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“Innovating casual wear for the everyday person,” Own Freedom debuts at a Phoenix Fashion Week emerging designer event

Phoenix local and architectural designer, Atllas Hopkins is on a mission to install architectural design into casual streetwear through the comfortable utilitarian clothing of his new brand ‘Own Freedom.’

Hopkins is one of three designers who participated in the 15th installment of the Emerging Designer Boot Camp hosted by Phoenix Fashion Week. The six-week-long workshop helps each designer build up a brand from scratch by taking them through marketing and design workshops and giving them a platform to showcase their work.

At a Feb. 25 event, Hopkins and the other designers displayed their brands’ new clothing lines at Trevor’s Liquor, where the fashion club meets once a month. This was the debut pop-up for Own Freedom.

Own Freedom has a goal to bring functionality to streetwear style by, “Innovating casual wear for the everyday person,” he said. “Our goal is to liberate through design and so we take very streetwear inspired silhouettes and we provide an added innovation.”

When Architecture Meets Fashion 

What sets Own Freedom apart from other casualwear brands is the industry it was born out of: architecture. Rather than approach his brand through a fashion lens, Hopkins, an ASU graduate and a current Masters student of Architectural Design, maintains that his brand is his, “architectural passion and architectural vision embodied through the clothing.” 

Hopkins pays close attention to detail by making, “high quality garments, double layered pieces,” with high GSM, which refers to the weight of the fabric. The higher the GSM of a piece, the thicker and more “hard-wearing” it is. He aims to bring unique structural innovation to the line like “Pocket Hoodie,” which is product-tested to ensure that its crossbody pocket can “hold up to 30 pounds of weight.”

Purposeful additions like these help keep the brand keep its promise to add “heightened sense of functionality to the clothing without compromising the aesthetic of it.” Another example of the structural principle in the clothes is the one-size-fits-all sweatpants, featuring pockets and 500GSM, or heavier, fabric according to Own Freedom’s website. This item has been a quick bestseller since the line has been available to shop. 

The sweatpants are Hopkins’ favorite piece from the line because of the value he sees in their singular fit design, “That's as accessible as you can get, and I think that best aligns with the philosophy of what we do.”

How It Started 

Hopkins, who works currently at a large Scottsdale architecture firm specializing in high end projects, got involved with Phoenix Fashion Week through Brian Hill, the organizer of the designer bootcamp. 

Before attending the bootcamp, Hopkins had already designed much of his brand and his social media, essentially building up the “background stuff,” for Own Freedom. However, it was through workshops that the brand presence ultimately came together. “The six-week course was very informative… and it was very impactful,” he said. 

Hopkins felt that timing of the bootcamp was ideal for Own Freedom as a brand in its early stages, and allowed him to be more accepting of constructive criticism or more open to alterations. “It was very necessary this early on.” Hopkins said.

The workshops helped Hopkins sharpen the social media presence of Own Freedom, specifically in using social media to appeal to a target demographic. “What the bootcamp did was define things a lot better for me,” he said.

How It’s Going

Hopkins is only beginning his careers in architecture and in fashion design, but he hopes one day they will overlap. “In the future, I’m going to  have my own firm where we focus on the sustainability aspect of [design],” he promised. The firm will be called ‘Souljaism,’ which already has a social media presence to display his designs. Hopkins hopes to create “very modular, innovative designs” in the buildings he designs.

Souljaism is “meant to create a new design style with architecture and the clothing aspect is meant to compliment that,” Hopkins said. The buildings he designs will fit functionally and aesthetically with the clothes he designs, creating a cohesive living experience.

“I want to create a uniform for how we design structures and how we design spaces,” he said. “With Own Freedom we want to create a uniform for the people that live in those spaces.”

Own Freedom is looking to gain more traction post-debut with its next release coming out in April 2024, which will be geared toward summer. Hopkins said the goal is consistency in quality and growth. Own Freedom is “continuing to lay the foundation and all the groundwork for the big ambitious [things].”

Phoenix Fashion Week encourages local fashion enthusiasts to keep their eyes out for updates from Own Freedom via Instagram @own_freedom. Souljaism can also be found on Instagram @souljaism_. Readers can shop the Own Freedom line here.

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