob, Twelvy. We actually have a special project comin’ up with him as well. He has his whole “Last Year Bein’ Broke” movement, which we definitely support strongly. Out of Canada, we’ve got Roy Woods. His new mixtape just came out on OVO. Definitely harps back to that Jodeci R&B vibe mixed with what’s happening today.

King Phill: Community 54 is deep-rooted in the streetwear game. I’ve seen a lot of your pieces and they’re ill; I love them a lot. Many of them are some really nice logo flips. I think the logo flip is a good staple design in the industry. How important do you think the logo flip is as far as design goes?

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Daymon: In the corporate world, they call it “culture jamming”; put that in hashtags. We never heard of that term. In skate, surf, hip-hop, it’s always been a part of the culture. You remix someone else’s song and make it your song. At the end of the day, whether we know it or not, most things that are popular are culture based and they’re influenced from something else. For us, we came out of the vintage movement. We used to sell a ton of vintage Lo, vintage Tommy, vintage snapbacks, jersey; all this shit was 6-7 years ago before we started our brand. Nobody really wanted that product at the time, there was just a little community that was into it. We could only get ones. If you were lucky enough to find an ill Bart shirt, you couldn’t buy 20 of them; you only found one. When you bought it to the store and before you even take photos of it, much less put it online, it was gone. Some of our first designs we did for Community were based around styles that were hot in the vintage world. We decided to flip some of the things we were passionate about on the vintage side. We were one of the first companies to do a snapback with Starter, then one with Mitchell & Ness, a 5950 with New Era and a hoodie with Champion. That all goes with the culture jamming side of it. You just wanna work with the people who have done it since it started. It’s not even that complicated; I’m not gonna try to make a hoodie better than Champion. I’m just gonna come up with something witty to put on the hoodie that hopefully people identify with. It’s ironic cause 6 years later some of the hottest high fashion brands that are on the runways that people are paying $800 for a hoodie like Vetements; it’s a logo bite on a hoodie, it’s streetwear. You go to YSL and buy a $3,000 cardigan with a dinosaur on it in pink and green; where does that come from?

King Phill: Facts. Niggas can’t deny that streetwear is really influential.

Daymon: It’s influential, but you’ve also got some cats that are bitter like the older, corporate streetwear brands. Because they’re like “Yo the industry’s gone, people aren’t streetwear anymore. They’re goin’ clean. People are buyin’ iPhone’s”. No, people are buying shit; they’re just not buying the brands they were buying before. People aren’t buying Rocawear anymore, people are buying 10 Deep. The people are still buying, it’s just the dollars are going into different brands.

King Phill: I’ve seen the Local Hooligans hats and t-shirts, I really think that name is ill. Where did that whole moniker come from?

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Daymon: We were doing a collab in Japan with some homies out there and we wanted to make some product. They were like “what can we use? What’s something that everyone can identify with?” Local is something we stand by whether it’s New York, Toronto or Miami; we’re always building with the locals, always supportive and down to build with people. Hooligans is when you get a bunch of people together and everyone’s having a good time. A lot of our parties and events get a little rowdy, so we joined those two things. ‘Hooligans’ was an old-time word that people weren’t using. Any item we’ve put it on so far has sold out.

King Phill: You guys have a lot of ill shit; scrolling through the online store and seeing everything in person. Your designs really build out an identity to the brand.

Daymon: Thank you. We’ve worked with a lot of different designers; most of them have volunteered their time. We don’t produce a lot of anything; this isn’t a corporate machine. A lot of people who get involved will just design stuff and it’ll end up being a collab. Community 54 is also limited for those cats that don’t want to have something everybody has. It’s just in the top boutiques in North America, Japan, Korea and Australia. We don’t make seasonal collections; you only find us when we have something inspiring to say.

King Phill: What would it take for an indie brand to get carried in Community 54? I saw that Despierta was in there and I did an interview with them a while back. I just like seeing real indie shit and seeing niggas take it to the next level.

