Rolling Out

Samantha Black’s fashion line draws big crowd at Target

Sammy B is an eclectic fashion line for modern women

Samantha Black is a Jamaican-American fashion designer who earned her degree from the prestigious Pratt Institute. Her line, Sammy B, incorporates the bold colors and unique patterns of her ancestral homeland. Sammy B occupies prime real estate at Target, staking out an expansive space at the front of the store. The clothing line is currently available for its “Black Beyond Measure” initiative celebrating Black History Month.

Black, who is based in New York, explained the process of creating her designs and shared her experience working with Target, as well as the importance of the 15 Percent Pledge.

What is your step-by-step process in creating your designs?

For all designers, it’s kind of different. For me, it can work in two ways. If you see me zoned out, I’m visualizing something. I always have a little notebook with me [where] I’ll jot it down, sketch it real rough with notes and things like that. Sometimes I design first from fabric. I’ll see a fabric and be like, “this can do x, y, and z.” Then sometimes I’ll sit down with a focused theme like motorcycle wear and then I’ll design into that. So for me, it kind of works a few different ways, and once I start designing, then the collection evolves as I’m in the design process. During that time for me, a lot always changes. I’ll be working on a couple of things and then I’ll work on this one design that ends up taking over, and then I focus everything based on this new design. But I’m a sketcher, I sketch, then I kind of go from there, and build it out.

What has the exposure from a major retailer like Target done for your company?

It’s kind of tricky because I guess I will see. Every design is for an under-target, so I know some of the [behind the scenes] from asking but it’s not like with my actual business and my website where I’m seeing how something immediately affects sales. I don’t have that intel. So, people are coming to my site but I think it’s something I will see over time. At this point, everyone is just trying to snatch up all the Sammy B at Target, but that’s not my price point. So, it’s like really good quality at a certain price point that I don’t have. So, I think anyone who enjoys my designs and wants to rock with me for the journey will then come over to my site. Of course, I got some more followers and things like that, but I think it’s something where once it’s no longer at Target I’ll see if they are coming over. But, some people have bought the whole collection, like a lot of people.

Why is the 15 Percent Pledge important?

It’s super important because one thing about the Black and Brown community [is that] we don’t lack creativity. What we lack are exposure, funds, and connections to get us to higher heights that other communities have from birth.

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