Inside the Mind of Fashion Designer- James Thomas Head

Updated: Apr 14

You are seated in the front row of a fashion show hosted by top urban, street-wear, and avant-garde designers: Lights, Camera, Action. The music begins, and the curtain opens. As the first model walks out on the catwalk, you wonder which model will open the show. Finally, she is out and is wearing James Head's outfit and the over-the-top and avant-garde look shocks the audience. Throughout fashion week in the Bay Area, you will experience the journey of this self-taught designer.

James, who grew up in Oakland, California, focuses his attention on being a force to be reckoned with. A top name in the Bay Area Fashion Network, he has been in the industry for over 30 years. James created his women's wear collection by teaching himself how to sew and construct garments from his imagination.

Having been inspired by the club scenes, he wanted to convey a sense of individuality and strength in the women and men that wear his clothes. He took a lot of his ideas from the music circle when he became a fashion designer.

In his design process, he helped develop the colorful and ethnic style of colorful prints and other textiles. As a result, he looks for the latest trends and finds ways to incorporate them into his creations.

He began his career when he wore his own creations to clubs and special events. People began to take notice and the rest was history. Bay Style Magazine had a chance to sit down with the fashion star himself and here is what he had to say.

BSM: When did you start sewing?

Head: I started sewing probably around the age of 18 and 19, it wasn't something I thought I would use. I always saw my mother sewing in our home and thought it was interesting. I never imagined 30 years later that I would be doing this as a creative business.

BSM: Who wears your clothes?

Head: All types of people wear my clothes. It's universal. At the moment, musical artists and entertainment celebrities wear and promote my clothes.

BSM: Where did you learn how to sew? Did you attend design school?

Head: I was fascinated by the idea of creating clothes and the creative process of designing them. My mother taught me how to sew and she did a lot of sewing. Eventually, I learned my craft by working at fabric stores and by trial and error.

BSM: Can you describe your style?

Head: I describe my style as creatively spectacular and never ordinary. I do my own versions of high fashion hip hop, menswear, swimwear, and street wear menswear.

I enjoy playing with patterns, textures, and colors. My creation will be unique and one-of-a-kind. Often, people are drawn to my designs and often love my designs because they are very marketable.

BSM: Where do you see the fashion industry going?

Head: Fashion is ever-changing. What was popular during my time, is either obsolete or considered old trends. It's our job to create collections that people have not seen before. The idea of newness is a force that most designers cling to when they send out a new look. With a cause in mind, I see collections being sustained. No longer are the days of just looking beautiful. It's the message behind the collections that speaks volumes.

BSM: When did your career as a designer take off?

Head: It all started when I wore my creations to special events, and then others saw them and wanted to wear them for themselves. Most of it was word of mouth. After doing some collections for bands and local socialites, I eventually started designing streetwear, swimwear, and high fashion for celebrity clients. BSM: Can you describe your experience working for MC Hammer?

Head: To be honest, I received a call from his agent. I wasn't sure if it would happen. People have already heard of my brand and name. Hammer invited me to his studio when he was rising in the HIP HOP scene. I met him and he asked me if I could design some looks for his presentations. Because I had no idea what to make, I headed to the fabric store and pulled out some fabrics and materials. I made a pair of pants and an outfit that are eminently suitable for him and it was then featured in People & Rolling Stones Magazine. We ran many world tours together after I joined his team as his wardrobe designer. My work was featured on tv shows like Oprah, Grammys, and MTV Music Awards (I designed 6 different outfits for him when he won 8 awards).

BSM: What advice would you give to aspiring designers?

When we were young, I was at the Club Silks where MC Hammer told me he was meant to be a rapper. A year later I met his manager and he asked me if I would design costumes for Hammer. Just tell yourself that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Practice and rely on your craft. Trust your instincts and surround yourself with people who see the same vision you do.

It was wonderful to get a glimpse inside James Head's world and all the awesome industry experiences he has been through. We hope you will continue to support his brand and support fashion!

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