My favorite past-time has and will always be New York Fashion Week. The array of distinguished designers showcasing their creativity always left me with an indelible mark. Watching the Club Lapel fashion show did exactly that. As I watched the illustrious pieces cascade down the runway, I couldn’t help but feel inspired. Each piece that the men wore showed just how much attention to detail, Ackeem (designer behind Club Lapel) thought about. With each of his pieces redefining the man with words of affirmations stitched in, Ackeem’s collection reaffirms and amplifies the beauty behind our Blackness.
Although this particular show was at the end of NYFW, it is the first show where I felt enamored in wanting to write about Ackeem and learn even more about his brand. With his friends and family at the show, this close knit occasion felt intimate and gave me all the more reason in wanting to learn about Club Lapel. Continue reading on to catch an interview with Ackeem and learn about what it meant for him in starting Club Lapel and capturing the essence of empowering the Black man behind his luxury pieces.
Takemetotheheights: Can you tell the readers who Ackeem is?
Ackeem: “I am a serial entrepreneur from Brooklyn, New York. I went to Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn and studied information technology at Syracuse University where I later went to work for Dell and other smaller companies in the blockchain space. I currently own a real estate investing company and recently launch(ed) a luxury menswear brand called Club Lapel that looks to focus on dressing the mind, then the man.”
TMTTHS: How did you get into design?
Ackeem: “Being from New York, I feel fashion is engraved in us at an early age. I’ve always felt that style and fashion is an extension of someone’s personality and (I) always wanted to design something that would bring more of one’s true self out through clothing.“
TMTTHS: Why was it important for you to create Club Lapel?
Ackeem: “I felt that with Club Lapel, I can create a brand that could be a new staple household brand that did more than just focus on selling a product but crafting an inspirational brand experience that dresses the mind first, then the man.”
TMMTHS: What’s been the most rewarding aspect of having your brand?
Ackeem: “The most rewarding aspect of having Club Lapel is being able to add a level of customization to each product that gives it its’ own personality. Most times garments in the formalwear market are your normal black, navy and grey colors which have been the foundation but it’s been rewarding to step outside the norm and create custom vibrant colors and styles.”
TMTTHS: What’s been the most challenging?
Ackeem: “The most challenging aspect of having Club Lapel has been building the technology to accurately take each client measurements from their smartphone. As we know, technology continues to advance and we want to incorporate this component to our business to not only receive precise measurements as if a tailor took it but also being able to build 3D models so each client can see how the product looks on them prior to purchasing.”
TMTTHS: What are you hoping for in five years time for Club Lapel?
Ackeem: In the next five years, I am hoping to become a global brand offering a variety of custom products for men, women and kids that change the way they see themselves. I would love to be able to design multiple wedding projects as well that reshape the formalwear industry.
TMTTHS: What has launching Club Lapel taught you?
Ackeem: Launching Club Lapel has taught me that being an entrepreneur will require more hours that you worked in a typical 9-5. It requires you to have sleepless nights and a vision that’s bigger than what others and yourself can see. It has also taught me how inspiring each person’s story is as well.
TMTTHS: What are you manifesting for people in wearing Club Lapel?
Ackeem: What my goal for people that wear Club Lapel is a manifestation of abundance, love and peace of mind. Studies have shown that formal wear has an affect on the way people think and see themselves and I want to be able to create a positive and growing mental space with these garments.
TMTTHS: What’s one piece of advice you would like to share to any upcoming/full fledged designer?
Ackeem: One piece of advice I would share to any upcoming/full fledged designer is to shift their focus to not only how their design looks but how their product makes their client feel. A lot of times people may not remember all aspect of a personal, place or thing (product/service) but what they will remember is how they were left feeling after the encounter. If you can provide an overall memorable customer experience whether it be commerce or brick and mortar, you have the ability to create lifelong customers.
TMTTHS: Any last takeaways you’d like to share with the readers? If so, what would that be?
Ackeem: To never stop believing. You would be surprised to know how many folks you are secretly inspiring just by not giving up on your dreams.
Be sure to visit clublapel.com to shop luxury menswear.
Above all else, I’d like to take this time in thanking Ackeem in sharing more on his brand, Club Lapel with Takemetotheheights.