Hello everyone! Wow…it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Welcome to Cultures Clothing’s 2012 Year End Wrap-Up! 2012 has been the most successful year for Cultures Clothing by far, so I wanted to take the time to recap some of the highlights of the year!
My first major accomplishment of the year was getting the brand new culturesclothing.com up and running! Just to give you a little backstory, my mother originally purchased my domain name and hosting for the site in May 2004 as a graduation present. At this time, I couldn’t afford to pay someone to design a website for me, so I tried to teach myself web design…which was a long and strenuous process. I eventually got a functioning website onto the internet, but it was filled with flaws and bugs…and I wasn’t really happy with the overall layout. I wanted to create a sleek new website that incorporated my online magazine, so I knew that I had to change the whole set-up of the site. The only issue was that I was just entirely too busy to work on a new website, so I hired my oldest friend in the world, Jason Barbour of Advertise It Media to build it for me. Three weeks later (in late January of 2012), I had a functioning website that I could be proud of. Here’s a collage of screenshots of the site:
I was really proud of the new features that we added onto the site. I have a brand new section called “Cultures Facts”, where people can click on a flag, and learn facts about the culture associated with that flag. I also installed a forum, where people can come and discuss topics such as art, fashion, sports, music, politics, and more. Finally, I added a new section onto the site called “Customers Wearing Cultures Clothing“. This is a gallery that I added that features all of the pictures that people have sent me of them wearing their Cultures Clothing purchases. Your support means so much to me, so I created this gallery as a way to show my appreciation to all of you. Here’s a link to the gallery:
Soon after I got the new website up, I recorded a video where I did a live painting! I had the song “Wings” by The Union ft. Elzhi stuck in my head during the process, so I painted while I listened to the song on repeat and recorded the whole process! Check it out! The people that made the song retweeted this video and gave me props for it!
Next up was perhaps the most important thing that I did all year. I was trying to think of a way to raise money to get Cultures Clothing mass produced, and I found out about a site called Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a site that gives you a platform to raise funds for your various projects and creations. I decided that I would use this platform to take my clothing line to the next level:
Here’s a video and summary of what the campaign was all about:
Cultures Clothing Kickstarter Campaign Video:
So my goal was to raise $5,000 to get my clothing mass produced. The only problem was, I had 8 weeks to raise the money. If I didn’t reach my goal by the end of the campaign, the money would be refunded to all of the donators. Kickstarter does this so that people don’t raise a portion of the campaign money, and then spend what they got on things like groceries because they didn’t reach their goal. It makes sense, but it made my life a little hectic for those 8 weeks. So I went out and did some major campaigning. I felt like such a politician, because I started handing out flyers on the street…striking up conversations with random passers by to try to raise more money. All of my hard work paid off though…because I reached my goal with one week still left to go in the campaign!
As a way to thank all of the people that supported the campaign, I did a celebration dance and lip syncing video with my college roommates to “5 Minutes of Funk” by Whodini. I then showed pics and video clips of the people that supported me over the years, and shouted out all of the donators at the end of the video. People seemed to really enjoy it!
So now that I raised the money from the Kickstarter campaign, I had to go about getting the clothing mass produced. I designed the tags, labels, and taping for all of the clothing, and gave the manufacturer samples as a guide for how to produce the T-shirts. Originally, I was going to try to get everything from T-shirts to dresses to polos produced with the money from the campaign. However, I underestimated some of the production costs for making these items. So I decided that I would produce the T-shirts first (since they are the easiest product to move), and then use the proceeds from the sales to get the rest of the clothing produced. That way, I would be flipping product, spreading the brand name, and raising production funds for the more expensive items all at once. I decided to start out with 5 T-shirt designs for the men, and 5 for the women…and I put them into production.
