By KJ Philp, April 2017 Issue.
“Fashion explains who we are before we open our mouths,” according to Shimeon J. Mattox, a Winslow, Ariz., native who started selling high fashion vintage clothing – ranging from Chanel bags to Oscar de la Renta jumpsuits – out of his Phoenix home in 2007.
A decade later, Mattox is throwing a red carpet event celebrating the launch of his new autograph collection under his brand Royal Black Sheep. The runway show is set for April 7 at the FOUND:RE boutique hotel in Phoenix.
Echo Magazine caught up with Mattox to find out more about his blossoming brand and his new line, and here’s what he had to say.
Echo: Congratulations on Royal Black Sheep; what’s the story behind the name?
Mattox: Royal Black Sheep is what I have called myself since my senior year of High School … Never fitting in to a clique and or crowd, I guess you could say … I learned to embrace me to the best of my ability, and … embrace a “this is me, take it or leave it” attitude … and that empowered me. This is me, either you love me, and or hate me ... either way I will no longer give people the power to build me up, as I found if you allow others to build you up they can tear you down … This experience, my friends, is how Royal Black Sheep came about.
Echo: What does the brand Royal Black Sheep encompass?
Mattox: Royal Black Sheep is much more than a clothing brand, it consists of motivational speaking geared toward seeing the love of the creator of our universe for mankind through my daily experiences. Also Royal Black Sheep is on target to start a foundation for hungry children around the world.
Although Royal Black Sheep is my fashion brand and clothing company, I am not the hands-on designer. I choose fabrics, styles and prints for creations to be executed. I use separate designers, including Natalia Acosta, Anna Millinery, Vane Russo and Brand X as the ghost designers and contributors to the RBS house.
Echo: Do you think breaking stereotypes in fashion is important?
Mattox: Absolutely! Royal Black Sheep is about beating notions of what the world says one should be. How does an African American person act? What is masculine or feminine? What does a child of God look like? In fashion, one says because you wear a skirt you are girl, or when a woman wears a suit it’s being a tomboy or wearing a stacked heel – that I love so much – makes you a drag queen. But there are people before us who have broken these barriers, such as David Bowie, New York Dolls, Kiss and Prince.
Echo: Androgynous fashion is something we’ve been talking about for a while now; would you say there will be gender nonconforming pieces in your upcoming line?
Mattox: Yes! ALL of my pieces are [gender nonconforming] – what determines men and women’s clothing anyway?
Echo: What is Royal Black Sheep bringing to the Valley’s fashion landscape that it was previously missing?
Mattox: Royal Black Sheep is a clothing company geared toward men and women who are opposed to the typical, but can appreciate the lifestyle of being unique, glamorous, artistic and cool … I want to bring the world of fashion to Arizona … I want to bring Paris, Milan, and London to the desert … and be a part of an experience that will inspire … I want to give lux, trash and class all in one, which, to me, makes fashion.
Echo: In your estimation, what is the connection between Royal Black Sheep and the LGBTQ Community?
Mattox: How I connect with the LGBTQ community is that we are all human and have feelings, emotions and are all miracles.
Echo: What message do you have to anyone who picked this issue up at pride and knows nothing about the local LGBTQ and/or fashion scene?
Mattox: The best way to travel and still be in your living room is to look at fashion from around the world in fashion blogs that open your mind to what fashion can be. Step outside your comfort zone. Even if the fashion is not something you would wear, understand the story that is being spoken.
Echo: How would you describe your event to our readers?
Mattox: If you want to see something innovative, theatrical, dramatic, chic and sleek, please come out to this show. It is going to be buzzworthy and stimulate your eye.