Faces Behind the Labels: James Williams

James Williams

Who says do-gooders can’t also look good? Shirt off My Back is the brainchild of five Angelenos who wanted to help others while also celebrating their own looks. Each purchase of their distressed-style comfortable tees, yoga pants, hoodies and more helps fund Right to Play, a charity that helps disadvantaged children around the world through sports and playtime activities.

This effort has warmed the hearts of Britney Spears, Adrian Grenier, and other celebrities who proudly wear their SOMB hoodies. James Williams, a Wharton graduate and one of the five SOMB founders, is a native of England currently living in the West Hollywood Hills. When designing the line, Williams stressed that he wanted to make clothes that he personally could wear around West Hollywood both to brunch and out to the bars.

There are five founders of your company, all with different backgrounds. How did you all meet? How did these designs come together?

At a pick up hockey team that plays every Sunday evening. I don’t play, but the others do.

We wanted clothes that we would want to wear ourselves. We wanted something that was our style in our own way. It’s low key and comfortable.

How did you decide on the look of the brand?

We wanted to embody the California street and surf culture. The sense of a … California clothing brand. Cities around the world are looking to California, especially Los Angeles, as cities that they want to go.

Do you have any plans to expand the line and make it more upscale?

We’re going to continue to keep it casual at the moment. That’s where we know our current customers come for, the casual comfort. We think we’re going to build on that.

[We may experiment with cuts and designs], but stick to the California lifestyle.

You have a lot of blacks, whites and grays. Will you build upon that?

We love our neutral colors, but with every design we try to throw some colors out there for people who want to stand out.

West Hollywood Designer Shirt Off My Back

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