For The Good of Man
It’s a rainy Tuesday evening in early October at the Sophistocrat office and the last task on the agenda before calling it a day is a photo shoot featuring a Sophistocrat full of style. As 6:30 pm strikes, the slim yet bold act arrives on cue and expectedly the grey clouds outside haven’t tampered his style or demeanor. After all, his name is derived from the word “spiffy”, an adjective, that Webster dictionary defines as “smart in appearance or dress; stylish”. Meet “Spiph” Collins (real name Jerrod Collins), personal wardrobe stylist and CEO of The Goods For Society (TGFS). The name stuck with him after working in a jewelry store and customers telling him, “You always look spiffy” Collins recalls. From there he came up with the name “Spiph” adding his own twist to the word (replacing “-ffy” with ‘”-ph”). Emerging from the 3rd floor elevator decked out in a navy blue bomber jacket, a custom hoody from his 2014 F/W collection, a green tote, fitted black jeans, and an umbrella suited for The Rat Pack, Spiph is right in his element.
It is this element and confidence that he looks to give to his clients. For Spiph, style is more of an emotional component than a physical presence. He believes style is dictated by, “the reaction to your emotions. When you wake up in the morning your emotions, combined with your agenda for the day, will most likely influence what you wear. I feel like people make style so definitive instead of looking at it as an opportunity to showcase who they are” Collins says.
In the words of Oprah, his “aha moment” came during high school in Hartford, CT where he would “remake jeans with different patterns and materials” Collins says. Soon his friends were paying for his jeans. He laughs that, “It wasn’t much but it was dope, it was original. It was then that I decided to go to school for fashion merchandising”. While studying at Howard University in Washington, DC he worked at nightclubs and patrons began to identify him by his custom ties. It’s clear that he has come a long way since his undergraduate career, but the principles he was able to develop there still help him today. He credits his time at Howard University as “a forewarning to how detailed the [fashion] industry was going to be. They were able to give me perspective. People look at fashion just as an art but at the end of the day it’s a business, so it taught me the balance between the two. Its all about awareness and demand you have to know how to forecast. Fashion is always a season ahead so it’s about preparation” Collins said. As for real world job experience, Collins describes it as “very fast paced”. Outside the classroom, “it’s more about reaction time. You have to be able to adapt fast”. Essentially, “you are a salesman so you have to know the prices, the point of view the collection is being presented in order to sell it, while being able to interpret what the consumer is looking for”.
On this rainy Thursday evening the experience he has garnered in the classroom and is evident. Before becoming the muse for today’s shoot, Spiph pulls out a wooden crate (paying homage to the era that inspired the theme for his TGFS brand) full of ties with custom velvet and leather backs, to custom pocket squares with glow in the dark stitching, and t-shirts dawning his TGFS logo.
After explaining the inspiration and craftsmanship of his new collection, Spiph is camera ready. Just minutes into the shoot, his natural capability to be the mind behind the scenes of a brand, yet effortlessly stand in front of the camera is exciting to watch. His face is polarizing and full of contradictions. His eyes are red as if he hasn’t slept for a few days (he is currently preparing to launch his collection during his alma mater’s homecoming weekend) yet he dawns a childish smile of excitement, eager to stand on mark for today’s shoot. After all, sleep is a luxury when you have to juggle as many hats as Spiph. During the day or his “9 to 5” as he refers to it, you can find Spiph serving as a Sales Associate at Rag and Bone in Georgetown (DC) and from 5-9 he is knee-deep into developing the TGFS brand and serving as a personal wardrobe stylist for clients such as DJ Alizay of 93.9 WKYS. As he runs through his many responsibilities, as if they are regular routine now, his face lights up when he declares his most important role of them all-being a father to his four-year-old daughter Chloe. Its evident he’s motivated for a far deeper reason than recognition and money. He truly believes in his product and helping his clients develop an entire wardrobe, not just supplying them with one outfit for a single event.
“Creating a wardrobe that you can use excessively day in and day out is important. Whether you have to go to work, on a date, or a black tie event your wardrobe should have ready options at all times” Collins says. “I feel like style defers a lot of people from participating in certain things because they don’t feel like they will look the part. I don’t believe in renting clothes for my clients because I feel like certain pieces can be used again in multiple ways”. He urges his clients to be “confident, eager, and open-minded”.
Passion, desire and persistence are all essential to building a brand. However, at the end of the day it all comes down to the product, or as Spiph would call it, “the goods”. And take it from us, as the name of his company infers, he definitely has the goods for society. The inspiration for the name of his company came from “looking at historical war images” said Collins. “As a team we were taken back by some of the pictures we saw of pilots during that time. Pilots were a vital piece to operations because they were in charge for dropping crates of cargo, food, and supplies off at so many places all over the world; they were really dependent upon. So we used that as a comparison and analogy for what we feel like we offer our customers.”
As his brand enters into its second year, Spiph is preparing for his biggest debut yet, his 2014 F/W collection. As for what to expect from the new collection, Collins says, “In this collection we have regular size ties, slim ties, oversize pocket squares. But we’re working with crazy patterns, the velvet fabrics, all hand picked and paired together. Everything is original. From the yoga studio to the boardroom we have you covered with this collection”. To find out more about Spiph Collins and his The Goods For Society brand, log onto TheGoodsForSociety.com, follow him at @spipchcollins (IG), and @thegoodsforsociety (Twitter). Think you should be featured or have somebody else in mind, email us at info@TheSophistocrats.com.
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