Meet Armah Shiancoe, a senior marketing major at Queens University of Charlotte who has recently partnered up with two close friends (and family members) to launch their very own clothing line. The line, called Lastdays, is a socially and environmentally conscious line and is already pretty buzzworthy around Charlotte.
Creative Loafing: How did Lastdays come about?
Armah Shiancoe: The brand began around 10 years ago when my cousin Bart started designing and selling T-shirts to make a little extra cash. He was working as a graphic design teacher at the time and would come up with different concepts, draw or spray paint them on shirts and then sell them. He decided to start a business and thats when me and my other cousin James joined in.
We decided on the name Lastdays because of its biblical connotation with the end of the world and because the line deals with reality based issues. Whoever wears it is aware of whats going on around them. The clothes are also eco-friendly.
What are some of the designs like?
The clothes address many controversial issues that society is currently faced with. We have T-shirts that depict everything from conflict diamonds to the attacks on 9/11. We also recently designed a T-shirt for the school shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech. The clothes are all very high quality, kind of like Ed Hardy, but we wanted them to be affordable.
Also, the new 2009 line is environmentally friendly. All the clothes use organic agriculture alternatives and water/soy based ink rather than conventional chemicals. So people can not only look good, but feel good in what theyre wearing. We also give back by donating 1 percent of all sales to different environmental organizations.
What new things do you have planned for this year?
Well, weve actually just re-released the entire line. For a while, the brand kind of fizzled out for a while and nothing was really done. But weve recently launched our eco-friendly line with all new environmentally friendly designs. We also recently launched a new website at www.lastdayswear.com where you can buy clothes directly off of the site.
What is it like working with family?
Well, we all definitely have our own personal concepts, but everything is extremely collaborative. We dont make decisions without making sure everyone agrees with it and everyone is happy. We also divided up the responsibilities so we are each in charge of our own part of the company.
We all come up with ideas for new clothing, but we leave most of the designing up to Bart. Hes the graphic designer and he knows what hes doing. James has been dealing with most of the financial aspects of the company.
I currently handle all of the marketing aspects of the business. So my main focus right now is just to get the word out there. I do a lot of promoting online, through our Web site and different social networks like Facebook and Myspace. I also wear the brand a lot, so I consider myself one of our biggest promoters.
The company is definitely expanding fast. We even have a student from Queens earning internship credit for working with us.