DIRTY RAZKAL

 Dirty Razkal CEO/Designer, Jamal Momon

Dirty Razkal CEO/Designer, Jamal Momon

ENGLEWOOD, NEW JERSEY

WE RECENTLY CAUGHT UP WITH JAMAL MOMON, CEO AND FASHION DESIGNER OF THE DIRTY RAZKAL BRAND. THE SELF TAUGHT NEW JERSEY DESIGNER SEES FASHION AS, "ONE'S PERSONAL STYLE." HE FEELS, "THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT HERE THAT ROCK WHATEVER THEY SEE CELEBS WEARING AND THAT’S NOT FASHION TO ME." HE TAKES PRIDE IN HIS CRAFT AND BEING ABLE TO CREATE A PRODUCT THAT NONE ELSE HAS DONE BEFORE.

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VALIDATED: DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN YOU FIRST BECAME AWARE OF FASHION?

DIRTY RAZKAL: I’VE ALWAYS BEEN INTO FASHION, BUT BACK IN HIGH SCHOOL MY MOM COULDN'T AFFORD TO GET ME THE “COOL” CLOTHES, SO I ALWAYS JUST HAD TO MAKE DO.

VALIDATED: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BRAND?

DIRTY RAZKAL: I’D HAVE TO SAY A COMBINATION OF MY LONG TIME ADMIRATION OF FASHION, AND PHOTOGRAPHY WHICH I STARTED IN 2010. I MAINLY FOCUSED ON FASHION PHOTOGRAPHY AND THEN I STARTED A 9-5 IN THE CITY. I’D ALWAYS JUST WALK AROUND DURING MY LUNCH BREAKS LOOKING AT THE STREET ART, THE BUILDINGS, AND THE PEOPLE. ENDLESS INSPIRATION IN NYC.

VALIDATED: HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?

DIRTY RAZKAL: AFTER WORKING IN THE CITY FOR ABOUT 6 MONTHS I DECIDED TO JUST GO OUT ON A LIMB AND GIVE IT A TRY. I WENT BACK TO SCHOOL BACK IN ’08 FOR GRAPHIC DESIGN SO I KNEW HOW TO USE ILLUSTRATOR AND PHOTOSHOP TO CREATE DESIGNS. I STARTING GOOGLING A BUNCH OF WHOLESALE T-SHIRT COMPANIES, THEN JUST STARTING ORDERING SAMPLE TEES. I KNEW IF I WAS GONNA DO IT, I WANTED THE FABRIC TO BE RIGHT.

VALIDATED: DEFINE FASHION?

DIRTY RAZKAL: FASHION TO ME IS ONE’S PERSONAL STYLE. THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT HERE THAT ROCK WHATEVER THEY SEE CELEBS WEARING AND THAT’S NOT FASHION TO ME. THAT’S JUST A HYPEBEAST WITH NO MIND OF HIS/HER OWN.

 

VALIDATED: DESCRIBE YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

DIRTY RAZKAL: I GO AGAINST THE GRAIN ALWAYS AIMING TO CREATE SOMETHING DIFFERENT. I SEARCH FOR INSPIRATION IN THINGS I WEAR, THINGS I SEE IN MAGS OR IN STORES, BUT THEN I THINK ABOUT WHAT COULD MAKE THEM BETTER. THEN I GO FROM THERE. 

VALIDATED: WHAT MOTIVATES YOU AS A FASHION DESIGNER?

DIRTY RAZKAL: BEING ABLE TO CREATE PRODUCT THAT NO BRAND HAS EVER DONE BEFORE. I TAKE PRIDE IN THAT. IT’S EASY TO COPY, AND THE INDUSTRY IS WAY TOO CONGESTED FOR THAT.

VALIDATED: WHAT IS YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE, AND HOW DO YOU RELATE TO IT?

DIRTY RAZKAL: I’D SAY MY TARGET AUDIENCE IS 16-35. I RELATE TO IT MAINLY BECAUSE I’M STILL IN IT, BARELY LOL. BUT TO ME IT’S NOT EVEN BASED ON AGE. IT’S ALL ABOUT ONE’S PERSONAL SENSE OF STYLE. YOU CAN BE 45 AND DRESS LIKE AN 18YR OLD. SO IT’S MORE ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL, THAN AGE LIMITS.

VALIDATED: HOW HAS YOUR WORK EVOLVED SINCE YOU BEGAN YOUR OWN LABEL?

DIRTY RAZKAL: WHEN I FIRST STARTED, I DROPPED A FEW TEES, 2 HATS, AND A COUPLE VARSITY HOODIES. I BOUGHT A HEAT PRESS AND VINYL CUTTER SO I COULD MAKE MORE T-SHIRT DESIGNS WITHOUT HAVING TO MAKE LIKE 20 OF THE SAME DESIGN. QUALITY SUFFERED, BUT IT HELPED ME GET THAT START. SINCE THEN, I’VE GROWN A GOOD BIT. I WENT FROM JUST PRINTING ON WHOLESALE TEES TO DESIGN MY OWN TEES FROM SCRATCH. FABRIC, SIZE, SHAPE, CUT, EVERYTHING, I NOW DO THIS FOR ALL MY PRODUCTS, FROM THE TEES TO THE VARSITY JACKETS.

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VALIDATED: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR COMPANY?

DIRTY RAZKAL: START SMALL! I MAXED OUT MY CREDIT CARDS JUST SO I COULD MAKE IT LOOK LIKE I HAD A BRAND AND NOT JUST A T-SHIRT LINE, BUT MY SALES WERE SLOW SINCE NO ONE KNEW ME. TOOK A WHILE TO RECOUP THAT INITIAL INVESTMENT

VALIDATED: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG DESIGNERS?

DIRTY RAZKAL: SAME AS ABOVE, AS WELL AS KEEP THE DESIGNS FRESH. DON’T COPY WHAT THE OTHER BRAND ARE DOING JUST BECAUSE THAT’S THE CURRENT FAD. WE ALREADY HAVE TOO MANY BRANDS THAT DO THAT. WE NEED MORE LEADERS, NOT FOLLOWERS.

VALIDATED: WHAT'S YOUR MOTTO/RULES TO LIVE BY?

DIRTY RAZKAL: HAVE A PURPOSE AND STICK TO IT. IF YOU’RE BRAND REPRESENTS SOMETHING, DON’T EVEN LOSE THAT. I SEE TOO MANY BRANDS MAKING PRODUCTS THAT DON’T MATCH UP WITH THEIR MANTRA, ALL BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT’S SELLING.

VALDIATED: WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST DIFFICULT ASPECT OF GETTING YOUR BRAND OFF THE GROUND AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THAT?

DIRTY RAZKAL: MARKETING AND GETTING NEW CUSTOMERS TO GIVE IT A TRY. WE LIVE IN A TIME WHERE YOUNG PEOPLE NEED TO BE TOLD WHAT’S DOPE AND WHAT’S NOT. THEY’RE SO SCARED TO BE WHO THEY ARE. SO EVEN THOUGH I’D RATHER IT NOT HAVE BEEN THE WAY, WE WERE ABLE TO GET A FEW PIECES TO PEOPLE LIKE JUSTIN BIEBER, CHRISTINA MILIAN, JOE BUDDEN, BLACK INK CREW, CHARLEMAGNE, ERICA MENA, AND FEW OTHER TV PERSONALITIES, WHICH HELPED BOOSTS SALES AT THE TIME.

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VALIDATED: WHAT ARE TWO ASPECTS OF BUSINESS IN WHICH YOU BELIEVE A NEW BRAND SHOULD INVEST RESOURCES?

DIRTY RAZKAL: MARKETING AND SALES, BECAUSE WITHOUT THOSE, NO ONE WILL KNOW ABOUT YOU, AND YOU WON’T BE HAPPY WITH YOUR SALES. TRY TO FIND DIFFERENT WAYS TO GET THE PRODUCT SOLD BEFORE YOU EVEN SPEND THE MONEY MAKING IT. THAT’S STILL SOMETHING I STRUGGLE WITH TODAY.

