MANIKINBLAQK: The New Orleans Apparel Brand that embraces the truth and strives for the revitalization of oneself. Not only has the brand found success throughout its years, the founder, Steven Roy, 38, has an inspiring story that embraces the depth of the brand, and allows you to look at it as more than just an apparel brand.
Founded in 2016, the brand’s standing strong and continuously creates empowering clothing aimed at the African American culture. Outside of revitalization, Manikinblaqk also represents the history of slavery and what we can do to honor that time period. After interviewing Roy, I took a second look at the apparel line with the new insight I had gained, and truly was able to recognize the message more. Hopefully you can do the same.
INTERVIEW WITH MANIKINBLAQK:
NG: What’s your name, age, and where are you from?
BM: My name is Steven Roy. I am 38 and from the Westbank, Marrero.
NG: Tell me about your brand, what is your business? (please provide me with correct name and spelling of it).
BM: Manikinblaqk is a brand that was started in 2016 to help revitalize the self-view of oneself. It’s about embracing the truth.
The name Manikinblaqk is indeed the is the name of the brand, but isn’t its entire depth…the truth never lies on the surface, so when the word Manikinblaqk is rearranged, reading Blaqk Man I Kin, the purest truth is expressed.Steven Roy, Manikinblaqk
Additionally, the logo of the brand is a mask, which represents ones best self-perception. Lying within the mask is a fleur di lis. Not because the brand was started in New Orleans, but because the fleur di lis symbol was once branded on slaves by their French slave owners as a representation to society that those branded were troublemakers. Troublemakers for attempts at gaining what was rightfully theirs… their freedom. So, we at Manikinblaqk embrace the fleur di lis in honor of those “troublemakers” both for our freedom and the freedom of our people.
NG: Why did you start Manikinblaqk? Why did you want to come out with a clothing brand? Have you always been into clothes?
BM: I wanted to start my clothing brand when I was incarcerated.. I served 15 and a halfyrs from 99-2015 but then it was called Liberated Minds at the time but when I came home and tried to get it someone already had the name so that’s when Manikinblaqk was started .. I wanted to start a brand to help us see ourselves in a different view and I wanted to do it through fashion. Fashion is about statements and what’s a bigger statement then embracing your people… embracing your highest position and embracing the horror of our ancestors and making it our strength.. our apparel makes that statement…
NG: “Manikinblaqk” – That’s such a unique name to me, I love it. How did you come up with it, and what does it mean /represent to you and your brand?
NG: Is this your full-time job/commitment? If not, what is it you do in addition to your brand?
BM: Manikinblaqk Apparel is just one of the many businesses that I have but may be the one that I’m passionate about the most because I started it without no experience or networking connections throughout the city from me being incarcerated for so long .. no one knew me and a lot of people still don’t but over 10,000 products have sold since the brand started and that’s the fuel to my passion behind Manikinblaqk because that let me know that the message and what the brand stands for is powerful and embraced by my people.. but I also Co own a Home Health Company(Acts Home Health and AbleLife Care Services with my siblings.Between both companies we help employ over 150 people here in the city and are in over 150 homes providing our services…We also have a CPR training company called Heartfelt and we recently started a embroidery company called Nola Stitching LLC and a Interior Design business called B.Franks Designs..so my time is spent daily trying to strengthen and help manage the 6 businesses that I’m involved in and with …
NG: Where can people inquire/purchase your apparel?
BM: All our products can be ordered from our website http://www.maniminblaqk.com and you can keep us with our latest releases on there as well or from following us on one of our social media pages which is Manikinblaqk for Facebook,Twitter,Ig….
On November 29, 2019 at Cafe Istanbul, ManiquinBlack had their first annual showcase ..It’s called Black Friday..Black Fashion. Manikinblaqk apparel along with 9 other brands had a fashion show/pop up ..It was a 4 hour free event to help create an outlet for our brands especially on a day that billions are spent …It consisted of them putting on a fashion show having performers and a guest speaker.. They planned a nice event with some of the strongest brands involved with this project …From Purple Hrt …FamLife… Do u clothing … .Watch My Smoke .. .. Black Bonnie … E.Denimm…Londondocuments and a few more brands. Our goal is to expand as much as possible.. Our message is vast so our opportunities are vast for Manikinblaqk Apparel..
NG: Future goals for Manikinblaqk?
BM: The goal of the brand is to expand as much as possible going forward. Our message is vast, making our opportunities vast for Manikinblaqk Apparel.
As we approach 2020, it’s clear that the societies that surround us have established one thing….brand is power. Social media everyday continues to open doors for us, allowing us to establish our brands and our audiences seep into them. To date, this is one of the most inspiring, and local, brands that we’ve come up. From a former inmate, to a multi-business owner, Roy continues to bring himself and the city of New Orleans success.