Tag Archives: NYC

The Ones featuring Gene Noble (NY)

Written & Images by Renita Clarke

This past Saturday Gene Noble showed up and showed out, with his soulful sexy voice, at SOB’s in NY. To add a cherry on an already delicious sundae, he had from “The Voice” Kimberly Nichole host and Yummy Bingham as a perfect co-headliner.

Check out images of what you missed and make sure you check out Gene & Yummy at BET Music Matters at SOB’s (coming soon).

Gene Noble

Yummy

KimNicky

D9 Reserve Street Couture

By Renita Clarke & Jyvonne Haskin

Photos courtesy of D9 Reserve

Spins & Blends Co-Founder Renita Clarke got to catch up with D9 Reserve Co-Founder Glen Yun to find out what D9 Reserve is all about and find out what we can look out for in their up and coming Fall 2013 Collection.

TELL US ABOUT D9 RESERVE.

D9 Reserve came about a couple different ways. Me and my other Los Angeles partner, David, have been part of the street wear culture since 2000, having worked for different clothing companies. We were on the screen-printing side of business, so we were doing some manufacturing, plus social media work for these brands. A little over ten years ago, we started our own t-shirt line and around 2011, a friend from New York came and asked if there was something interesting we could do as a business. David and I kept talking about clothing, and our New York friend had always been on the retail side of things and wasn’t initially thrilled  about getting back into clothing. But they liked our business presentation and the rest is history.

There are four partners, two in New York and two in Los Angeles.  Originally, our name was Delta 9.  Delta-9 is a part of the active ingredient of marijuana, Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (d9 THC). Most people don’t acknowledge the d9 aspect of it, since the more marketable was THC. Without d9 the THC can’t get you high. You need both. The whole thing made sense because we are  marijuana advocates, we believe in the culture, we embrace it, and its been part of our libes.  So we felt that this was a creative twist to our name as we interact with fashion. We felt that we, as designers, had an outlook on current trends, and felt that as the fusion of two coasts, we are the two ingredients that make up a component of our motto, The High Life.

D9 Reserve was developed slowly. We started with t-shirts, hats, and we wanted to  fulfill each component  individually, as we were stacking the foundation of a clothing brand. It’s interesting because right at that the time we were setting up our brand, a lot of different brands started to embrace the  marijuana culture as well. Plus the Street wear niche was staying to overwhelm hip-hop clothing. Consumer’s were no longer interested just in what rappers wore, but the lifestyle is what they are infatuated with. That’s why street wear culture has taken such a strong effect on the clothing industry.

Our line represents so many attributes, living the high life, eating good food, driving nice cars, smoking nice medication, it all has that type of quality and we felt we could translate that to clothes. It’s fun, it’s accepted, we were right around that time where other brands were doing it, and we really wanted to be the representative of the high life culture and represent both communities: the fashion community and the marijuana community. This is how we started.

The only way for us to compete in this market is to be authentic and that is D9’s main goal. It is to not be JUST about  marijuana, but to showcase the high life, which is about the hustle, it’s about working hard and making money.

One of our mission statements on hang tag reads: “This D9 garment was thoughtfully constructed by innovators of design & industry and is one of the few of it’s kind.  This garment originated in a grow house of innovation located deep in the concrete heart of Los Angeles. This tag certifies the authenticity of it’s production. It is an exotic strain of artistry. The house of D9 solely exist to ensure the preservation of creativity and design through thoughtfully crafted garments using innovative techniques. As one of the limited runs of production, the house of D9 proudly presents the garment that has measured up to our rigorous standards of design and durability. “

D9 Reserve is not just a normal brand. Our smoke habits and smoke life was authentic to our representing this brand. It used to be that a consumer went to a smoke shop to get some t-shirt with a fun weed logo on it. But as couture fashion fell in line with the hip-hop culture, brands such as pitted were born.  Our clothes are not cheap, but it’s on a lower price point tier. There are physical responses that are attributed to how a couture design line makes you look, how it fits, and how it represents you. We aim to manufacture clothing that makes you feel like a million bucks.

HOW LONG HAS D9 BEEN AROUND?

This fall will technically be 3 years. BUT, really, the first year doesn’t count (conceptualizing) as we’ve been active for 2 years. This year has been the biggest impact because we started the whole cut and sew program, and it wasn’t just t-shirts.  We were able to move fast enough to compete against these other brands.