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Daymon: Those guys are a great example of how we operate. They came in off the street, we built. We do Finale Fridays which is a showcase at the end of every month. They showcased at one of the events; their product blew out. Now they’re a regular brand in our store that we carry on going; we support them, they support us. Jon, one of the owners, will even make a flyer for us for an event he’s not even a part of. Those guys are family. For other up-and-coming brands around the world, it’s real simple. You email us at info@community54.com , we have pop-ups at the end of the month at all of our locations. You submit your product via line sheets and you gotta be in the New York or Toronto area for the pop-up. If you can put a line together and you have a following, you can be down. We don’t say whether we love it or hate it; that’s fashion. Some of the shit I hate does amazing. Some of the things I think are amazing, we don’t sell one of them.

King Phill: Now a lot of people are grasping the concept of “I don’t have to like it, but it can still be dope”.

Daymon: Again, it’s all taste level. You can look at a piece of art and hate it, the next guy can look at it and think it’s worth $10,000,000. If Vetemets can sell a hoodie for $850 or a Snoop Dogg vintage tee for $350, then who’s to say what prices anything should be at?

King Phill: What made you open up the backyard to graffiti artists?

Daymon: It’s not just graffiti artists; we have fine artists, people who do murals, we’ve had someone do a 3M installation. At the end of the day, we need that area. If we’re gonna get rowdy and be hooligans, we gotta have a place to hold events. Where are we gonna throw the events? Trying to balance that and not constantly get in trouble is a full-time job right there.

King Phill: How’d the collab with Smoke DZA (shown below) come about? I fuck with Smoke heavy.

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Daymon: He’s family bro. We’ve worked with him, seen him come up and do his thing. The real lights are gonna hit him soon and he’s gonna get to that next level. He’s been workin’ at it. He’s such a positive and real dude; he’ll build with anybody at any time. He shows love anywhere. Those are the kinds of people we love to work with and we hope other people think that we’re those kind of people. The collab with Smoke happened very natural, probably over a very large-sized blunt; a couple of ideas get passed back and forth. Back in the day we were in a Japanese campaign together. Don’t google that shit because I looked like some wild rapper; I don’t know what was goin’ on in my brain that day. I remember him showin’ up to the shoot and lookin’ at me like “Yo, you tryna show me up?” We did an event with him on 4/19 recently. Did some custom hats and tees; the event was really packed. He was launchin’ his new mixtape, Don’t Pass Trump The Blunt. He’s been on major news outlets from that.

King Phill: You guys also have some ill, innovative marketing ideas. You were telling me something about how there was some ill shit at the Berner event. I know you guys have the coffee shop and barber too. How important do you think it is to have original marketing ideas for a brand? That even takes it further than just the fashion industry and puts it in the entrepreneurial field.

Daymon: I wish I could say we had a textbook for it or some elaborate plot. It’s funny cause now I recently went into a brand new store that has a barbershop, juice bar, coffee, this pop-up and that pop-up. That’s the way things have evolved and that’s how you need to do retail now. You have to do multiple businesses out of one retail space, especially in a city like New York, to survive. I think in any city, people want the lifestyle because if you just want product you can just go online in the comforts of your own home. Retail stores have to captivate people to give them a reason to come in; that’s the challenge. That’s where all the events, pop-ups, barbers, sneaker cleaning events and other creative ideas come into play.

King Phill: Earlier you were hinting on possibly a west coast location, are you thinking of any other locations?

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Daymon: We’d love to be in Miami, Chicago, Atlanta. We’d love to be in so many different places. We’ve popped up in Japan and Korea. We’ve been very blessed. We’d love to have a dedicated space in those regions, just selfishly because I love it there. We’ll let it happen naturally. Most of our spaces happen naturally because we have a relationship with our landlord. That’s the most important thing in retail; having a relationship with your landlord. If you’ve got the snaps like that, buy the building and gain equity. If you don’t have that type of scratch, make sure you have a good relationship with the landlord because it generally takes time to get these things rolling.

King Phill: Truly, what are some upcoming events that you’re excited about?

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Daymon: I hinted we have a Twelvy event coming up; it’ll be real poppin’. We’ve got a bunch of different artist driven things, a couple of different launches for clothing brands. If you check our Instagram and Twitter @Community54 and our website, you’ll see the events. We invite everybody; none of these events are private. Just RSVP and come through. You don’t have to be the coolest on any blog or in that top 10 people at every event. If you see an event, just RSVP and come through. You’ll definitely see from now until October a bunch of amazing things coming up.

