Khaleel Salaam: The Ambitionist
It is a sunny, ninety degree, July afternoon in Philadelphia. Nestled on the Delaware River lies an artistic gem, decorated with corridors of original murals and defiant tags. Pier 18, more commonly known as Graffiti Pier, is the best of both worlds; encompassing abandoned industrial architecture with scenic natural landscapes that mesh seamlessly together. Gazing at the freshly painted artwork, Khaleel Salaam is gathering inspiration for new masterpieces. From the first impression, his fashionable demeanor coupled with his unique style betray his calling as a creative.
Khaleel, a Philadelphia native and founder of G.E.E.K Clothing, Inc., is an incredible locally based designer making big moves in the fashion world, specializing in distressed and custom clothing.
InThe10th met with Khaleel to discuss the struggles of developing a brand; finding a mixture between personality and style.
What does the acronym G.E.E.K mean?
Good Energy Equals Kreation
What inspired you to create G.E.E.K Clothing, Inc and what sparked your interest in starting your clothing line?
I have always had a passion for fashion, and I love designing. I designed my first piece when I was 17 years of age and came to the realization that I wanted to be in this business. I wanted to enjoy working while doing what I love to do. So that inspired me to start my clothing line, showing the world my creations and my vision of fashion.
I love art and get inspired by life, good people, and my family
How would you describe the overall style of the brand? (i.e., Hipster, Urban, Prep)
All of the above, but I love the streetwear culture.
How does your personality influence the design of your pieces?
I am very diverse, and I love music, especially 80’s to 2000 hip-hop. I love art and get inspired by life, good people, and my family. Good vibes help me with designing, and I believe my work reflects that.
Since your brand’s base is Philadelphia, how do you approach adapting to different regional styles?
I travel back and forth to LA a lot to expand my brand over to the west coast. When I am there: I am meeting with other brands and buyers, going to trade shows, and presenting them with my lookbooks.
Your followers on social media see all aspects of your personal life including family, friends, and religion. How have your friends, family, or faith inspired your brand?
I always put my faith and trust in Gods’ hands first and remain humble at all times. I am a Muslim and a true believer. That keeps me balanced. My friends and family are very supportive of my brand, and that is what gives me the ambition to always do my best.
I always put my faith and trust in Gods’ hands first and remain humble at all times. I am a Muslim and a true believer
We have seen trendsetting celebrities like Monie Love most recently at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors, Curren$y, and Allen Iverson dressed in G.E.E.K., which celebrity do you dream of dressing?
Pharrell, Erykah Badu, Wiz Khalifa, Nas, Spike Lee, Snoop Dogg, Janelle Monae, Kanye West, Juicy J, ASAP Rocky, Chris Brown, Mark Wahlberg, Rihanna
What advice do you have for anyone who aspires to start their own clothing company and what are some the biggest challenges you have experienced in the fashion world?
Always stay consistent and strive for better, know your worth when you are interacting with big corporate franchises. Get used to staying up late at night working on designs. My biggest challenge was struggling with starting off my brand financially by myself.
Where do you see is the future of G.E.E.K.
I want to expand more into high-end fashion for example suits, button ups, and women’s dresses.
Where can we find G.E.E.K clothing?
How can people contact you for custom pieces?
For custom pieces, you can make a request through my website. Visit Geek Custom Pieces or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also connect with me on social media .
KHALEEL SALAAM IS IN THE 10TH…
Favorite way to relax?
Take a ride by myself, listen to my music and create designs, or read some Islamic books
If someone were to create a movie about you what would the title be?
If you could have lunch with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
My grandfather and my grandmother. I would love to have met 2pac and Malcolm X