AJ Freeman was born and raised in Brooklyn NY. After moving to Binghamton in 2011 his popularity helped him become homecoming king, class president twice, and a bit of a fashion icon at Binghamton High School.
After attending Binghamton High School Freeman attended college for a bit but after deciding he wasn’t gaining anything new that could help him going forward he stopped attending college to pursue his passion. Designing clothes. After some work modeling and consistently having his own sense of style he decided to take his passion and turn it into a career. “ While there wasn’t a specific event that made me want to start a brand . I always been very fashionable and that made me want to go the next step and start making clothes of my own to see how would people react . I felt like this was the most organic decision I’ve ever taken in my life . Styling is so fluent to me .”
Styling being fluent for Freeman is something he attributes to his father.
“My dad has always been a big influence to me when it comes to fashion . He taught me everything I know . How to put pieces together to make a outfit not just dressing like a mannequin”
This influence helped educate Freeman on the insights of styling himself. His father didn’t only have an impact on his sense of style. Seeing his dad create helped give Freeman the passion he has today.
“Watching him dress showed me how to arrange colors and mix patterns . I’m never too matchy and never tacky . We’ve found the perfect balance between the two and it’s what makes us fly. He me made believe that I can take this fashion sh*t next level he even customed all of his kids uptowns when were children every pair .”
The decision to start making his own clothes eventually lead to the creation and development of his own brand dubbed ‘Baghead’. The name itself comes from Freeman mishearing song lyrics but eventually Freeman would take this word and give his own meaning to it.
“The name of the brand stemmed from a chief keef song. I can’t remember the name but I had mistaken one of the lyrics for the word Baghead but I was totally wrong lol .After saying it over and over it just became something I went with . For me it meant shopping and having nice things lol I was a baghead at this point .”
Baghead was a lifestyle for Freeman and it made all the sense in the world for him to correlate this lifestyle with his brand. It wasn’t until later from the help of a friend that his vision came full circle and the acronym Born As Gods was established. “I just tried to correlate the word with the brand I wanted to start because the word “BAG” was prevalent in urban society and bags meant buying a lot so it all just kind of came together . But now the letters are a acronym, which stands for Born As Gods . A friend of mine brought the idea to me . And it kinda just put a new light on the brand .” For many creatives finding a logo that stands out and separates yourself from the crowd can be a difficult process. For Baghead the logo is intended to represent unity and include everyone.
“My thought process in designing the logo was very simple . I needed a logo that wouldn’t leave anyone out . Something that everyone would be comfortable with and everyone could relate to . Because ultimately the brand is about people .”
Many view the logo as it is a thumbprint however the design concept initially started as a blank silhouette of a genderfluid person to include people of all genders and races. This concept sat with Freeman for years before he finally decided to bring it to life. It wasn’t until he brought this concept to life that he added the finishing touches. “So I said why not it be blank suillete of a person with gender fluidity . Meaning you can’t tell if it’s a boy or girl it’s just a figure ! I sat with that design in my head for almost 3 years before actually going and get my illustration vectorized . When I went to the photoshop guy, it still felt like something was missing . So spontaneously I tell him add a swirl right over it .many people think it’s a thumb print , which flows right into my brand concept so I let people think that but it’s actually a head with swirls in it . I fell in love with a click . And there you have it.” The design and concept of the brand were some of the first steps but currently Freeman still views the operation as being in its beginning stages.
“My Brand is still in the starting process ! Baghead is still at stage 1. But there has been many years of anticipation. “
This anticipation stems from a variety of things. His popularity in high school undoubtedly helps but it’s also his connections he has made through modeling that has helped generate hype for his brand. Freeman’s groundwork as a model was big in laying a foundation for his brand in the future.
“Some People have been waiting for me to release clothes for close to 5 years . Before actually producing my own brand I modeled as I mentioned in the first interview . That really built a strong network for me to have a bigger audience when I finally decided to put something out of my own .”
Despite this consistent networking with designers and models Freeman has remained true to himself to keep this a one man operation. Something that despite the extra work Freeman prefers as being in charge of creative he is able to guide his concept as he chooses. “It’s fun ! I have total creative control . And for a very conceptual brand like Baghead you don’t need many people with too many different ideas . There’s is a concept I’m hoping to get across . And not everyone has the same strategic thoughts as me .” Freeman’s desire to keep this operation small to preserve his concept will likely lead to him having to transition in how he produces his merchandise. Currently he handmakes each piece something he takes great pride in as it adds a unique aspect to each piece. However the time consuming aspect of this makes it difficult to continue as popularity of the brand rises.
“Definitely really soon I’m going to change the way I produce merchandise. The way I produce items now is very time consuming, which adds to brand concept but as time goes on it will cost customers a lot more money to produce anything by hand and get my hands dirty These are very humble beginnings but I know my worth and the effort I put into each piece someday these handmade pieces will be sold for hundreds of dollars . So get yours now lol call it an invest into your future ..” This transition comes due to growth of the company something that can be attributed to the consistent support shown to the brand. Instagram has played a great part in the growth for Baghead helping set up a relationship with PinkTacos.
“Instagram is like the Mecca for opportunity now . They host music events, pop up shops , and have art exhibitions.We connected through the gram and they were really intrigued by the brand .”
Baghead had planned to do a pop up shop in collaboration with PinkTacos earlier this month however due to scheduling the popup had to be postponed. Despite this there are plans for Baghead to host pop ups in the near future. “...there are many more pop ups that are going to be happening very soon . They will be in Binghamton and in Brooklyn!” A pop up shop isn’t the only thing Baghead has planned for Binghamton in the future. Freeman is also currently planning his first fashion show that will be held in Binghamton. The purpose of the show is not only to promote Baghead but also other creatives in the area. Currently this event is still in its planning stages but you can keep an eye out for a chance to RSVP in the near future. “Putting together a fashion show is tough . Takes a team definitely . A team of people to handle BH events is still being acquired . So there is no official Date as to when the show will be but it will definitely be in bing . I want my first show here for reason ! It’s giving back . The show will be dope . It will incorporate Art , Music ,theatre . And suspense. There will be and RSVP for the event posted soon !” The response for this event will undoubtedly be great so be quick to rsvp when the opportunity comes about. Freeman has consistently seen a positive response for his brand not just from the community but from rap artists as well as style icons.
“The response has been great I think people are really just happy to see me doing something I really love . People contact me daily about how Baghead is inspiring them and myself . I’ve gotten many hit ups from style icons , upcoming rappers and movie stars wanting pieces from my FIRST collection. It’s been dope and I’m enjoying every moment of making this brand great” Currently the Baghead movement continues to grow and Freeman no doubt has a great future ahead of him. Currently there are plans to launch an official Baghead website by the end of March and Freeman is nowhere near done creating dope merchandise.
“So many out this world ideas . You wouldn’t be able to wrap your head around it . It’s looking spooky for the comp that’s for sure”
Be sure to click the ‘Baghead’ banner below to see a selection of Baghead merchandise available via instagram and keep an eye out for the official launch of the Baghead website and any other Baghead events!