Grad James Flemons Profiled in Refinery 29
James Flemons, who has fans in Solange Knowles, Lil Nas X, and Kelsey Lu, is the founder of the unisex line Phlemuns, which has been featured in the New York Times, W Magazine, The Cut, and most recently, Refinery 29. The LA-born designer launched his eponymous label in 2013, after receiving a degree in Merchandise Product Development from FIDM. A self-described “outcast,” James defies convention with his sustainably-minded and gender-inclusive collection that was designed to bring people together and create a space where he felt safe and accepted.
“I exist in the gray areas,” James told Refinery 29 about being Black, queer, and sexually-fluid in fashion. “Phlemuns evokes a raw and genuine feeling of inclusivity and personal expression.” He told the publication that he’s been known to dream up design concepts while sleeping and that anything he comes across throughout his day can spark a new concept or evolve an existing design. Rather than following “categorical figure body types that aren’t even the same for everyone,” James prefers to play with proportions and fabrics that work for various bodies.
He said that being a Black man in the fashion industry, where he’s constantly having to “break the mold of the stereotypes that have been placed upon [him] without [his] permission,” has also influenced him as a designer. He said he’s grateful for the fact that Black designers are at last being recognized “as they should have been this entire time.” He added: “As someone who has talked about these injustices for years, I’m a bit tired of the conversation. I just want to evolve and thrive — I’ve gotten to where I am without any of these fashion peoples’ help, and I will continue to do so.”
The article also highlights how back in February, “when most brands were too consumed with Fashion Month to switch focus onto the pandemic looming overhead,” James and his team were already designing face masks. The Phlemuns masks, which are printed with neon green and aqua blue clouds, lemons, butterflies, and leopard spots, match the FIDM Graduate’s current collection. “Yet again, I saw a void and worked to fill it,” he said.
Learn more at phlemuns.com and on Instagram @phlemuns.