Up-and-coming street style: Genesis Meech
Norton Massamba is the creator of Genesis Meech, a up-and-coming streetwear brand out of Birmingham. Modelling its vibe off brands such as Supreme, the new label is seeing a lot of growth in US and given the restricted stock of each season, it's starting to become a sought after label in its own right. Here to talk about the label, its vision, and its Genesis, is our conversation with Norton.
What inspired you to go into fashion?
Growing up, I would see my parents who always loved fashion buy from these beautiful brands and through this I gained admiration for fashion too. I would watch documentaries on the lives of established fashion designers such as Tom Ford and dream of being where they are now.
Do you find inspiration from those brands?
I get inspiration from the way they started and where they are now. Looking at labels like Supreme that started from home, and then became these huge multinational brand, greatly inspires me.
Why is your brand called Genesis Meech?
Because it serves as an escape from depression. Before I started Genesis Meech, I went through a period where I was really low. I didn't see anyone, I wasn't happy and knew I needed a new start. I was coming up with the name of the brand, and then came up with Genesis, a new beginning. I added Meech as I was my own boss.
What was one of the most difficult parts of establishing your own brand?
One of the hardest parts, which I'm still facing now, is that we don't have a platform for young entrepreneurs to express themselves. Especially being in Birmingham, which is not particularly known for its fashion scene, makes it difficult to market yourself.
Where are most of your clients based?
Around 75% of my clients are based in the US.
How have you gotten people in the US to notice your brand?
I'm always on social media and reached out to bloggers in the US who spread awareness about me. Some will charge for it, whereas some just love my brand and will give me a shoutout for free.
If you could describe your brand as a type of music what would it be?
Describe your typical audience?
I don't want to discriminate a certain group by specifying. If you think my brand suits you, wear it. For now, my brand is for everyone.
What inspires your design process?
Honestly, everything. The other day, I was drinking coke with a straw and accidentally splashed some on the white table cloth, but the splash mark turned out so beautiful. So I bought paint and a few hats and tried to recreate the splash. I posted the caps online, and within 2 hours I already had multiple orders.
On your website you describe how you strive to keep your prices low, why is that?
I wasn't brought up in a rich family, I come from a low working class household. We always had food on the table, but growing up, I would have never been able to spend £200 on a shirt. I am keeping my prices low as I want young people, like myself, to be able to buy my designs. When I showcased my first collection last summer, I had over 100 orders, but still kept my prices low - I also didn't produce more garments; I didn't want to make my brand too accessible. If you didn't manage to buy anything from my collection, you had to wait four months for the new collection to come out.
Isn't that quite a risky strategy?
It definitely was. But I am confident in my product, I know no one is designing clothes like me. It's a risky game, and making people wait like I did can make them forget about you, but you just have to be confident.
Your favorite design of your current collection?
I love all my designs equally.
Do you wear your own designs?
When I just started, I didn't as I didn't want people to realize that I was the person behind the brand.
Why did you not want people to know you are behind the brand?
I don't think it's necessary. I like to be humble and watch how people reach to my brand.
I noticed your garments are unisex. Was this on purpose to make a fashion statement or for convenience reasons?
At the start, I made my brand unisex as a lot women would ask me to design a womenswear line, so I decided to make the brand unisex so I wouldn't single them out. Plus, in terms of promotional purposes, women on social media typically have around 75% of their followers being male, so when a girl posts my clothes on social media and a guy sees it, the sale comes back to me. I dont want to say that sex sells, but girls do play an important role in promoting my brand.
Who do you want to wear your designs?
Jay Z and Kanye.
And any females?
Where do you see your brand going professionally in the next five years?
Every season, I set goals for my brand. For the next five years, I want to be realistic with my goals. If I keep doing what I'm doing now, I would like to be selling in stores like Footasylum next year.
The biggest problem you've faced so far?
Dealing with the finances. Each collection depends on how the previous one did. If my Autumn Winter collection does not sell, I can't make my Spring Sumer good.