Why and how did you start Swavor, who influences you?
Well, I was a young college student who really wanted to get involved in something.Everyone knew me on campus as a guy with style. So one day a friend of mine, D’ Raphael Yates, sparked this idea of starting a clothing brand. In his mind he had a concept already and wanted me to be the business end of the company. But, when we started there were certain things I was unaware of. I didn’t know what a screen printer was or how to use Adobe Illustrator. You couldn’t just sketch something and hand it in and say “Make this.”I also didn’t have any damn money what so ever. Luckily we met a young designer named Christofer Brito (who serves as our current Artistic Director). Here is a guy who had all the tools necessary to be a phenomenon.
At this time I was only dealing with the business and had not tapped in to any of the designing. But, it was Chris who dismissed D’s initial idea and invented what is now known as the “Classic” Swavor logo. That changed the game. It changed the direction of the brand and helped us evolve into more than just a cornered street wear misfit. We built our own website and with the little means I had I scraped up about $191 and printed off 24 shirts. Chris actually was the person who told me to start designing. My first actual collection was Fall 2011. We founded the company in January of 2010. It was the first time that I had designed a majority of a collection. Luckily it was received well and Chris and I have been keeping the ball rolling ever since.
Tell our readers what empowers you/your brand?
I think that we have a close knit circle. Besides myself and Christofer Brito, you have Brandon Gatling (aka Concrete Jungle), who is responsible for our pictures, videos, etc.I think having a team so close makes things easier. There isn’t a lot of room for riffraff.Everybody knows their role and isn’t afraid to tell someone when they are f*cking up. We honestly just try to make the best quality clothes that we can make without falling victim to dying trends and fads. We are a brand that was founded and revolve around the DC,Maryland and Virginia area.
But, unlike some of the local brands who claim to be exposing the style of the “area”, then go take things from California and try and DMV-ify it, we do things differently. We want to expose something in street-wear that hasn’t been tapped into. History and art can all be blended in with fashion. That is what our movement is about. Each design has a reason for being there. Each design has a story. Each design gets you as the customer more involved with the brand and educates you. You aren’t just wearing a shirt with a painting on it, you are wearing the “Death of Socrates” painting by Napoleons personal artist, Jacques Louis-David. That is something to brag about.
Explain why your products surpass the quality of your competitors.
I think we definitely have found our plug in the market. I will humbly say that some consider us best brand the DC, Maryland, Virginia area has seen in a while. Whether or not it is true is almost irrelevant and time will be the deciding factor of every opinion. Our quality is excellent. We have most of our garment made in the United States. Occasionally, we will venture overseas. We are still an independent company and we do still have kinks to workout.
But as a whole, whatever we lack in money, we make up in talent. Whatever we lack in talent, we make up in hard work. Whatever we lack in publicity, we make up for with making you feel exclusive when you wear our clothes. It is just that simple. That is why we are the brand to look out for this fall.
Where can readers purchase the collection (online/physical stores) and what cities are you currently?
- Well, there is swavorclothing.com. You can go to Karmaloop.com also to buy some things. Just search “Swavor” on their site. You can stop by at Kickk Spott in Georgetown, DC to buy things. They are our long time supporter and hail as the best boutique in the area. You can also stop by boutiques called Art Under Pressure & Metro Sneakers for exclusive stuff. We are currently working on a contract that would spread our brand across 18 cities in local boutiques. I don’t want to jinx anything so I will keep it under wraps, but I am so excited about this fall. It should really be our defining moment.