Spencer Lee is an aspiring, young designer from Franklin, NJ. He recently dropped his “X-Ray” t-shirts which you can buy on his website. His hustle is unmatched as celebrities like Kid Cudi, J.R. Smith, and Teyana Taylor have given praise to his designs. Spencer is part of the fashion collective Red Velvet Luxury as well, which will be dropping their first line in the coming months. Read below as we talk about fashion, school, and hobbies. Enjoy!
Explain who got you into fashion and how long you’ve been designing for.
I’d have to say that my mom got me into fashion. I always saw her looking at Neiman Marcus catalogs and rockin’ LV, Prada, and stuff. She worked in the fashion industry when she was young as well. I guess its in the blood? Haha.
I’ve been designing since i was in 7th grade, but up until about a year ago, the designs were only on paper. Just ideas and drawings. I didn’t start making actual pieces until I was in 11th grade.
How would you describe your personal style four/five years ago and your style now?
Five years ago? Graphic tees and Jordans. I was more into sneakers back then, not really fashion. I was usually going with Stussy tees and some Jays.
Now, I can’t really describe my style. I like to switch it up a lot. I may go luxury one day, streetwear another day, or mix a few styles up. I wear RVL and SPENCER LEE often too, I like wearing my own brands. I’ve been wearing a lot of black lately though.
Explain the process of putting out the X-Ray tees and starting your own fashion company.
The X-Ray Tees took about a month and a half to make. I bleach-designed them individually by hand, so there was a lot of care and labor put into those shirts. I also had to sew on the labels and package them. While pumping out the tees, I also had to register the business and make the website and all that legal stuff. That stuff is a pain. But yeah after all the work… SPENCER LEE was official.
What inspired you to make the X-ray shirts? How has the feedback been?
Well people have been bleaching their clothing forever. The skeleton design has been done before on clothing but it usually sucked. I’ve seen people do skeletons with bleach, but never aiming toward the fashion industry. So I just tried to incorporate my artistic ability in to my own version of it.
People like it, I get complimented when I wear it anywhere. I’ve been stopped in NYC a few times by people saying, “You’re the guy who makes those?”, but there’s also negative feedback. Some people show interest and then see the price and are like, “For a T-shirt? Really? Naaaa.” I know how much my work is worth, so I just ignore all that broke-boy talk.
How do you use your background of being an Asian-American to diversify your fashion sense?
Being Asian makes me stand out I guess. People always tell me I’m not a “typical” Asian. Whatever that means. I don’t know, I’m just me haha. VERY RARE VERY COZY.
How did you feel when you first received recognition for your brand from celebrities like Kid Cudi and J.R. Smith?
I was pretty happy. J.R. is one of my favorite players on the Knicks so it was cool sending him a shirt. I was the most excited when Cudder responded to me. Its awesome getting motivational words from my favorite musician. It was also pretty dope seeing Teyana Taylor wearing an X-Ray Tee.
In terms of celebrities, who do you see as fashionable? Who in Franklin/Somerset do you find fashionable?
To me some fashionable celebrities would be Kid Cudi, Teyana Taylor, Big Sean, and of course Kanye West. As far as Franklin/Somerset goes, I’ll give it to my boys, Ryan Sadler, and Dave Ferro (RVL Creators)… and definitely Joshua Zhou, who recently passed away, R.I.P. to him. Also Marjess Borado, Markim Ottey, Amir and Asim Ismael, Teron Hodge… there’s a few more I might be forgetting.
What are your favorite brands? What other up-coming brands are you excited for?
Some of my favorite brands are Bape, BBC, Balmain, Givenchy, Versace, Uniqlo, Topman, and my other collaborative brand RVL of course.
Regarding other up-coming brands, i’m excited for RVL. Also Gems NYC, shout out to my guy Gem! I respect any brand that grinds hard and works for theirs.
You used to be into sneakers, are you trying to stay away from the sneaker game now or do you still find yourself interested?
I still like sneakers and all but I stopped spending money on new releases and stuff. Nothing really catches my eye anymore. Plus I try to put most of my money towards my brand…but don’t worry, I still got heat!
What colleges do you want to apply to? What major would you like to pursue?
I want to apply to NYU for business. Not sure what major yet.
How will you use college as a platform to market your brand?
Being in New York comes with great marketing opportunities and networking. There’s a lot of people that come in and out of NYU who may help to improve my business.
What are your other hobbies outside of designing? Are they more important to you than fashion?
Outside of designing, I do track and field for FHS. It’s something I’m passionate about and dedicate a lot of time to. But I wouldn’t say it’s more important to me than fashion. In addition to track, I like weight training, playing basketball, drawing, making music, shopping, and sleeping. And eating.
Do you ever see fashion becoming your main career/job?
Yeah, It probably will be. I want to be my own boss.
What can we expect in the coming months from SPENCER LEE? Red Velvet Luxury?
Look out for some new pieces by SPENCER LEE and the first season release for RVL. Also keep an eye out for a collab that’s in the works right now. There’s way more to come!