Meet the Brains Behind: Blood is the New Black
In this series, we introduce you to the designers behind some of the leading brands at POOL. Gain an exclusive look into what it takes to build a brand and the tips to breaking into the biz.
We sat down with Mitra Khayyam, CEO and Founder of Blood is the New Black, to discuss the important stuff, namely her evolving clothing line and mechanical bulls.
1. Tell us about Blood is the New Black. Blood is the New Black is a design collective that aims to promote the work of emerging artists, illustrators, photographers, designers and writers through continued t-shirt collaborations that are proudly made in the USA and sold in stores all over the globe. Owner and curator Mitra Khayyam works with every artist to open up their unique vision to fans of both fashion and the arts who might not otherwise be exposed to their work.
2. How has your business evolved since day one? Since launching in 2004 we've changed in so many ways! We've introduced new silhouettes, fabrications, dye methods and printing techniques to our brand, over 65 artists have joined our roster, and we publish a semi-annual zine too. Somethings have stayed the same though, like our fundamental beliefs that we should use our garments to promote our artists, all items must be made in the USA, and that we'll never stop having fun doing what we do.
3. Any advice for emerging designers looking to break into the industry? Be true to your vision. Don't launch a brand you don't believe in. And don't think it will ever be easy.
4. Tell us what tool or technology you use every day. My 5 year old iMac and 3 year old Blackberry that always freezes on me. I'm a bit of a luddite when it comes to these things. I love using Instagram via my iPod and am a total social media junkie.
5. How do you "discover" the artists that you collaborate with? It's a process that involves falling down the rabbit hole and never being able to get out. You never know how you're going to meet the next one. I read a lot of art and design blogs, magazines, go to galleries, and meet friends of friends, I get introduced to artists every which way I can. I also get a handful of emails each day from artists interested in collaborating with us, I take the time to individually review each site or portfolio and we've probably added over a dozen of them to our roster.
6. Returners: Favorite POOL memory? So many! I'd say riding mechanical bulls and mud-wressling at Gilley's after our very first POOL Show at the New Frontier may be on top of the list!