VALDIATED: WHERE CAN WE GET OUR HANDS ON THE COLLECTION?

DIRTY RAZKAL: RIGHT ON OUR WEBSITE WWW.DIRTYRAZKAL.COM. WE’RE ALSO ON KARMALOOP AND A COUPLE SMALL BOUTIQUES.

VALIDATED: CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND IN THREE WORDS?

DIRTY RAZKAL: OUR MANTRA IS “CURVE THE RULES”, MAINLY BECAUSE WE’RE NOT HERE TO FOLLOW. I CREATED THE BRAND TO PUT OUT INNOVATIVE, QUALITY PRODUCT, AND THAT’S WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT.

VALIDATED: IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE PERSON IN THE WORLD TO WEAR YOUR BRAND, WHO WOULD IT BE?

DIRTY RAZKAL: PROBABLY KENDRICK LAMAR. HE’S THE DEFINITION OF WHAT WE’RE ABOUT. HE COULD EASILY BE MAKING ALL THIS TRASH TRAP MUSIC, BUT HE CONTINUES TO STAY TRUE TO HIMSELF AND THE MESSAGE HE WANTS TO PROVIDE TO THE PEOPLE. THEIR AREN’T MANY LIKE THAT LEFT.

VALIDATED: IS THERE A PARTICULAR DESIGNER WHO INSPIRES YOU?

DIRTY RAZKAL: JERRY LORENZO FROM FEAR OF GOD. HE HAS A WIFE AND KIDS LIKE ME, AND STILL MANAGES TO HAVE ONE OF THE DOPEST BRANDS OUT RIGHT NOW. PLUS HE REALLY CARES ABOUT EVERY PIECE HE CREATES. QUALITY IS ALWAYS ON POINT. PRICES ARE A LITTLE HIGHER THAN I’M COOL WITH, BUT I ADMIRE HIS WORK.

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VALIDATED: IS THERE A PARTICULAR DESIGNER WHO INSPIRES YOU?

DIRTY RAZKAL: JERRY LORENZO FROM FEAR OF GOD. HE HAS A WIFE AND KIDS LIKE ME, AND STILL MANAGES TO HAVE ONE OF THE DOPEST BRANDS OUT RIGHT NOW. PLUS HE REALLY CARES ABOUT EVERY PIECE HE CREATES. QUALITY IS ALWAYS ON POINT. PRICES ARE A LITTLE HIGHER THAN I’M COOL WITH, BUT I ADMIRE HIS WORK.

VALIDATED: DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PIECE FROM THE COLLECTION?

DIRTY RAZKAL: FAVORITE PRODUCT I’VE MADE SO FAR WOULD HAVE TO BE THE CHAMELEON HOODY WITH THE INTERCHANGEABLE HOOD LINERS AND MY FLIP PEAK PROPELLER STRAP BACKS. NO BRAND HAS EVER DONE ANYTHING LIKE THEM. I INCLUDE 3 LINERS WITH THE HOODY SO THE CUSTOMER CAN JUST ZIP IT OUT AND ZIP A NEW ONE IN DEPENDING ON WHAT THEY’RE WEARING THAT DAY.

VALIDATED: HOW CAN WE FOLLOW YOUR BRAND ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

DIRTY RAZKAL: INSTAGRAM/TWITTER: @DIRTYRAZKAL AND FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/DIRTYRAZKAL.

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VALIDATED: HOW CAN WE FOLLOW YOUR BRAND ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

DIRTY RAZKAL: IG/TWITTER: @DIRTYRAZKAL | FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/DIRTYRAZKAL

VALIDATED: HAVE YOU DONE ANY CUSTOM DESIGNS FOR CELEBS?

DIRTY RAZKAL: YEA I’VE DONE A COUPLE VARSITY JACKETS. ONE FOR FABOLOUS, CHRISTINA MILIAN, AND KARREUCHE. FEW YEARS AGO WHEN ERICA MENA WAS ON LOVE & HIP HOP I DID A CUSTOM BOOGIE DOWN BRONX TEE FOR HER.

Troy Hendrickson