As I waited for the products to come back from the manufacturer, I was contacted by Gerald Lawson of Dhengi Brand about participating in a Philly Clothing Brand Cypher onJuly 12th. The purpose of this shoot was to show unity between all of the talented independent clothing brands in Philadelphia. As soon as I heard about the shoot, I put out an open invitation on Facebook and Twitter…asking people to come out and wear Cultures Clothing for some solo and group shots. It was great, because a ton of people came out to support! A special shout out goes to my mom, my sister Kharisma, Kristin, Alessandra, my cousin Stanley, Dora (and her mom), my aunt Angie, Tali, Matt, Angel, Bill, Christie, Barry, Jaleel and Marcel! Here are some of my favorite Cultures Clothing shots from this shoot:
Left to Right: Dora, Stanley, Kristin, Christie, Bill, Alloyius (me), Alessandra, Angel, and Matt
Left to Right: Alessandra, Alloyius (me) and Kristin
Left to Right: Kristin, Alessandra, Alloyius (me), Dora, and Christie
Left to Right: Mom, Stanley (cousin), Kharisma (sister), and Alloyius (me)
After I finished taking shots with the Cultures Clothing crew, it was time for all of the label owners to shoot together, so I went and joined the group. Here is a list of all of the brands that participated in the Philly brand cypher (in alphabetical order):
-Draccir & Crew
-IbnMajid Clothing Co.
-Kings Rule Together
And here are some of the group shots with all of the designers:
Photo by Julian White Photography
It was awesome to see this kind of unity in Philadelphia. This was the first of the Philly Brand Cyphers, but we did another one later on in the year to showcase our fall/winter fashion.
Soon after the Philly Brand Cypher, I came across an image from the post-production of the SADIE WEB SERIES by Nicole Agostino, whereZigg Harris(accompanied by Alyssa Kempinski) is wearing the “Guy Fawkes: Revolution” shirt!
I provided some wardrobe and art for the series, and even had a cameo appearance on the first episode! I saw an update that Nicole just posted, saying that the web series would be up within the first half of 2013. I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished product!
To See More From The Sadie Web Series Please Check Out The Links Below:
Then, I got what was undoubtedly my biggest shock of the year. One day, I was trying to take a nap…but I couldn’t go to sleep because of the constant buzzes coming from my cell phone. After the buzzes didn’t stop for an entire hour, I decided to try to pry my eyes open to see what all of the hubbub was about. As I turn on my phone screen, I see about 1,000 text messages telling me that I was Tosh.0 (Comedy Central). My first thoughts were “why in the BLUE HELL was I on Tosh.0? Oh no…did Daniel Tosh make fun of me about something?” LOL! As it turns out, Tosh was doing a piece about Kickstarter for his show, and he used a clip from my Kickstarter campaign to show what it was. He kind of makes fun of Kickstarter in general for a bit (and makes a few snide remarks about the people that use it lol), but then he goes on to say that Kickstarter does work, so he decides that he’s going to start his own campaign (to become the world’s first trillionaire). It was a pretty funny piece. The great thing about this was that this episode has played at least a few times a week since it first premiered! The clip itself was only about 10 seconds, but my logo has been seen by millions of viewers since the episode started running! Here’s a snapshot that my aunt took on her phone of my brief cameo. If you guys want to check out the episode itself, it’s Episode 12 of Season 4. You can probably find it online, but I bought it on iTunes for my collection haha:
The exposure from the Tosh.0 cameo was great! Because of the cameo, the costume designer from an up-coming movie called “Charlie, Trevor, And A Girl Named Savannah” requested some items for the characters to wear in the movie! There are some big-name actors in the movie, and I have some pictures of the actors wearing the clothing, but I’m not allowed to post the pictures until after the movie premieres lol.
Ok so I finally got my clothing in from the manufacturer, and it came at just the right time…because I was invited to sell my clothing in a store called Impact Boutique(located at 644 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147). Impact had it’s grand opening on September 14th, and I was there to personally sell my items to the customers. I took a picture of myself in the mirror before the store opened because I was wearing one of the brand new Cultures Clothing “Guy Fawkes: Revolution” T-Shirts:
And here’s what the clothing looked like on the shelves…complete with the tags and labels!
Cultures Clothing’s “Guy Fawkes: Revolution” Shirt on the Shelves
Cultures Clothing & Dhengi Brand on the Shelves
It was really heart-warming, because a lot of familiar faces came down to the store to support me. I have to give a special shout out to Tali, Steve, Kenny, Erin, Turquoise, Chris, & Ike for coming to the event and showing love! Here’s a picture of Tali playing window mannequin while wearing of the Cultures Clothing “I Love Hip-Hop” T-shirts:
Tali Playing “Cultures Clothing Mannequin” in the Window
Comedian Michael Blackson (of “Next Friday” fame) also came down to the store that day! He was a really cool, down to Earth guy…and he supported Cultures Clothing by showing off his brand new “I Love Hip-Hop” shirt!
