Friday, June 01, 2007

HIP-HOP DX - Eye on Style Scouting Report: Blac Label Premium - Friday, June 1, 2007 | Author: Miss Fab

Okay, I can’t say I’ve always been a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. Today, you’d be more likely to catch me in a skirt or dress pants and jeweled flats or heels. But I can say that when a man wears the right combination of a fly, unique tee, a pair of nicely pressed (and well-cut) jeans and a just-as-fly pair of sneakers or shoes, it’s more than a turn-on.

For those with a confident swagger to match, a T-shirt and jeans isn’t something you just throw on – it’s a conscious effort of style and expression.

Somos Thompson, head designer of Blac Label, knows all about that. And I got the chance to speak with him, a cutie in his own style lane, about how to make the effort for others a little more, well, effortless.

DXStyle: Explain exactly what Blac Label is and what it offers to the market as far as fashion is concerned.

Somos Thompson: Blac Label is inspired by Miami nightlife, so the club scene is a major factor in the overall product. We try to make a product that can be worn during a regular day, but still savvy for the nightlife scene.

DXStyle: What items are offered under the Blac Label umbrella? Is it just T-shirts?

ST: Tees, hoodies, track (jackets) -- jeans are finally here. The girls line Blac Label Pink™ is on the way… (We’re) just gradually growing and continuing to give “Premuim products,” as we like to say.

DXStyle: So, Somos, what does your job entail?

ST: I do the designs and come up with the concepts and colors, with the help of the vice president of product development. Together, he and I supervise six (other) designers.

DXStyle: Explain what inspires you and how the company sets trends in urban wear with the designs.

ST: Anything inspires us. It starts with magazines and movies, or just going to the club. In the office, we have inspiration boards of pics that help us out a lot. But we, Blac Label as a brand, don’t design for it to be urban wear. We want the kid in the O.C. to think it’s just as hot as a kid in Harlem.

DXStyle: Tell me about your background in fashion and how you got to the position you are now?

ST: Being from D.C., the independent fashion game was strong when I was coming up -- lines like Aja Imani; Mchunu; Madness. And as an artist, I just gravitated toward it. I wanted to take the D.C. style to another level. Just putting in countless time of learning art programs, I developed the ability to design -- no real formal training, just the will and the eye. It’s a real talent. After graduating from Hampton University, I met the right people at the right time.

DXStyle: What is your personal sense of style in a nutshell? Are you a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy or a button down, dressy kind of guy?

ST: I’m a Blac Label tee, maybe a hoodie, jeans, aviator dude. I’m really into watches, so I got a nice collection I’m building up.

DXStyle: Name some fashion icons who inspire you and why they are important.

ST: Mike Black, (vice president of Blac Label), who is a mentor, has taught me a lot and is still teaching; Jay-Z because he just has the ability to start a trend and really have a following. It’s crazy -- he can really sell water to a whale; Jim Jones, just because he seems to really be the reason a lot of people have slimmed down the look that wouldn’t have made the change; Y-3 (fashion label) just for the simplicity but the edge.

DXStyle: Would you consider yourself a trendsetter? I know you used to design when you were at Hampton, so I'm wondering if you're continuing that side hustle or whether you're just applying that to what you're doing for Blac Label.

ST: I try to be a trendsetter, but at the same time I just do what feels comfy. Every minute is spent trying to perfect Blac Label …Practice makes perfect.

DXStyle: You mentioned the Miami nightlife and it being an inspiration for the label. How do you think the designs embody that notion?

ST: Most clubs use (fashion) as an excuse to control who they let in. When you get in the party, there’s still 3 or 4 guys that have on tees. So we make clothes to get around that problem. Blac Label allows you to look like you’re somebody to get around that situation.

DXStyle: But why Miami nightlife for an inspiration for the Blac Label? I mean, the company is based out of Virginia Beach, Va. What's the story behind that?

ST: It’s more than just Miami, but in certain areas – Cali, New York, D.C. We wanted to design a line that could fit into any of those surroundings.

DXStyle: And where can you find Black Label?
Right now we’re in a bunch of stores across the U.S. -- Up Against the Wall, Last Stop, Micheal K (in New York, N.Y.), D.T.L.R. (Downtown Locker Room) and the list goes on. Also check out

DXStyle: Well, thanks Somos for talking with me. This has been great.

ST: Anytime!!!!!!!!

Blac Label
3409 Chandler Creek Rd.
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23453


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