Row A Seat 1: When did you fall in love with fashion?
Mase of Rich Boy Cartel: Man, I was a late bloomer to fashion and the fashion industry. I was more into sports in my younger years, so I didn’t really get into fashion until I realized I wasn’t going pro in any sport, and all the homies that dressed fly was getting all the girls. So, I would say my early 20s when I got my first pair of designer sneakers (which were Gucci), that’s when I found my passion for fashion.
Row A Seat 1: Explain to us the story behind the company and the unique logo that is R.B.C.
Mase of Rich Boy Cartel: Everything about the logo was crazy. I had about 80 T-shirt concepts before I had a logo. Besides wanting something different and unique, I also wanted something that people would gravitate to and relate to as well. Upon watching the Chicago Urban Fashion brands, (new and old) I was really seeing everyone selling their logos so my whole philosophy of the brand was to push dope designs to make the people become familiar the brand. I had a few people sending me logos, but nothing really stuck and that’s when I realized I had to design it myself.
Then, I finally came up with the concept of making the horse form into the acronym of R.B.C, and I remember it was 1 artist/graphic artist (a big name person) told me it wouldn’t work. At that time, Michael “Dolo” Taylor (my close friend who has since passed) who was launching a new brand as well heard about my thoughts and pushed me to do the R.B.C in the shape of a horse… the rest was history. To this day, people still don’t know that it’s not a horse its R.B.C and that shit blows their mind! #horsepowergang
Row A Seat 1: How has Rich Boy Cartel contributed to the thread of Chicago fashion?
Mase of Rich Boy Cartel: There’s a lot of Chicago brands out now and I don’t knock anyone, but I feel like Rich Boy Cartel has made 1 of the biggest contributions to the Chicago fashion thread to date just by keeping the Chicago fashion scene relevant on a national stage. You know Leaders, PHLI, Fashion Geek, J. Boogie, Edward Ark and all those guys opened the doors for brands like Rich Boy Cartel to have a chance to be relevant so I’m not trying to just have the torch passed to me I’m trying to run away with that MF (lbvs). We are doing something that no other brand is doing in the city and that’s going to all the trade shows picking up more OT accounts and repping our city. And people are really shocked that we’re from the Chi with a product this dope!
Row A Seat 1: Congratulations on the groundbreaking success… Over 50+ retail stores throughout The States carry R.B.C – That’s a major key! What inspires you to hustle so tirelessly?
Mase of Rich Boy Cartel: When you’re from a city like Chicago, the motivation and inspiration to grind and hustle comes from so many different people places and things. I’ve been hustling my whole life so it’s just a natural instinct for me to get up every in the morning, praise GOD and get to the money. Everybody likes success, everyone wants to shine, but not too many people have that grind, that hustle or that will do what you need to do to win. My upbringing wasn’t all bad, but it damn sure wasn’t close to all good either. Seeing my children live and have a better life than I did that’s probably my biggest inspiration. I have a passion for taking nothing and turning it into something and just winning.
Row A Seat 1: Brick-and-Mortar vs Pop-up Shops…
Mase of Rich Boy Cartel: I’m a brick and mortar type of dude. Just from the start, I always wanted to be in hella doors (stores). Like it’s still one of my top goals to be inside doors all over the world. I’ll participate in pop-up shops even though I have never done one specifically for Rich Boy Cartel. I want a worldwide brand and I feel like a brick and mortar will push the brand even faster.
Row A Seat 1: I understand you frequent a number of trade shows per year. From your first trade show until current, do you think trade shows are losing their zest? Why?
Mase of Rich Boy Cartel: The world is steady evolving and growing, and the game is always changing. So with websites like Brand Boom and Social Media, it’s easier for stores to find brands, but the trade shows are more of the grind and originality of finding new brands and new stores. The shows are good, but as of now, I prefer the small shows like MWSS over Magic and Agenda.
Row A Seat 1: Tell us about the very first R.B.C shirt you designed. How was the response?
Mase of Rich Boy Cartel: As I said before, I had about 80 different concepts before I started the line, so I had a lot to choose from. I picked six concepts to start with, but one design stood out over the rest. So I pitched the T-shirt concept to my graphic artist and when he shot the graphics back to me I was amazed. That’s when Pablo Escobar skateboarding on a razor blade was created. I showed it to a few of my homies and some industry heads were blown away with the creativity and the overall statement.