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Dymes Only: Meet The Women Behind The Statement Making Brand

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Friends since their early days, Sakara, Shia and Lisa have translated their bond into Dymes Only--the latest and greatest in fashion for stylistas and Vixens everywhere.

VIBE Vixen recently  joined the urban streetwear line inside Slowbuck Warehouse in Queens, NY where the three entrepreneurs got glammed up while making executive decisions in unison.  Inspired by VIBE’s vintage femme cover featuring Lauryn Hill, Foxy Brown, Missy Elliott, and Lil Kim, the explanation behind their brand baby began to spill through their boss actions. Their premature line serves as the brainchild stemming from their early start in secondary school.

 “You can go back 8 or 9 years on Youtube and Google Pdees [Presidential Dymes] or PDeeTV and see us way back then and we would interview artist but that’s the proof that we’ve been doing this for a really long time.”

With no corporate funding or help from Shia's bigger sister Ashanti, it's apparent how hands on the dynamic trio is when it comes to their work. “If we were a label, we are an independent label right now. We’re a lifestyle brand that is also our reality.”

With a girl power ensemble and message in their brand, learn about Dymes Only and the impact this trio is planning on spreading like wildfire nationally and internationally to other women.

Photo: Jasmine Gonzalez
Shia & Lisa Make Up: Jennifer Ashley
Sakara Make Up: Nikkie
Stylist: Sankara McCain
Hair:  Teri Ann Paris

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First, how did you guys become friends?

Sakara: We knew each other [Shia and Sakara] from our families early on when we were in the second or third grade. Our family members met at a garage sale and then they brought us to a mutual fish fry and they were like, "you two are going to be friends." It really wasn’t forceful-- we just became friends. Lisa was from middle school and just around the neighborhood. The younger crew which included me and Shia, we joined forces with the older crew, which included Lisa.

If your group were a movie, would you be a Clueless, Mean Girls or Sex and the City (for the younger generation)?

All: I think we’re all three and Spice Girls.

Lisa: I feel like we were goofy so we weren’t mean enough to be mean girls but we had to be mean at a certain point. Other girls would bully us because we were a crew.

Shia: People picked at us because you’re always going to try and pick at a force that was untouchable.

Fast forward, what made you guys turn this into a brand?

Shia: When were kids, we had a group called the Presidential Dymes and they would call us the PDees for short. We would throw parties and events around the city. We also did a lot of different charity events and concerts. You can go back 8 or 9 years on YouTube and Google PDees or P DeeTV and see us way back then. We would interview artists, but that’s the proof that we’ve been doing this for a really long time. We built this brand and anybody that knows us, knows us because they’ve been seeing us and they respect us.  We had a following with the brand, Presidential Dymes and when we started the radio show; we needed something to promote but translate into something else outside of the PDees.

So how did that translate into Dymes, the clothing line?

Shia: It kind of happened. It wasn’t like we woke up and said "oh we want to be fashion designers." We’ve always had style; we always knew how to dress people knew us for the things that we have. Whether it be our cars, shoes, bags; we were a brand before we knew we were a brand. So for this, it translated now to what you know as Dymes Only. It’s effortless, not forced.

What does the Arabic mean?

We want to tie in other women from other cultures into Dymes Only. Because it’s a more urban streetwear brand, we want to tie in other cultures. We want to use Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish Japanese, and all these different languages to connect with other women around the world.

Photo: Jasmine Gonzalez
Shia & Lisa Make Up: Jennifer Ashley
Sakara Make Up: Nikkie
Stylist: Sankara McCain
Hair:  Teri Ann Paris

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Explain each of your titles.

Lisa: I play the creative director; come up with the ideas and set up the tone for the brand.

Sakara: I deal with product placement.

Shia: I’m more of the face of the brand and I deal with the marketing aspect.

What makes your brand stand out?

Shia: I feel there isn’t any competition with our brand because we are authentic. Our friendship and inspiration is authentic. Everything we put in our clothes directly derives from conversations we have with one another. There are little things that other people my not know the story behind, but we know what they mean. We’re packaging and selling that product as is to our consumers. We know what it is to be a dime--we’ve been dimes since babies.

Lisa: We’re organic and everything we do is organic. We’ve been doing a brand before we even knew what we were doing. We were connecting with people from the beginning; we’re a lifestyle brand that is also our reality.

Sakara: Being that we are a female street wear brand, there’s a whole open market for that and we are the authenticity of that street wear. We are the hustlers. We aren’t the girls who are putting the hustlers on the t-shirts; we live that lifestyle. We have so many goals and aspirations as far as being females. We don’t just represent the video vixens or the streets. We are intelligent, educated and represent so much more for the 2014 female that doesn’t exist.

What’s the future for the brand?

Sakara: The future for the brand is to be in touch internationally. We already have international sales all over the world, which freaks me out everyday but to grow even further than that and to connect with all those women around the world and show our story.

Photo: Jasmine Gonzalez
Shia & Lisa Make Up: Jennifer Ashley
Sakara Make Up: Nikkie
Stylist: Sankara McCain
Hair:  Teri Ann Paris

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Does Ashanti being your sister hinder people’s thoughts on how hard you guys actually work?

Shia: Anybody that knows me knows I don’t use my sister for a lot of things. Everything we do for Dymes Only is solely independent. The funding for everything comes out of pocket. We have no investors right now and everything is literally grassroots.

Lisa: People that know us and people that don’t can see that we really hustle for our own. Everything we do is for us. If we were a label, we would be an independent label right now. There is no machine behind us.

Sakara: It never really annoyed us because we were so confident. Whether they knew or didn’t know, we were like "we’re going to get it done regardless."

There’s also a similar brand in L.A. Do people ever get confused?

Sakara: Maybe some people by hearing it will get confused, but now we’ve created such a staple. We haven’t even really gotten deep into it yet like our pieces that are really dope and will set us apart.  I think people see the difference.

If you guys could have anybody be the face of the brand, dead or alive, who would it be?

All: Aaliyah because she was that around the way, tomgirl, but she had trends and people followed those trends.

How has your individual style evolved?

Sakara: I was always jazz; I love the jazz look. Lisa was always classic, and Shia was classic but sexy.

How would you want your brand to read off to other women?

All: It reads culture, strength, confidence and sexy.

Would you want majority of your sales to go to confident women or women that are seeking confidence?

Shia: Women that aren’t confident only because that’s a stamp that what we’re producing as a brand makes them feel like that’s what I need in order to be confident. The women who are confident will probably be in it already but the other women are looking at it like that’s what I need to get confidence.

Photo: Jasmine Gonzalez
Shia & Lisa Make Up: Jennifer Ashley
Sakara Make Up: Nikkie
Stylist: Sankara McCain
Hair:  Teri Ann Paris

Flip the page to see behind-the-scenes images of their Dymes x Vixen photo shoot.

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