Let Me Transform You... Newark Fashion Designer Tamil Robinson
And speaking of great opportunities, Newark Fashion Designer, Tamil Robinson migrates to INTERRUPTED Blog Spot for a spell.
It doesn’t matter how many times Robinson is in interview, answering the same dull, never-ending and relentless questions. Honestly, all journalists have identical and mainstream interrogations. That is, until we find our comfort-zone and genuine interest. Just so’s ya know, I was curious about Robinson off the rip. This guy--this prominent designer laughs and has a tête-à-tête as though the subject we’re speaking about (him) is foreign. Dude, is so laid back that it’s almost startling. Tamil was actually finalizing fabrics, and doing a run-through for his “Spring Affair” AMIAT Fashion collection that he was presenting at the New York Fashion week on September 12, 2015, which was two days away from our initial hob-knob.(In case you’re wondering, the Devil Wears Prada is soooo misleading). Robinson was humorous and unwrapped the entire time. He has an unassuming nature, which is totally bizarre when you consider who he is and what he’s done for African Americans in the fashion industry.
Tamil Robinson, born an inventive highflyer, started out like many inner city youths. He voyaged through grade school with high ambition and an artistic outlook on everything. Robinson’s aspirations landed him right in the Newark Fashion Institute of Technology and it was there that he became fascinated with colors and patterns. Some people just have that imaginative discernment—people like Robinson.
Robinson became a master airbrush artist. He’s combined textures, intense colors, and abstract designs for years while creating one inimitable style for the modern man and woman. In other words, you can’t duplicate his textile apparel even if you tried.
Now, the thing about Tamil Robinson is that he’s also an uncompromising worker. He lived in China for two-years, just to get concrete methods from the different cotton, and silk, textile labs. Really, this goes beyond Google search and the standard two-years in college. Dude, is relentless when it comes to perfecting his brand. Passion precedes him…
This guy is HUGE- When I say huge, I mean, “KING KONG AINT GOT NOTHEN ON TAMIL.” You may recognize Robinson’s brand in the NFL and Major League Baseball. Robinson has an official Major League Legacy 42 MLB License, and in addition to an NFL License. PRO Bowl Players and celebs like
Jay Z, Usher, Tom Brady, and Michael Strahan have worn his gear. His zip–away warm-up pants and jackets became universal and a high demand item in the NFL. If landing his trademark in the NFL and MLB wasn’t enough, Tamil is also principal artist at Tamil Robinson Media Group. Like I say, Tamil, although a heavy-hitter, is one remarkable being. Speaking with him one-on-one was a pretty awesome experience:
So what are you dishing up for New York Fashion Week? Oh, wow! I’m offering fresh new and bold colored textile patterns from your traditional name, but I originated them from my own concept. There will be paisleys, plaids, houndstooth, and polka dots. I originated them from my logo. They’re traditionally textile made, but they are versions of those patterns throughout my textile collection. I wanted to make something different because every designer uses the same type plaids or houndstooth in their collection, and I wanted to create my own library, which makes me stand out. Coming from a background of art and design, and classically trained as an artist, that helps me with the rest.
How important is it to incorporate those components, stand out, and be that first to have that untapped market of clothing? Well, it’s very important to me. Especially me being an African American, and coming from the Urban area of where I came from. Many people don’t respect that and I would have to be extremely talented and different. I felt that a dress is a dress, an a-line dress, or maybe a long dress, those are silhouettes that you really can’t recreate the wheel, but you have to add to it to make it different. And being that I had the artistic ability, I had to create those textile patterns first before moving into the apparel. So, that’s very important to me so I can standout and be a big name designer.
How does that make you feel to be involved with the NFL? Even though you might be competing, no one else is doing that. Even though there’s competition, and that whole element of coming into Sports license for so many years, I was able to hone in my talents, and expand that into high-end fashion. But I was able to bring in the color blocking, the radiation fade, and the NFL Pro Bowl Jerseys. That actually came from fashion elements. That derived from my thirty years of airbrushing. I’m commemorating my thirty years in airbrushing during fashion week. You’ll some of that too.
