Swavor Clothing. One thing that people often overlook is the fact that even though you’re friends with someone, it’s still hard to sit down and really talk about things when both parties are so busy, but we managed to make it happen. I interviewed him about his upcoming release in the spring line, which drops on the 27th of this month. There was a special part of this release that we both agreed to emphasize, which is a t-shirt, “The Death of Socrates” by Jacques Louis-David. This shirt is 100% American made, through a unique human dyeing process. Not only is the shirt amazing, but it’s accompanied by a snakeskin style bag for packaging, which sets it way above in terms of originality and quality. Heres the interview:
Q: My very first question to you, on behalf of the people… How do you pronounce the name of your brand? I’ve heard both “swah-vor” and “sway-vor.” Which is it? And where did the name come from?
A: Well to be honest, the name is supposed to be pronounced “Suave-ur”. But again, it isn’t up to me to tell people how to pronounce something. Different people from different places have different interpretations. I think that brings a glorious feel to the name. It isn’t just like one set thing. You can say it however and people will still know what you are talking about. Ironically enough, what people don’t know is that I didn’t come up with the name. D’rapheal Yates came up with the name. It is just a re-working of the brand name “Swarovski” which was something he was staring at when he blurted in out. For that lone contribution, I credit him as the co-founder of Swavor.
Q: Have you, Shek, always wanted to design clothing? Was this something that started at a young age, or did you slowly fall into it?
A: It actually couldn’t be farther than what I wanted to do. I finished off high school in the UK and while I was there I was exposed to everything fashion. My cousin Balla was like the ultimate fashion head. He knew about everything and was schooling me on fashion. So while my personal style was increasing, I didn’t actually want to design anything. When I graduated high school I was 16 and had dreams of being a wall street fat cat. It wasn’t until I met my co-creative director Christofer Brito, that I developed a passion for it.
Q: Your brand is based in the DMV, but nothing about this “sub-collection” resembles the DMV. We know the name of this piece, but what is the theme, and what does it represent?
A: Well to be honest, I think we as a brand have moved past making “typical DMV based” designs. I feel as though we can always come back to that. For now we are just trying to expand on our own terms and not be confined with being the next big “DMV” brand. Our philosophy is to just be the next big thing, period. As for the JLD x SWAVOR theme, we have used three paintings from Jacques Louis-David, who was the personal painter for Napoleon. “The Death of Socrates” painting depicts the grief of Socrates’ staff when it is announced that he must die by poison. It made me think about my death. Would people care? How would my staff react? It’s just one of the magical things that art can do. It can make you think of outlandish things, when in reality it may represent things completely different.
Q: for you, as an individual, where did the inspiration come from? What does it mean to you?
A: My inspiration comes from everywhere and everything. I am not only a designer I am a historian of my craft. I studied every aspect from streetwear to couture… From Ralph Lauren’s big tie-revolution to the Duke of Windsor’s style selection. I try to learn everything I can about fashion every day! Every time I step outside I see the fashion in people. One of the things I have been doing lately is trying to make clothes that fit people’s lifestyles. As a streetwear designer, alot of times you try to comfort the “sneaker-head” lifestyles… But I am slowly and gradually making stabs at other lifestyles for sure.
Q: Obviously, this shirt looks awesome. Aside from aesthetics, how do you expect (potential) customers to feel/relate to this piece? Why would they want to buy it?
A: Well, apart from the shirt looking awesome, it has some perks also. They come in very limited amounts for instance. They are hand-dyed by human beings, not machines, and they are 100% American made. No sweatshops, no dingy quality… This is a grade 6 product.
Q: This particular shirt is only one piece in the “sub-collection” as you referred to it… So I guess we can expect more? Do you know how many pieces will compose this “sub-collection?” Do you have any special/tactical release dates?
A: Yea. There are three of them in total. No real tactics for the collection this spring. I know that my marketing is usually provocative and suspenseful and I am glad that I have that reputation, but not this time. I think I have made the people wait long enough.
Q: What’s up with this packaging? Snakeskin?! Kinda crazy, but I’m definitely a fan. Who’s idea was that? Will each release have a different style of packaging?
A: Yes indeed! That idea came to me while I was watching the Discovery channel. I told Chris about the idea and he couldn’t understand what the hell I was talking about. I told my friend Adam about it and I got the same response. When I released that I could actually get these made, I lost my mind. They are not real snakeskin… They’re more of a snakeskin look, but with a leather feel.
Q: Sometimes a movement within a movement, such as this sub-collection, can sidetrack individuals and companies from their overall goal. Not saying that’s going to happen to you… in fact, I know it won’t! But, what is the overall goal for SWAVOR, in its entirety? What is the goal and projected outcome of this sub-collection, aside from the overall goal of SWAVOR?
A: Look…it is obvious that we are a pretty decent brand to say the least. Some people would argue we are more than that our less than that, but for the most part, we are who we are. If you look at the history of streetwear brands in the past, they come and they go. Just because this new hipster phase is cool now, doesn’t mean that it will be in 2 months. What I want for Swavor is to gradually get better and better, and evolve. We can’t be so prideful that we don’t lay our own platform. I make things that will be timeless. Art is timeless. The closer you can make your clothes to art, the more realistic it becomes for you to last.
Q: For Shek, what are your personal goals in life?
A: To get rich, and take care of my family and my team. I want to make them rich, then get wealthy. I told my team as a CEO it is my job to make you rich. You have to become wealthy on your own terms. After I become the Bernard Arnault of streetwear, I will give all my money away… I mean what else can you do, right?
Q: Consistency opens up doors and new pathways for a myriad of other options… Do you see SWAVOR taking you to explore any other areas of interest?
A: Of course. I am going to make Swavor the first branch of my empire. I have been trading penny stocks for a bit, and I might dabble into that. I am currently in school getting my degree in Psychology with a minor in business. I want to open up my own marketing consulting firm one day. There is so much you can invest in once you start making that serious money. The sky is the limit.
Q: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
A: I see myself sitting outside of my penthouse looking into the New York lights and thinking “Wow…we did it.”
So there you have it. If you were curious, now you know.
Thank you Shek. Thanks to all of the readers and followers of the movements of both Swavor and Eye Collector. We’ll make sure to keep things going! We’re in it for the long run.