The Midwestern Menswear Designer Looking to Break Through The Yeezy Wall: New Face, Fresh Style
For stylist and emerging menswear designer Terrence Haynes Jr., creating his second ready-to-wear brand without a team fuels his desire to build a successful indie brand and lay the foundation for a line consumed by a "clean" ethos.
The debut T+H (pronounced T plus H) collection is titled T.E.A.M. which stands for Time, Energy And Money. “Who you spend your time, energy and money with is the importance of this collection. If you check out the lookbook, each piece is shot in a corner, and I wanted people to understand that currently, I’m still able to create something beautiful and real without a team,” says the recent North Carolina A&T graduate. Adding that although he took two years off from producing clothing in-between his two lines, he figured out his new label’s current creative direction after living in Atlanta, assisting a stylist in Los Angeles and working at Mr. Porter in New York City.
Deeply inspired by streetwear, the Spring-Summer offering, which just wrapped pre-orders online, has a functional-meets-Yeezy-like vibe with it, and is filled with plenty of upgraded basics in monochromatic hues, athletic stripes, and hand-sewn embroidery. “My aesthetic is finding that perfect middle ground, between streetwear, high fashion and contemporary wear,” says the 25-year-old. Other garments from his nine-piece collection include a black satin bomber jacket with a collar ($400), a French terry cloth gray hoodie with a continuous white stripe from sleeve-to-sleeve ($250) and drawstring track pants available in navy, gray, or white ($225).
In between design sessions, Billboard Style caught up with the rising talent from Bloomfield, MI. about bringing Detroit's hip-hop and fashion culture to Los Angeles, the significance of Virgil Abloh disrupting the Fashion Week circuit, and more.
Your clothing line is inspired by growing up in Michigan. When people think American fashion, usually, Michigan isn’t the first place that comes to mind. How can your home state be felt in your label?
It's funny you say that because it’s what I want people to feel with my brand. The clothing is important, but when you look at it as a whole, I want you to feel the authenticity and feel how raw and real it is. It will probably take three to four collections before someone understands everything about my brand and defines it.
Describe the energy of the Midwest.
For my area, we’re clean and flashy, but not loud. If you think of someone from Harlem they're flashy and loud; you hear them, and you see them. Someone from Detroit might have that same appeal, but you feel it more than hear it.
Walk us through your debut T+H collection.
It’s titled “T.E.A.M.” which stands for time, energy and money. Who you spend your time, energy and money with is the importance of this collection. At our baseball stadium (home of the Detroit Tigers) you have tiger statues all over, but when you get deeper into it, the tigers on the shirt also represent me. The other tiger is a reflection of myself, and underneath it says “teammate,” which means be your own teammate. It’s important to bet on yourself because you’re the only person you really need to get moving.
I'm all about being clean, so the white button up shirt with T+H embroidered on the center back is a must-have. I would say the full-length raincoat with an oversized hood is one of my favorites because it's different and cool. The stripes represent a sports team, and it's in the (Detroit) Tigers colors. Everything I've created has a streetwear feel to be it, and I also give people great t-shirts because they're an essential for me. I didn't want it too simple where if I ever show at New York Fashion Week, I want to have enough of an elevated name to keep it clean.
Who were you listening to while creating this line?
When I started designing, it was during March Madness so Future’s 56 Nights mixtape, Young Thug's Slime Season 3 mixtape, Dom Kennedy from L.A. and definitely some Nipsey Hussle. Finishing up the collection, I played a lot of Tee Grizzley, and Doughboyz Cashout whom are from Detroit. I've connected with a few of them, and I'm going to support anyone from Detroit as long as it's solid and not some corny shit.
What's your favorite part about being an emerging menswear designer right now?
Honestly, I think people are becoming more open to allowing more unusual fashion that isn't normally seen on the fashion weeks runways. By letting Virgil Abloh in, it potentially means they can let me in. As a small brand, I design each collection during the season, so Spring-Summer was created during Spring and Summer months, and I like that I can do that. Also, e-commerce allows me to have total control over everything.
Who's your dream musician to dress?
For some reason, I really want to dress YG. I’ve always liked him since he came out and he seems willing to do a lot style-wise. Young Thug is another one.
So, what's next for your label?
Autumn-Winter ‘17 is coming in October and it’s titled T.E.A.M. Volume Two. I’m introducing denim and it’s going to show me building my team. The brand is a non chronological timeline of my events in my life. It all revolves around things that have happened, are currently happening, or will happen in my life.
What’s your daily uniform?
Ooh, I do have a uniform! I'm a very monochromatic guy and do denim with either a black, gray, navy or white shirt with a black denim jacket. I wear mostly pieces I've created or picked up from ACNE or Uniqlo. I'll switch it up with my shoes and go for either (Nike) Air Force Ones or (Adidas) Stans. I'm a very clean, classic guy, so you won't catch me doing too much. And then, of course, my Cartier sunglasses.
What's your fashion pet-peeve?
Trends. I make what I like, and if you don't like it nor understand it, then it's probably not for you. I hate when people conform based on how trends are changing. There's only one person who can decide if something is cool and it's you. I can't get down with trends and how much fashion changes. You don't need to throw away your whole closet because of trends changing. It means you have no style.
Who's the most stylish musician in the game right now?