"Live At Your Own Pace"
wit Andre Thomas
We know time is valuable, so first off... Thank You Mr. Thomas, for Kickin' it wit Us!! Can you tell Us more about yourself outside of your business Life? Hobbies etc..
Thanks for having me. Truly honored for this opportunity. Most know my name is Andre Thomas, I go by Dre to most and Dre-T to a select group. I'm born & raised on the Eastside and a graduate of SHS c/o 97. I’m also a graduate of UofM as well. I’m a sneaker head that loves t-shirts, loves to design and spend time with family and friends. I love making people laugh and enjoying life. I recently took on the parent role with my wife for my nephew after his mother (my sister) passed away 2 yrs ago. My wife & I are learning this parenting role as an Aunt & Uncle for a teenager! I love to watch sports, read, workout and just be creative.
What exactly lead You into designing clothes and into building your own brand? What year did you first begin?
I’ve always loved clothing and seeing people dressed nice. My biggest concern was always everyone looking the same or feeling because it was expensive it’s nice. While in college I realized when a new Jordan dropped almost everyone had the same outfit on to compliment the shoes because everyone was shopping at the same place. I’ve always wanted to be different in my own way and stand out. I’ve always wanted to send the message of “there is another way it doesn’t just have to be what’s mainstream.” I decided that I wanted to make my own t-shirts so that I could stand out amongst the crowd. I first began in 1999 with a group of 5 friends (4 from high school and 1 from college). All of this passion for fashion came from high school. I won male best dressed in class of 97. It wasn’t because I had the most expensive or name brand items it was how I put stuff together. I believed I made the clothes; they didn’t make me. We had a crew called S.A.P.P.’s and we all had our own unique style. We always wanted to stand out even amongst each other. We all dressed nice and loved sneakers, but we all had our own unique style.
Were there any inspirations that lead you into fashion and the creation of your own Brand?
I was inspired by just wanting to be different. I was inspired by my friend the late Charles “Chucky” Smith. He was the first I had ever seen to have their own brand. I was inspired by that and was like I’m going to start me a brand to! He gave me inspiration that it could be done. Ironically many years later we partnered up and he joined forces with LAYOP.
You have seasonal, plus gear based on Comedy, as well as other themes. What is the creative process when putting together a collection?
When it comes to the creative process each season a lot of it depends on what is going on in my life and how I’m feeling creatively and what message I want to communicate to the world. I also take inspiration from latest trends as well as things I see when traveling or just out and about. I am very big on lettering, fonts and messages on clothing. You mentioned the comedy legends. The entire legends collection (comedy, music, sports) was Inspired by legends in their craft who lived at their own pace, they were trailblazers and opened up doors. They did things their way and won. We wanted to pay homage to them. Sometimes I just see shapes or artwork that I’m inspired by and that leads to designs or ideas. I sketch stuff down, take pics and then go to the computer to create.
Where is your business located?
The business is located in Las Vegas, NV. Currently we are only online at this moment since we recently closed our flagship store.
What did you learn from your city and then apply it to your business if any?
I learned style from Saginaw! I learned how to hustle & grind in Saginaw. I learned how to embrace who I was and use that to elevate my brand. I learned more than anything that the city WILL support you and people do want to see you win when you be true to yourself and you’re a good person. Saginaw put us in Vegas. It gave us the momentum to keep going and pursue our dream. We are only here because of the love and support from the city. I also learned from a lot of others here in the city how to network and build relationships and allow others to help lift you up.
You also drop inspirational quotes on social media as well as offer other Business-related advice and classes. Can you tell our readers why that should peak their interest, as to wanting to learn more of what you can teach them about business?
The inspirational quotes and videos are to help push the entrepreneur. They are to help inspire others as well as educate them on this journey. This journey isn’t free, cheap or easy! I want to offer what I’ve learned along the way and hopefully be an inspiration to others. I offer services for a fraction of the costs as a way to help entrepreneurs have an affordable means to get things done. We all go through hard times and challenges and oftentimes people just give up. But I’m living proof you can make it, but you have to keep God first in everything. You have to keep believing and understanding that if God gave you the vision, he will help you to see it through.
How has social media broadened your business plans and goals?
Social media has allowed us to reach people and share our message across the world at a more affordable rate and often times for free. It has also caused us to adapt and grow with the current times and technological advances.
How would you describe your brand, to someone who has just been introduced to it but hasn’t seen everything your brand offers?
Live at your own pace is a life span brand. We are selling self confidence through our message and our products. It caters from young to old with the same universal message… It is ok to be you!
Is there anything, that you want to tell the readers, that we may have left out?
2024 will be our best year in thus far with the new products we release and their exclusivity. 2024 will be full of Limited Edition releases as well as some new approaches as to how we release some of our products. We have had some internal changes so we have made a lot of adjustments. Personally, I feel like I have my creative spark back so my desire to release more exclusive products is on 100. LAYOP will also be doing some collaborations with other Saginaw artists and brands as well as other Saginaw natives who no longer live in the city of Saginaw. In closing, I want the city of Saginaw to know we love y’all! We might be based in Las Vegas, but our roots are planted in Saginaw. Thank you, for allowing this kid to live his dream. 🐢®️✌🏾❤️