How Somniis plans to diversify the fashion industry

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Hampton University senior Stanton Ridley has been designing clothes since he was in high school. Now, during his senior year at Hampton, his clothing brand Somniis has become promising. (Phillip Jackson//The Hampton Script)

Phillip Jackson | Web Editor

It was during his freshman year when Stanton Ridley (also known as Stanton Jordan) started strategically establishing the quality of his clothing brand Somniis.

Now, at at the age of 22, and working as the creative eye and leader of the luxury Menswear and Womenswear clothing brand, his interest in various types of fabrics have allowed him to become a young, but innovative designer during his senior year at Hampton University.

The four scratches in the Somniis trademark design was started by Ridley while in high school. He found it as a way to describe who he is as a designer. “It’s a reminder to myself, to keep myself humble, and to remember where I started,” Ridley said. “I want people to feel a certain way about it, I want them to have their own interpretation to it. But, at the same time, keep in mind who I am as a person, and as a designer.”

The clothing brand is contemporary and simple. It’s crafted in a way to converge street wear clothing and haute couture into one style. Ridley has successfully set a standard for his brand at an early on is his design career.

The summer 2012 launch of the brand was when Ridley began getting experience in the art of design. His website and look book that showcases the Somniis clothing highlights the quality of the brand.

Not only does he focus on crafting sweatshirts, classic t-shirts, or jackets—he also includes projects for Kite and A-line dresses in his recent work. Ridley said he really started to see the brand having potential during his sophomore year in college.

He had a lot of requests from his hometown in the State of New York. Once his work began to cultivate more traction, everything became more promising. “That kind of validated me. Now it’s a matter of capitalizing on it,” Ridley said.

Ridley also knows the environment he is getting himself into. In 2015, a New York Times’ story on “Fashion’s Racial Divide,” reported that of the 260 designers at New York Fashion Week that year, only 4 percent of them were black.

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Stanton Ridley, creator of Somniis menswear and womenswear clothing. (Phillip Jackson//The Hampton Script)

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Consistency is the foundation behind Somniis.

The simplistic lettering, the creation of the clothes and the distribution of the brand is Ridley’s way of trying to help his customers understand who he is as a designer.

“Well that’s one of the most important things with a brand, is to be able to have an aesthetic,” Ridley replied. “So, as a designer and as a creative director, of anything not just fashion, but art in general, it has to be parallel like people have to be able to see.”

With his collections, Ridley’s product is a reflection of what he sees himself wearing. It’s specific to his eye and creativity, which helps his brand stand apart from many other young aspiring designers.

“I always keep what I like in collections and in pieces that I drop,” he said. “I just wanted to be experimental, I didn’t want to bring anything that people are already doing. I like to push the envelope when it comes to the design itself.”

Ridley works as a fashion designer similair to how a painter works as a creative director. He says that in order to be a great designer, with a quality product, “You really have to live in that field,” and that he spends a lot of times looking at thousand of images a day on the computer.

He describes fashion and creative directing as a “psychological game.” His brand and how it is distributed to local students and other customers is what he believes has helped his clothing business stand alone. As the brand of Somniis continues to expand, Ridley believes that his talent will also.

“What I don’t want to happen is, God to give me a gift to design stuff, and I’m dormant with it,” Ridley replied. “I want to bring quality clothes, with strong messages behind it.”

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