Hello all my Fashion divas and Gurus! I recently had a chance to interview Andre Thornton CEO/President of Street M.O.D.E 22. Street M.O.D.E 22 is a great indie fashion line in Newark, NJ. Mr Thornton was born and raised in Newark, NJ where his ambition and
vision helped create the clothing line.I am happy to introduce all my fashion divas and gurus, Andre Thorton of Street M.O.D.E 22.
Heavy on Fashion: How did you get started as a fashion designer?
Andre Thornton Street M.O.D.E: I actually got started designing officially in 1998 and that included 5 other friends who were all supposed to go in on this thing called "Fashion" together. Unfortunately that dream didn't become a reality where all of us walking down the runways together but, I stuck with it and here I am getting closer, and closer to my dream. Looking good and having an eye for fashion always came natural. However, the business of fashion is something entirely different, and I'm still learning that as I go. Hands down the fastest and ever evolving business that I have ever known. With that being said... I am completely hooked!
Heavy on Fashion: Describe the general process you go through to design and realize a piece of clothing.
Andre Thornton Street M.O.D.E: I'm sure this process is different depending on the designer that you ask. However, for me when I get a vision I see it in color and it's very vivid. The inspiration can come from something as a simple pair of shorts or slacks and you find yourself obsessing over a way that you can make this vision UNIQUE and wearable. Now, being that doesn't happen everyday I then find that the absolute most important aspect of the process besides "PRICE" is the fabrication process. Anything that someone is going to give you there hard earned money for has to be constructed with the best material possible for that garment. Now, that doesn't mean that it has to be the most expensive but, it can not be CHEAP either. Then, once I've decided on the fabric for the first sample it has to be an eye popping color. So that when that garment get's sent down the runway I fully expect to hear the sound of people gasping for air. Fist comes the sketch and being that I cant sketch outside of the basics I have my sketch artist draw what I see. Then comes the cutting process meaning I cut the fabric and then the sewing process begins and lastly the fitting. That part is to make sure that if any alterations need to happen I can do that right away. Also to see if what I saw in my head and on paper actually agrees with what was done and if so I finally add my buttons and labels. Finally I press the garment 1 last time and it gets put away for shooting... Yeah that's about right!
Heavy on Fashion: How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
Andre Thornton Street M.O.D.E: Well the line that I call Street M.O.D.E 22 is really 1 line that has 2 sides to it. First there's Street M.O.D.E and that side is the urban side of the line. Which includes but not limited to Denim, Velor, Hoodies, Golf shirts, Fleece, T-shirts etc... The meaning and or acronym for Street M.O.D.E is "Struggle to maintain or die easily." Now let's break that down. The Streets equate and equal the STRUGGLE. M.O.D.E is Maintain Or Die Easily PERIOD. Now, the Twenty2 side of the line has a phrase that goes to it and that is "All Good Things Come In 2's" and that side of the line will consist of but not limited to Jersey Knit dresses, Silk Kimono's, Silk Jumpers, Pants suits, Tuxedo dresses, Maxi dresses, Tunic tops, etc...
Now, when you look at then both together I affectionately describe the line as "Casual Elegance" but the tagline that completely describes Street M.O.D.E 22 is this. Street M.O.D.E 22 is a fashionable reminder that the spirit of change and revolution never dies. It just dresses better!
Heavy on Fashion: Where do you get your inspiration?
Andre Thornton Street M.O.D.E: Well as far as the designers that inspire me are in no order. Tom Ford, Sean John, John Galliano, Ralph Lauren. You see these designers all have something in common in that they know how the well dressed MAN should look. Keep in mind that initially Street M.O.D.E 22 was only going to be a men's line and I looked to those guys as mentors on how to build a collection. But, at some point and thankfully I might add I found myself unable to resist designing for woman and if I say so myself I'm doing alright.
Now, outside of them I have many fashion heroes on many different levels. For example I have been in several show's and found myself finding inspiration from other designers right next to me. Now the most important place where I find inspiration in within and that comes from my faith in the Creator. As long as I have that and continue to grind work hard and stay focused. I think I will be just fine!
|Photos courtesy of Street M.O.D.E 22|
Heavy on Fashion: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Andre Thornton Street M.O.D.E: My first bit of advise for any up and coming designers is to learn from the ground up. First understand that the business of Fashion is completely different from designing clothes as there are plenty of designers but in comparison very few "Fashion Houses" and once they get that the rest will come naturally. Remember to stay open and to separate what you like from what your customer likes. When creating a collection remember to have a target audience and or consumer in mind. Either by age or gender but be as specific as possible because all fashion insiders are going to ask you that very question. If at all possible I would suggest interning for someone and learning as much as you can about draping, cutting, sewing and all other aspects of the fashion industry. Be honest with yourself and have tough skin. Because this whole industry is based on what OTHER people think and if you are not prepared to be told NO or worse then this is definitely the wrong career path for you. Understand that this process will for sometime unless your lucky will be completely out of pocket until you can find someone to back you financially and while your spending your own hard earned money keep in mind that every nickel and dime counts.
Stay persistent and do everything you can to be in or around it every day that you can.
Lastly; Have a story. There are millions of up and coming designers but very few have a story to sell you. Ask yourself why do you support the designers that are in your closet... Most probably because the story that has been sold to you!
Heavy on Fashion: Tell us about your latest collection?
Andre Thornton Street M.O.D.E: What I'm working on right now is a few pants suits for the Spring and a few jackets that will blow your mind. It's what I feel the collection needs right now and making the men's side of the line more complete as I have been so neglectful to men that I'm almost ashamed to even think about it. Honestly in part I've concentrated on the woman's side because it developed faster than did it's male counterpart. But, now it's time to bring something sexy for us men. I really want to be more specific than that but I ask that you be just a little more patient with me and I PROMISE not to disappoint!
Heavy on Fashion: Any upcoming events for Street M.O.D.E 22 Collections?
Andre Thornton Street M.O.D.E: Actually in mid February I'm going to be doing a charity event for Autism and showing to a group investors who are very much interested in taking the line to the next level and making sure that everyone who wants can easily make purchases and the best way to do that is to put it in a few stores near you. I've done more than enough fashion shows local and abroad and I'm no longer as interested in doing that because not only is it expensive to enter these shows, then to get to and from, and to get my garments there and racks, and steamers and a great many of these fashion show producers don't deliver on what they promise. Now, that doesn't mean that anyone up and coming shouldn't do shows because that will be your first introduction to a live audience and they will give you a sense of what your doing is worth doing or not but you do have to be aware of those that don't know what there doing and the others that are just a waste of your time.
Again, stay tuned for Street M.O.D.E 22 coming to a DEPARTMENT store near you in 2013!
Heavy on Fashion: Where can all my fashion divas and gurus checkout your collection?
Andre Thornton Street M.O.D.E:
You can check out the website at www.streetmode22.com, and you can see many new looks not on the website on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Street-MODE-22-Clothing/83306617904
and if there interested they can follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/StreetMode22
Again, keep an eye out for the newest collection coming to you no later than February 2013!
I would like to thank Andre Thornton of Street M.O.D.E 22 for the interview!