Founder Olivia Goodman talks about founding her own brand ‘Og Brand’ and the state of Chicago Streetwear
What’s going on go ahead and introduce yourself
Hello everyone! My name is Olivia Goodman, also known as OG. I’m currently 23. I was born and raised in Chicago. I just graduated from Columbia with a marketing/advertising degree. I’m the head designer of my brand OGbrand.
How was life growing up?
Growing up, life was cool. I grew up in Beverly, which is a south suburb. Beverly was a small community, quiet, and real down to earth neighborhood. I really wasn’t into it as much. When I got to high school, I ended up attending Jones College Prep School downtown. Attending Jones I was able to meet many cool and creative people.
Were you always into fashion/or was there a specific time when you truly got interested?
I’d have to say I was always into fashion and dressing well. My mom had so much style. At a young age I was seeing my mom wearing LV and Gucci. I was exposed to quality and timeless pieces. Growing up, those were the ideals I had wanted to incorporate into my brand. Although my Mom was heavily into fashion, when it came to me, she had me dress very conservative. I was an athlete, so she wanted me to dress proper. Unfortunately I never really wore the clothes I had wanted to while growing up. Due to that, I found myself learning how to alter my clothes to make them look how I wanted them to look.
When did you finally decide to start your own brand?
I started the brand 3-4 years ago. One of my friends, Sydney Thomas had helped me early on with the marketing and analytics side of the brand. My boyfriend Greg was also very involved since the beginning. He constantly helped me with finding inspiration.
You decided to name your company OG Brand, go ahead and explain the meaning behind the name.
There are a couple different meanings behind the name. First, OG are my initials. “Also, the initials “OG” encompass a multitude of meanings that include original gentlemen, original gangster, one’s mother, anyone respected and distinguished. Supporting this brand means their self recognition as an OG.”
How do you feel about Chicago’s fashion community? What do you think is lacking if anything?
I really like the way Chicago’s fashion community is moving currently. I think we have a ton of players that are involved in the game that have their own style and creativity talent, whether it’s Sheila, JoeFreshgoods, or Brandon Rials, everyone is different. We are all taking cues from our surroundings and how we grew up and turning it into beautiful pieces of art. The only thing that I’d say is lacking is the variety in the streetwear scene. There’s not really an alternative to the jeans t-shirt look.
What do you look to bring to fashion/streetwear that other brands aren’t?
With my brand I’m looking to be consistent with my aesthetic and concepts. Like I stated earlier, I’m really looking to create timeless pieces with my brand. I don’t want to make collections and have them just go away. I want my pieces to be remembered 20 years from now. I want people to look in the closet and go that’s a vintage OG piece.
For a while now you’ve been talking about how Chicago needs a fashion district like LA. Do you think in the next couple of years Chicago can have our own district?
I think it’s more than a district more so like a market. We have no factories or sourcing options. You can go to NYC or LA and know exactly where the fashion districts are located. The only factory we have is privately owned and they make their own apparel. It’s going to take people who are very serious about opening up a market to create one here in Chicago. What I’m trying to do here in Chicago is create a fashion week. We need to let the other cities know we are here. So yes, I think it’s possible; it will just take a little time.
You just dropped your latest collection “Ghetto University” tell us about the concept behind this collection – How has the feedback been?
“Ghetto University is a concept that was inspired by the high energy, fast-paced, off-beat community that is Chicago, IL. Those that have learned from the Og.’s that came before them, absorbing that knowledge and applying it to their own hustle. This is the Ghetto University Capsule Collection, saluting those that continue to grind, paving the way for those that are up next.” The collection was received very well. The OG hat was a branding thing, now it has turned into the brands staple. I think the concept was super strong. Due to people being able to relate to the concept, it had a good turnout.
What I like most about your brand is the simplicity of the designs and your color section. Where do you draw your inspiration?
For me, it all begins with a color palette. This color palette will be the same until I stop designing. The color palette consists of red, green, blue and yellow. I mostly get inspired by walking around Chicago, seeing the colors, and smelling the smells. What had inspired me to create a menswear brand was hanging around the Save Money guys. Early on, they had been wearing neon colors, and had a lot of patterns incorporate into their clothes. It was all super cool to me. What I learned was that there are so many silhouettes that you can work with in menswear. What inspires me is being challenged to work within my ideas and make something new each and every time.
How do you feel about everybody all of a sudden becoming a fashion know it all?
It’s cool and corny at the same time. It’s corny because some of these kids make it seem like fashion and designing is so easy. Yeah, it’s easy to make a design and put it on a shirt, but to me there’s no meaning or concept behind that. I hate how accessible the industry has become; it makes the market watered down. What I do like is that guys enjoy dressing now and are willing to push boundaries to try new things.
Do you believe there’s a correlation between emotions and the clothes you wear?
Absolutely, clothing in general is a representation of status, or an aspiration of status. Whenever you wear something that you like it’s going to make you feel some type of way. Usually those emotions are happiness, confidence, etc. The idea of being able to express yourself is a sense of freedom.
In the industry do you believe it’s harder for a women to get respect than men?
Absolutely. For me, I’ve always been around guys my whole life; I’m most comfortable with them. I’ve learned how to navigate through the stereotypes of being a woman and being assertive in a professional setting. Regardless of gender, if you create dope content, and the people enjoy it, people are going to respect you regardless.
What’s the message you’re looking to spread with your brand?
I want people to see that less is more. Also, I want people to understand that clothing doesn’t have to speak for you. A brand doesn’t make who you are. You can make a piece of clothing speak for who you are, and that’s what OG looks to do.
You’ve discussed on how menswear is becoming cross-gendered. Do you believe this can create more opportunities for you?
Definitely. I would say OG brand is already unisex. By clothes being cross-gendered now it can create more opportunity because it opens up to more markets.
Any advice for anybody looking to create their own brand?
I’d say make sure you are an individual. Create things that speak to who you really are. Don’t try to aspire to be anything besides who you are. If you like something you like it. Also, If you don’t really love making clothes, don’t get involved. Creating a brand costs a lot of money, and also takes a lot of patience.
What’s next for you in 2016?
In 2016 I’m looking to get OG in a couple more stores throughout the city. Looking to throw a couple more events/parties for everyone to come out to. I’m just always looking to get better and better. Really looking to improve on quality. Just keep your eye out, you’ll be seeing me around.