Over the last few weeks, Black-owned brands have been pushed to the forefront. Deservingly so, it is at the result of a civil unrest that reached a global call-out. From Canada to the U.K. Black creatives are getting more recognition than ever. “We just try to stay true to our plan and vision for the brand,” exclaimed Johnson Odimayo and Emmanuel Williams, co-founders of Dirrty Store. Based out of London, Dirrty Store revels in the complete opposite of its name – clean modern design. “Sort of a juxtaposition,” the founders exclaimed.

With an inspiration that stems from the late 90s and early 2000s, the brand has found a way to bridge the gap between modern design with a nostalgic presentation. Included in its SS 2020 collection, models can be seen sporting vintage square framed glasses paired with the brands headscarf. Other pieces in their latest drop include terry cloth headbands, activewear jumpsuits, and printed bikinis. “When wearing Dirrty Store pieces we want our customers to resonate with the designs and own their confidence,” the two owners concluded. “It’s all about the customer.”

ESSENCE got a chance to chat with Williams and Odimayo about Dirrty Store’s latest collection, their plans to expand globally and more.

Co-Founder, Johnson Odimayo

ESSENCE: How did you both come come up with the name Dirrty Store come from?

Johnson Odimayo, Emmanuel Williams: The name Dirrty Store originates from a combination of ideas between us when we were creating the brand. We were looking for an eye catching, trendy name that would best represent our designs. Sort of a juxtaposition with our clean, aesthetically pleasing designs versus the name ‘Dirrty’. We put the idea out to some close friends for their opinions and ran with it ever since.

How did you chose the bright color palette for your latest collection?

Our previous collections over the years have been darker shades. For the SS20 collection we wanted to switch it up and showcase a brighter vibrant color collection. We did our own research with the team to find out what colors will be trending for the forthcoming season and some customer feedback on which resonated with them. All of this combined led to the colors you see from this collection. We are used to doing 5-6 pieces per collection but as the DS audience has grown internationally, we released our first 19 piece collection, which gave us more room creatively to try a range of different colors.

Why were you inspired to create women’s clothing?

We were inspired to create women’s clothing as we feel we have more creative freedom designing, versus with men’s clothing. We studied women’s clothing and the market for some months before diving into it and thought we would be best suited for this option. We are committed to expanding on our current target audience but perhaps one day we may extend our brand to men’s clothing.

What would you describe as your brand’s aesthetic?

We would describe our brand aesthetic as a refreshing, clean look. We focus heavily on the online social media content we present ensuring its curated effectively. Some of our inspiration derives from previous decades, especially the 2000’s and late 1990’s, incorporating certain staple pieces and adding our own Dirrty Store twist to them.

Co-Founder, Emmanuel Williams

Do you think its challenging being designers based in London. Is it hard to break into the American market?

There are some barriers being based in London in regards to collaborations. The travel distance limits a lot of opportunities we could have collaborating with public figures based in America. We are finding ways around this and with social media, most of the world can be tapped into via the internet. Designing wise there are no limitations being based out in London. It is hard to break into the American market with it being so over saturated with many brands. If that leads us into the American market, so be it, but the aim is to supply the world with Dirrty Store designs, Africa, Asia, Europe…everywhere.

What’s next?

We have a busy schedule ahead of us, we have some collaborations with artists due to release very soon in attachment to our SS20 collection. After that its all eyes on our Autumn/Winter collection. We plan to host our own fashion show in London and potentially Paris also showcasing a range of our A/W20 pieces. This will be our first fashion show so we are really looking forward to it. We also plan to have some pop up stores around the US at the back end of the year, to touch base with the American audience we have. New York/LA will be the likely cities we touch down on so do keep your eyes peeled on our social media.

For more information visit www.dirrtystore.com.


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