Young adult designers launch special ‘suburban’ clothing line

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A pair of 19-year-old friends is headed back to college this month after a dizzying summer that saw them launch their own clothing line.

A pair of 19-year-old friends is headed back to college this month after a dizzying summer that saw them launch their own clothing line.

Wilbert Williams of suburban Flossmoor, and his high school buddy, Lamar Jones of suburban Homewood, created and started the Suburban Knight clothing line and held a special friends-and-family launch party July 29. The event was held at Akin Clothing Boutique, 1313 S. Halsted, on the Near West Side.

Starting his second year at University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff this school year, Williams told the Defender at the party that he had been into fashion for as long as he could remember. He had been sketching designs and had a desire to develop them.

He wondered, though, how to make it his livelihood. Williams wanted to figure out “how I can do something I love and make money at the same time.”

As Jones headed back home in May after finishing his first year at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, he was broke and unemployed. Jones said he started a lawn care business (the big-boy way of cutting grass for cash) but wanted to do more.

Williams admits that he didn’t take his friend seriously when Jones approached Williams about being part of starting a clothing label.

But Jones was serious.

Now, “we have a really great partnership,” Williams said.

The Suburban Knight line features T-shirts, crews (now available) and jeans (coming soon), which the designers call “upscale, urban apparel,” and encourages their mantra “Live. Fight. Die.” Items are priced starting at $30.

Williams explained that label’s name helps dispel class barriers.

He said youth from the suburbs are perceived to be privileged while a knight is a symbol of strength. Together the words “Suburban” and “Knight,” according to the young entrepreneurs, “show the contradiction between the two terms to eliminate class barriers and show that there’s a knight within all of us.”

Jones was joined at the party by his parents, Lanissa Spear an Alvin Jones, and other family and friends. Williams was joined by, among others, his sister, Ashley Williams, who coordinated the party, and cousin, Elijah Adams, who helped to ring up sales.

Their clothes are available at Akin.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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