Interview: Intricate Concepts

If you’ve worn sportswear by Sean John, Phat Farm, Marithe Francois Girbaud, Avirex, DKNY, Champion, FILA, And One, Timberland, Joe Boxer, O.T.B. and the NBA?s new line UNK, then you?ve unofficially been introduced to INTRICATE CONCEPTS, the design firm behind today?s most successful contemporary fashion lines. Although their creations are worn by many, the faces and names of the five creative minds at the forefront of today’s fashion trends aren’t as well known as their designs. With the expansion of hip-hop fashion lines catered to younger demographics, Intricate Concepts has become the creative clearinghouse for the flourishing urban fashion industry.

What does Intricate Concepts stand for?
Ray Wong: It?s just a name I guess?we do a lot of things that are intricate and very detailed oriented.

How did you start your business and what do you think were the most challenging obstacles your company had to overcome?
Ray Wong: It was just getting the business part right, we were all new to starting our own business. It was getting the right legal steps done right like the lawyers, accountants, incorporating the name and just making mistakes and trying not to make them twice. It was mainly the business aspect not the design stuff.

What advice do you have for new designers that want to follow in your foot steps?
Ray Wong: Know the right people and the right connects. This industry is really small, so don?t mess up your rep, don?t burn your bridges even if your not feelin somebody keep your cool. Know what your making, its not about the artwork its knowing the market. There is a lot of dumb dumb stuff out there that is selling like crazy because of the name or because they know exactly what they are designing for it not just painting a pretty picture. Its also knowing the mechanics of it how to make it ?if you do some crazy design and either they cant make it technically correct or they cant afford it, then there is no point in that design? it?s just making the right product for that niche or that particular need. Do your research on your client before you start.

How and why did you create such a diverse team?
Ray Wong: It wasn?t planned out like that where everybody was different, it kinda just fell into place. When I met Joe he knew Tarikh and when Joe met me I knew Ray Rios, so we just put everybody on and it just so happen to fall in place. I guess ethnicity wise it was not planned to be diversified like that.

What does each person bring to the team?
Ray Wong: Joe is from Cameroon?he went to school at Cooper (Union) with that he brings in more of the fine art?he takes care of the business side like pulling in clients. I (Ray) am Chinese I went to school at FIT and Pratt ? I bring in the art direction side I tell everybody the project and when they are due and how it should be done? I do the technical work. Tarikh is African-American and he also graduated from Cooper (Union) he is more into graphics?he takes care of the graphic end. Ray Rios is from FIT and he is Puerto Rican he is really good with typography and the web?he takes of projects that deal with corporate id and the web. Malcolm also graduated Cooper (Union) and is also African-American/Jamaican he is a crazy graphics guy?that has this crazy graphic style. Everybody adds a little to the table.

What is intricate concepts design style?
Ray Wong: There is no style because we adapt to companies because every company is different. I would not do the same thing for Girbaud as I would do for Sean John. They are totally different companies with totally different styles. That?s why we do our research before we start the project, so there is no certain style. We can do anything from painting to photograph to logo driven, its all different stuff.

How has your young age and direct connection with the urban maket helped you to stay in tune and help you create designs for clients?
Yea totally a lot of these people who own these companies are all corporate? they are older white guys that live in the suburbs that know nothing about the product that they sell. And even the people that they do hire that they think know aren?t from the streets or watching the market like that. So definitely I think we have a upper hand in this.

Designers usually are inspired by their environment. What inspires you to create new ideas?
Ray Wong: Inspiration comes from everywhere, we all do our own thing?we all do different things outside?I skate and I ride for different people so I?m exposed to a different environment and vice versa for everybody else.

How were you able to work with so many clothing lines? Ray Wong: Well Joe was working at Phat Farm and I was working at a label manufacturer so we already had ties to the industry. Then we just started doing freelance work, then we got together.

What was your first big project? Ray Wong: One of our first two big clients were Avirex and Girbaud. We basically developed a whole tee shirt line for them.

Your company has a long list of companies that have benefited from your designs. Can you name some of these companies?
Ray Wong: Some of the clients are And 1, Sean John lounge wear, Ecko lounge wear, John Deere, Girbaud, Coogi, Mecca Femme, Timberland, Airwalk, Dickies, Fila?the list goes on.

Do you see a similarity between the world of music and fashion? Why or why not?
Ray Wong: Yea there is, but me personally I think its all about the dollars and numbers. How they do it and why they do it? like corresponding rappers with X brand; its all for the numbers.

How would you define the urban culture?
Urban is just a name before urban was all about the big pants basketball jersey and throwbacks and all that. That?s dead. When I hear the word urban before that?s what that meant but urban now is basically just what kinda the city kids wear and what the suburban follows. That is my definition to urban.

What is your favorite R&B album?
Ray Wong: Mary J all the way?I like all her older ones?I?m all about R&B.

What is your favorite sneaker, shoe, boot?
Ray Wong: Sneakers I go with the crisp Air Force 1, like everybody else…I like the diesel shoes there a little different?and boots I?m gona have to go with everybody else and rock the Tims (timberland). Actually my favorite boot is DC snowboard boots.

Who do you think is more likely to make a R&B come back Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, or Michael Jackson?
Ray Wong: Michael J. He is doing a ?We Are the World? song for Katrina?I think that?s gonna put him back on the map.

What can the people expect from intricate concepts in the future?
Ray Wong: We have a lot offers on the table? a lot of people have come up to us and offered financial backing to do a line with us and other stuff. That might be in the works if we pick the right person. It?s not the money because there is a lot of money out there it?s the right person to do it with, because it?s worst than getting married. When you get married you get a divorce, she takes half your money and whatever you have in the bank that?s cool. But when you deal with doing a line and it?s a lot of money, like millions of dollars its worst than getting married so you have to make sure its the right person you do it with. As of right now we are just mainly focusing on our clients, but if it comes our way we will probably do it. Right its all about pleasing the client and that?s what we have been doing.

Shout outs
All the people who helped us along the way. —— By: Adeniyi Omisore


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