Some of the customers that bought T-shirts wanted me to autograph the shirts! One of them said, “it’s not often that we get to buy a shirt in a store from the actual designer”. I was so honored!
Photography by Brian Hunt
I had another big event the very next month after the store opened. I decided at have my first art show on October 26th! I was just sitting in my office one day, looking at the pile of my completed canvases, and I said to myself, “why don’t I showcase these things instead of just piling them in the corner”?
Art is something that I’m compelled to do, so I created about 30 new paintings just because I had to get the creativity out of my system. I had all of these new paintings available, so I figured that it was the perfect time to put on a showcase! I called it “Spraypaint & Ink Pens: Alloyius Mcilwaine’s 1st Art Showcase”, and I held the show at the same boutique where I was selling my clothing.Here’s a picture of me looking exhausted after I finished setting up for the show:
And here is some video footage of the art show, courtesy of David Bey & Bey Filmz:
Looking back on this year, I created a lot of new artwork…
So I figured that I should highlight my top 5 favorite painting that I created in 2012:
1) “Orlando Shrooms” by Alloyius Mcilwaine – I called this painting “Orlando Shrooms”, because after I looked down at my finished product, it looked like I had taken some drugs before I started painting it (which I DID NOT LOL):
2) “Party All Year/Month/Week/Night” by Alloyius Mcilwaine – I like this painting a lot because after I finished it, it reminded me of an abstract version of “Where The Wild Things Are“.
3) “I’m Sorry Dorothy, But This Is Not Kansas” by Alloyius Mcilwaine – This is one of my favorite paintings because it was one of the first pieces that I did while experimenting with a tan base and using a more minimalist style.
4) “All At Once I Stepped Out Of A Dream” by Alloyius Mcilwaine – It wasn’t intentional when I first started to paint (especially since I freestyle the majority of my paintings), but it seemed like I was channeling Picasso a bit for this piece.
5) “Lost In The Maize” by Alloyius Mcilwaine – I just thought that the colors came out brilliantly in this piece.
Ok now on to the last of the big events that I participated in this year. I can’t remember whether it took place in late October or Early November, but we had another Philly Brand Clothing Cypher featuring fall and winter wear. Here are a few of the pictures from that event:
L to R: Dhengi Brand, Cultures Clothing, IbnMajid Clothing Co., G.E.E.K. Clothing Inc., and IbnMajid Clothing Co.
Me and Khaleel (Nerdleel) of G.E.E.K. Clothing Inc.
And between November and December, I did two Cultures Clothing Photoshoots with two lovely ladies, Elizabeth Chang and Noel Monzo. Here are some of my favorite pictures from those shoots:
Elizabeth Chang – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine:
Noel Monzo – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine
Before I wrap-up this article, I’d be remiss if I didn’t count down my Top 5 Favorite Photography Captures of 2012. After all, I did do 20+ photoshoots this year lol. So without further adieu, here they are:
1) Ginger Coyle Magazine Shoot – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine: I absolutely love this shot. I did a photoshoot and interview with signer/songwriter Ginger Coyle for this magazine about 4 or 5 months ago. We did the photoshoot on the top floor of Tattooed Mom on South St., which is completely covered in graffiti. It gave the photo a really nice texture.
2) Ginger Coyle Magazine Shoot – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine: Man, I was really on for this shoot lol. This is another one of the shots from my shoot with Ginger Coyle. What I love about this photo is that it has the softness of a Marilyn Monroe pin-up photo…and it has an edginess as well because of Ginger’s tattoos and the background graffiti:
3) Angelina DiFrancesco’ Cultures Clothing Photoshoot – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine: I love this picture because Angelina is gorgeous, and the background colors are vibrant and complimentary of the outfit
4) Angelina DiFrancesco’ Cultures Clothing Photoshoot – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine: This is one of my favorite pictures because it combines three of my talents: I did the photography, the graffiti in the background, and of course I created the outfit as well.
5) Alyssa Everk’s Cultures Clothing Photoshoot – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine: This is probably my favorite color headshot that I’ve taken. Her eyes are so crisp that you can actually see me taking her picture in them. I also love the warm tone of this pic.
That’s it for this 2012 wrap-up edition of “What’s New With Cultures Clothing”. Thank you so much for riding with me for another year. I hope that you guys are with me for the long haul! 2013 promises to be an even better year than this one! Until next time!