Style With Kicks presents "INSIDE THE SOLE" ( feat. Hommy Diaz )
Welcome Hommy and thanks for joining our conversation.
Hommy: My pleasure, thank you for the invitation
Q: Let's start with your childhood influences. What were your early creative influences?
Hommy: As toddler I was influenced by Saturday morning cartoons. It was how I learned to speak English in a household that only spoke Spanish. I found Transformers to be inspiring with the message about using power and dominance to do good and help those in need.
Q: Was there a particular thing your parents or family members did that influenced your creative choices?
Hommy: Before the internet existed my mother made me aware of the fact that the person behind the Oscar De La Renta fashion house was in fact a real person and was from the Dominican Republic like us. I was about 12 years old at the time and this increased my curiosity to be a designer.
Q: What was your first project that motivated you to become a designer?
Hommy: My first official project in collaboration with Apple, DC Shoes and Incase for the Apple SoHo Store employees.
Q: Once you started working officially as a professional designer, was there one thing you promised yourself you would never do?
Hommy: I promised myself I would not work on something I don’t love and or believe in for money.
Q: You have worked for well established shoe companies. What challenges did you face and how did you handle them?
Hommy: The challenges I experienced were based on bridging the gap between different cultures and age groups. The executive teams were often much older than the brands target audience, making it difficult to align on brand message and execution. I continue to handle those challenges by leading by example of what the consumer wants, appreciates and gravitates towards. Social media and data has been the best analytical study to support creative and business decisions.
Q: What made you take the leap of faith to start your own brand ( Magnus Alpha )?
Hommy: I grew up in Queens, New York where counterfitted brands were a dime a dozen on every other corner. From a young age as I grew more curious about designing and producing product, I wished I could get on the ground floor of a manufacturer making of these knock offs just so that I could use the resource to make an original brand. I promised myself the day I found the resources I would create an original label vs knocking off established brands to turn a profit.
Q: What did you do to mentally prepare yourself for any special projects?
Hommy: I simplified the process initially by following what I call the "5 C’s”
Identifying Content in Context of a Culture to start or join the Conversation to then Create a solution or provide what is missing.
Q: Now, that you have a few years of being your own boss, what would you recommend to someone who is just starting in the shoe industry?
Hommy: To be fair I am only one solid year in as an independent designer. My advise per my experience so far is to leave no stone unturned with the opportunity to learn from individuals or brands in the industry.
Q: In the Future, would you ever consider the idea of collaborations? If yes, please explain why?
Hommy: Yes I am open to collaborations especially because of my 12 year run in the industry having worked on hundreds of collaborations. A collaboration specifically with Magnus Alpha would aim to validate the message about great dominance of self worth as immigrants and or children of immigrants. The brand exists to shine the spot light on the luxury of being a 'Product Of An Immigrant'.
Q: Now, before I let you go. Do you have any special announcements to make for 2020?
Hommy: Excited and proud of the work in progress with several new items within apparel and accessories. I travel frequently and need the right gear to make my trips more comfortable and efficient. A need many can relate to and will benefit from with the new designs releasing in 2020.
Follow his brand @magnus.alpha and visit magnusalpha.com for more on the brand. Thank you.