KEEM : LEARN HOW THIS DESIGNER IS PAVING THE WAY FOR HIS COMMUNITY
“I’m only hiring felons. You have to be a felon to apply to my store, sorry if you decided to be an upstanding citizen. The world tells you if you make a mistake you don’t deserve a second chance and I'm in a position to give people second chances, so that’s what I’m on”.
A few years from now you’ll probably be purchasing ByLambos’ latest collection in his new retail space located in Brooklyn, but for now we’ll have to enjoy his interactive pop-up shops that embody the nostalgic house parties that have yet to be re-created.
ByLambo creator, Keem has been an innovative creative since he was a child running the streets of Flatbush. His latest collection, Bklynciaga has already dominated the New York fashion scene. At the moment there are about 4,000 Bklynciaga hoodies, and t-shirts floating around New York, this is solely based on his authenticity and reliability, his work shifts the paradigm much like the historic retailer Vinnie Styles.
No coincidence that Vinnie’s approach to retail and clothing inspired the ByLambo creator. He has elevated from an admirer and shopper to having his collections be exclusively sold through Vinnies. Although it is his hangout spot, it is also a place where he acts as a sponge to the surrounding knowledge of the fashion industry.
“For a bit I thought matching died with our era” Keem says. “We used to make sure our sneakers, laces, belts, and shirt were color coordinated and we were proud of it, then it slowly just became a dated trend, it wasn’t cool to do that anymore.” He recalls sitting at the register one day and watching a young man come in the store with a sneaker box. As the customer pulled out his sneakers to see if the colors were identical to the shirt he’s been eyeing, Keem realized he needed to go back to the drawing board, shift his focus to consumer behavior instead of trends and continue to draw inspiration from what he knows very well, his audience.
Traveling has also allowed Keem to remain motivated in producing quality clothing. If you follow him on Instagram (@lambokeem) you will see the various ways that he uses the scenery he experiences to inspire upcoming collections. “No matter what collection I’ve come up with or what part of the world I’m taking a picture in, I want it to always feel authentic. I want my audience to always remember i’m just a young man from Flatbush at the end of the day who put the work in and made something out of nothing.”
ByLambo and its supporting brands defy the odds. Most things are done on a whim, when the feelings and ideas freshly merge. This is not a generic brand with a plan, seasonal collection, price mark-ups,and fashion shows, which probably can be attributed to his upbringing. “The young men in my hood who are just as impressionable as I was now have different things to look up to,” says Keem. “ I come from a heavy gang affiliated neighborhood, and my big homies told me early on that I didn’t have to do all of that shit that they were doing.” Realizing he had a gift and a talent they let him know there’s a bigger plan for him. “They always told me I was different and that they needed me to do better than them, they needed lawyers, doctors, and wanted people to actually benefit from what I was doing, not the opposite.” He continues, “I had talent and my job was to put the homies on.”
That message stayed with Keem and has set the foundation behind opening his own store in the near future. “I’m only hiring felons. You have to be a felon to apply to my store, sorry if you decided to be an upstanding citizen. The world tells you if you make a mistake you don’t deserve a second chance and I'm in a position to give people second chances, so that’s what I’m on”.