Dressing the stars

Philly group Jeantrix making quite the name for itself in celebrity fashion

Fashion guys Jeantrix
Philly fashion artists Nyce and Homm want to inspire the masses by creating and combining fashion, art and film to give people a fun experience of textures, colors and images. | Image courtesy: @RickyCodio

On July 31, Beyonce released a short film via the Disney+ streaming service entitled “Black is King.”

The film features breathtaking visuals synced to music inspired by “The Lion King” and also features clothing from Jeantrix, fashion artists from the Philadelphia area. You can check out their fashions on the song “Already,” worn by one of the featured artists, Shatta Wale, styled by Beoncia Dunn and Zerina Akers. 

“We grew up listening to music from Jay-Z and Beyonce, so for us to be working so closely with their team now is nothing short of a dream come true! We are extremely excited, honored and humbled to have our clothing featured in such a monumental moment in music history,” the fashion artists from Jeantrix said. 

Black-owned wearable art brand Jeantrix was founded by Nyce (Deric Crawley) and Homm (Muhammad Abdul-Basit, brother to the recently deceased rapper Malik B), who are no strangers to the Carter family. The duo has been working closely with Blue Ivy’s personal stylist Emmanuel for the past five years, designing a variety of pieces for Blue from sneakers to a more elaborate “Black Barbie” leather jacket look that went viral in 2016. Their clothing has been seen on many celebrities over the years, such as Janet Jackson, Michael B Jordan, Alicia Keys, Lil Kim, Missy Elliot, Lil Nas X, Lizzo and many many others. Jeantrix also has collaborations with Saks Fifth Avenue, Dr. Martens Footwear, Neiman Marcus, Mont Blanc and even Arizona Iced Tea. 

To see more of their work, check out their social media page @Jeantrix or visit their website jeantrix.com

Nyce and Homm said their objective is to inspire the masses by creating and combining fashion, art and film to give people a fun experience of textures, colors and images. Starting with just one pair of customized sneakers in 2004, the brand naturally evolved to encompass a broader range of art, including one-of-a-kind luxury apparel, canvases, sculptures, film and art installations. 

PW recently caught up with Nyce and Homm to talk about Jeantrix and everything fashion.

Let’s start with talking a bit about the early days of Jeantrix. The brand started in 2004 with one pair of customized sneakers. What prompted you to start Jeantrix? How did you come up with the name?

We created Jeantrix at a time when retail stores that we shopped at didn’t really sell anything artsy or creative. Everything we saw was too plain for our liking, and we wanted to spice things up a bit and wear something that was different. We were also in high school with no jobs, so any clothing that was considered artsy at the time cost way too much for us, so we decided to grab some paint and create the type of clothing we wanted to wear.  

We came up with the name in a cheesy way. In the very beginning, we made a list of different names and none really stood out. We decided to keep it simple and create a brand where the name says it all. At the time we mainly embellished jeans with paint and patch working, and because of this, we would often say that “our jeans are doing tricks,” so we took words from that saying and also incorporated one of our favorite movies at the time, “The Matrix.” From all of that the name “Jeantrix” was born!

Clothing from Jeantrix has been seen on many celebrities over the years, such as Janet Jackson, Michael B Jordan, Alicia Keys, Lil Kim, Missy Elliot, Lil Nas X, Lizzo and many many others. | Image courtesy: @RickyCodio

Now, some 16 years later, Jeantrix is known around the world for its eccentric apparel and has collaborated with many celebrities and fashion titans. How did you achieve this level of success?

It took many years of hard work and rejection to reach the level where we are now. When we first started, we would participate in all the major fashion events in Philadelphia. Whether it was putting our clothing in someone else’s show, creating our own shows or just attending a fashion show, we were on the scene! For us it was all about networking and creating working relationships with people that had similar goals and passions. After a few years, the name began to grow within the fashion industry, and Jeantrix actually turned into a movement which was all about self-expression.

One of your latest projects is to have clothing featured in Beyonce’s “Black is King,” but you’ve actually been with the Carter family for some time now, working closely with Blue Ivy’s personal stylist Emmanuel for the past five years, designing a variety of pieces for Blue from sneakers to a more elaborate “Black Barbie” leather jacket look that went viral in 2016. How have you been able to cultivate these relationships with not only the Carter family, but also many other entertainers? Why do you think these collaborations have been so successful?

It’s all about networking! We actually met Emmanuel through social media before he started working with Blue Ivy. He had been on our Facebook list for a while and was very familiar with our brand, so by the time he got the job with the Carters, he remembered us from many years ago and reached out because the project he was working on matched our aesthetic. It was because of the early networking that we did with many stylists and entrepreneurs that we were able to create working relationships with many celebrity stylists before they became famous. We believe that these collaborations have been successful because many celebrities and fashion stylists nowadays want something that is different than what the larger fashion brands have to offer. They want clothing that is exclusive, rebellious and creative and something that makes a statement; that’s what our brand incorporates into everything that we create.

How has the pandemic and all of the ensuing closures impacted your business? Have you had to adjust your marketing strategy or operations?

When the pandemic first began, many people weren’t working and weren’t thinking about purchasing new clothing, they only wanted to purchase “essentials.” During that time, all retail brands saw a decline in purchases, so we adjusted our approach with our customers and made it more about them. We decided to help our communities by donating a percentage of sales to local food banks, increased our engagement with our online audience, began creating more online content and even offered payment plans for those that wished to continue purchasing during this time. It was because of this new approach that we were able to keep business going. 

“It took many years of hard work and rejection to reach the level where we are now…For us it was all about networking and creating working relationships with people that had similar goals and passions. After a few years, the name began to grow within the fashion industry, and Jeantrix actually turned into a movement which was all about self-expression.

Fashion duo, Deric Crawley and Muhammad Abdul-Basit of Jeantrix

How would you describe the Philly fashion scene? A lot of times, when fashion is being discussed, you hear about New York, L.A. and other places around the world. Is Philly also becoming a fashion hot spot?

Fashion in Philadelphia was very redundant when we first created Jeantrix. As mentioned, it was because of this redundancy that we actually created Jeantrix. However we have noticed that in the past few years the fashion scene in Philadelphia has begun to take off! We would call the fashion scene today very eccentric. The new generation has gotten extremely creative with their clothing, sneakers and even their hair. It’s very reminiscent of the fashion scene of the ‘80s, when everyone wanted to express themselves however they felt, without judgment. As it should be.

What’s ahead for Jeantrix? Any big plans that you can discuss here?

We actually have a few different things in store for this year. We’ll be releasing a new collection of hand-painted and printed items this fall to our website jeantrix.com. We’re collaborating with a foreign leather goods company on a small collection of leather bags to be released just in time for back to school. Right now, we’re also in the process of creating some exclusive online content for Dr. Martens footwear. Lastly we have also teamed up with a charity to help raise awareness about domestic and street violence. Our goal with the charity is to increase the Peace Love & Happiness in our local communities as well as around the world. 

What are the best ways for people to keep up with everything Jeantrix has going on?

To keep up-to-date with our shenanigans, check out our Instagram page @Jeantrix, our Youtube channel JeantrixTV and as mentioned earlier you can check out our clothing exclusively on our website jeantrix.com.

  • Eugene Zenyatta was raised on old-time Memphis 'rasslin' and strongly prefers the company of dogs to people. His greatest heartbreak came in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic.