Roc-A-Fella and its empire has shifted its position appreciably in the entertainment industry, similar to the way moving tectonic plates cause massive earthquakes. On facet, Roc-A-wear, one of Hip-Hops premiere urban clothing was founded in 1999 by moguls Damon Dame Dash, Jay-Z and Kareem “Biggs” Burke to the delight of urban and suburban dwellers worldwide. Since its inception, the company and brand have replicated itself with splinter clothing lines, a pulse on whats fresh and hundreds of millions in revenue. AllHipHop.com talked fashion with Dame Dash, the man helming Roc-A-Wears fashion movement.
AllHipHop.com: So first of all lets talk about your newest clothing lines Wash House and Team Roc.
Dame Dash: Well its not really a new line its still Roc-A-Fella but we are trying to take over every demographic and make sure we are the best at everything so we have good urban wear so we are not going away from what weve been making were just adding to. As you can see Jay is wearing dress shirts and things like that, a more adult look a more boutique look sometimes a tighter fit but were not going to stop making what were making – its just in addition to. Also we have another line out called Team Roc which iss more of and active sort of line. Were going And 1 money.
AllHipHop.com: The Wash House boutique line wit what made you do that?
Dame Dash: Well like I said we want to take over everything, were going to touch everything that we can. And I think as we get over and styles cultivate we want to do something that had the ability to sit in a boutique store, something that seemed a little more designer at the higher price point with better quality but like I said never steering away from our original audience and our core market which is urban wear, just expanding the line.
AllHipHop.com: So its just shirts like this?
Dame Dash: Dress shirts, jeans denim, sweaters
AllHipHop.com: Somebody said suits too. Are you also doing suits?
Dame Dash: No, not yet.
AllHipHop.com: So youre really getting heavy into fashion is that your focus now?
Dame Dash: I like at myself as a superhero. I havent slowed down if anything its speeded up. I just have to pay more attention to take me to another level, like I could make $300 million thats great but I want to do a billion. I feel like what Jay-Z is to rapping, I am to business. What Michael Jordan is to basketball, I am to business, Im just that ill. I have the ability to be good at a lot of things and I dont just talk it I walk it I take the time to learn the business and pay attention to everyone of them equally.
AllHipHop.com: Are you putting your time more into Roc-A-wear now?
Dame Dash: Nah its just equal.
AllHipHop.com: Well as far as the fashion aspect of it, are you taking a particular personal interest in the fashion aside from business?
Dame Dash: Well I consider myself fresh to def, so as a consumer I know what the consumer is going to like. Personally speaking being that Roc-A-Wear is my baby I really started it from then to where it is now. Roc-a-wear was my idea, Team Roc was my idea theyre all these things that come out of my brain. I feel Im a visionary my job is to see these things through.
AllHipHop.com: Whats the difference between Roc-A-Wear and different clothing lines? And how do you keep yourself from being a clone of other clothing lines?
Dame Dash: I dont really look at other lines really. I know that Roc-A-Wear reflects my lifestyle its like saying what makes me different from everybody else. I dont know if anybody else does what I do but I do know when I go to Paris I dont see anybody else from my neighborhood there. I am of the music world, Ive been on the road, Ive been on tour, and Ive been in the studio. I am of the movie world Ive produced movies, Ive written movies, Ive directed movies and Ive been in movies. Maybe thats what makes Roc-A-Wear different because it shows how we are different from the inside out.
AllHipHop.com: What about super models like Naomi Campbell, what do those people bring to the table?
Dame Dash: Well I think diversity. And Charlotte Ronson is [Roc artist] Samanthas [Ronson] twin and shes always had a really good fashion sense. Jessica Simpson was wearing a pair of her underwear in the cover of Rolling Stone, which are manufactured and distributed by us. So everyone loves her fashion sense and her style, it just adds a dynamic but it is a dynamic because these are true friends of mine.
AllHipHop.com: So explain what C. Ronson is, is it a line of clothing?
Dame Dash: Its a clothing line, but its more of a boutique line. Its considered as of now [to be] a contemporary clothing line its smaller you see it in the boutiques. What
I might try to do is figure out a way to bring contemporary to the urban world to where its accessible to everybody so the mass market can enjoy good fashion as well.
AllHipHop.com: So people like Naomi who was in Jay-Z Change Clothes video – do those fashion people link credibility to what youre doing or add to it?
Dame Dash: It definitely brings credibility because of what Naomi is but honestly its just natural because we know her. The credibility point just adds to it because shes one of the number one models of all time but we know her.
AllHipHop.com: I saw you on a weird magazine cover and thats a different look, what made you do a cover story for them as opposed to somebody else more Hip-Hop?
Dame Dash: If somebody asks me to be on the cover Id be on that shit. Ive been in Time magazine this year, GQ, Source magazine, Enquirer if you pick up any magazine including fashion. I have the ability to be on a fashion cover, a business cover, a Hip-Hop cover, a movie cover. You mention my name in any aspect of business you cannot get away from me, because Im doing every aspect of business and on a high level.
AllHipHop.com: You were upset about The Sources last Power 30 [a listing of industry heavyweights]. Do you think people miss your contribution in so many different areas of the industry?
Dame Dash: I dont think they understand it so unless you are in Europe. I could sit and show you the press it would blow you away that Im on the cover of every magazine every single day. I go to Europe and theyre chasing me out of stores and shit. If youll understand what it means to be nominated for a Spirit Award then you dont know how big that is to Hip-Hop or to be nominated for a Sundance [Award] or put in the film festival. I feel like Im an Ambassador of Hip-Hop I feel everywhere I go I represent our culture and us in a really good way.
AllHipHop.com: Speak on America magazine. The editor-in-chief Smokey Fontaine went from a mag like The Source to do this real fashion-oriented magazine.
Dame Dash: Its a fashion forward magazine. I guess its bringing Hip-Hop to fashion and fashion to Hip-Hop. So the Hip-Hop world loves fashion and the fashion world loves Hip-Hop so its sort of putting it in between and thats really all it is. I feel like its a young vogue mixed with source mixed with vibe mixed with entertainment weekly. So were just dealing with people like myself people who dont necessarily like one thing they like everything. They like the best of everything.
AllHipHop.com: Did you see that as an opportunity business wise or something you took a personal interest in?
Dame Dash: Both. I want to do it with someone I trust and I trust Smokey and think hes good at what he does and hes respected in his community. And its working out.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your formula for keeping it moving? When we are with Russell [Simmons], a lot of times he be drinking this green stuff. You got any special remedies?
Dame Dash: Women. Women keep me focused.
AllHipHop.com: Its usually the opposite for most people.
Dame Dash: Nah man I love women. If there werent any women in the world I probably wouldnt care how I dress. Im not going to get fresh for a bunch of dudes.