Fashion + Interview – Lemar & Dauley–Clothing Line
Established in 2003, Lemar And Dauley has methodically bridged the gap between the United States and the bourgeois influx of innovators around the world. The secret to the success of L&D, is its ability to dig into the toy chest of American culture to transcending into universal avenues while careful not to downplay the social implications of popular history. Major highlights for L&D include collaborations with corporate bigwigs Adidas and DC Shoes, and features in Vibe, Complex and The Fader magazine.
Arize sat down with the creators of Lemar & Dauley to give you a better glimpse into the makers of this unique clothing line.
Arize: First off, where does the name 'Lemar & Dauley' come from?
That's a good question, because we actually created the brand name by using our middle names of both mines and a friend. My middle name is Lemar and his was Dauley.
Arize: Self described as 'The one true American success story', how did you go from being two young students launching a t-shirt brand to being sold internationally (US, Canada, Japan...)?
There are a lot of factors that got the brand to the point where it's at in 2008. Established in 2003, we had a vision that we developed daily. It took researching tradeshows, learning design programs, communicating with the design community and factories about manufacturing and distribution. But most important, reinvesting prior season's sales back into the company for growth.
...I believe coming from a city like NY, which is the mecca of both competitive basketball and HipHop allowed us to receive a direct association with both cultures...
Arize: How has being a NY native helped you set your label apart from others?
We incorporate a lot of music and athletic influences into the brand aesthetics, so I believe coming from a city like NY, which is the mecca of both competitive basketball and HipHop allowed us to receive a direct association with both cultures. We attached our up-bringing and used our daily surroundings, friends and experiences within the city as the basis of Lemar & Dauley's initial brand story.
From a business standpoint, NY is the media capital, so it served an immediate asset in creating press and marketing to all channels of entertainment. It was our backyard.
Arize: This new collection of tees is reminiscent of high school days in the 90s; got any good stories behind how some of your fave prints came about?
Most of the designs we create stem from what goes on in our life. For example, we were listening to Public Enemy while working on a side project and the impact of the music inspired the full bleed "civil liberty" t-shirt as well as the " Neighborhoods are Poor" t-shirt. We created a series of t-shirts under the "Canal Street Booster" series, just because we saw all the knockoff bags on Canal St and grewup around boosters who stole from MACYS and Bloomingdales while growing up in BK and Manhattan.
We mash our experiences into our ideas. That's what makes the brand authentic and creates a lifestyle that our audience relates to. We visualize what they grew up around or often heard about.
Arize: Who creates these prints?
My partner Manhattan and I create all graphics, although I generally design the chest prints while he specializes in the graphic patterns. Ultimately, he organizes the identity of each season so that it is an extension of the season prior, never a departure.
Arize: Your lookbook has some fly personnalities for models. How'd that happen and why these people?
The personalities in our lookbook make it for a few reasons. Besides being individuals that we maintain a daily contact with, they are usually local celebrities in their neighborhoods, whether it be Harlem, the Bronx, Upper West Side, Lower EastSide, Soho or BK neighborhoods. They are intellectuals, artists, musicians and entrepreneurs.
People should pay closeattention to these individuals because many are already shaping either the sound of music we are being introduced to and the art we are consuming. We are fortunate that Lemar & Dauley is so well respected that they are willing to show support to the brand off a phone call.
The personalities in our lookbook make it for a few reasons....They are intellectuals, artist, musicians and entrepreneurs....
Arize: You' ve got some great projects coming out with Adidas, DC shoes, Kid Robot. Did you look for new canvases to leave your mark? Or did these collaborators come to you?
It's a mixture of both. As artist first, we are always looking to extend our hand, but fortunately each ofthese brands approached us. With each brand we attempt to create an object of desire, which leaves the mark of L&D without compromising the roots or history of the brand we are collaborating with. We recently released the Lemar And Dauley x Adidas footwear and are finalizing a new project with DC Shoes. Both are completely different brands who seeked our ability.
Arize: How was working with Milkcrate? Did it inspire you to go beyond Tshirts and maybe design garments?
Aaron is our people and definitely an inspiration to myself, when establishing a clothing line as a young entrepreneur starting out. He is a pioneering DJ of the Baltimore club scene as well as one of the first individuals to establish a "streetwear" line, when there was no term to label this culture. We met about 5 years ago, and decided that we needed to come hard, so we developed this stadium jacket. It sold out immediately. We might bring it back, due to the demand, so look out for it.
Lastly, look out for
Arize: Thanks for sitting with us.