The Black Burner Project.
I scheduled a quick call to fact check some things we found our research about Boswell. We jump on call at 4pm PST from his home in Southern California and the first thing he says is “our conversations are never short”, we both laugh because he’s right. At 6’7” Boswell’s personality and knowledge of the industry is even taller than he is. He is a charming California native who sometimes thinks with his heart before all. He is trying to reprogram himself to think more about the bottom line while not compromising quality and craftsmanship. “I am not interested in returning to the life of trying to build a pyramid. We are homeowners, we don’t have to slave like that anymore”, he says in a reflective tone. The time at home these past few months has him strategizing, sitting still and listening to good about his business. “I want a more relaxing lifestyle, more holistic, making things more applicable to my province.”
“I had the bad habit of starting things and not finishing them” says Boswell. I had to reassure him that it was quite normal in this high speed, capitalist, overachieving system we live in. Many of us have great talent but set our goals so high and often based on and in comparison to others’ talent. Bosswell is a man with international respect as a suit maker from the most average guy-with thousands to spend to executives and NBA players.
What’s the Pasadena collection about?
The Pasadena collection is inspired by the city I am from. It’s me telling the story of no matter where you are, I am still seen as a suit maker, but it doesn’t have to simply be suits for a special occasion. People were mostly coming to me for moments, what are they wearing every day? So, I started exploring suits, ie. denim suits, track suits, sweat suits, so follow suit. It’s also not as financially heavy as it was before to simply be known for making tailored suits.
What did you do before entering the clothing business in 2003.
After bouncing around attempting to figure adult/professional life out, I landed at Industry Entertainment, which was a powerhouse management firm at the time, where I learned about the management side of the business and the landscape of Beverly Hills. I later landed at William Morris on a special assignment from a temp agency. Here I learned about the agency and the agent’s role in arranging opportunities for their clients. At John Singleton’s home I met Clar Ryu, then an agent at UTA, who invited me to the company to get a deeper view of the agency business. Sensing my interest, Clar put in a good word with management and I was hired for the United Talent Agency, training program.
Wow! an agent training program. How was that?
As a trainee you work 12 hours plus days, delivering mail, reading novels and scripts, and paid a low wage. The system of the Agency is to test your dedication to the process. Many come, few are actually chosen. We all set our sights on becoming agents and earning partner level salaries. All my fellow trainees were from Ivy League and Top tier state institutions. I learned that the agency is the portal where you could “literally” make anything happen, for better or worse. I recall being one of 3 black men at the company and the tallest at the company, till Brett Hansen (who is Anglo) arrived. I quickly got tired of the schedule and decided that it was time to make a move to the next step. I was hired by a producer who worked for Wesley Snipes/Amen Ra Films Banner, which was financed by Disney Studios. It was here that I received a peek into film production. Disney’s interest in ARF waned, but we all received severance packages. I took my package and started making goods for myself and later tapped all the agencies using them as a breadbasket of clientele.
Photos by Colin Jacob Written by Mr. Brown