Kentucky Meets Compton With A Collab For One Of Sports’ Most Iconic Events
Black-owned streetwear brand, Homme+Femme launched their highly anticipated Kentucky Derby Collection in collaboration with Churchill Downs for the 148th Run for the Roses. The collection includes unisex letterman jackets, workout blazers nostalgic of varsity sweaters, t-shirts, and trucker hats. The designs use imagery of roses, horses, depictions of Black horsemen, and trophies incorporated into Homme+Femme’s signature streetwear pieces. An homage collection of the men who were a part of the Kentucky Derby’s history. The Kentucky Derby collection is a progressive mix within urban culture that influences modern youth to feel free, comfortable, and stylish. Homme+Femme Designer Drew Evans, and Kentucky Native BBC Executive Valerie Bruce, teamed up for the collection. Valerie shared her love and knowledge of the Kentucky Derby with Compton-raised Evans to inspire him to pursue a collaboration rooted in celebrating the tradition of the Kentucky Derby, the sport of horse racing, and the Black legacy at Churchill Downs. Homme + Femme also sponsored Steve Wilson’s Derby eve party at 21C Museum Hotel, benefiting the Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund. The evening included a performance by Guest of Honor Jack Harlow.
This is Drew Evans story, behind-the-making of Homme+Femme’s Kentucky Derby Collection:
When did you discover your passion for designing clothes? What was the first piece you ever designed?
I discovered my love for designing clothes in elementary school and my first piece was a football jersey in 2nd grade.
Who are your influences, and how have your influences inspired you to mold your vision with your designs today?
My biggest influences today are Kanye West and my childhood experiences. What I saw and the culture growing up in the 90s and 2000s sticks with me today as I try and recreate those nostalgic moments.
Based on the Kentucky Derby Collection, what was your creative process like when exchanging ideas with Valerie Bruce?
Our creative process internally was based off of the African American history of the derby. We looked into historic references while keeping our mind on the present. Valerie was instrumental in making sure everything was authentic to thoroughbred racing and Kentucky.
Did you incorporate the Black Jockeys into your collection? If so, how?
The black jockeys were the reason we even did this collaboration. We wanted to bring their successful history to a new generation. The jockeys are featured in the designs of each piece in the collection.
Your pieces center on urban streetwear with a varsity twist. Are there any symbolic references derived from the history of the Kentucky Derby in your collection?
The cardigan is a classic piece formally known as a “workout blazer” which incorporated into the collection. The workout blazer gets its name from the 1930s and 1940s when exercise riders for the horses at the farms wore them when they were exercising the horses.
Does your collection break any barriers as far as traditional styles represented at the Kentucky Derby?
It broke plenty of barriers. As far as we know the derby never did streetwear. We brought the culture to Churchill Downs!
Should the Kentucky Derby expand the options of specific styles that a person can wear at the event? Contemporary mix or keep the traditional wear?
The derby styles are all so unique and people express themselves in many ways. There is no specific dress code but I love the Sunday Best Vibes.
How long did it take you to put the Kentucky Derby Collection together and were there any designs that took you longer than others?
The collaboration was put together pretty quickly in 90 days and we had a tough time with global supply chain issues. The team was able to work together and we got it done!
If you were to pick only one item that you designed from the collection to be your personal favorite, which one would it be?
Homme+Femme celebrates community, creating clothes made by young, creative minds for the modern trendsetter. What words of encouragement do you have for those young creative minds that can inspire them to keep moving forward with their dreams in fashion design?
Young people please continue to dream and think big! Do not limit what you think you can do. Try your best to bring a unique perspective to the game and build you a solid and reliable team the best you can. It’s a marathon so be ready to stay on that road. We’re in our 9th year and still running our race.
The Kentucky Derby Collection is available to shop at HommeFemmeLA.com. Prices range from $60 – $600.