Fall Collection Preview
Fall Collection Preview

THE LOOK BOOK, WE NOTICED A LOT OF MIXING OF PATTERNS. IS THAT PURPOSELY? DO YOU SEE THAT GOING INTO FASHION THIS YEAR?

I think that right now, textures are really strong. Patterns, textures, colors; I mean it always has, but I think nowadays consumers are more aware and want to buy something that gets their monies worth. Menswear is providing more options, being more risky with colors & patterns. I feel that D9 has a mixture of that. The NY consumers, you know they like to wear things differently than the west coast. They tend to be louder and want to be more seen. They have a little more to prove because they are seen a lot since there’s more walking around and public transportation in their daily lives, plus the 4 seasons allows them to play around with layers a lot more. LA is a bit more dumbed down in our fashion sense because weather is consistent, so t-shirt and jeans always works. But D9 is thinking about all of that in our designs.

D9 Reserve
D9 Reserve

WILL D9 EVENTUALLY BRANCH OFF AND START A FEMALE LINE?

We do, but as in life, you have to master one thing and then move onto another. We always have it in the back of our mind that we do want to design women’s clothes, but it’s tricky because once we master the men’s collection, and have offers on the table for buyouts, in the transition of the next couple years if D9 takes the next platform, we’re going to have to do women’s clothing and think of the bigger picture, and do it right because there are other brands that do women’s clothing, but still working with the same foundation of people, working 2 different departments. You need to have the manpower to support each design team. You can dabble and do both, but I feel like for us to do it right, we must master men’s clothing and have it running as a well oiled machine and then be able to hire the right people to come in and create a women’s collection. In the meantime, what we’d love to do  is collaborate with a women’s brand and incorporate our brand into their already built platforms,  something like a D9 Hellz Bellz or D9 Dimepiece, We could do these capsule collections until we have a strong men’s foundations and are able to completely focus on women’s design.

Fall Collection Preview
Fall Collection Preview

WOULD YOU CONSIDER D9 RESERVE TO BE AN URBAN BRAND?

It’s tough to categorize us, we’re not even sure. Is it urban? Is it street wear? Is it street couture. We feel that as long as we make the clothes, being in a category will eventually fill that gap. Whatever consumers want to label us under, be it urban or street wear. Personally, I have my own opinion of where I want to be, but I can’t do that. You make clothes and let them be where the consumers want them. We aren’t a street wear brand, we are a clothing brand. We embrace all culture, so we don’t leave anybody out. Another one of our motto is as long as we make sweet clothes, everything will fall into place. It’s the mentality we keep with our design team, we are in our own lane, we don’t want to compete with the street market, the crooks and castles, diamond, huff, I mean all these brands 10 years ago who I contributed to, they all have their own lane, a niche market brand. In the beginning I wanted to be in that lane, but as we started to create it, I have been focusing on creating our own lane, representing our own vision.

And we’ve had some celebrity recognition as well. Ne-Yo, who doesn’t smoke, embraces us. Method Man, Red Man, Snoop Lion, are wearing it. It’s a very broad lane for us and we’re excited to not pigeonhole ourselves. We are just gonna do what we do and let the rest fall in place.

WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN YOUR FALL COLLECTION?

A higher level of fabrics, and what we call comfort fashion. That is where the market is driven, through comfort fashion. On a day-to-day basis they want to be comfortable, and at nighttime they want to swag out. This D9 Fall 203 collection, we have the luxury couture, we have the fun comfort fashion with different types of sweats and cuts in fleece, different techniques to mimic a higher end look. A lot of wax coating, leathers, a lot of stuff with fleece, satin, quilting patterns. So there is a little bit of everything in this collection. Our original goal is to capture 3 markets: lower end, middle end and top line. This year we tried to get a little bit of everything for everybody, but if you look at it definitely looks like street couture.

WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND D9 RESERVE ON LINE?

You can find us at www.D9reserve.com plus we have Instagram at @D9reserve, along with our Facebook page. We have over 500 retail locations that carry our brand, along with showrooms in Los Angeles, Texas and New York. I think that this year we are going to be able to triple our production and add more partners to help take this brand to the next level. You know, not just be a t-shirt company but really drive a big engine. Because at the end of the day, if it don’t make money, it don’t make sense.