Lately, we’ve been drawing inspiration from people within our immediate network (ya’ll da ish!). This week our source of inspiration comes from a friend and Desoto native, Kwame Price
, whose love for well-designed things led him to the creation of the luxury accessory brand, Cal & Kay
. Read the interview below to learn about how Kwame is redefining what ‘luxury’ means and some of his favorite places to drink, shop and eat here in Dallas.
1. What sparked your interest in fashion?
An appreciation for well-designed things. Fashion is where my own design language could find a home. In college, I wanted to make denim, but the idea eventually evolved into leather goods and accessories.
2. Where does the name Cal & Kay come from?
Cal is my Father’s middle name and Kay is my Mother’s middle name. Naming my company after them was my way of honoring them. I want Cal & Kay to be a legacy brand one day, passed down through generations of my family. It’ll be here after I’m long gone.
3. What is the inspiration behind Cal & Kay accessories?
I started Cal & Kay out of necessity. Shopping for accessories had become a chore. They were either too cheap or too expensive with little or no justification. So, I created a brand in the image of what I wanted to see in the world. Sweet price points, well-executed, and timeless. Each piece is designed to optimize ease of use.
4. What sets Cal & Kay apart from other accessories?
Made in Parisian workshops, the exceptional quality you get at a contemporary price point is unparalleled. I truly believe we are best in class — part of a new wave of brands redefining what ‘luxury’ means. We don’t have a 100+ year history like Vuitton or black & white photos of past generations, but we do have a point of view that resonates with current and future generations.
5. When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?
The second I realized formal training wasn’t a prerequisite to creating cool shit. Didn’t go to fashion school, had no formal training — but it didn’t stop me. Matter of fact, I’d say it’s one of my advantages.
6. What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?
That no one would care. Why should consumers care about another brand entering an over-saturated market? While sitting at Soho House in London, a designer friend once told me, “You need to operate as if no one cares about your brand — because actually, they don’t.” Best piece of advice she’s ever given me. In a world full of sensory overload, people will discover you and forget you in the same breath. You have to constantly innovate. Be it through product, marketing & communication, customer experience, etc. If folks let you occupy a little mindshare, take advantage of it.
7. How do you want people to feel when wearing your accessories?
Ahead of the curve — you’re the kind of guy/gal that constantly puts your friends on to new sh*t. But most importantly, like your best self. We create products for everyday use, but also the kind of pieces you carry when you want to make a statement. Place your Cal & Kay Zipped Credit Card Holder on the table at dinner and they’ll know you didn’t come to play games.
8. Tell us about Cal & Kay’s newest line of accessories?
In full, it’s an 8 piece collection to be dropped over the course of the fall months. The first 5 pieces (slim credit card holder, zipped credit card holder, bifold wallet, passport cover, and a medium pouch) will ship in Aug / Sept. The imagery that inspired this collection varied, but the concept was the same — boldness. Owning your truth. From Solange in a red jumpsuit with blonde braids to Caravaggio — the man and the works of art (who would walk around with a sword at his side), boldness requires a mastery of sense of self.
9. What is your fave bar in Dallas?
HIDE Bar. The vibe is always cool — never too packed, always comfortable. The Old-Fashioned and the double cheeseburger is my go-to combination.
10. What is your fave restaurant in Dallas?
Medina Oven & Bar in Victory Park. Moroccan & Mediterranean fare — it’s low key. Everything on the menu is excellent. The owner is there daily shaking hands and checking on customers. Very personable establishment. Must order: Mint Tea (thank me later). Oh, can’t forget Whataburger.
11. Where is your favorite place to shop in Dallas?
Trap Boutique on West Jefferson in Oak Cliff. Hidden among a variety of dress shops, this little gem is worth the journey. So many vintage pieces to choose from, from t-shirts to sneakers. Really can’t believe they’ve managed to stay under the radar. I’m also interested in seeing what changes are made at Forty Five Ten, now that they’ve acquired Tenoversix and named Kristen Cole chief of both retailers.
12. The advice you would give to someone wanting to do something similar.
Kick down doors — my opportunities came because of persistence and my willingness to hustle. Just because you’re talented doesn’t mean someone’s going to find you and put you on. The beginning stages are hard, but those who prevail are always the ones who are willing to starve a little bit longer.
13. Where to purchase Cal & Kay and how can SoDallas.com readers support.
Right now you can place a pre-order for our new pieces at https://igg.me/at/calandkay/x — pre-order ends April 26th. Otherwise, they’ll be available on our website calandkay.co, late summer / early fall. If you’re in LA or Japan — starting in September we’ll be stocked at Edifice Japan and VooDoo Los Angeles, a new store set to open in Downtown LA.
14. Anything else you would like for people to know 🙂
Aspiring creatives / designers, hit me (firstname.lastname@example.org / IG: @kwameprice)
I’d love to be a resource for anyone trying to break into this industry. Fashion is known to be cliquish and inaccessible to newcomers. I didn’t have any fashion mentors or someone to show me the ropes, I learned the hard way. I went through that so y’all don’t have to go through it — email@example.com / IG: @kwameprice