The designer is gearing up to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the brand that’s enjoying a bit of a pop-culture revival thanks in part to Cardi B and Bruno Mars’ hit, “Finesse.”
“It’s very exciting for us right now. We have some great things planned for that,” he said of the company’s anniversary next year.
Since the music video for the single was a reference to the hit nineties sketch comedy show, In Living Color, featuring Cross Colours clothing made total sense because Keenan Ivory Wayans and the rest of the crazy crew from the hit show were constantly wearing Walker’s designs.
“We didn’t really have any direct contact with that video other than our clothes were featured in the video. It was really organic,” he explained. “They actually were doing an In Living Color theme and they pulled Cross Colours clothing, which was appropriate because we styled and dressed them back in the day.”
Even though TJ Walker ended up launching a line that made a huge impact on the culture, he didn’t set out with that intention.
“I had a love of drawing. My intent was to be a fashion illustrator. I went to school in Mississippi and completed my master’s degree at Louisiana Tech University and then I moved to Los Angeles in hopes of being a fashion illustrator,” he explained.
When TJ Walker launched his clothing line with Carl Jones in 1989, it was almost unheard of for two Black men to achieve the success they did.
“I think we were more scared than anyone else because we didn’t know exactly what we were doing or what we were about to do, but we knew we had to address a certain demographic which was us…so we tried to figure out a way to do that.”
After their very first fashion show, the orders came pouring in and celebrities like Will Smith, TLC, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, and Snoop Dogg were begging them for clothes. The colorful ensembles they created and signature inclusion of kinte cloth in their denim made their clothes instantly recognizable and coincided with the rise of Yo! MTV Raps.
Now that the nineties are back in such a big way, so is the beloved brand. Despite his success, TJ Walker remains humble and committed to giving back to the community.
“I think that’s what keeps me grounded…the give back part. Of course, my family keeps me grounded too.”
Check out the full interview above.