Go online to shop for men’s big and tall items, and you’ll typically find XL models showcasing XL outfits. That means guys size 2X and up rarely see themselves represented in print or online catalogs. This lack of size diversity frustrated Joe Greene and motivated him to launch his own clothing line, BIGBOIFLY Apparel, in order to feature “different size models from 2XL-6XL modeling clothes looking fly,” he explains.
Greene grew up in Asheville and attended Asheville High School. Today, he’s a serial entrepreneur and involved with many community outreach programs such as My Daddy Taught Me That (which fosters the development and education of boys), Asheville Goombay Festival and the Funny ‘R’ Us comedy shows. He’s also been a promoter for nearly 20 years, founded news and resource site Asheville411.com and recently became a member of the Civic Center Commission, a city-appointed group that makes recommendations for the use and management of the U.S. Cellular Center.
With all these commitments, why did Greene want to launch a fashion line now? “After my biggest show of my life, T.I. at the US Cellular Center, that didn’t do the numbers I needed it to,” he says. “I had the idea to take a break from promoting entertainment and put some real focus into a project I already had created and would make sense. Bigboifly.com and the BIGBOIFLY clothing line were birthed.” The label will be featured at a fashion show at Ellington Underground on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Greene says he named the clothing line BIGBOIFLY “because I’m a fly big boy, and I wanted the name to stand out with a meaning and swag behind it.” He wants to share this swag with his customers and help “big men have style, and to show that big men have confidence.”
To bring his designs to life, Greene has partnered with Legend-Tees, a custom clothing print shop based in Arden that allows customers to order large volumes or a single item. “They believed in my ideas from day one and helped me create my product, so why would I go anywhere else? We good and loyal to each other,” Greene says. He knew he needed to work with a company with whom he could build from the bottom up and felt Legend-Tees grasped his vision “to make the hottest clothing line out there for all the big men of the world.”
Part of his resolute determination comes from his kids, whom he calls his biggest inspiration. His advice to them — and to anyone interested in starting their own fashion line — is: “If you’re going to do it, go do it and don’t let nobody or nothing deter you from your goals.”
That focus is paying off as orders are starting to roll in from the website. Arsenal in the Asheville Mall is already carrying BIGBOIFLY items, and New York Fashions is set to carry items from the line soon. BIGBOIFLY fashions will also be carried in Charlotte at Metro Fashion Avenue, and Greene has his sights set on getting into major department stores with big and tall sections, such as Dillard’s, as soon as possible. “I’m definitely trying to take it worldwide, city to city, state to state, giving out big-guy flavor,” he says.
Greene has long had the fashion bug, and last year, he organized his first fashion show featuring clothing from Dillard’s and New York Fashions that were size 3X and up. He promises his upcoming fashion show will be “much fresher because we have five clothing lines in this one [with] a whole lot of big men ripping the runway in a flyway” including, of course, his own line. He describes Ellington Underground, located under the historic Asheville S&W Cafeteria, as “a new and sexy venue with a cool owner and great staff.”
Hosting the fashion show will be Ladii Socialite accompanied by DJ Twan Bryant. Also on hand will be Tye Mo of Go-Diva Photography and Patrice Kennedy-Murillo of Indulge Images capturing the models in action and bringing photo booths for attendees to strike a pose in. After the show, guests and models will mingle at the Ellington Underground after-party.
WHAT: BIGBOIFLY Fashion Show
WHERE: Ellington Underground, 56 Patton Ave., ellingtonunderground.com
WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 27, 8 p.m. $15 advance/$20 day of show