Above photo source Instagram @_desmoney
Chicago streetwear institution Fat Tiger Workshop has become a globally known fashion group that has significant brands and celebs knocking down their front door. Chicago, a city that seems to garner more media attention for violence and police brutality, has birthed one of dopest creatives the Chi has to offer and most significant cultural influences from the city.
We sat down with Fat Tiger's co-owner and creative architect Des Money to talk about his latest collaborations, projects, and future endeavors.
VOYD: You wear a lot of creative hats, how did you first become interested in fashion? Is fashion what you are most passionate about? If so, why?
DM: When I was a shorty, my mom, use to dress me up. I’m talking about a three-piece suit, dress shoes, newspaper boy hat, real clean and real dapper. My aunties and my mom’s friends would see me at parties and be all heart-eyed emoji and giving me crazy compliments. They gassed me up, but they also taught me at a young age that your clothes can speak. Fashion is one of my passions; I gravitated towards it because it’s one of those things that functions as a language but is also universal, everybody can understand it if it’s expressed the right way. I want to send messages to the world and fashion is one of the mediums that I began an ongoing relationship with.
Source Instagram @_desmoney
VOYD: Why do you think there is this current obsession with everything you and your crew at Fat Tiger touches?
DM: One thing that nobody can ever take away from my brothers and me at Fat Tiger is we did it ourselves. We didn’t wait on no big brands and major corps to give us accounts or co-signs. We make things for the people, and it’s authentic, and It’s organic. Sometimes being an independent business sucks because it’s a lot of things that you don’t know and you make a lot of mistakes, I damn near make a mistake every week. But at the same time, being an independent business is beautiful and rewarding because you earn your Wins and learn so much from the Ls. And if you ask me, we do an outstanding job of making the simple things mean more than what you see. That’s art. That’s life. We love culture, and We tell our stories, and people relate to it, they respect it.
VOYD: I noticed your look book for your “Stronger Together” collection was shot in Ghana? You grew up in Chicago, but can you tell us how your Ghanaian heritage inspire your creativity?
DM: Yea, so this past June I shot a look book in Accra Ghana. It’s the home to both of my parents. Went down to Ghana with my homie and photographer Bryan Allen Lamb and we linked with some of the bright up and coming creatives in Ghana and made a magical look book. If you ask me, I think it was the look book of the year! Hahaha. Seriously though.
I was born and raised in Chicago, but I’ve always felt mad connected to Ghana and Africa in general. My parents did an excellent job of keeping the Ghanaian culture and traditions alive in my crib. My pops had an extensive vinyl collection and would also be playing music in the house. I was one of those kids that had music and performing arts talents, so I grew up drumming and dancing and learned a lot about the Ghanaian traditional music and dances. Looking back, that early exposure to the African arts is what got me into creativity and art.
My goal ever since I’ve been a shorty was to figure how I can link up black people up all across the globe, not just Ghanaians, but black people all across the diaspora. I grew up in the hood, and my friends didn’t know their immediate heritage, and I always despised the slave trade for that. But you can’t undo the past, so I do my best to live in the present and try to make things not necessarily to correct the past but more so to create new and better history.
VOYD: What’s next for you?
DM: I got a few things going on. While I don’t think money is everything I do understand that money is a resource primarily for creatives. So I’m trying to secure a few different bags to fund more projects. I definitely plan on popping back out to Ghana and doing like a month-long pop up with events and workshops. I’m also in the works of getting a non-for-profit started for boys and girls interested in West African percussion. Working on more clothes, getting things ready for Fall/Winter and I’m also working on some redesigning the uniforms for the elementary school I graduated from. Doing my best to stay busy and to stay out the way.