RJ BRANDS CUSTOMS
SPOTLIGHT Interview with Fashion Designer: Ralph Gregory Jr.
Model/Fashion Designer: Ralph Gregory Jr. @rjbrandscustomsllc
Photographer: Jaisun Lundy @soulfulflicks
Define fashion? This is how I define fashion. Fashion is a way of self expression, being authentically you, being unapologetic , and having a certain confidence and walk about yourself that’s undeniable . Fashion is not about the brand you put on it’s how you put stuff together and create your own look and unique style for yourself. Most importantly it’s about creating a creative expression about yourself.
Say something about your background? I was born and raised in Petersburg, VA raised by both my mom and dad along with a older sister. Growing up I was pretty much low-key a geek. Lol. I was into video games, anime cartoons, and definitely not into fashion. One thing I will say i did always have a personality and uniqueness about myself no matter what. I consider myself an extrovert
along with being kinda sheltered but as I got older and more into what’s out in the world I became more open to the world and what it had to offer me.
What sparked your interest in fashion? Actually my interest in fashion started to spark in high school my late years Junior and Senior year. I started get more into clothing, the expression of clothing, started to love how clothing will bring our your personality and how dope fashion trends and finds made me felt. It was definitely a great push in confidence for me. Then I’m college I was in a model troupe and participated in a lot of fashion activities on and off campus .
What inspired you to become a fashion designer? What inspired me to be a fashion designer was when I started working different fashion weeks in Charlotte, NC where I attended college and shadowing upcoming fashion designers and working backstage. I began to notice how at home I felt working in the fashion industry and how I noticed a lot of expressive individuals like myself and how everyone is just there self, it definitely motivated me to start a movement of my own and that’s exactly what I did. I also started off as a runway model modeling in many different local fashion shows building my portfolio along with styling people on campus and helping others pick outfits and put together their looks.
Creative expression can take many forms, what made you decide to start your own fashion brand? I’ve always appreciated, loved and still love the whole 90’s culture and fashion. I have a old/modern day soul. Yes I started off styling and modeling but I wanted to take it up a level and do something that’s more fitting and suitable for me and that’s fashion design, because I always have a creative and innovating vision and imagination on how I want things done and to look.
Is there any person/designer that you consider to be your inspiration? Jean-Michel Basquiat.
What is your best and worst fashion moment? My best fashion moment is when I was a designer in New York Fashion week in downtown Manhattan along with having a televised interview with the producer of the show and my episode airing on Amazon Fire TV and Vimeo.
How has your work evolved since you began your own label? My work has really evolved ever since starting in 2016. I began seeking out different options, doing research, polishing up my skills, seeing what’s trendy out in the fashion world and most importantly putting my own spin and creativity into what I’m designing and the improvement started to show in my work over the course of the years.
Do you wear your own designs? Yes very often. My specialty is my jackets I make and it definitely turn lots of heads and gain lots of attention from many people. When I wear my designs out in public, whether its going to the store, the mall, the club, open mic events, fashion events, parties and etc I get stopped and complimented throughout the entirety of the day because of what I designed and wearing. I’ve even had a trench coat purchased off my back leaving RVA Fashion Week. It’s definitely a great feeling and makes you feel like your doing something right all along.
How would you describe your brand aesthetics? I would describe my brand aesthetics to be vintage, 90’s fashion and art, lots of patterns and loud prints, vibrant, bold, eye catching, retro, and sleek.
Are you passionate about something apart from fashion? I am also passionate about food as well. I went to school for culinary arts for two years but fashion is something I more passionate about and more up my ally.
10 years from now, what do you hope to have achieved in the industry? 10 years from now. I wanna look back and see how many people I inspired, motivated, and just continue to empower many people with my movement of RJ Brands Customs.