How did you get into fashion?
A Shaw: Officially Shaw Originals Began about three years ago. I was sitting in a movie theater and decided it was what I was going to do, that was one of the last movies I watched. At that time I was concentrating on my graphix company, so it was an easy and well deserved transition.
Initially, where did the idea for Shaw Originals come about?
A Shaw: The conflict overseas, and the atrocities surrounding it all over the world. I see our community deteriorating and eating at each other. Our mentalities are very much consumer. Although I have a product there is a message behind it to create social bond.
Shaw Originals came into the fashion scene with a line of political T-Shirts. What political messages did they display and what was the communities reaction?
A Shaw: It just said Vote B*sh Out. But we sold it in the Hood. So we got the young people involved. Our youth are losing direction, It is up to the leaders to change the thinking. It is very easy to do so but we need to work together.
What kind of personal obstacles did you have to overcome in order to obtain success in the fashion industry?
A Shaw: I was in the middle off healing from a serious injury during the beginning stages. I don't see anything as an obstacle. If you want something you will get it our die trying. The lack of respect that men have towards women in the industry is staggering. I tend to not put up with it. I have to hire male representatives to work visibly, or I feel the sexism. I tend to stay away from people. If you want to call it a phobia.... do so. I have a phobia of small groups, I am very assertive and it is very hard to communicate with me for I will go on into long speeches... so I save myself... And speak to the masses... I am comfortable speaking to crowds even though I am very shy.
What is the thought process when designing and creating your pieces?
A Shaw: Ideas come to me. I am an artist all of my life. I use any medium, computer or paper. I am a perfectionist and I can notice the smallest detail flaw. I am very hard on myself, then I end up with a theme that I stick with for a time.
How much of your personal style goes into designing a collection?
A Shaw: I am a very plain person. I don't think my style is involved at all. I make what eye likes to see. It has nothing to do with what I would wear because I do not think about myself as much as I think about the consumer.
How involved are you in the designing process?
A Shaw: I am the designer.
Do you have an ideal "wearer" or do you feel that Shaw Originals can be worn by pretty much anyone?
A Shaw: I know that we are prominent in educational institutions, High Schools Colleges etc. Also on the street and the mass transit of NY. Our name... Shaw Originals in the street and on you.
How does Shaw Originals distinguish itself from other urban fashion lines?
A Shaw: I do not pay attention to most other clothing lines, although I admire some of the more successful houses. I have a company to run. I hope to be compared one day myself.
What else would you like your fans to know about you or your company?
A Shaw: We started out with DJs as our models, and It was such a great thing to be involved in. It changes as the fan base grows. I am happy to see younger kids, who are so discriminating, really love our shirts.
Do you have any fashion shows or other special events coming up?
A Shaw: We are one of the sponsors of the Justos Mixtape Awards tenth annual show, We plan on being a big part of the 2008 Million DJ March which was approved by the Nation of Islam as a positive ground breaking event to take place in Hip Hop. www.themilliondjmarch.com I will be speaking to the youth of Plainfield New Jersey in early December about Violence, work ethic and respect.
Which fashion designer do you look up to and have a lot of respect for?
A Shaw: I respect the business mind of Sean Combs and every successful person out there.
What does true fashion mean to you?
A Shaw: Fashion is what ever your choice is. Not the media's suggestion. The streets create the trend in major media. That hot "fifties" style was the normal way of dress in the "fifties" now its like an odd fabulous thing... Something you only see on TV.
Where can you purchase your clothing line?
A Shaw: All of the Sammys Chain in the Bronx, Victory 125th @ Park ave and several stores in NYC. If you one of the Bumsquad you can also go to www.bumsquaddjz.com/magazine. Also special order on the web site www.shaworiginals.com We customize. call 347 228 1743 for inquiries.
NYOIL, and A. Shaw will be appearing at the South Second Street Youth Center to speak with "at risk" Teens. The subject matter will be "Played for play" how the music industry plays the youth for the puropose of record sales. NYOIL will be bringing a production set up and the kids will get to make a song of thier own while learning about the song making process. A. Shaw will bring to light the importance of respect to elders and peers, to make known the deteriorating goals and work ethic in our communities are effecting our growth as a people. The event is free to the public.
December, 4 2006 at South Second Street Youth Center
935 South Second Street, Plainfield, New Jersey 07063