Fashion designer Tamil Robinson is best known for suiting up the NFL’s top players, but his contemporary designs through his Tamil Robinson Group label are just as fetching. He’ll be debuting his latest line, The Fashion Collection of AMIAT, at a lavish bash during New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016 in September.
At the “Spring Affair” event, Robinson is set to unveil a bold palette of argyle, florals, houndstooth, paisley, plaid and polka dots on apparel for men and women.
"The hallmark pieces are the wrap dresses," he tells BET.com. "You’re going to see the textile patterns on there, you’re going to see the flow, and our signature houndstooth pattern." He's also rolling out fresh takes on summer denim for men and women, tailored men's suiting, eyewear, luggage, men's and women's shoes and handbags. "You’re going to see color blocking, that’s another signature that we do a lot, and that comes from the sports side of me from when I was working on uniforms.”
As a designer, his past clientele includes the NFL, where he notably designed Pro Bowl jerseys worn by stars like Michael Strahan and Tom Brady, and is credited with innovating the look of the league’s zip-away and breakaway warm-up pants and jackets. He has also collaborated with the Allen Iverson I3 Reebok Collection. Robinson's athletic designs last hit the runway during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2015.
Classically trained in fine arts, including watercolor and sketching (he’s an alum of the magnet program at Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey), he is known for integrating serious artistic edge into his designs. “That comes into play when I, say, do a hand airbrush, artistic, abstract [type of] pattern on to the different t-shirts and sneakers. You’re going to see a lot of color blends, a lot of free-hand and abstract shapes that I’m going to do as well.”
In the Internet Age, where designs are often products of digital processing, this hands-on approach is a rarity. His Spring 2015 collection marks the 30th anniversary of starting his fashion career in 1985 as an airbrush artist on the streets of Newark, where he found his niche in tricking out gear for the city’s top breakdancers.
Today, he’s made a name for himself for his one-of-a-kind textiles, which are exclusive to his label, including a polka dot style and favorite houndstooth that smartly integrates his label's logo. For spring, he will introduce two more, a graffiti print that will be featured on leather handbags and a confetti print paired with a silk baby doll dress.
Asked what makes his designs stand out, even from luxury designers showing at New York Fashion Week, "First and foremost, it would be the colorways that I use," he says. "I blend my own colors. We have a new melon color that we’re coming out with that I mixed myself in the lab and we dyed it with the yarns. The signature of the whole collection is a light baby blue. With all the colors, we have them dyed to our own liking."
The “Spring Affair” soiree will be held on Saturday, September 12 at the Affinia Hotel in New York City. Doors open at 8 p.m.
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(Photo: Keith Major / Courtesy of DoubleXXposure Media)