Three culture heavy influence young men decided to come together to create a movement the hip hop game is slowly beginning to recognize one item being made at a time. Now their main target is the mainstream fashion industry.
The brand known as TIER has been making some noise in the fashion game lately. Young innovators Nigeria Ealey, Victor James and Esaie Jean-Simon decided to use their creative minds to collaborate on a invigorating project that continues to blossom one day at a time. Along came the birth of TIER, a upscale clothing brand that was created to express individuality and creativity for the consumer who not only is into the influence of a name brand but has a huge passion to the culture of hip hop. Three years into the upstart of the brand and it has already made major noise as platinum recording artist Big Sean has been sporting their dad hats collections. In addition, they was able to gain a fan in the trap music phenom DJ Esco as well as Grammy nominated recording artist, Desiigner. The Source was able to receive the opportunity to interview Nigeria and Victor and had a intimate conversation about the evolution of fashion along with personal goals they would like to accomplish with the brand.
The Source: What was the premise of TIER? How did this idea came about?
Vic: It was a pretty much a idea that Nigeria was talking about starting a clothing brand and mentioned to me about wanting support in a aspect of creating its own identity. But the name and the logo came into place through myself and Esaie (one of the other co founders). It was pretty much building off the next person vision and all of our ideas came together and thats what started the birth of TIER.
Nigeria: I remember the beginning process of starting this brand like yesterday. So the first day I ever spoke about TIER, we were all sitting in Vic’s bedroom and we was just brainstorming about certain ideas. For those that don’t know, we have a unique background in the world of art, animations and design. Vic attended LaGuardia High School to major in art, I attended Long Island University for Computer Graphics/ Media Arts and Esaie excelled in the usage of Photoshop and creating innovative graphics as well. We all had our own sense of personality and style when it came to art. So I had the idea to create a clothing line. I had a couple of previous images from jackets I always wanted to design. So we just came up with the brand that caters to our style, which is well dressed men that introduces individuality and art into the world of fashion. In addition, we wanted to share our love and joy in buying the flashiest and most stylish clothes in which we been doing our whole entire life. As a result of that, we thought of the idea of why not making our own clothes. We know what’s trending, we know what’s hot, we know what people in our demographics would like because we are so in tuned with fashion and its culture. We believe that the art of fashion can be used as a way to express ourselves the same way other people as a passion for sports such as basketball or boxing or in music or writing. That’s basically why we created the brand.
The Source: Since the birth of TIER, what influence the brand has on the fashion world today? What potential do the both of you see the brand has to blossom in the fashion game?
Vic: It’s fairly a fresh brand. We only been in existence for 3 years. It’s been doing relatively well. We would definitely want to extend our brand’s influence and exposure overseas. I feel like the buzz is at its highest point right now. We just have to continue to keep producing and give the people what they want. We have ideas everywhere; under our sleeves, under our shoes, under our hats. There’s a lot of things enstored for the future of TIER.
Nigeria: I would say from where we first started to where we at now, we definitely have made a influence on the way the people around us dress and the way we even dress ourselves. A prime example is myself; I used to like wearing designer apparel whether it’s Balmain, Alexander Wang, or Givenchy but now I am more in tuned into wearing my own stuff. I don’t have to go to top designers to look nice because I have that fashion sense that I know I can make stuff that fits my character along with my style. I can rock it and feel comfortable not having to worry about people inquiring about my outfit when people can see it and know it’s my brand. People know that I am the face of my brand. I am producing clothes that can make people give compliments, admire it from far and even purchase them. As well as it affected me as a person, I know that we can go certain places and the public can recognize dope items I created such as the hats, the jackets and strongly believe that it’s fly and its cool. Just to get that recognition from strangers is just a amazing and accomplishing feeling because I know how far we cam from when we first started when it was just myself and my friends only rocking our clothes. It feels good that I can walk into the city, walk into a different borough, walk in a different state, and see a person I never met before rocking my clothes. It’s a major thing and hopefully it continues to grow and grow. In the 5-10 years, we see ourselves as being a even bigger business than what we are now and we can expand our brand that just not only making shirts, jeans, hats but jeans, formal wear, lifestyle wear, bags, and dresses. We don’t consider ourselves caged in as one box even though we do consider ourselves as a upscale urban brand. There are brands that have their classifications and sizes to it. There’s brand like Bape and Bape Black, Ralph Lauren then its RRL. They’re under the same umbrella but their are two different dress lifestyles so that’s where we see ourselves.
The Source: In speaking of exposure, what notoriety your brand has received?
Nigeria: Over the years, we have gotten a lot of brand exposure and I will say the first big brand exposure we had was when I went out to Los Angeles and a good friend of mine by the name of Tokyo who had her own clothing line by the name of Drift NYC was collaborating with a designer by the name of Lau, which owns brand called Lau NYC to create a pop up shop. They had included us into their pop up shop which so happen to fall on the weekend of the BET Awards. It was pretty big due to the fact celebrities and athletes were out there. DJ Esco and his DJ, Joiyce sported a couple of my clothes during his shows. We create a custom made army fatigue TIER jacket for Grammy nominated artist Designer. Most recently, Big Sean been sporting our dad hats but we don’t necessarily aim to get our brand out to celebrities because we know everybody is not going to like our stuff. Some people are determined to get their brand out to celebrities aiming to attract the public eye into believing that their stuff is hot. We aim to giving our stuff to celebrities who we feel inspire us to become as creative as who are right now along with influencing our life in terms of our taste in music. We would give it them ton as our token of appreciation in which in return, they like it which makes it dope for us.