Streetwear has taken center stage in the fashion world with numerous celebrity figures sporting designs that quickly become instant trends. The Plugged NYC has quickly become one of those brands that captures what true chic street fashion is. You’ve probably seen its signature camouflage pants and other designs ranging from celebrities to fashion influencers from Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa, Drake, and numerous others. Meet Tizita Balemlay.
Designed to fit the versatility of women, Balemlay started her company, Plugged NYC, in 2016 after being influenced through social media while trying to work her way into the fashion industry. “I actually really never envisioned having a clothing brand,” said Balemlay in an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE. “I really wanted to go into marketing and advertisement for Vogue. I spent [my] early college [years] interning for various magazines in NYC. Social media led me to starting a brand.”
Since the brand’s inception, the Ethiopian designer has since had her fashion featured in Vogue, The Cut, and BuzzFeed all before the age of 25. “My greatest accomplishment with my brand really has been my perseverance and my outreach of A-list clients for such a small company in a short time,” she continued.
The designer has since expanded her brand to open her own independent factory where other emerging designers can also go for their creations. “I was being overcharged at factories, not taken seriously because of my age [or] gender,” she explained. “I really wanted to start my own factory, own workers. When I had the chance to financially it’s the first thing I invested. I wanted to also open it to the public so other designers and creatives can also get their garments made. Our factory Plugged Studios is located in New Jersey.”
Balemlay has accomplished a great deal in her entrepreneurial journey and wants to encourage other aspiring black designers to not conform to the industry and stay true to their authentic selves. “It really important that we push ourselves and our expectations that we have for ourselves as designers…It’s really important independent black designers understand that marketing is truly everything, designing is the easy part,” she said. “Anything is truly possible, especially in [a] generation where social media is so powerful.”