BOSHOK is a cultural streetline that launched in 2011, out of the back of a car in Tucson, Arizona. The brand is celebrating its 5 year and has received some major celebrity co-signs from Wale, Y.G., Drizzy Wright, Rae Sremmurd and more. We spoke with CEO and Founder, Victor Umeh.
Read below as he discusses the challenges with starting BOSHOK, tips on starting a clothing own line and the meaning of BOSHOK.
Growing up, did you know you wanted to be a designer?
No, definitely not. I don’t really even consider myself much of a designer now. I more conceptualize the designs and work with designers to create my concepts.
Where did the name BOSHOK come from?
Nas. On the intro to Stillmatic he said “I still run with that Blood Of a Slave Heart Of a King”. I love Nas and what he stands for, so that phrase always stuck with me.
Explain how you birthed BOSHOK?
I was in search of a cultural streetwear brand that was fashionable and relevant in 2010. All I could come up with was FUBU which had been out of the urban fashion scene for a minute. So I decided to come up with my own brand.
You started BOSHOK in Tucson, Arizona. Was it difficult to start your clothing line without having the resources of a major city?
HELL YEAH! I mean there were so many things I had to learn about selling. Even the concept of pop-up shops and doing vendor events. I didn’t even know about a lot of those things until I moved to DC in 2012. Tucson was an uphill battle not only because of it not being a major city but also not being an urban market. Hard to sell “cultural streetwear” when you are in a non-cultured environment.
With Fashion being such a forever changing and revolving trend, how do you keep up with “what’s next”?
I think the key is being able to make your mark so you don’t have to chase trends. Fashion recycles like crazy, so chasing after each trend is a never-ending struggle. I think the brand I aspire BOSHOK to be is one that sets the trends rather than follows them.
How does music inspire you with creating and designing?
Music inspires me a lot in my everyday life. I have phases where I only like to hear certain sounds or genres and maybe 1/2 artists from another genre. Especially, when I’m in a creative space trying to conceptualize for a collection or release. I would say afrobeats, reggae and hip hop are 80% of the soundtrack to my life and the brand. I think I hear songs and visualize what and how I would want to look in that space and then try to create it.
Your clothes have been worn by celebrities like Wale, Y.G., Drizzy Wright, Rae Sremmurd. How did you feel the first time you saw it worn by them?
I think the first time I ever saw Wale rock the brand I totally tripped out. First he’s Nigerian. Second I always liked him as an artist and he’s someone I envisioned the brand resonating with. When I saw him rocking it, it was kind of like that stamp of approval. I remember, I was at the gym and my homegirl had tagged me on a photo he had on Instagram, I just stood there and tripped out for a minute before calling my partners.
For someone who is trying to launch their own line, what tips do you give them in order to launch a successful clothing line?
Just get started and learn along the way. Take time every 2-3 months to get in deep thought and evaluate your moves and what’s working and what’s not. Bookkeeping and effective analysis/tracking is an ESSENTIAL part of long term growth in this business. You want to have solid foundation or it will come back to hunt you when you are ready to scale.
What is the cultural message behind BOSHOK?
Be proud of who you are, where you are from and what you represent. And always remember you can start from nothing and make something of yourself. Blood Of Slaves, Hearts Of Kings.
BOSHOK is now in its 5th year. What can we look forward to in the future?