Speaking on demand and product, you recently just announced that your summer collection got pushed back to next spring and that the fall collection is in production. What has that process been like? And what can we look forward to with those collections?
So basically, the summer collection was ready to go, but I just felt like it was missing some pieces. I kept coming up with more and better ideas. And I was like, you know what? I don’t want to do this when I’m not super-duper happy with it. I feel like the customer would be happy, but it’s because they don’t see the other options I’m thinking about in my head. So, I was like, no, if I’m not 1,000 percent with this one, I’m not going to do it. And we already had Fall in the works. So, it was like, we’re going to push it back and we’ve never done that before, but I was like, let’s just knock out fall, which is going to be insane. What we’re planning to do is probably going to be one of the biggest things we’ve done for the brand, that’s going to really show my design abilities and what we can really, really do. So, we’re going to do fall and then from fall we’re going into spring and making spring like three times as big as it was going to be.
If you made it, it’s the right decision. You also just worked with Saweetie and McDonald’s on her meal launch, what was that experience like?
It was great! I immediately said yes when she called me up to create something special to commemorate the collaboration. The dope part is if you just download the McDonald’s app and order the Saweetie Meal, you’re entered to win the custom bag I designed for her McDonald’s TV commercial and a second bag to give to their best friend.
Shoutout great marketing! I know in the past you’ve spoken about business ventures that seem to only want a token Black designer and just overall performative allyship that exists with large companies or with celebrities and I just want to know, how have you been able to navigate that space as the brand flourishes?
I mean, when it comes to any partnership I do, whether it’s like outside of the design world or a direct collaboration, my key points are always working with companies that obviously employ higher-ups that are Black and POC. But on top of that, making sure that I scroll through their Instagram or their website, and if I don’t see any Black or POC people on the site, it doesn’t make sense. It’s very transparent what’s happening. I have a younger, Black and POC customer base and I think for a lot of these companies, especially bigger companies, they don’t necessarily know how to target them or market to them where it’s happened so organically for me, because I’m Black, you know what I mean? I think they see that, and they just get the little greedy fingers and they’re like, give us them, you know? I feel like I’m like the gatekeeper in a way, so I just try to keep my brand pretty much on the straight and narrow with everything, and if I feel like it’s fake or if I think it’s just super performative then I just always say no.
I also wanted to know, just based on your history, of going to Bard College and secretly majoring and doing fashion work pretty much throughout college, and literally just with launching the brand, I feel like everything in some way, shape or form was a risk, whether it’s low risk or high risk doesn’t matter because you’re kind of just betting on yourself. With that, to young Black creatives, whether they’re from the city, or whether they’re worried about taking those risks and putting their passion forward, what would you say is your best, key of advice for that?
It sounds so cliché, but you have to take the risk. You have to take that jump, because that’s the only thing that’s going to get you to where you want to be. And on top of that, just make sure that whatever you do, make sure you’re living for yourself and not someone else. I think it’s very, very, very important that you’re happy with yourself and the decisions you make at the end of the day. So, if you want to make that T-shirt, if you want to make that shoe, if you want to make that bag, you have to do it. I think my biggest fear in life is growing up and looking back and being like, wow, I regret not taking a stab at this or not trying this. I don’t want to ever be that person. So, anything that comes to my mind, and you can ask my team this, I’m like, OK, let’s do it. ‘Cause I just, I don’t know, I have crazy FOMO and I think younger kids and designers should also just have that mindset of if you believe in it, try to do it.
What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t designing bags?
You know what I would probably do, skin care, I love skin care. I would love to own a spa and then have my own skin care line. And you know, it’s really funny and this is really random, but I was like, “Oh, there’s no Black owned house products.” Like, give us a Black Windex, you know what I mean? A Black paper towel, I’d probably do something like that too, because it’s full circle.
I like that. That’s very out of the box and it overall just speaks to your creativity as an individual. But my last question is, what do you want your legacy to be overall?
I mean, I don’t necessarily know what it will evolve into because just look at me now compared to two years ago, you know? I think it’s almost ridiculous to kind of say this is what’s going to happen, but I just want it to be out there. I want people to look back and be like, “Wow. He did it his way. He’s really authentic about it and it looked great. It was great.” I just want good feelings to come from whatever people think about when they think about me five, 10, 30 years from now.