Stay On Your P’s & Q’s: A Conversation with Saeed & Francis of Philly’s Own P’s&Q’s Men’s Shop

 

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On a business trip to New York, I took some time out to make an impromptu stop in Philly and came across this dope store. P’s & Q’s is a family owned and operated Menswear store. They carry brands ranging from streetwear veterans like The Hundreds and Staple Pigeon to top-tier cut-and-sew labels like Nudie Jeans and A.P.C.. The store itself has an incredible atmosphere. As soon as you walk in you’re greeted by Saeed and Francis, then you see a wide array of menswear goods that all seem to be calling your name.
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“These are all of our favorite brands; we wear these brands personally, always have for the last five or six years,” states Saeed when asked about how brands are selected to be carried in the store. “We curate what we like from those brands and see what they have to offer for each season,” explained Saeed. “We opened up the store about three and a half years ago; still goin’ strong!” exclaimed Francis. “We just opened up a second store too, so we have this Men’s shop and a Women’s and Kid’s shop on Pine Street.” replied Saeed. P’s & Q’s is a shop that anyone can find a dope piece in, but it’s mainly targeted towards young, fashion-forward professionals. “Our mission is to introduce Philly to brands that it’s not used to; improving retail in Philadelphia,” affirmed Saeed. Saeed also gave some words of wisdom to anyone wanting to get into the retail industry.

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“Just go for it. You don’t have to go to school to get into fashion. If you really enjoy it, just do anything you can. Learn the basics and build up from that. There’s no real way to get into it. If anything, you just have to have the drive and determination.”

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Be sure to stop by P’s & Q’s on your next visit to Philly. The Men’s shop is located at 820 South Street and the Women’s and Kid’s shop is at 1018 Pine Street.

 

 

P’s & Q’s Social Media: @PsQsShop on IG  & Twitter

Saeed Ferguson: @Saeed_Ferguson on Twitter & IG

Francis Young: @Fran_Y_Pack on IG

Cool & Well-Dressed Presents “Scumbags & Superstars: In Scum We Trust”

Man, this was by far one of the most organic interviews I’ve ever done; this shit was perfect. Shoutout to my homie Dusty Renoylds and the International Scumbags for puttin’ me on to this brand. I visited New York recently and I linked with Dusty at on the Lower East Side. He told me he wanted me to slide by his homie’s store; I honestly had no idea it was gonna be this dope. Scumbags & Superstars is the shit. I walked into the flagship store and felt at home immediately; a great environment. The brand is run by George R. and Nelson A., but for this interview I got to speak with Nelson about the brand’s presence on the L.E.S., seeing a Rock N Roll legend wearing Scumbags & Superstars, his love for Beavis & Butthead and a couple other dope topics.

King Phill: Where did the name of the brand come from? Just walking around the store and getting a vibe for it really made feel like it was a safe haven for the scumbags, misfits & weirdos; I felt very at home.

Nelson: Our name comes from a line in the Talking Heads song “Lifetime Piling Up”. The city has always been filled with weirdos and misfits throughout the years; especially the East Village. We needed to build a new home for all the weirdos to feel welcome; a home away from home. We’re glad you felt our energy when you walked through our doors!! We try to keep it that way. Our goal is make sure everyone feels good and welcome when they’re inside of our shop.

King Phill: What does your position in the brand entail? 

Nelson: I’m the brand manager, but George is the mastermind and brains behind the company; I assist him with any help or advice he needs. We have a couple of part-time employees/friends who help us out, but it’s mainly George and I that do everything; we run the brand and the shop’s daily operations.

King Phill: Where does the inspiration for the design style of your pieces come from? In my opinion, it’s on some sick, twisted adult comic book shit; I love it.

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Nelson: We make clothing for everyone to enjoy, stuff that isn’t pretentious; just good graphics and classic designs that evoke a visceral response. Our goal is to make fun stuff that people are stoked to wear; at the same time, create good art and design that will be respected and stand the test of time. G does most of the designs and graphic stuff. He was born in 1980, so he has a very wide and diverse range of inspirations. Most of our references are before 1990. Many of the images we use are from the 60’s or earlier, so it’s a wide range of inspirational materials that we work off of, but mainly it’s just anything that looks weird bizarre or cool. We wanna make graphics that stand out, but that are also timeless.

King Phill: How’d you get cool with Dusty Reynolds (shown below)? Shoutout to him for bringin’ me by the shop too.

