Civil Interview: Reshonia Porter Shares on Creating Clothing Line to Honor Father Rich Porter
by Shawn Grant
People are making millions and full on success and not making a name.
Exactly, for their own merit and success, people repeatedly use the name as a means to bring attention to their work. It’s a disregard for my family, especially when I have never received a call or any form of message and these people know that I exist.
You mention how your family is doing different pieces to honor the name. How did you specifically arrive at a clothing line?
My dad has a lot of pictures that are really cool. Whether it’s a cell phone in his hand, a beeper, his Rolex and his car with the rims, these are really cool images. The ones that we have that are still underneath the radar leave us in awe. My dad was 25 when he went to Hawaii and I’m 29, I still don’t know any guys dressing like this or having these exclusive things. I thought it was fun to do shirts with animation that include the cell phone and rims. Eventually, I will have an artist create pieces as well because a lot of guys are interested in having art in their man caves. I would like to do a pop-up shop featuring the art and shirts. So I’ve been keeping an eye out for an artist I would collab with.
Is there a particular audience or market you had in mind for the design?
Yes, athletes and rappers. I had people in mind like Pusha T and Jay Z, people who would understand the background and culture and have used his name respectfully. Jay mentioned, “The twin brother of Rich Porter, separated at birth, I got the soul of a hustler…” I would love for him to wear it and Diddy, of course. One day his son Justin reached out to me saying that they were talking about my dad and was wondering if I had any pictures they could just look at, just wanting to see them. My dad passed when I was two years old and I can’t believe people still talk about him. My grandmother gave me one of the props from the Movie Paid in Full from Mitch and I wore it to school on a throwback day and everyone in the school went crazy. That was my first year coming back from Atlanta and it made me realize my dad was somebody big.
Are there specific stories that you plan to infuse in the line?
Yes, definitely. My brother will sit with my aunt and have her tell different stories that they encountered, just funny stories that no one really knows about. I think that I’m going to have the graphic designer exaggerate some elements of the original photo to add to the authenticity of the times displayed on the shirts. Like the one with him leaning against a car, he was just chilling; his whole persona was just cool. He didn’t have to do anything I definitely intend to tell stories through my line. With the success of my shirts and my brother’s play, I would like to give his story a different ending.
Hopping into fashion could be tough, have you gotten any support?
I haven’t really asked anyone for anything yet. At the moment, I’m just using my dad’s image to make myself happy and feel complete. I would love to send the shirts to people who are into him and were influenced by him. I would love to gain support from major artists and companies but I would like it to be organic. I do plan on sending shirts to various artists and influencers.
What challenges have you already encountered developing the brand?
Basically getting it to be how I envision it. I don’t want it to be your everyday block party screen print shirt. I want it to be luxury, to feel good. I think now I have it. I think with it being a great shirt people will be excited to wear it. Just the product itself has been the most difficult part. I went to a screen-printing store and image made the guy’s eyes light up. That’s scary for me because they could steal the concept.