The late The Notorious B.I.G. is not only remembered as a rap icon, but also as one of the most fashionable and trendsetting rappers to ever exist. So it’s no coincidence his daughter, T’yanna Wallace, is very much into fashion these days. Following in her father’s fashion-forward footsteps, she launched Notoriouss, her own clothing brand in 2013. The 23-year-old is a young entrepreneur who looks to continue spreading Brooklyn love through her Biggie-inspired apparel while creating a legacy of her own in the fashion world.
Starting up her brand in 2013, while attending Pennsylvania State University, Wallace launched the brand with a slew of Biggie Smalls printed tees. To her surprise, the shirts sold out in a matter of two days, inspiring Wallace to create more B.I.G.-themed-apparel to continue on with her dreams of having a clothing line.
Creating the brand’s graphic design’s herself and receiving help from her mother on the business side of things, Wallace has managed to keep the Notoriouss brand in business for more than three years now, with bigger plans ahead for the new year.
T’yanna Wallace sat down recently with XXL to discuss the evolution of her clothing brand, tips to success at a young age and plans of opening up a retail space in Brooklyn next year. She also opens up about her future goals with the Notoriouss clothing brand. Check out the full interview with below.
When did you you start your Notoriouss clothing line?
T’yanna Wallace: I started the brand in 2013, during my second year in college. I always knew I wanted to be in fashion but I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. In 2013, I went to the mall and get some samples made. Did a quick little photo shoot with my roommates in my college apartment and I took all the pictures. I edited them all with my roommate and we put the photos on a Tumblr. TMZ, MTV and these other media outlets listed it and I kind of got amped and the buzz really got me to do this. I started doing my clothing online and then I changed my mind and decided that I want to open a store, so now that’s my next goal — to open up a store.
During the startup days of the brand, how would you make people aware of your clothing line?
Starting up, I did a lot of promo through Instagram and Tumblr. Twitter as well. I also did a few pop-up shops in Brooklyn where I sold my clothes. I just wanted to do those to get the feel of the store rush. I’m gonna continue to do the pop shops until I open my official store.
Where would you want to open your retail location and why open a store as opposed to selling everything online?
It’s not about not doing online; I kind of always wanted a store. I’m still going to keep my online site but I want the main thing to be the store and then the online site. I’m looking to get a permanent store in Brooklyn ideally, and I want it to be located in downtown.
What are planning to name the store and what other items will the store carry?
My store is going to be called Notoriouss, but I’m gonna sell other people’s clothes as well. Notoriouss will be sort of a boutique and a streetwear store like Vinny Styles. I have current collections and I have old stuff, but I’ll probably redo everything I did for new stock and then have all my other vendors.
Talk to me about the designs of the clothing brand. What’s the inspiration behind a few of the designs?
All the designs have something to do with my dad. It’s completely inspired by him. I don’t want people to think that it’s a Biggie clothing line because it’s mine, but it is inspired by him a lot. Like, I might do a whole black collection because black was his favorite color, so things like that. I try to focus on little things and not go overboard with it, but still give people that Biggie flavor.
Where do you get your apparel manufactured?
All my manufacturers are in New York.
Who designs the graphics for the clothing line and are you into collaborating with other artists or brands?
I design everything. Usually on March 9, which is the day my dad passed away, I’ll do like a collab with someone. I’ll hit up a bunch of artists to see what we can do.
How long does it take you to create a graphic for a tee or any apparel item?
Not that long. I’ve drawn for a very long time. I’m just now getting into the graphic arts of things, but I just don’t do one design at a time. I do a whole collection at one time.
What’s the ultimate goal for you and the Notoriouss clothing line?
I want to have a Notoriouss pajama line. A Notoriouss suit line. A Notoriouss lip gloss, which I’m trying to do next year. I also want to have a Notoriouss pet line because I love my dog. I don’t want to do a Notoriouss shoe, but I want to do a Notoriouss sneaker with another brand, sort of a like a collaboration. I just want to keep branding it.
What else should Notoriouss supporters expect from your brand in 2017?
I have rolling papers. For 4/20, I’m gonna come out with a Notoriouss smokers kit that will come out with a grinder, rolling papers, a lighter and a rolling tray.
How about getting the pieces to artists? Have you sent pieces out to rappers already and what’s the support from the hip-hop industry?
I’ve sent stuff to people. I’ve sent stuff out to radio people and some rappers. They’ve always been mad supportive but I really don’t have people hitting me up.
Where did you get your business savvy ways?
Honestly, I learned the business side of things through my mom. She’s been great help and she does all the numbers for the company. I just do the designs.
Being that you’re a young, successful entrepreneur, what advice do you have for those people who are trying to start their own clothing brand?
Do everything yourself. I have a lot of people coming up to me telling me to do this and sign this, but I love all the checks to come to me. You have to put in money to make money but its sio much more and its way better doing it by yourself because if you lose out its on you an you don’t have to worry about other people.
Your dad was a trendsetter and very much into fashion. What do you think about his stylistic ways?
I felt like for being so tall and so big he really did his thing because that was the main thing. It was like how is this big guy dress so fly? He was getting a lot of custom-made stuff. I remember my mom showed me this picture of him and I’m like, “Is that a fur coat?” She’s like, “No, that’s pony,” and I’m like, “What!” My mom was like, “He really thought he was fancy and he definitely was a flashy type of guy.”