If it was functional, tactical, and incorporated utilitarian elements, you definitely saw it all over your Instagram feed or across the chest of your favorite celebs. One of the hottest trends this summer had to be none other than the chest rig, a trend popularized by ALYX, a streetwear brand of “unconventional basics”. The $542 chest pouch caught the eye of many tastemakers worldwide trickling down to other brands creating their own, but you were not finding any pieces like Sheron Barber’s. The Camden, New Jersey native took his talents to Los Angeles to create quality, custom-made, bespoke, fine leather goods.
I had the opportunity to interview the artisan and take a deep dive into his journey from creating his first pieces to the future of his brand DR14.
1. Would you classify yourself as a designer or an artist?
I believe that every designer is an artist, but if I had to choose between the two I’m more of a designer.
2. Your craftsmanship is impeccable! How did you get into reconstructing pieces? What’s your creative approach?
Thank you, I take pride in paying attention to every detail. Honestly, I stayed away from reconstructing pieces, for a while I would get requests but I would stray away from them. I didn’t want to confuse the consumer. I’m a designer myself, a large portion of my following appreciates my original work and I wanted to be sure to be known as a designer and not someone who customizes existing designs. My first time doing it was for a client, he asked me to make him one of my designs but out of a custom material like gator or Snake and I agreed. When he arrived he had a brand new Goyard bag that he wanted me to cut up and use the fabric. I was blown away!
3. Do you remember the 1st piece you designed? How did you feel after you completed it?
I’ve been designing pretty much my whole life. Although it has come in phases or levels if you will. In high school I would customize clothing, fresh out of school I started a “clothing line” which was more-so just graphic concepts on tees and sweats. It was in 2012 when I got to LA I was introduced to cut and sew and it changed my life. The first item I created was an extended shirt. It was unique because I created my own textile. I created my first bag in 2015.
4. Do you add something special with every piece you create?
I’d like to believe I do, I pay close attention to every detail. I personally touch every piece. And since we are direct to consumer, most time I feel a strong connection with the people purchasing the piece which is dope to me.
5. What would you do if you weren’t doing this?
Wow, I’m from a very dark place, there’s really no telling. Every event in my life I feel like has molded me and led me here. I feel like I’d be creating something. I don’t know how to let an idea rest in my head. I have to find mediums to get it out. So it’s safe to say I’d be creating something.
6. High-end brands are now offering custom options for consumers in today’s market. What sets you apart? Would you consider yourself a disruptor?
I think it’s amazing that brands are creating custom options for their consumers. The consumers are who keep us alive, it’s extremely important for brands to stay connected to the people. A person might pay thousands of dollars for an item that will be a part of their daily life and potentially even be passed down. I think that in itself is extremely personal and it calls for personalization. I don’t only personalize but I also customize. I build bags based on my client’s specific needs. I’ve spent up to 80 hours working on 1 bag for a client, a lot of the bigger brands are volume based and they can’t spend that type of time on an individual project. I pride myself in doing so. I’m not here to disrupt, I’m just here to spread love and positivity. I just want to create things that inspire and make life more beautiful.
7. Who are some of the clients you’ve designed for that we can find wearing your custom pieces?
Lots, some of which I can’t mention, Some from royal families, Drake, Rihanna, Pharrell, Anitta, Chris Brown, Usher, Teyana Taylor’s. NBA Champions, Super Bowl champions, etc. my craft has taken me farther than I could ever imagine and I’m extremely great full and humbled.
8. Describe your growth from when you first started to now.
I’ve definitely matured, I see things more practically now. Everything has a purpose and I owe that to God for really making the vision for me clear.
9. What’s in the future for you and your brand?
Short-term, be on the lookout for our FW 2018 collection along with some amazing collaborations we have in store for you. Long-term; I plan on completely revolutionizing the way we see fashion or even what fashion is. But it’s a life’s work and won’t happen overnight.
10. When it’s all said and done, what legacy do you want to leave behind?
I just want to do great work on God’s behalf and add on to humanity in the most positive way possible. Hopefully, I leave behind millions of inspired minds that will continue to create and push the boundaries.