Fashion Fridays: Manicures + An Interview with Project Runway’s Samantha Black

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Project Runway Sammy B

LU: Do you think your woman that you design for matches your personal style?

SB: Exactly, to the tee. I like to change my style. You know, probably one day I’m funky one day, rocker the next.

LU: I know I feel like every day, based on my mood, I could re-do my entire wardrobe.

SB: Right and I don’t feel a person has to go to different people. You can go to one designer to be all those things. I feel that’s what I offer. It’s still cohesive, it’s still one person, but it’s different aspects of her and that’s kind of what I do, I mix it all together. I feel like you shouldn’t have to go to different stores, or one designer to get this and another to get that.

LU: So is that where the distinction between the Samantha Black line and the Sammy B line is?

SB: I started off with Sammy B, just being creative. The Samantha Black line has more expensive materials, more details where as the Sammy B side is more like color, print and pattern, a little more simple silhouettes, like it’s really easy to wear. It’ll have like a really crazy print and pattern or fringing, it’s just fun and easy.

LU: What kind of music do you like?

SB: I like a lot of different types of music actually. Of course, dancehall is my favorite. That’s my number one. I like hip-hop, R&B, I like a lot of alternative music as well. I probably listen to music from any genre as long as I like the song. I grew up in Connecticut, the music I was exposed to out there was just random and different.

LU: So there wasn’t much dancehall in Fairfield?

SB: No, except for everyone was into Beenie Man when “Sim Simma” came out. And everyone knew Sean Paul, and Bob Marley, but real dancehall no, absolutely not. Actually, when I was working for Aeropostale, I used to co-host for a reggae TV show. It was called “Yard Rock” and I used to go to all the summer fest concerts and host. I interviewed Beenie Man, Sean Kingston, Attitude, with the Dutty Wine when [it] first came out. I used to go to the Bronx every summer, and when I walked into the house it was a Jamaican household, no matter what was going on the streets. So I always was very in touch with “I’m a Jamaican girl” always.

LU: Well, I was actually going to ask you about that because in the Miranda Lambert episode you said “I’m a Jamaican girl” and so I’m wondering what does that mean in terms of your design. Like how do you think it has influenced you?

SB: I think it influenced me a lot. I think that’s why some of my clothing is so much riskier. Like crazy colors? Jamaicans are no holds barred. And some of my stuff being like a little risky or showing more skin, that is nothing new to me. I’ve seen it my whole life. And it’s strongly influenced me. I tell people Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, what’s so risky about them is what comes natural to them. Those are West Indian girls, it’s nothing new, it’s part of the culture and it’s the same for me and my designs.  I read all the crazy blogs and stuff from Project Runway and people are like Oh my god, what was she thinking?! And I’m like you just don’t get it. Some things, like my neon orange jacket that I wore, I made that, it’s part of who I am and just so normal to me. It doesn’t shock me. Some of things, I wouldn’t even see it like that.

LU: Is there anyone that you really wish you could dress?

SB: Rihanna! I love her, I think she’s awesome. Cassie, they’ve pulled my stuff for her a lot of times but I don’t think it’s made it into the print or whatever. Nicole Richie, I really like her and I really like the Olsen twins.

LU: New projects? Are you just going to continue working on Sammy B/Samantha Black?

SB: I am trying to just build my brand, get into boutiques. It’s just so expensive and I don’t have any backers or investors, it’s like hell. I sell things online [and to] random boutiques, and I want it to be really strong boutiques and more consistently. It hasn’t been consistent just because you need a lot of money to have it consistently.

LU: You know the expression “Fashion Ova Style?” What does that mean to you?

SB: I think it’s dumb. It doesn’t make sense and when that was huge and everyone was like “Fashion ova style” I was like no, my people, you’re not understanding that that’s wrong. It’s supposed to be style ova fashion because fashion is just things that are just shown to you and style is what you do with it. I think they were trying to interpret it the other way around but they’re saying it wrong. “Fashion ova style” does sound nice but it’s incorrect, it’s style ova fashion. Me and my sister are always like they are so wrong. And you know, West Indians are stylish people, they have their own thing. It’s what you do with it.

For more Sammy B, check out her website: wwww.sammybdesigns.com