Small Business Highlight: Peso The Brand
Fashion is a creative way to express yourself, not only by wearing it, but also by curating and designing it yourself. Alonzo Green is the owner and product designer for Peso The Brand, a fashion brand that started in 2018 and is based in Memphis, Tennessee. His pieces include t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, hoodies, and jackets. I asked Alonzo, or Zo as he likes to be called, about how Peso The Brand started. He revealed, “I felt in that time, fashion only looked one way, vintage was very popular, and I just felt I could create pieces for myself that I would wear.” I also was interested in the name of the brand and asked about the story behind it. “Peso originally was an acronym that stood for ‘Produce Excellence, Stay Original,’, over time it transformed into a persona of its own, but actually Peso is just me in my rawest, most unapologetic form, filterless. Peso is my artistry on full display.” If you would like to shop Peso The Brand, you can visit their website here!
A portion of Zo’s designs are redesigned tour t-shirts featuring musical artists such as Lil Kim, Frank Ocean, and Kanye, which are some of my favorites of his. I asked him about the inspiration behind these shirts and how he chose which figures to feature on his them. “The people I usually choose either inspire me by the things they’ve done or a specific time/body of work they produced,” he explained, “I just really appreciate being able to go to my closet and wear something with a person who’s had an impact on me and the way I view life.” There is another t-shirt Zo has designed called the ‘I Love Peso Tee’ that has a focal point of Betty Boop, but not as she has been pictured in pop culture; she has brown skin instead of white. In his response, Zo disclosed, “the ‘I Love Peso tee’ happened a year before I decided to include Betty Boop on it, it felt like it just fit…and I learned at a young age that Betty Boop was whitewashed from its original design.” The original Betty Boop was based off of famous Jazz singer Ester Jones, who was black, and Zo wanted to use this design to spread the image of the real Betty Boop.
All of Zo’s products are well-designed and very detailed, from the front to the back. I asked him what inspires his style. “I draw inspiration from personal experiences, emotions, etc. I’m also heavily influenced by late 80s and early 90s fashion. My process usually is to just sit and listen to music and sketch things and just see where they go.” He later went on to describe his process of creating and how the cyclical nature of it can be very helpful to his craft. “I sketch a lot on random pieces of paper, but I also have notebooks I’ve filled with different notes, doodles, etc. I feel like archiving and revisiting is one of the biggest advantages in the fashion world. Having an archive of your own to pull from keeps your ideas original.” He never abandons an idea because he never knows what it will become in the future. One little tweak could make all the difference between an okay design and an amazing design.
The last question I had for Zo was what he loves about running Peso The Brand in Memphis. “I honestly don’t view it as small, more of a growing, living, expanding, maturing brand…But I love the fact that Memphis is an open market looking for a face to put on display when the words fashion and Memphis are in the same sentence. There's room for that market to be established in the city, and I also feel that the community is growing, we just need someone to lead it.” Zo is such a passionate creator and we have no doubt that whatever he has in store will be mind-blowing. Thank you to Zo Green for talking with me about his brand and his story. If you would like to check out Peso The Brand, their website is here and their social media is here: Instagram.
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