Durham, North Carolina is known solely for sports, depending on who you ask. However, the small but vibrant city is now becoming a creative hub for young entrepreneurs in fields that range from visual artistry and music to fashion. One clothing brand in particular is Outsiders Huddle that aims to teach its consumers to “Embrace Yourself or Die Someone Else.” Founded and creative directed by Rasheen Kenion and Octavious Richmond, the unisex streetwear came to fruition in 2013. The creative duo currently has four collections: Rose Gold Theory, The Wild, $umma Nights and their most recent namesake collection, Outsiders Huddle F/W 2016.
These collections include staple items such as snapbacks, muscle tanks, t-shirts, sweatshirts, flannels and camouflage jackets that feature their signature emblem ‘OH’ in melting typography. I was able to interview Rasheen and Octavious to learn what sets them apart from the competition, how difficult it is to curate an upcoming brand from scratch and most importantly, what’s next for Outsiders Huddle.
KUWK: Tell me about the Outsiders Huddle team. How many individuals are behind the brand? Who pushes the business side of it?
OH: There’s only two of us, Rasheen Kenion and Octavious Richmond. As far as our design process, we usually create things together. We feed off of each others ideas. That goes for the business side as well.
KUWK: Oftentimes it is difficult to collaborate and effortlessly combine ideas. When you guys decided to be partners, how easy or difficult was it to find common ground and finalize pieces?
OH: Honestly, it’s never that difficult to decide what to put out. If we do disagree on something, we will always find a way to reach common ground. For example, if one of us has a design and the other person doesn’t like it, we’ll just continue to recreate it until we’re both satisfied.
KUWK: Are or were either of you in school for design or any fashion-based program or just self-taught?
OH: No, we didn’t go to school or take any particular classes. We’re pretty much self-taught and learning through trial and error.
KUWK: Do you think it will be more difficult to be successful, because you lack “formal” education and training?
OH: No, because I feel if you’re passionate about something and really believe in what you’re doing, you’ll find a way to make it work, no matter what education and knowledge you have.
KUWK: You voiced your frustration with brands looking similar on Instagram by stating “It’s hard shopping at the mall now…all [of] these brands look the same and it sucks, because they get more recognition.” What sets Outsiders Huddle apart from brands currently sold in popular chain stores like Urban Outfitters and Forever21?
OH: What sets us apart from other brands is the way we go about creating our clothing. We approach every piece as if it were a piece of artwork to be hung on a wall, which means we want people to feel a certain way when they see our clothing…we really like creating meaningful pieces, but don’t get us wrong, I’m sure we’re going to create things that just look cool and has no meaning at all.
OH: We look up to Jerry Lorenzo of Fear of God, because he is very true to his style. Everything he creates, you can tell he takes his time to make sure everything is perfect and high quality. Jerry also gave some clothing to the homeless, and his merchandise isn’t cheap. So that definitely says a lot about his character! We’re also inspired by Virgil Abloh of Off-White. Virgil is just a trendsetter. He’s very creative with his clothing, and he isn’t afraid to take risks.
KUWK: Public School collaborated with J. Crew back in 2014, and H&M collaborates with a high fashion label annually. If given the opportunity, who would be an ideal label or store to collaborate with?
OH: Nobody specific. As long as it’s a natural connection and their brand compliments ours and vice versa.
KUWK: Would you guys be willing to uproot and move to New York City as it is the mecca for many successful fashion related endeavors, or do you plan on remaining in Durham and maybe open up a brick-and-mortar?
OH: We would love to go to New York and be recognized on a bigger platform. We want to be a global brand, and going to New York would be our best shot at that, but we would also love to have our own store in our hometown. So we would say doing both would be pretty good accomplishments.
KUWK: What’s next for Outsiders Huddle?
OH: Just to keep progressing, creating and working with dope individuals such as yourself.
In the meantime, check out the Outsiders Huddle F/W 16 lookbook and follow the brand on social media.