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Nelson: In a short summary “Real Recognize Real”. Dusty was a long lost brother that was later found. He popped into the shop around the time we opened the store. He would just come by and hang out with us. We would bump into him and his boys at events and parties we were at. Him and his friends are real Downtown New Yorkers; no nonsense. We love those guys!

King Phill: Holy shit, I just peeped that Slash from GNR was wearing a Scumbags & Superstars tank top. How was it seeing that? 

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Nelson: Yeah we were stoked man! Slash representing Scumbags and Superstars at the Guns N Roses reunion show in Vegas was pretty unreal for us! G has been a huge fan of Guns N Roses since he was a kid in the 80s; ever since Appetite came out. It’s pretty surreal to see someone he looked up to as a kid supporting and appreciating what we do. That’s fuckin’ Rock N Roll baby!! Slash is the man for that!

King Phill: Do you feel like Scumbags & Superstars is on its way to being a staple in the culture of the Lower East Side? I was only there for one day and personally, it really feels like it already is.

Nelson: Scumbags & Superstars is New York City in its rawest form; we loved the old NYC, when the city was more wild and crazy! We thought it was important to open a shop that embodied that old NYC vibe. We thought it was important to keep that tradition alive. We believe that our store will be a staple for the Lower East Side and the city in general. Our biggest motivation to open the shop was that there aren’t that many stores like this still left in NYC. All the rock shops that used to be in the Village and on Saint Marks have been closing slowly over time; we haven’t seen anyone taking the torch and opening up similar places. We didn’t want the city to lose that energy that we loved so much.

King Phill: While I was in the store, Clayton Patterson(shown below, middle) came thru; I’m glad you guys hipped me to who he was. Would you ever do a collaboration with him?

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Nelson: Yeah totally, Clayton is a Super OG of the Lower East Side. He’s been around since GG Allin was shitting on Bowery stoops. He’s captured the pure essence of NYC at its rawest point. A lot of photos that he took are pretty historical. Everything from neighborhood kids in NYC hanging out to very well-known artists. He photographed it all! Clayton is the real deal. So it was pretty cool he popped his head in during your visit. Perfect timing!

King Phill: What’s your favorite episode of Beavis & Butthead? I love that show too man; I’m thinking of getting a tat.

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Nelson: This is a hard question. Like which kid is your favorite kid, Haha. Honestly, I can watch any of the episodes. The first season is a little clunky with the animations, but still classic. I love the commentary on all the music videos. Sabotage maybe the best video commentary of all, but as far as a favorite B&B episode, it’s too hard to decide. 

King Phill: Do you think it’s important for a brand to have a really diverse selection of products? You guys have everything from custom vests to action figures available at the shop.

Nelson: Most brands are caught up with the whole seasonal release trend. We just release products when we want to release them. That way it keeps people on their toes and it’s just way better for us that way. We are a small company, but try to have a large selection of different accessories and collectibles to account for everybody’s tastes. We plan on expanding our line in the future and creating lots of diverse products. However, we are taking it slow and want to build our line organically and not rush to produce stuff; slow and steady. We hope to keep adding new designs and products to the shop and the brand.

King Phill: What new pieces or collections can we expect to see from you guys in the next few months?

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Nelson: We have a bunch of things in the works, but like we never really plan out releases; we drop new stuff whenever we want. Whenever we have something new that we wanna make, we make it. We don’t operate like most brands, so you’ll just have to keep an eye out this year brother. We don’t even know what’s coming next haha.

Cool&Well-Dressed x F4mily Matters: Part Deux “A Day In The Life” Mini-Doc

For the fourth installment of Cool&Well-Dressed’s “Part Deux” interview series, I linked up with videographer Roole to capture a mini-documentary that showcases a Day In The Life with Samir Hamid, Founder of Charlotte, NC-based streetwear brand F4mily Matters. We showcase some of the daily going-ons of the brand while Samir touches on different topics and obstacles he faces in the streetwear industry.

Willow Smith Nails Her Chanel Campaign

If you haven’t heard already, Willow Smith is the new face of Chanel and it’s the best thing ever. 

Back in March, Smith was named as the ambassador to Chanel and the photos from her 2016-2017 eyewear campaign are just gorgeous. 

It seems like Mr. Lagerfeld captured her cool, youthful rocker presence in the spread. 

Cheers to Willow and we can’t wait to see more of her in the future.