Billy launched his clothing brand in 2010 with a passion for streetwear and an idea to help his community. Years later, Inspiration Clothing is flourishing, and 10% of the brand's proceeds have gone on to help food banks all over the country. Billy talked to Yellowbrick about being a two-time graduate, his student success, and what's next for him and Inspiration Clothing.
At the end of this course, I found myself with a written business plan which I never thought I would have or need. So now I have something professional to build off continuously.
I felt like there could always be more to learn. Even with years of experience, I could learn other methods and processes to start and finish clothing projects. I believe this course was right for me because, after 11 plus years of running my own line, I felt it was time to learn about sneakers and how I could incorporate them into my brand.
Reputation matters. Yellowbrick earned my trust when I completed Streetwear Essentials. I knew the Fashion Institute of Technology and Yellowbrick would teach me every lesson I needed to learn to get me started on my sneaker journey.
Complex is amazing. They really care about the culture in so many ways. Whether it's fashion, music, or entertainment, Complex is a company I aspire to work with one day or be featured in one of their Omni-channels. So I knew I would get a real and raw hip-hop-influenced education with Complex behind the course.
I took both, Sneaker Essentials and Streetwear Essentials, courses because I wanted to learn from the best and obtain expertise from an industry standpoint, not just the underground knowledge I've acquired over the past decade.
Ultimately, I want to become a better entrepreneur, understand culture and storytelling, and set myself apart from others trying to get a foot in the sneaker industry.
Learning from like-minded creators is always a blessing. Of course, each contributor and instructor have their own personality and experiences. However, Heron Preston and Jeff Staple hold a lot of streetwear knowledge to bestow. I related and took away a lot from those guys and hope to work with both of them someday.
In the Sneaker Essentials course, Kenneth Anand & Jon Tang stood out. They spoke about culture and legality, which I feel is most important when understanding a market and business.
Streetwear Essentials forces you to make the building blocks of a clothing brand — right down to a business plan, target market, potential store layouts, pop-up shops, you name it. At the end of this course, I found myself with a written business plan which I never thought I would have or need. So now I have something professional to build off continuously.
I want to view my business as part of a culture and focus on the storytelling aspect, not just product and profits. It's much more than business. It's passion and the drive to make a difference in our communities. Streetwear Essentials provided more than just history. It killed my ego regarding what I thought I learned over the last 11 years. I really respect the craft more overall.
My biggest takeaway from Sneaker Essentials is learning patience. I have to understand that many jobs, roles, processes, and factors go into making a sneaker. Learning a skilled trade will take time, practice, sacrifice, commitment, and patience.
My whole outlook on fashion has changed yet again. I feel as if I still have a long journey ahead, learning about mood boards, tech packs, and manufacturing. Following all the creators and influencers from this course on Instagram has also increased my learning. I see how they post and market after hearing them speak about why they excel in streetwear today.
Upon completing this course, I have partnered with a manufacturer in Italy to design my own line of sneakers. Using tech packs and proper communication skills from Sneaker Essentials helped me translate what type of sneaker I want to bring to life.
To keep up with Billy and see the latest releases from Inspiration Clothing, follow him on IG @InspirationClothing.