MB Exclusive with Fashion Designer RicLamar
Who is Dutch RicLamar? Hampton Roads’ bold and uniquely spirited designer sat down to give us an exclusive peek into his world of healing, self awareness through fashion and what is next on his journey.
What inspired your current release from the Conglomerate?
I had two specific ideas. Beginning where I started with reconstructing which the world widely refers to as upcycling in an effort to push sustainable fashion. Having attended Hickory High school I wanted to show what it would look like for “Grunge” to be shown on melanin. Highlighting that grunge doesn’t always have to be dark. There can be a light within it. I titled it “Decon Recon” for Deconstruction Reconstruction. My additional segment I titled “Come as you art”. The mechanics in the make up within a human being really allow us to walk around as a piece of art. I wanted to show my point of view for what a glimpse into heaven may look like. I added masks in an effort to communicate “reflect what you want to see in the world”. In other words, Simply be a good human.
How do you approach creating a collection?
I work similarly as music artists do when creating an album. Their album is a body of work that they release when they feel led to do so. That album can then be remixed, reworked and even added to make it a deluxe edition. I don’t cater to a particular season. My next album or body of work, so to speak, is called Dearly Departed. It's the act of killing off everything around you so you can focus on where you need to go.
I’m heavily influenced by music. My vision of what to make doesn't come from the visual of seeing fabric but rather what I hear while interacting with it. This is also how I learned how to sew. I prayed, put on music and asked for guidance on what to make. In “Come as you art” I heard the musical tribute to Kobe Bryant sung by Jennifer Hudson written by Donny Hathaway. When she said, “For all we know we will never meet again” followed by the Lord’s prayer. It was a “wow” moment for me and all I saw was heaven.
Take me through your creation process?
I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2019. That same year I was dealing with my mental health and a break up. After multiple hospital trips over the span of a year I woke up one day and stopped everything. I wasn’t able to operate as my true self. It also came through in my designs. Fashion began to be a job to me and not something that I love. I remember doing a show and not presenting what I felt was my best work. There were people who loved it. Those that really knew me were honest enough to recognize otherwise. I started my healing process by taking care of my health. I also took the time to be single and be still. I was always on the go. My heart suffered for that but in the moment I wasn’t still enough to realize it. I killed the person off that everyone expected me to be. I realized I don’t need to move at the speed of light. I don't have to be Superman. I could be Clark Kent and operate in that space within my capacity.
In 2022 I asked myself, “What do you actually want to do?” I realized that I really do love fashion. My “Decon Recon” segment took you through my emotional representation of this. It was chaotic, unfinished hem lines but it looked cool. It was me. Existing within the world but really falling apart. “Dutch” and the persona had taken over everything. For this, Kendric really suffered. I needed to find the balance. This meant taking time and not just looking for the next thing.
What does self-care look like for Kendric?
It looks like taking a pause. Being okay with the thoughts in my head. Sitting in the peace of the moment. It's saying no and using it as a complete sentence.
How do you measure your positive progress now?
I’m still figuring some of it out. Staying true to myself, taking on projects that mean something to me. Maintaining healthy boundaries. Now I put the behind the scenes work and education in for myself. Learning to make new things and pushing myself. It's a new journey.
What do you want our readers to know?
It’s okay to start over. The same way I do with my clothes. Take that thing apart that you aren't happy with and make it again. It’s okay. There is nothing wrong with that.
As not only a Fashion writer but educator we teach students daily how to navigate this new world. It's our contribution to helping them recognize what they confidently love and how to pursue it. We call it “Stand in your style”. What would be a piece of advice you would give them?
Simply put, college isn’t for everyone but training is. Your plan doesn’t have to be concrete. Go in the direction of your interest and find out who is doing what you want to do. Socialize and network within that space. Make those important relationships.
What do you want your future customers to know?
I want them to familiarize themselves with my work. Does my work resonate with you? Those I take on as a client should recognize that I am “not just making clothes”. If my work aligns with them they can feel free to contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org
A Birthday Rebirth
What is next for you on this journey?
I’m hosting RicLamar Fashion event in time for my birthday. I look forward to seeing everyone dressed up and the evening will feature fashion segments. March 31-April 2nd. All information can be found on my website. www.Riclamar.com