Photo by DRO
Da Bottom clothing represents not only a brand with its roots implanted in the South Florida area (hence the name), but it also signifies a movement of creative fashion ideas in starting from a “bottom” point that are all working their way up to worldwide recognition. Young entrepreneurs by the name of Toib “T” Olarinde and Courtney “Six” Taylor are the owners and founders of Da Bottom Clothing, which they started on January 1, 2008. Their brand is fresh, edgy with a touch of artistic thought put into each design. This week they’re getting ready for two appearances – one in Miami (Okay Player WMC show) and the other in New York (DunkXchange). We got a chance to catch up with them and learn a little bit about the brand and how it came about…
Introduce yourselves and each of your roles with Da Bottom?
Six: I’m Six. I’m the designer and I pretty much handle the art direction of the brand.
T: I’m T Stutters. I do all the promotions, marketing, sales and everything that deals with getting the brand out into the streets.
What is the inspiration behind the brand?
Six: I’ve always been a designer. I had a friend of mine who had a clothing line called Brooklyn Sky, and I was just inspired by him after seeing what he was doing. From there, I just thought that maybe I should take the graphics that I would do on flyers and different print things that I did, and just put them on t-shirts. Me and T both love music and we both love sneakers. For Da Bottom, we’ve pretty much used the same imagery and same inspiration that comes from the more dominating areas like New York, but took it and came at it from a southern perspective.
What would you say describes your designs?
T: Da Bottom is for YOU. When you wake up in the morning and see the clothing, you say to yourself “that’s me” and you wear it. When you see it, it just says “you” all over it. It matches your swag and/or matches you as a person.
Six: Whatever design is on the shirt, it pretty much defines you and that’s why you get it.
What are some highlights you guys have experienced since starting the brand a year ago?
T: Honestly, everyday is a highlight when you’re in business…
Six: Definitely, but I also definitely have to say the first DunkXchange we did. It was a highlight because we went into it not knowing how people were going to react and take the brand. But it surprised us how a lot of people were loving it, coming up to us and feeling what we were doing.
One thing on marketing end and one thing on the design end – that you’ve learned…
T: Marketing – would be that we should never be selective of who we’re trying to target.
Six: We call that Fashion Segregation.
T: Yeah…Fashion Segregation doesn’t work. You can’t tell WHO to buy your shirt because the people who you end up saying your shirts are NOT for, are most likely the people that are going to end up buying them. Our line has just become more open to everybody.
Six: That also crosses over to the art behind the shirts because art itself is open to interpretation. It means something different to everybody, Whoever likes it will like it and whoever doesn’t like it won’t. So I learned to not make the designs so personal and make them more for a general audience. We try and incorporate everyday life into the designs. We get most of our ideas from regular everyday conversations with our friends. Like 90 percent of them come from that…
What’s your most popular shirt?
Six: Our most popular shirt is the “Stop Rocking Fakes” shirts. In almost every particular area around the country, people tend to like a certain sneaker more than others in their area. And down south, its all about the Jordans. And in every day conversation, we make fun of people who wear fakes and the funny ways people try to knock some of them off. And with the “Stop Rockin Fakes” shirt, its so simple, but people love it for the simple fact that Jordan’s leg is bent on the design versus being fully extended like the normal logo.
What’s the worst fake you’ve ever seen?
T: The worst fake had to be that DXC (DunkXchange) in December 2008 where this kid was trying to sell the DMP Pack for like $900 in the gold box. It was looking rough…
Six: Like seriously – how are you gonna come in the Lion’s Den of die-hard sneakerheads and then come in there with some fake stuff.
T: He was trying to sell it for a grand. If you’re gonna sell fakes, you gotta go cheap…(Laughs)
What are you goals for 2009?
T: We definitely are trying to make sure we’re in a couple retail stores and online stores. We also have our own internet store on www.dabottomclothing.com. We’re looking to do more events like DXC and travel with them in the back end of ’09 with their tour. We’re really just trying to travel period and take the brand to the next level. We started focusing on South Florida in ’08, but in ’09 we’re trying to take it out of Florida. Sky’s the limit.
Six: A lot of people ask us why our brand is called “Da Bottom”, yet our logo is a “DB” with wings on it. The meaning behind that is that we started at the bottom, but those wings signify that the sky’s the limit. We’re trying to take this as far as it could take us…
For the consumer reading, what separates you from every other brand out there?
Six: I think its the look. Nobody really separates themselves at the end of the day, that’s all bullshit because generally its the same elements on most brands. But with us, our designs are hot and if you see it in the store and you like it, you buy it. I’m not one of those people that only wear a particular brand. You pick and choose via the designs that you like. You don’t have to be a brand whore to wear Da Bottom.
T: Every other clothing line says that their clothing is a lifestyle. Yet, you see their name ALL OVER the shirt. How’s that a lifestyle? That’s basically a shirt with your logo all over it. With us, we are actually a lifestyle. We love sneakers and we love music. And the shirts illustrate that feeling versus having the actual brand in the forefront.
T: With us, you see our logo on the shirt, but you have to really look hard to see it. On every shirt, our logo is always a small little signature on “the bottom” of each design.
Six: Its almost like signing the artwork by doing it like that…
What are each of your favorite sneakers?
T: Air Jordan I’s. I love them to death. They’re sexy… [Laughs]
Six: SB Trainers, more so the Bo Jacksons. And definitely Huaraches,
What are each of your favorite artists?
T: Jay-Z, Reasonable Doubt, Cant Knock The Hustle.
Six: Jay-Z and Black Thought.
Any last words?
T: For the ladies, the ladies line will be dropping this year. We get a lot of emails about it. It will be dropping this year!
Six: We’re open to all collaborations with any other brands, sneaker customizers, artists and etc. And we’re working on our storefront for the summer time, which will be in the Margate area.