Public Figures – Behind the Scenes

– by ChiChai@Empire –

Our summer collection Public Figures may have had the most time put in it.

Lookbook photo from collection “Public Figures”

For over a year, the design team — Jelyn, Mia and I– has wanted to add patched up bomber jackets and beanies in our product line. As for the theme and concepts for the graphics,  we began brewing them up in the last quarter of 2017.

Original concept sketches for Public Figures
From ChiChai@Empire’s Instagram story

Putting together a new collection involves all hands on deck. Once we finish designing our products and put them in production, our media and marketing team join in the conversation. We ask ourselves questions like: How are we going to present this collection to our supporters? How do we tie in the messages of our collection to the presentation of it? What mood are we trying to portray with the photo-shoot?

The end result of this round of long conversations:

“We mustn’t wait for celebrities or politicians for change. We all have the power to empower. Each piece in this collection illustrates how we are all Public Figures. Through our words, actions decisions, and passions, we can influence those around us.
Public Figures aspires for our supporters to use their empires for the betterment of our world.”

We concluded we wanted a girl-gang vibe for the shoot. Our lookbook photographer Chris@Empire stood firm with the idea of an all-concrete landscape. We all agreed that the the photographs should be a mixture of grit and radiance.

We photographed Public Figured at one of the abandoned World War II bunkers in San Francisco. It’s rigid, a remnant of violent times, and incomplete.

But, now, it provides a viewing point for San Francisco’s visitors from all over the world. On this bunker alone, you can view the Golden Gate Bridge, the bay leading out to the ocean, and more.

We are all giving this ruin a new purpose. What was once used for defense and destruction, we turned as part of our message of positively influencing those around us through inclusivity, hope, peace, and justice.

Chris is normally our background guy. He’s the go-to for inventory, budgeting, sales. We even call him “LSH” aka Logistic Shit Handler. But, when it comes to our quarterly collections, Chris comes out to play. He shoots all of our lookbooks!


Ray@Empire, on the other hand, puts together our video lookbooks.  

Throughout the blog, you can see him following the models with his camera.

To the naked-eye, it just looks like Ray is running around following the models. In reality, he’s making this:

Sam@Empire comes in for the small but important details. While Chris is capturing the models and environment, Sam pays close attention to the appearance of our products. Anytime you see Sam in a photo in this post, you’ll notice she’s helping the models straighten out the apparel.

As I said earlier, all hands are on deck for the photo-shoot. Putting together a collection forreal takes a team effort

One of the things that the Empire Team loves about photo-shoots is reuniting with our models. We get to reunite with our go-to models! For this photo-shoot, we brought back Dani and Celestine who’ve modeled for us on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, Giann (who’s featured in nearly all collections since 2014!) couldn’t make it for work but Tiffany was able to make her debut!

The Public Figures collection may have been a laborious one but it continues to be worthwhile thanks to you.

Learn more about the collection here.

Shop Public Figures here

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