“A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.” – George Bernard Shaw
Whether designing for men or women, its difficult to set one’s self a part in the fashion industry. More than often many designers find themselves “lost in the sauce” because everything tends to start to look the same.
Not with the William Malcolm Luxe Collection. Unh-unh…this designer is in a league of his own. From my first introduction of his designs (on a popular social network), I began my research — reading up on as much of the designer and his brand as I could…but I felt that I needed more. Then it happened: An opportunity came this past summer for me to meet him in person. He and Detroit Lion’s Wide Receiver, Nate Burleson hosted an event to introduce their collaboration, B-Line Bespoke Suiting. What an evening! A great networking atmosphere of like-minded individuals and a chance to take in the designs of their new line. Up close and personal.
Soon after returning to Florida, I was able to catch up with the designer to learn more about his brand and what he has cooking for the near future. There are so many wonderful things going on within the William Malcolm brand, beyond his designs. Here’s what he had to share:
How is your personal style reflected in the William Malcolm brand?
My personal style is Classic with a Twist. I like to mix patterns, textures and colors while remaining true to the classic sophistication of suit design.
For example, I may design a two button peak lapel suit with an English hacking style flap pockets, complete with a ticket pocket and double vents…(very traditional very Saville Row). However, it may have a fire engine red lining with hand sewn piping detail inside the jacket and trousers. I like to add little nuances that will truly make a suit, overcoat or formal wear unique. Such as, an unexpected pop of colored stitching on the boutonniere hole.
Where do you find most of your design inspirations?
I find many of my inspiration from many of the Arts, as well as, business environments. I have a background in music, art and design. However, before launching my clothing line I had a successful career in banking, insurance and financial services.
This completely opposite mash-up of skills and experiences, in my opinion, gives me a 360-degree point of reference when designing for my clients. My business background allows me to stay grounded when conceptualizing designs that will be appropriate for the boardroom, as well as, after-5 functions. My art background allows me to pull from, and have the confidence to, incorporate that special touch of uniqueness; all without overburdening the intended look.
Describe the most inspiring and challenging moments you’ve faced as an independent designer.
The most challenging moment that I faced as a designer was when I decided to become a designer. I was afraid to step out in Faith to pursue my passion. It was through the blessing of my wife and her urging that I left my career in insurance and financial services to pursue my true gifting of design. Of course, I have had other hard lessons learned. But nothing was as hard as that first step.
The most inspiring moments are when I am able to deliver a suit to a gentleman that becomes his new favorite suit (until he commissions another one from me).
Making a difference within the community is a great part of the William Malcolm brand, let’s talk about “The Man of Style And Substance Scholarship Program”.
My mentor/scholarship program is focused on developing life skills among inner city young men. We work with the students on scholastic achievement, career goal setting, conflict resolution skills, and community service commitments to name a few. I have been recently awarded with a 2013 Knight Foundation Award and a 2013 Black Male Engagement Award and grant for my work with the youth.
Wow! That’s wonderful. Congratulations! Now, there’s also the Blue Tie Project. What is its initiative and how does it impact the community that it serves?
The Blue Tie Project is a prostate cancer initiative where I donate the sales of specialty designed blue ties to prostate cancer awareness initiatives. I have recently developed a partnership with a prominent Health Care Institution in Michigan. This partnership will allow me to continue spreading the message to men and their families regarding the importance of prostate cancer screening.
What exciting new developments can we look forward to from William Malcolm?
We are launching William Malcolm Eyewear (Luxe Wood Eyewear) line as well as our handmade lapel flower line within the next month. We will be launching our bespoke shoe line as well by the fall of 2014.
Based on your experiences, what advice would you give to an aspiring designer who may be overwhelmed or fearful of his or her success in this industry?
My advice to anyone looking to pursue a career in fashion or any other field is that they must become a student. They must research the very best brands, persons, entities in the world that are doing what they desire to do to become better, different and unique. They must also develop and begin to think of themselves as a brand first — business, product or service second. If done correctly and reinforced continually; a great brand can bring about emotions, feelings and loyalty that an unbranded product or service could never achieve. Also, learn and continually work on your business acumen; never stop learning. Always stay Faithful and ask God to lead the way.
As I’ve stated in the past, we are honored that you took the time to share your wisdom in this industry with Cold Hard Fash and our readers. The passion that is displayed in your brand and designs, as well as your impact on the community are an inspiration. We are very excited for the continuing growth of the William Malcolm Brand. Your eyewear is definitely on our radar and we will continue to show our support!
Stay tuned, in the coming days we will be providing more information about the William Malcolm Eyewear Collection and how you can be one of the firsts to support an amazing brand. In the meantime, we encourage you to start following the designer himself:
Facebook: William Malcolm The-Style Artist
Love & Style