The term streetwear has provided a complicated discourse within the fashion industry. Many Black designers are categorized to this descriptive along with “urban” when in fact, they are making the same clothes as their European counterparts. However, if a Black designer decides to make a few “streetwear inspired pieces,” that shouldn’t be all their brand is said to be.
“My purpose from the beginning was to form a boundary between high fashion and streetwear,” says Ervin Michael, founder of emerging label STYXX. The brand was originally scheduled to launch its first collection today, however with the recent news of police brutality, Michael pushed the date back, making the official launch June 15. “It just didn’t feel right,” he said when elaborating on his decision to postpone the launch.
But the show must go on, especially for black creatives. If there wasn’t a perfect time for black designers to release their work, it’s now. All eyes are on black creatives and the support for community is there, despite if it’s performative. Michael who originally is from Houston, Texas moved to Los Angeles, California to explore his path to design. Shortly after his move, his closed friend and business partner was killed. “That really changed the trajectory of my life,” Michael exclaimed. Within a few short months of curating his label, he has seen his samples on celebrities like rapper Young Thug and Memphis Grizzlies player Justise Winslow.
Ahead of its launch, ESSENCE got to chat with Rogers about his latest project STYXX.
Essence: Where did the name STYXX come from?
Michael: I wanted to have a mythological name and STYXX resonated with me because it signifies the river that forms the boundary between the underworld and Earth.
What inspired you to get into designing clothes? Has this been something you’ve always wanted to do?
I never wanted to design. People would tell me to give it a shot, but I never thought I had the patience to make clothes. I’ve always been into fashion, I worked as a stylist and image consultant for a few years. I ventured into artist management in 2018, but at the end of the year my close friend and client was killed. I was living in Los Angeles at the time and was surrounded with all of the resources needed to design. I decided I would give it a try and called my close friend Jalen to ask him to be one of the first people on my team.
Who is all on the team?
I have a few friends that have been with me since the start. Jalen, Q, Derek, Kam, Jonah, and my team of lawyers. It’s not a lot of us. I’m just the most hands-on with every part of the design process and day-to-day business because it’s necessary.
What pieces are you offering for this launch?
I’m going to be dropping 6 pieces total. 3 t-shirt designs, 2 crewnecks (all made of our custom heavyweight 15oz cotton), and a pair of Italian denim cargo pants in two color ways. I may drop a worker jacket that I’ve been working on for a minute, but I may wait for the fall drop. There’s a lot of stuff I want to do though so stay tuned, I hope everyone enjoys it..
How were you able to get celebrities in your clothes so fast?
They’re either friends, or friends of friends. I’m happy they like the clothes though.
How would you describe your brand?
The most important values to Styxx are quality and freethinking. The content you’ll see is a direct reflection of life experiences as well as things that inspire me. We’re using luxury techniques and high quality fabrics for silhouettes to deliver that perfect product or the closest thing we can get to perfect in our minds. The message the brand stands behind is rebellion. That’s always been my thing, but not just causing chaos. Rebellion in a sense of resisting authority, not just submitting or complying to whatever or whoever sets the standards or rules. We’re promoting the idea of doing things your way no matter what.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been playing with a lot of lifestyle accessories and men’s pieces for the fall. I get a lot of women inquiring about womenswear so maybe you’ll see that soon.