Kanye West ventured into fashion with his Yeezy collection that appeals to the masses who like high-end fashion mixed with streetwear. However, Ye isn’t the only one expressing his style through clothing. Khalil Walthour, the founder of Cidenna clothing line, created an online destination for streetwear fashion.
Launched Aug. 2, 2016, Cidenna markets tees, hoodies, pants, eyewear, headwear and more. The company released its new collection, First Semester on June 15 to celebrate young adults starting their own businesses.
In an exclusive interview with rolling out, Walthour discusses his First Semester collection, the CIDMagazine coming this fall, and the challenges of owning a business.
Why did you decide to start the Cidenna clothing line? How did the concept of Created in Difference come about?
Starting a clothing line was the only way for me to express myself fully and keep myself busy by giving the fashion community something different and fresh. I wanted other humans to see my clothing make a difference in fashion. “Created in Difference” is my slogan. Everything we do must be created differently. Created in Difference is actually how I came up with the first three letters of my brand name (CID).
How did you end up working with Malachaie, B Simone, and Princeton Perez from Mindless Behavior? What was that experience like?
I was invited to the New Atlanta event, and that is where I met Malachaie for the very first time. I told him about my clothing brand, and he provided me with his contact information. The next thing I knew, he was wearing one of my bleached Savage Tour T-shirts in an Instagram video, making it sell out within 48 hours. Malachaie and I gained a closer friendship, and he even began to attend Cidenna photo shoots. I will always respect Malachaie for helping my business out so early on.
I met B Simone at the Melanin Bar pop-up shop in Atlanta. Right before B Simone left the pop-up shop, I remember stopping her and saying I had a shoot coming up and that I would love for her to attend. She showed up to the shoot with such great energy. I will always respect her because she kept her word and she was genuinely humble.
I got in contact with Princeton Perez via Instagram, where we began a great business friendship. Princeton has worn a few of my products from different collections such as our shoulder bags, headbands, Cid Tour jerseys and more. I was also honored to design Princeton a special piece for Coachella.
Why did you decide to call the new collection First Semester?
First Semester by far is the highest selling collection I have ever done. When I came up with the name First Semester I was in a place where I felt I wasn’t being accepted as a young designer in the clothing industry. Overall, the collection is a sample of me breaking barriers as a new young Black entrepreneur and designer in a huge fashion industry. I still remember the way I was feeling the day I was designing, and it immediately reminded me of my first semester in high school, so it was only right to name my collection that.
What can people expect from the CidMagazine coming this fall? Will it be print or digital?
CidMagazine is in the works as we speak. Haven’t quite decided on all the things I want to do with the magazine yet. There are so many options and directions I could venture toward. The magazine will most likely remain digital, but who knows what the future will bring.
Why did you decide to start a publication?
I felt that the youth needed more of a platform to share their talents. Sometimes seeing yourself in an article gives you hope again, that what your doing is great and that you should not ever stop, so I wanted to offer that for millennials. CidMagazine is going to showcase just that: the talents of the youth. A lot of people fail to realize that we are the future.
How do social, economic and technological changes impact your business?
The world changes every second, so I have to make sure I keep up with it. New technology has helped my brand’s marketability of my product, plus it has helped with making things more consumer friendly. Being an online-based company makes things 10 times easier when most of the human population are on their devices these days, so the social and technological growth has impacted me in a great way.
What was your greatest failure with your business and how did you learn from it?
My greatest failure had to be trusting in the wrong people. I had to learn the hard way and realize that not everyone has your best interest at heart. I learned that it’s OK to be nice and always remain humble, but also be a boss and have full control over everything.
How did the Savage Tour and Cid Tour collections impact your business?
These collections were more so movements that people could relate to. When people see the logos on those collections, they know [there is] only one brand that provides it, so it plays a huge part in our branding. We have a lot of plans coming with Cid Tour. I can’t wait for you guys to see it!
What advice do you have for someone who wants to start their own business and publication?
The first thing I would tell them is, “Why not go for it? There is only one person that can stop you, and that is yourself.”
Where do you see the brand in the next 3 to 5 years?
I see my brand as a solid establishment in the next 3 to 5 years. I can already see my products being sold in local retailers around the U.S. I know with my talent, Jehovah, and my amazing supporters, anything is possible.