A brand that is receiving world wide recognition for it’s socially conscious slogans and cutting edge designs, is the brain child of CEO and Lead Designer, Prince. From his humble beginnings in Long Island City, Prince always new that he wanted to have a voice in the fashion industry. It was just a matter of time for him to find the path that would lead him to achieving his goals. He quickly went from a kid on the block spray painting graffiti on walls and train cars to an artist applying his creative works on clothing for a celebrity clientele. Since it’s conception in 1999, formerly GINO GREEN APPAREL now GINO GREEN GLOBAL has grown to an international brand offering a unique style of clothing to a multi-billion dollar industry. In conversing with Prince, I found that has talents as an artist was the catalyst to launch his career in fashion.
BE-Style: Who were your inspirations in starting to design clothing?
Prince: With the rise of the Hip Hop generation and the fusion of fashions from the likes of Karl Kani, Sean Jean, Fubu, I saw that there was a niche within the music industry to create urban designs that were artistic and wearable. These companies opened doors for designs such as myself. I got the idea to become an entrepreneur by taking my art and pot it on clothes.
BE-Style: With the emergence of graffiti art and it being so prevalent in the inner city, is that where you got your influence?
Prince: As far as the music industry goes, music and art just went together. You would see the kids on the block painting walls while listening to Hip Hop from boomboxes. The art was then added to Levi jackets and fashion began to change. If you stayed tuned to what was going on in the industry you would be sure to not only keep up with the trends but to start setting them. So I paid attention to what was happening in brands from Coogi to Louis Vuitton or Rakeem coming out wearing a velour sweatsuit.
BE-Style: So how were you introduced to the industry?
Prince: For me it was all about working in the right places. I was actually working with April Walker, a celebrity stylist, and many of her clients wanted me to do silk screen designs on t-shirts and create logos for their new lines. As the demand grew for my work, I knew then that it was eventually going to be my time start my own line. So as Hip Hop and fashion progressed, I knew that I had to as well.
BE-Style: So you have any formal training or education in art & fashion or everything is self-taught?
Prince: Everything is self-taught. I was just me being in the right places and working with some great people that really showed me the ropes.
BE-Style: What are some the companies or brands that you have created for?
Prince: I worked closely with Andy Hilfiger and many brands like J.Lo to create graphics and art work for their collections.
BE-Style: Could explain what made you change the company’s name from GINO GREEN APPAREL to GINO GREEN GLOBAL.
Prince: Sure. When we first started the company, many of our clients were celebrities in the major metro cities. But again as the demand for the business changed, the brand begun to grow and we started selling in the international markets. So we changed the logo from what looked like a ‘9’ to the capital G’s with wings which signifies our growth.
BE-Style: With your growth has there been a shift in the company as a whole?
Prince: Yes, we recently ended our licensing agreement that we’ve had for years and we now have to freedom to experiment and expand that brand. The partnership actually taught me a lot about running a business and building a brand as well as what it takes to be successful.
BE-Style: What can we expect from GINO GREEN GLOBAL in the near future?
Prince: We are currently working on our collections for our new lines: Suture, Post. A, and Hand Job. I saw what Ralph Lauren did with creating the Purple Label and targeting a different market and I wanted to do that for our consumers. We are also looking to be involved in more fashion events around the world and we are targeting more than just the Hip Hop industry. We’re breaking into the sports and athletic arena as well.
BE-Style: What do you feel about the direction of fashion right now?
Prince: I love what happening in the industry, even though we are experiencing harsh economic times. Many customers are mixing the old with the new and different brands or labels. I think it’s great that they have this since of fashion and style.
BE-Style: What would you hope for GINO GREEN GLOBAL to BEcome?
Prince: We came from a humble beginning hence our new collection, 35th 7th Ave Fashion District for back to school. We want everyone to know where we are located because we come from the urban areas and now we are here. I hope that everyone is just receptive to the brand as we continue to stay on the edge of creative designs.
For more on Gino Green, check out http://www.ginogreenglobal.com/