photos by Preston Prescott, The BleauBook
When you think of a Millennial in 2018, you’d immediately think of a Supreme wearing, Lil’ Pump & Tekashi 69 blasting 20 something that’s just posing for a good Insta flick and taking it day bay day. Yet, then there’s someone like Frankie Bleau – a proclaimed Fashion Engineer with a born destiny to revolutionize and showcase Fashion the Bleau way. The 23 year old E.I.C, 3x Creative Director, and Media Maven just released the latest collection for the oldest brand under the Bleau Enterprises Umbrella, The Black Wolf .
Instead of just being sent a few pieces from the collection to review and wear, we decide in efforts to learn a little more about who he is, we were invited to his personal Atelier to get a personal view of the collection before it drops. As we arrived into a decently lavish personal complex, I was beginning to feel a little unsure of what exactly we’d signed up for. We parked in front of a two-story flat in the heart of The Energy Corridor, a profound area in Houston , needless to say that home some of the best Engineers in this region of the Oil & Gas Business.
BB: Wow! Um, this is definitely not what I was expecting.
Frankie: (laughs) Yea I’m sure.
BB: So what made you bring us to your personal home?
Frankie: Well, believe it or not I don’t have a really set and stone office space so alot of the magic is happening right here in this common area.
BB: So you technically run all of our business off of this single desk?
Frankie: Well, Yeah, actually – of course with the help of a rather amazing team I’ve brought on.
BB: (laughs) Yea, must be nice.
Frankie: If that’s the only word for it, sure! (laughs)
BB: Speaking of brands, how many do you have exactly?
Frankie: Yup, 5 – The Black Wolf, The Bleaubook, FreeBeforeEleven, I’m a brand myself, and the audacity of me to add another – Garnette.
BB: Geesh! How do you honestly manage to run 5 brands?! I mean is your team that big.
Frankie: Honestly it’s such a shit show sometimes I want to throw the towel in and just disappear. But balance plays a big factor in how I get things done. Honestly I have one of the best teams money can’t buy.
BB: Wow, money can’t buy! That just gave me tingles.
Frankie: I feel like that daily with them.
BB: So of those 5 Brands it seems like you favor one more than the others.
Frankie: Unfortunately, yes – The Black Wolf is my baby. I started this brand when I was only 17 years old heading to College.
BB: Really? Nice. What started you down the path of High Fashion?
Frankie: Joan Rivers. I was watching probably the funniest episode of Fashion Police I’d had seen and she had the absolutely gorgeous blazer with the most exaggerated lapel and shoulders I’d ever seen. I remember I was on the phone with my mom literally in tears at how beautiful it was and that’s when it was born.
BB: Wow! I remember you telling us this. So what came next?
Frankie: The Lapel Shirt. There was this moment where I was just like “Damn, what if I put a lapel on a shirt?” and that’s when the Lapel Woven was born which my first ever real design.
BB: What do you mean real design?
Frankie: Aside from my High School Fashion Show designs.
BB: Oh I gotcha. Is the Lapel Woven in this collection?
Frankie: No, there’s a small quantity of last season’s – but we just finalized the last sample for the new version and I simply can’t wait to release it.
BB: How do you go about marketing? Any advice on that?
Frankie: Honestly I started, and still going through my close friends. Everyone in my immediate circle are their own sort of bosses with amazing support. So we just switch products back and forth. My advice is to just try to put everybody on contract. Free, and most definitely when paid. I’ve had even a few friends I’ve sent stuff too and have yet to see it on them and have gotten bullshit excuses as to what they’re “waiting on” and “The perfect fit” yea I get all that bullshit, but weeks later and still nothing?
Frankie: Exactly. If you don’t like it, just say that. I’m a stickler about wasting my money, but wasting my time too – god bless you.
BB: Do you fear of that ruining relationships?
Frankie: Oh its always business, never personal. The Wolf plays no games.
BB: Where did that name come from?
Frankie: My mom was telling me how she always wanted to be a Fashion Designer and how she always felt like the black sheep of the family, and I was just swooning in awe because I felt the same way and then I said, “But I’m no sheep, they’re really timid – I’m more like The Black Wolf.” and my mother just screamed “YOU MUTHAFUCKA” and I remember us laughing and she saying “Son that’s it.”
BB: Lol, what a relationship.
Frankie: You honestly have no idea. (laughs)
BB: With this new collection, it is literally bursting with flames and sparkle? Where’d the inspiration come from?
Frankie: The week prior to beginning the collection, I was in such fragile space. I went to NYFW & although that is one city that gets me up off my ass, I was walking back to my hotel with my best friend and this mans goes “These fucking flaming faggots with all this over-the-top sparkly ass shit!” I instantly snapped and turned around and his presence didn’t warrant, or even deserve, a response from me. The only response I gave was a little smirk and just continued pumping in my $2,400 Vintage Louis Vuitton Patent White 4″ boot.
BB: What a way to walk away!
Frankie: Exactly! I wish I could see him again because those descriptive verbs he used to describe my attitude was so revolutionizing for that fragile space I was in and literally ran as fast as I could in that high ass heel and pushed my pencil so hard and created some of the most beautiful sketches of my career.
BB: & that’s where this collection came from?
Frankie: Indeed. Even made me decide to push myself further with bags.
BB: About that one? Where’d that come from?
Frankie: I never really saw myself designing anything other than clothes and I wanted to keep that aspect of the brand and just created a sub-label. It’s one I’ve had in the vault since High School just needed the perfect rendition for it.
BB: So just do it, but you’re way.
Frankie: Exactly, turn every negative into a positive. You just gotta cross the street since their opposite of each other and don’t go back because the greener grass looks easier, because it’s never better.
BB: You have a very strong way with words! How did you master the art of not responding to every little negative thing?
Frankie: Negativity is an aspect of desire. People won’t comment on things that don’t bother them. I’m a gay, black, male – and as if that wasn’t enough, I’m one of the many with alot of potential and god forbid do it as good or better than they do. So giving that response is one of the things that they want. It’ll give them the authority to control and have ration on my life, my work, my reputation – and I won’t give no corny bad shoe wearing muthafuckas that much of a responsibility.
BB: Amen! So with that being said, how do you remain positive.
Frankie: I snab videos and pictures of my nephew Aiko. He’s the funniest little human ever! Look at this video. He was in Orlando and his god mom caught him being bad. (laughs) Look he just turns the dam bath on for no reason and hit it!
BB: Omg! (laughing)
Frankie: And most of all beyond that – I stay out of my emotions and in my head.
Frankie: As strong as people make emotions out to be, they completely disregard the most important part over it all. YOUR BRAIN! The most powerful mechanism of your body. I let nothing control my brain, nothing. Especially emotions. Emotions are one of the few aspects that can be controlled and too frequently people let that get out of there reach. As intimidating as emotions could get, I don’t let allow it to get dangerous.
BB: “As intimidating as emotions could get, I don’t let allow it to get dangerous.” Wow! That’s a powerful statement.
Frankie: It’s true. Emotions are far more dangerous than any weapon could get.
BB: What advice can you give to someone wanting to practice that?
Frankie: The best advice I could give is to re-channel it. As I did with the goofy mans words about how I like to get down, do the same with anything else. Like everyone is angry about Trump in office, but didn’t vote. VOTE! If you have the right to vote, GO FUCKING VOTE!