We recently had the pleasure of talking with Michael Simmons, a 26 year-old aspiring fashion designer and owner of Rahkie.USA. who will be hosting Rahkie Connection, a fashion-focused event and gathering of creatives. A Jacksonville native, Mike wanted to bring an exciting and notable event of grand scale to our city.
[Mike:] It’s my second brand. It started in 2016. It comes from dreamers. We want everyone to continue chasing their dreams. The name originated from the movie Rocky. We just changed the name of the spelling around. No matter what he continued to chase his dreams. We want our brand to be positive.
[RADX:] Tell us why you wanted to start the brand?
[Mike:] I was a basketball player and it kinda came to an end. I needed to figure out something. I had a group of friends and came up with the idea to design shirts. We started a brand called S.M.A.S.H, Stack Money And Stay Humble. I was going to school for graphic design and came up with most of the designs. I was the only one who took it really serious. I started selling my shoes to learn how to screen print and bought a heat press machine. When I moved back home, I met up with my business partner Clayton. He was big on fashion and taught me a lot about the culture.
[RADX:] How did growing up in Jacksonville influence your pursue into Fashion?
[Mike:] My parents had money, but they didn’t want me spoiled. I only had a certain amount of money I could spend. I’d go to TJMaxx and Ross to see what I could come up with. I wanted to blend in and not look bummy, and make something out of nothing.
[RADX:] Do you call yourself a Fashion Designer or Fashion Creator?
I never thought about it, I say aspiring Designer, I want to learn how to cut and sew.
[RADX:] What’s next for your brand?
[MIKE:] To learn how to cut and sew. I plan to take some time away from social media. I want to focus on learning to sew and how to sew dress shirts and pants.
[RADX:] Give us the details about the event coming soon.
[MIKE:] The event is called Rahkie Connection. I’m a pretty big religious person. I took some time off to fast and pray a lot. I then received a vision. I told my mom that I want to get a group of people together and make them feel special. I ended up getting a support team group together. I broke it down to them that it’s going to be like a Met Gala or Rock Nation dinner event.
I’ve been living here and wanted to make a contribution. Everyone is not invited. I want the dreamers/creators to wonder how they can get there the next year. It’s something I want to do every year. We gave the people we invited a plus one. So their guest may be the only ones who may not be a dreamer/creator. We want them to become inspired.
[RADX:] Who will be attending the event?
[MIKE:] This event isn’t just for Jacksonville but (anyone in the) U.S. I have people (coming) from Atlanta, Los Angeles, and New York. I’m trying to set the bar.
[RADX:] Who is your greatest role model?
[MIKE:] Jesus. As far as fashion, Rhuigi Villasenor. He created a brand called Rhude. He’s the same age as me. It’s cool to see how far along he is. I love his upscale streetwear fashion.
[RADX:] Where can tickets be purchased and how much are they?
[MIKE:] They are $30 on Eventbrite and don’t include a plus one.
[RADX:] What’s the date, time, and location of the event?
[MIKE:] October 12th, from 6pm-9:30pm at Six Hundred King.
[RADX:] How has the planning process been for you?
[MIKE:] I’ve planned events in the past. But this has been stressful. If you are not a little stressed out planning something is wrong. I’m learning new things. This is something I want to do alongside fashion. I want to be able to host events, brunches, and etc. Have a good time and bring positivity to my city.
[RADX:] What does the scripture Ecclesiastes 4:12 symbolize to the event?
[MIKE:] “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12. The event and my brand logo are very similar with the triple R. People always ask, “What does it mean?” Work(ing) together, we are always stronger. Two heads are better than one.