Here at QG, we take pride in highlighting designers that embody our credo, our belief that one can channel their exceptional talents to succeed in anything, with a bit of tenacity. There are few artists that fit this mould quite like Fashion Designer, Octavius Marsion and Celebrity Choreographer, Director and Brand Designer, Jamal Sims. They joined forces in 2014 to create GROOM, a full-service tuxedo lounge for grooms and groomsmen that is the exact equivalent to the best bridal shops. Their beginnings as a brand was marked by a historical moment at the 2014 Grammy Awards in which the two designers married during a performance of “Same Love”, by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Madonna. With their razor-sharp tailoring and business acumen, GROOM is bound for a meteoric ascent in the world of men’s fashion. Learn more in our exclusive interview below!
QG: What inspired both of you to start GROOM?
Well it was definitely our Grammy 2014 marriage and how we had to do everything for ourselves because it wasn’t a lot of things out there for not only 2 men getting married, but 2 men of color. It made it that much harder to find things like cake toppers etc. Me, being a designer, I sprung into action to make our tuxedos, and that was the Oprah Winfrey “Aha” moment that made us think that we could be the pioneers to cater to the men’s side of weddings, red carpets, and special occasions. We quickly realized there was a void in the market, and that void was to help men jump up to speed as far as fashion and grooming was concerned, and we could possibly be the leading experts for them.
QG: What keeps you two motivated?
We are not only husbands, but the best of friends. We wake up every morning motivating each other, because not only is starting your own business tough, relationships themselves are tough. So, you have to make a conscious effort to live each day the best you know how.
QG: What does your brand represent?
Our brand represents being bold, being authentic, and being inspiring.
QG: Whom are some your style inspirations?
Vivienne Westwood, Rick Owens, Marc Jacobs, and Tom Ford to name a few.
QG: Octavius, where do you feel most creative?
I’m a night owl with a photographic memory. I may sound weird, but I remember details about peoples faces and inspirational places I’ve visited and they come back vividly to me at 2 or 3 AM in the morning, so I always keep a sketch pad beside me.
QG: Jamal, if we were to look in your closet at home, what would we see?
I love sneakers and shoes! My guilty pleasure is buying shoes and if I love them, it doesn’t matter how much they cost. So in my closest you will see many shoe racks.
QG: When did you guys realize that you wanted to join forces to start GROOM?
Well we have always wanted to finally work together in some capacity because we are ready to start a family of our own. With our own business, we can hand it down to our children, and spend even more quality time together as a family once we start.
QG: How would you each define your personal style?
With both of us, we consider it to be modern and classic, with a touch of street style at all times. We believe in mantra of staying bold, and that always means in our style as well. If we feel good about it, its always the right thing.
QG: What did you draw inspiration from for your current line?
Our first tuxedo collection was inspired by the men of color during the Harlem Renaissance era. We actually even affectionally named most of our tuxedos after men like Cab Calloway and others.
QG: What advice would you give to someone who would like to start a fashion business?
Start small, and stay tough. It sometimes take a lot of patience, and a lot of mistakes before you start to feel successful.
QG: When you guys are not working and are at home, what are some of your guilty pleasures?
Contrary to our social media pictures, we love being home on our couch watching foreign films, and spending time with our close friends for dinners etc.
QG: With much success with your brand, what’s next for you guys?
Jamal: Well I am moving into directing films after spending 25 years in the entertainment business as a choreographer, as well as using all of my creative skills to help take our company GROOM to the next level, which our dream is to some day have a full brick and mortar store not only in LA, but all the major cities.
Octavius: I will continue to push the limits of menswear and fashion to make our brand, even though made in the US and as an African American designer, a brand that can compete with other brands including international that have been around for ages. We are the new kids on the block, but the big kids on the block.
Checkout GROOM online and Follow on social media @GroomOfficial