Daniel Adlam, a young man who has not even turned 21 yet, is running races around the fashion world. The young man is making a name for himself in the fashion business, first as a designer. It doesn’t stop there though, he has a lot on his plate, including book publishing, home and office decor and cosmetics.
With only one life to live, Daniel Adlam figures why not shoot for the brightest of stars. Daniel is passionate about his work, artistry and reputation – rightfully so.
Recently, Daniel Adlam took the time out to speak to The Rapfest in an exclusive interview. Within the interview, Daniel does not hold back. He talks a lot about his career, who he is as a creative and what it’s like working in the entertainment industry. With that being said, he also had a choice words for a couple of “Love & Hip Hop” stars, Just Brittany and Brittney Taylor.
Read the entire interview below:
Before we jump into specific questions about your journey in the industry, why don’t you give fans some details about who you are as a creative and entrepreneur and your story. Well I’m Daniel Adlam, I’ll be 21 this August, and I’m CEO of Le Sommet Industries. “Le Sommet” is a French term for “The Top” and I chose that name because I want people to feel like they can reach the top and do anything when they work with/support my brand and companies. My company includes Le Sommet Clothing, Le Sommet Book Publishing, Le Sommet Home & Office Decor and Le Sommet Cosmetics as of right now which are all housed on (www.lesommetclothing.com). I’m also proficient in Media Training and Management and am often sought out for my services in those fields as well.
What’s a typical day like for you? That’s a tricky question, because the way I work is split up into seasons. I’m still a college student so August through May a typical day may include me attending classes, then after i’d go straight to my dorm and design. I’d design for hours creating patterns and manipulating textiles. I’d also secure celebrity collaborations during this season as well. In June and July, I am usually releasing new collections, prepping for NYFW and doing promo shoots for the company. This year it’s even more work because the book publishing division of my company is officially launching in August so now i’m securing authors, approving scripts for books and setting up the release calendar. I’m actually really excited for that as well because my first author is my mom and she has been working on a series of children books that are so adorable as well as a few novels. In addition to that agenda, I have to do daily check in with celebrity clients whom I am either managing or assisting with in terms of management to create weekly goals to ensure their success.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry? It’s funny because it was never something I even thought about doing as a business. For me, fashion has always been a priority. My closet was always my prized possession. Friends and family would always come to me for fashion advice and style tips. I guess it became a business for me when I was talking to two friends of mine one day, we were discussing fashion and they were encouraging me to start my own line. They knew that I was capable and helped ignite that fire in me and i’m forever grateful because of it.
Who are some up-and-coming designers you’re most excited about? I’d definitely have to say Andrew Roberts of “Andrew Roberts Fashion” is at the top of my list. He’s a friend from high school who has been in the fashion game longer than I have but when you see the creations he makes and the way he thinks outside of the box, it’s inspiring. I also have a close friend Marquis who just started his own brand “Infamous Prodigy” and I love seeing the spark in his eye every time he’s at the drawing board making plans for his line. I love to see young black creatives thrive. We often view each other as competition when we really need to help each other get to where we would like to go.
Who’s the celeb you’d most love to dress? It’s hard to say just one but Beyonce is at the top of the list. I’d also love to work with Chris Brown, Meg the Stallion, Nicki Minaj, Milan Christopher, K. Michelle and the list goes on.
What were your experiences like working with a variety of different celebrities? I’d say it’s definitely been a learning experience. I remember securing Just Brittany from Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta season seven, I was so excited but the experience was very different. She’d refuse to speak to me through the phone and always told her manager to tell me things even though she would be sitting right next to him. Things became pretty sticky when she requested that I design merchandise that were aimed against two of her cast mates referring to them as the “Taco Tuesday Twins”. Due to her disappearing act when it was time to pay and communication inconsistency, I had to walk away from doing business with her and really think about my morals and values as a designer. I didn’t speak about it because the way I saw it, she was a celebrity and I didn’t know if anyone would believe me over her. Other than this specific situation and one other, i’d say that things have been going pretty well in terms of working with celebrities. Just a few months ago i’ve worked with KhrystyAna Kaz of America’s Next Top Model and she was such a sweet and gentle soul, very humble. That was also really important for me because she was representing plus sized models, it is very important that they are represented in the industry. Right now i’m working with the famous Instagram comedian Von (@vonnmom) to develop his own merchandise as well as Crystana “Dutchess” Lattimore who you might remember from Black Ink Crew on VH1 to develop a line of merchandise to promote her upcoming music as well as other projects involving her North Carolina tattoo shop “Pretty N Ink”. The both of them have been very professional and kind, they never gave me the “celebrity attitude” that a lot of personalities in this industry have. They make themselves available to me whenever I need to schedule a meeting with them which is amazing.
Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry and what is the best advice they have ever given you, both in fashion and management? Mentors include Kinja Dixon (Author, Speaker), Selena Covington (Talent Producer), Catherine Schuller (Hi Tech Moda), Billie Blunt (Billie Blunt Magazine), Rowena Husbands (Celebrity Photographer), Apollo Oko (Oko Society) and Amanda Dorsey (Headliner 2.0 PR & Creative Marketing). I’d say the best advice that they’ve given me is to keep pushing. It gets very discouraging at times when your sales are low or when you don’t get the account you were trying to secure with a celebrity but quitting is never an option. My mom also tells me to pray for my business, so I pray that God propels my business to higher heights and deeper depths every single day. I make sure to pay my tithes in church because the bible says to bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. I make sure to thank God for my blessings and the ability to wake up everyday and be fortunate enough to do what I love.
What lessons has your work life taught you? The biggest lesson that I’ve just learned recently would have to be creating boundaries. Boundaries are necessary when working in an industry such as this one. Mixing business with personal affairs can get really sticky. Another lesson is to never lift a finger unless your client has signed a contract. If there is no paperwork, they will have the opportunity to take advantage of you.
What has been the proudest moment in your career thus far? The proudest moment for me has been New York Fashion Week. Only 8 months into my business I was invited to do a show at Planet Hollywood in Time Square and it was so surreal just seeing the models in my clothes. Experiencing the highs and lows of planning a show, casting models, doing fittings and mood boards for their hair and makeup has been a dream come true and i’d love to do it again and again…… and again!
What was the biggest set back you faced in your career and how did you overcome it? I remember reaching out to Brittney Taylor from Love & Hip Hop season 8 and telling her I was interested in doing her merchandise. She responded immediately and we met the next week, she loved my work and wanted me to work with her. I established with her that I do work for a specific rate and that it’d need to be satisfied whether or not we went through with the collaboration. With her ongoing court case with Remy Ma, I started to notice that she was very unhappy and going through a lot. Naturally, I tried to make myself available emotionally and went all the way to her condo to check on her at times. One of my affiliates told me that he needed a headliner for his show at The Fillmore’s Foundry in Philadelphia and I suggested Brittney. She was super excited and signed the contract we were offered with no hesitations. Usually a 10% booking fee goes to whomever the contractor of the deal is but she never paid me. She then had me booking her interviews which shed never showed up for or wouldn’t follow through with. She’d schedule meetings that she herself would cancel twenty minutes before, knowing that I’ve taken off from work to meet her needs more than once and when it was time to promote and release the merchandise that i’ve spent hours designing it was hard to get her because she’d be out at spas, rooftop parties and clubs when it was time to work. I started to lose myself chasing her because she was a celebrity and I undervalued myself. The final straw was the night before her big performance in Philly where she sent me a text saying “I hope you have your own ride because I’m not taking you” even though contractually I was supposed to be there and she promised transportation. She put me in a very difficult position with the promoter, but thank God that he and I had a strong relationship resulting in him not penalizing me. I took the day off from work to go to that performance with her, resulting in me getting fired. She knew how much I was putting on the line for her and still didn’t care. Days after, she’s had her manager calling me and cursing at me over the phone accusing me of trying to “sabotage what’s left of her career”. I’ve lost my job over this individual, wasted time designing merchandise for her and acted as her PR, Secretary, Social Media Coordinator and her Manager all at once and I had nothing to show for it. Brittney is one of the most talented artists I know, a lot of rappers can’t touch her, male or female. She has potential to be Nicki Minaj status but it’s her attitude and the way she treats people that made me walk away. I was being trolled on social media by people who hated her and the fact that I was working with her. They’d tell me to go “Crawl under a rock with Brittney” and that working with her was “Career Suicide” but all in all I still defended her because I don’t condone bullying in any form. I had to be strong for the both of us, but when I defended her, she never defended me. I’m still recovering from the situation but it definitely was a setback, it drained me and brought out a side of me that I really don’t want to see, experience or know again.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be? I would tell myself to follow my instincts because they’re always right and that you can never stop learning.
To wrap up the interview, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
I’d say to give it your all and don’t let anything or anyone bring you down. There might be setbacks, but use them as set ups for bigger and better opportunities. Never sell yourself short for anyone and when you feel like it’s time to walk away from something, follow your heart. Don’t make yourself unhappy because of a check, God will work everything out.
Daniel Adlam can be followed at @lesommetclothing and @iamdanieladlam on Instagram for those who want to reach out for styling, business, collaborations, and more! Check out some of his work below.