So last year my very first Snatched & Fabulous interview was with the incredibly talented Derron, creator of House ov Beeombi. I was beyond excited to get the opportunity to interview him because after following him on social media for a while, I had fallin in love with his designs and work ethic. A year has gone by but we have kept in touch and you can imagine my excitement when he reached out for the chance to do another interview with him! Now things have been going AH-MAZING in his life and he’s gotten some pretty incredible opportunities since the last time we chatted! So just sit back and take it all in as I catch up with my couture designer friend Derron!
LST: It’s so good to have you back for another SnF! So how have things been going?
DC: Things have been pretty great. Lately ive been traveling a lot for work and to source new inspiration for new projects that I have coming up.
LST: I know we touched on this the last time but for all the new readers out there, give us a little background on how House ov Beeombi got started.
DC: House Ov Beeombi began in the basement of my friends place. My father was against me becoming a designer so I was forced to work outside of my home. Learning to sew at a young age, the desire to become a designer was always in me, I knew I needed a creative outlet and I found that at my friends place. When I was a little boy, I apparently loved bologna, which I pronounced (bee ohm bee), this grew to be a childhood nickname and now the name of my brand.
LST: I know you recently moved to Atlanta after being given the amazing opportunity to be a designer for the film “Selma”, tell us about that.
DC: Being able to work on the “Selma” film as a tailor was an amazing opportunity. I worked under costume designer Ruth Carter whose mind is creatively brilliant and her resume is impeccable. I worked directly next to Dona Adrian, Kevin Mayes, Gertrude Moore; the talented individuals have been in TV. and movie productions since I was born. In addition to meeting Oprah Winfrey and many other celebrities, I composed many garments that will be featured in this film, along with having one of my dresses showcased in a museum.
LST: God Be Knowin man, that’s incredible! I remember seeing when it first happened on Instagram and was so geeked!! So tell us, what has kept you inspired to keep going, to keep chasing your dreams to be a designer?
DC: My source of inspiration is literally my dream. Ive wanted to be the first African American to establish a High End Couture brand since I have been making clothes. Ive always believed in fairness and equality, I think creating such a company, I can inspire others like myself to establish their own businesses as well. I also realized I was born with two purposes, one is to guide and mentor, the other is to be a creator and I constantly work at both so that I am personally fulfilled
LST: We all go through some struggles while chasing our dreams, what has been the hardest part for you?
DC: The hardest part about being a designer for me is the financial backing. It’s a struggle constantly producing such avant garde collections with so much detail and fabrication that cannot be sold. I find that my creativity has brought me the opportunities that I have been given, on the contrary, I don’t see the biggest return on shows unless they are House Ov Beeombi productions.
LST: How have your experiences shaped you as a designer?
DC: A lot of what I have encountered in life, good and bad, has shaped me as a designer. Growing up my family was poor, I think this taught me to be creative and resourceful. I recall the areas where we lived, being very dilapidated and underdeveloped, the more rigid and hard feelings my apparel sometimes exerts derives from those memories. My mother and father were separated for the majority of my life, but I recall the feeling of being free. Both parents worked multiple jobs so I was less monitored and could venture more than other kids I knew. I favor organza and chiffon fabrics because they embody that same sense of freedom. Lastly I think my garments are so detail oriented because I was taught to be very alert. I was almost kidnapped in the third grade on my way to school, those type of things dramatically change the way we view people and things. Naturally I know, “ it’s the little things that count” so I love to layer, bead, trim and etc. to display great craftsmanship in my apparel.
LST: Wow! I always love hearing people’s stories because you never know what they went through on their path to greatness! To shift gears a bit, your newest line is titled Black Klux Klan, what was the inspiration for the line?
DC: Oddly this would be the seventh question because that my favorite number and this collection was one of my best. This inspiration was rooted from my experience in Selma, Alabama. I visited a historical museum that was dedicated to the civil rights activist who risked their lives for our freedom. I saw authentic vests worn by marchers and I saw authentic cloaks and masks worn by the KKKK. I learned that originally had it four K’s to represent the KNIGHT of the KLU KLUX KLAN and I was deceply moved by my experience in the museum. I thought if such ignorance led us to evil , then accurate knowledge would lead us to peace and freedom. I took multiple sources of inspirational photos, movies, writings etc to compose a collection that would share a vision of strength. It takes a strong person to understand that the oppression of our past is in our past and we have the power to change the future. I wanted to show that even though we were abused in so many retrospect’s, that we have the will to embrace it, and the light to see past it. No part of history should ever be forgotten, nor does it have to be the reflection of what you see in your present. Racism still exists, but evenry African American isn’t discriminated against by every Caucasian American that exists and people in America need to see past color because this is all of our homes. I created this collection to be controversial so that I could verbally raise consciousness and visually stimulate people’s minds.
LST: I know I first heard about the Michael Brown killing through your IG page. How has this tragedy encourage some of your future work?
DC: I am an advocate for equality and I was moved by Michael Browns death. Many just like him have been victim to such injustices because of inequality across America. I recently showed the Black Klux Klan Collection at two additional shows after his death. I felt the situation was so parallel to my inspiration that I wanted to pay tribute and also raise awareness of my own ideology.
LST: St. Louis has some amazing fashion designers. How important is it to support one another, even though you all may be doing similar things?
DC: I agree, St. Louis has some major talent. Its most important to me to support everyone because I can’t design for every person in the city and I always preach the need to shop with small businesses. In addition I am only as great as the people holding me, if no one supported me, I would be nothing; I understand the need to stand by designers and go to their shows to show my support and show others how sticking together takes you further.
LST: For those young men and women who are wanting to start their own fashion line, what advice would you give them?
DC: I would advise them to be persistent and patient, and remain dedicated. It took so many years for my clothing line to develop and for me to begin selling. I realized you have to believe in yourself first before others would believe in you and that persistence pays off. It takes a lot of money to properly develop your line, but it only takes a little at a time. Take small steps in developing your business and conceptualize every aspect, read a few books on production and marketing. Build a team of people that are equally dedicated and work hard. It could take 3 months, it could take 3 years, but it will be successful if you keep going.
LST: We’ve talked a lot about your line and different aspects of inspiration for you but what does HOB say about Derron? How is who you are shown through your work?
DC: I’m eclectic and eccentric; I like to conceptualize my thoughts into my clothes which come across very sordid. The very high collars, the long trains, and the structure in my clothes personify the mystery behind my own character. My clothes exert a “Goth” and dark vibe, oddly I see that in myself, however I see the same “life” and powerful vibes within me too.
LST: Who are some of the people who inspire you?
DC: I’m inspired by the music artist Common, Russell Simmons, poet Saul Williams, writer Anthony Browder, too many of my friends to list. I’m really moved my art and music as well, I love Lauryn Hill and I really like Travis Scott.
LST: I love me some Lauryn Hill!! So what can we expect from HOB in the future? Any exciting news to share?
DC: I have a lot to share that I cannot share unforutately, I can say that I will be doing another film soon though. I am beginning two new projects , one will be with a painter that I have collaborated with before and the other will be the collection that we will preview in three different cities in January 2015.
And there you have it folks!! There’s nothing like having a network of intellectual and inspirational individuals! Make sure you’re following Derron on Instagram @houseovbeeombi and he also has a commercial out that you can view here on YouTube!! At the end when that jacket is caught and flowin in the wind…honey, LOOK…life was given at that moment!
Hope you all enjoyed today’s SnF!!