How were you able to pull off the media group and be that top-notch designer? Well, Double XXPOSURE Media Group, they embraced my talent pretty much from knowing where I come from. They would exude that whole story and put it out there while I’m able to be in the lab and create the creations that I do.
Very briefly, can you elaborate “where you come from?” I’m actually born and raised in New Jersey. Being talented helped me put all the Urban negativity that I could’ve been in, behind me, and use my talents to create all different types of creations. I was artistically trained like that. It helped me stay out of trouble.
Do you stay with one color or do you like to mix and match? I love mixing colors. You know, like I said, I’m an air brush artist. I’m a master airbrush painter. I love mixing colors. You’ll get to see some of that on the runway. I’m a risk taker when it comes to that because some people are afraid to do that especially designers. I’m definitely a risk taker cause I love different colors and blending them and color blocking them. Even if I’m not blending them, I try use different accents to what pops. So, if it’s fall, I’ll use that light color sorter in the background as a nice cerulean blue and I would maybe undertone that with a chocolate brown or something like that. In the summertime, I would bring that blue out, which you’ll see on the runway for Spring Summer 2016, and then you’ll have the brown hues in the background. So, I do mix color a lot.
What is your safe haven color, your most comfortable color? The safest color for me is what we created called the AMIAT blue. If I have to put it in the regular consumer terminology, it’d be like a sky-blue. It’s sorta like a cotton candy, pastel, but still has that hard edge to it. So, if a guy-guy wants to wear it and he needs to feel a little sporty, I can put that color on him. We have a beautiful melon color that we created in the lab, and you’ll see it on the women’s wrap dresses as well as the guy’s shirts. So, the pattern that’s on the wrap dress, you’re going to see that same button-up shirt on a guy.
What do you want to leave with other designers that’s doing what you’re doing but having a hard time cause their background is like yours? You know what, with that being said—they really need to stay focused. I definitely encourage them to travel to other countries cause I felt like staying in the industry, I started feeling like I was in a box and got too corporate. When you get too corporate, you’re gonna lose the creativity. So, I would advise you to stay as creative as possible and stay out of the box. Travel, explore, and absorb different cultures. But, yet, be proud of your culture and where you come from. You are very confident when you hold your head up high. That talent or that extra talent you need, that applaud, or that extra applaud you need, or anything that you need to succeed will come out when you’re true to yourself and where you come from.
What’s your favorite place that you’ve toured your clothing line, and they loved it? I’d have to say Shanghai, China, and Japan. I previewed over there a few years ago. They started loving the way I do denim and producing my own style. I’m making my way over to Cayman Island, and we’re breaking ground there.
What else do you want to share? Come out if they can. Go to the site and view the show. It’s been over twenty years and I’ve been behind the scenes, and I’m actually coming out to do interviews and things like that. We have a Motown type of feel that we’re doing with the TRG brand. You’ll see Iconic on the runway and PCA. Like the corporate companies on 5th Avenue, we wanna do the same thing but with a Barry Gordy, Motown situation. I don’t come from where those corporations come from. They already have money. We built this from the ground up just like Barry Gordy did. And that’s the story we’re getting out.
You said you wanted it to be like Barry Gordy, but how important is it to brand your own company? It’s very important. You’re branding an image, and in order for me to be accepted in the industry, as a big name designer, I had to come out with a unique textile library. I had to come out using my artistic ability which normally a designer doesn’t have. I can do water colors, I can paint, wash, tint the ink. I can do that without a computer. So, branding helps the collection and the longevity of what we’re building.
CAROLINA TALK: My family’s from North Carolina, says Tamil. “Yeah, all over North Carolina, everywhere. Fayetteville, Durham, Nashville, Laurinburg, Rockingham, and Hamlet, all over,” he chants comically. “I spent every summer there as a teen on that farm. I was born and raised in Newark but every summer, my mom would take me right after school. That’s probably the reason I didn’t get in trouble as a kid cause as soon as school was out, I was down there on that plantation. I was down on that farm and we were growing cucumbers, we grew tobacco and all that stuff. We had corn. I remember hanging tobacco on a stick and putting it up in that little thing. The technology took over, there’s probably robots there now,” he laughs.