Friday night, we went out to the Albert Ray Collection’s Pop-Up shop event. The event took place at the Fashion Geek Showroom. It was a great showing of pieces from the collection.
The Albert Ray Collection was started 12 years ago by Dr. Lawrence Willis and his brother, shortly after he finished his undergraduate degree. Although he has since gone to the marines, received a master’s and doctorate degree he has maintained this collection.”The ‘A’ in Albert, that’s my middle name, the “R” in Ray, that’s my brother’s middle name and we just wanted to do something different…the star within the logo is actually from the Chicago flag.” Being born and raised in Chicago, Dr. Lawrence recognized the potential of the youth around the city. He wanted to inspire the youth and encourage them. Two shirts in the line sport such inspiration quotes as “Carpe Diem” and “Beautiful Minds Inspire Others”.
Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot of good in Chicago and Willis decided to spotlight that with a style that spoke to the youth and let them know that you can have a good time, but still be positive. Influenced heavily by hip hop culture and other African-American run clothing companies such as FUBU, Dada, and etc. Willis provides a look that is in itself very hip hop and fresh.
Much of the collection has been hats, which they refer to as crowns. These crowns come in fitteds, snapbacks, and bucket hats. There are also some really great t-shirts, tanks, and dresses for the ladies. As an Alpha and ex-marine, Dr. Lawrence has made sure to include some great pieces with black and gold designs as well as camouflage. You can also get custom crowns made.
The collection is grassroots, though it has been steadily growing, getting all the way to Fabulous who wore a crown for the Albert Ray collection in New York.
For more on this line, go to thealbertraycollection.bigcartel.com. Below are some photos of the collection and the popup shop event: