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FREEDOM REIGNS in the fashion industry

Think of everything you know about your typical men’s clothing line; such as the standard colors and designs we see on the shelves of our favorite department stores; now forget about it. Forget about the standard solid plain underwear and active wear that you’re used to and introduce yourself to Freedom Reigns; not your typical tighty whitties kind of brand.

The creation of Curtis Stallard, who was born in San Diego, as well as his partner Sam Castro, originally from Guanajuato, Mexico, has taken inspiration from flags of leading nations and incorporated them into their line. They’ve done this so they can develop some killer eye-catching color combinations that set themselves apart from the competition.

Freedom Reigns started as a company producing graphic T-shirts, and grew into a collaboration that also included making underwear to coordinate with the T-shirts. That combination turned Freedom Reigns into a high-end sportswear company that produces briefs, T-shirts, tanks, jockstraps and even long-johns.

When speaking with these fashion nuts, it was clear that profit was not their top priority; instead, they feel as if they should help the country be stronger by providing the strongest, most positive phrase on their garments: “Made in the USA.” They also provide their clients with nothing more than the best of the best and have built a brand out of their name that exemplifies American quality fashion.

Fashion freaks that enjoy comfort and quality from a local designer can purchase Freedom Reigns clothing at Mankind, 3425 Fifth Ave. in San Diego.

San Diego LGBT Weekly: How do you see Freedom Reigns place in the market, design wise?

Curtis Stallard: I see our designs as men’s athletic, trend setting underwear and activewear. We like to use the construction of each piece to emphasis and enhance the body. Our lines most distinctive features would have to be the exposed construction and its asymmetry.

Besides the pride and domestic benefits of being made in the USA, what else is a benefit on keeping production local?

Having the ability to see each stage of the manufacturing up close and in our factory, is a huge plus. You can be sure that one of us checks on the production every day; this couldn’t be done if our product was produced overseas. Of course, it is much harder to have your own factory and it is hugely more expensive in everything from labor and factory costs to actual material costs, but in the long run it makes a difference in our products and it is worth it. We both want to always be proud of who we are as people and the products we produce.

What drew you to fashion and to start your own fashion line?

We’ve both always been interested in fashion and, while traveling throughout Europe a few years ago, we first designed graphic T-shirts, which were mildly successful. Then, we started designing underwear to coordinate with the graphics on the T-shirts. These were not very popular and we almost discontinued underwear all together. However, we decided to take a new angle for the company, one based on our heritage as a company. As all our products are proudly made in the USA, and both my partner and I are very athletic, we took the company to a more athletic American sportswear feel. This goes for all our products whether they are briefs, T-shirts, tanks, jockstraps or even long-johns.

Where do you get your design inspiration?

Everywhere! If you’re in the fashion business you should never shut your eyes, except to sleep. Whether you are in the street, at the airport, on the beach, in the city or the country, you never stop seeing and feeling what is going on around you. Fashion is not for people who wear blinders throughout life.

What is the best perk of being a designer?

Simple; traveling the world for “inspiration.” It’s awesome!

What do you wish people would understand about working in the fashion industry?

It’s extremely fast-paced. You finish a season and then you have to start on the next season immediately. It makes your life go by hyper-fast.

What trends do you see emerging that you believe will be the next big thing?

I think the trend of asymmetry that we started last year is catching on with other designers and should prove to be popular next season. Anything that is not Goth. I think the last nail is in the coffin for the gothic/tattoo printed T-shirts, à la Ed Hardy and Affliction. For us, Dry-fit and Olympic sport stripes are something that we will be using a lot of next season, both in underwear and activewear.

What do you wish you had known before entering the fashion industry?

Not to stock items until you have sold the buyers on the samples; if not, you end up with hundreds of items that you might love but that buyers aren’t going to order.

Besides your own designs, what brands/styles might one see in your closet?

Both of us have mostly Italian designer’s: D&G, Prada, Gucci with some ES Collection from Spain and Dsquared from Canada. I would have more American designers if they weren’t mostly made in China or Malaysia.

Where might we find you shopping for hot new styles?

The streets of West Hollywood in L.A. are always a show. Sometimes you see someone and you think, “What were they thinking when they put their outfit together.” But, then you look it over again and it strikes something in you and you go, “Hmmm, great idea.” Sometimes, it’s the color combination and other times it will be the combination of items or both. Also, the Pan Pacific Park by the Grove is good for seeing athletes in action on the basketball courts and the football and soccer fields.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to start a career in fashion?

Try and find a mentor in the business, who can help be a soundboard for your creativity with tips for business. Fashion is artistry, but it is also industry and business. To succeed you need both the creative and business aspects together, not something most designers have a sense of. Except of course, the Ralph Lauren’s of the world.



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Posted by LGBT Weekly on Jul 19, 2012. Filed under Entertainment Feature. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

2 Comments for “FREEDOM REIGNS in the fashion industry”

  1. [...] FREEDOM REIGNS in the fashion industry Tags: entertainment feature, favorite department, inspiration, tanks, typical men, underwear [...]

  2. Nice direction in men underwear. Looking forward to getting a few pairs.

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