Ivorian fashion designer Hamed Cisse, the founder of the brand Freemind US @freemind.us, presents his Spring/Summer 2022 collection named Artist SS22. The streetwear brand works on creating more space for love, art, and legacy, and we had the incredible opportunity to have a conversation with the designer Hamed Cisse to know more about this new collection, the origins of the brand, his passion for the industry and so much more!
“I decided to launch a project that would bring people together and empower them to believe in themselves.”Hamed Cisse
Q: I really love your brand Freemind US, a streetwear brand working on creating more space for love, art, and legacy. Could you tell me a little bit about its origins, how was the idea of founding a brand with these characteristics born?
A: FREEMIND US was born in the Summer of 2014 after I took a trip to Paris and got inspired by how people dress but, most importantly, their confidence when they walk the streets in their unique fits. When I got back to the U.S, I decided to launch a project that would bring people together and empower them to believe in themselves. Being misunderstood, I try my best to understand people and that everyone is unique in a sense; this is what redefining a free mind is, trying your best to understand!
There isn’t enough space for love, art, and legacy currently. I believe the world needs more but also a safe space for these characteristics to have an impact. FREEMIND US is working on connecting people with their inner style. The vision is more significant than us, and that’s the reason I need the world to come together around this with love so that we can leave a legacy used as a source of inspiration for generations to come.
Q: Additionally, I would love to know more about the designer behind the brand, Hamed Cisse. Tell me more about yourself and your story with fashion?
A: I hope that my story inspires someone somewhere to believe in themselves. I was just a kid from Ivory Coast stripped of the opportunity to do what he loved. I cared about focusing on my studies to please my parents, but deep down in my heart, Fashion was something I couldn’t let go. Coming from where I come from, it’s either you go to school to become a doctor or work in the business field. I took that route to please my parents and eventually owned my master’s in data science and worked for corporations such as Target, 3M, United HealthGroup, etc. That didn’t prevent me from pursuing my dream to become a fashion designer. I moved to Brooklyn in 2020 from Minneapolis to continue my fashion journey. The journey has been quite interesting, and I see the positive in things because I’m using my background in science to create pieces that help connect people with their inner style. Most importantly, I’m at this stage where achieving my own dream is the goal.
Q: You are soon releasing the brand’s most recent collection titled “Artist SS22” aimed at empowering the world to unleash their inner artist. What drove you to choose this theme and what can we see in this collection?
A: Through this collection, I wanted first to pay homage to all artists worldwide because I believe I cannot inspire if I don’t look back in the past. To help people unleash their inner artists, it’s only fitting that I go back and thank the artists that have inspired the world. All of our creations as fashion designers are inspired by the work of one or more artists. When we are trying to promote our garments, we try working with musicians. It’s pretty much impossible for us to present a collection without pulling in one or more visual artists. I could go on and on, but I firmly believe there is no fashion without artists, and this is my way of saying “Thank You.” In addition, I know there are still kids out there that haven’t gained the confidence or maybe the right direction to channel their inner artist. I want to send them a powerful message through this collection. FREEMIND US is leading the way, and we can’t do it without YOU, join us to discover the possibilities.
Q: I believe this new collection is mainly focused on menswear but you are also presenting your first-ever womenswear pieces and I believe you also create genderless designs. Will Freemind US be approaching genderless fashion or do you plan to focus more on menswear or develop a little bit more womenswear? Which one do you prefer?
A: That’s a great question! You know, one of our values at FREEMIND US is experimentation, so we hope to continue to provide people with a variety of choices that meet their needs; you can expect more genderless designs from our future collections. Before developing my first womenswear piece, I’d have answered menswear, but I think developing womenswear can be much more fun and exciting, so today, I’d say I prefer womenswear.
Q: One thing I love about your new collection is of course its inspiration in the 1890s workwear with modern finishes, but the most interesting part is that you keep it as an experiment throughout all the phases. What do you mean by that and to what extent is this collection an experiment?
A: The decision to make my collection around artists was completed in August 2020 in the middle of the pandemic and being forced to quarantine. That was something new not only for me but for the rest of the world. I decided to make this collection an experiment until the release date. Meaning I’d introduce the theme in my previous collection, Obsession FW20, and focus on making discoveries around colors, the texture of the garment, its weight, and the silhouette that led me to create my first ever womenswear piece, a multiple-tone dress made out of tweed. My team plays a big part in the experimentation process, helping me decide when to end the experiment and release it. We spend weeks ideating to develop a new creation and validating the design/garment before presenting it to the world. Most importantly, our work becomes more intentional and innovative by conducting these experiments.
Q: Could you talk me through your creative process? What is the journey you take when creating a new collection? What inspires you and what keeps you going?
A: My process has evolved with time but traveling plays a big part. Going back home to Ivory Coast and seeing what other people from around the world appreciate and love are some of the primary sources of inspiration behind my collections. Also, I’m starting to become best friends with my fashion journal, which includes random images I have collected over time and my previous sketches. I use my fashion journal as a source of inspiration as well, and it helps me ensure that I’m consistent and intentional with each design while being innovative. I am also doing more research, going back to the late 80s, 90s to either identify specific details that can be incorporated into the garments or drive a change to my choice of fabric. Doing that gives a sense of consistency to the collection as it relates to a specific theme. I am also seeking feedback from other creatives and making adjustments if necessary. I spend the most time getting this process down because it’s vital to get that part right.
Q: The message of the brand is really important to you. Which is the message you want to send to the world with your collections and your bold signature?
A: Yes, absolutely! The message, signature, and my collections will be the legacy FREEMIND US leaves to the world. With the Artist SS22 collection, we open the gateway to the future and invite the world to join us to discover the endless possibilities.