Have you seen the recent Ava Duvernay film, Selma? Then you have seen creations of the Couture Designer, Derron Cherry. Being a native of the city of St. Louis, MO, Cherry has used his life experiences to manifest him into where he is today. Are you able to view some of the darkest moments in your life and make light of it? That is a skill Cherry definitely has dominated. When viewing his pieces, we may simply see them as a long train on a jacket or a high collar on a dress, but there is meaning behind that garment. January 24, 2015, Cherry sat with me and made House Ov Beeombi very clear to me.
The Wire Hanger By Winnie: Hey Derron Cherry also known as Beeombi! I appreciate you so much for speaking with me about your couture line, House Ov Beeombi. I have to ask first, where does the name Beeombi originate from?
Derron Cherry: When I was a kid, like 1-2 years old, I loved bologna but I couldn’t pronounce it, so I’d say Bee-ohm-bee. I loved it so much, and it became a nickname and just stuck with me.
TWHBW: Nice! So how long have you known how to sew clothing?
DC: I learned to sew at the age of 6. Went to work with my mom, who sewed for a living. I was eventually led to re-purposing clothes, destroying denim, and in high school I started sewing clothes. In high school is where I created my first prom gown and also my first Menswear piece, which was a blazer.
TWHBW: Wow. High school! So after high school, it is safe to say you took your craft more seriously and you’ve created this collection House Ov Beeombi. Now I first viewed your collection in August 2014 and I was told House Ov Beeombi was ‘The Black KKK.’ Is that true?
DC: Oh no. Wow. Not at all. Here is the message. Ok well for this collection, it is very dark. I like using dark colors. I got to work on the film Selma. While traveling, I went to visit this museum which was right across from the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. It was the bridge that led us to freedom. In this museum we got to see authentic pieces, from the people who marched, we saw their shoes where the soles were worn out. I also found one of the original wardrobes of the Klu Klux Klan…and it wasn’t just three k’s it was four I took that as an inspiration but also to be controversial.
I like to ride that line. I want to do things that are going to be offensive. I want to do it to shed light on a situation. I specifically chose all my black for this collection because that’s one of my favorite colors.
TWHBW: Well there we have it! Thank you for that! Now you mentioned working on the film, Selma, congrats!
How did that come about?
DC: It started with the House Ov Beeombi Prom Queen Contest. I let young girls design dress of their dream, and I brought that design to life as a gift to each girl. The girls were also provided complimentary hair and makeup services. This was just a way that I wanted to give back to the community. But it’s crazy how things happen. I worked alongside a friend with whom I shared office space with. One day she came in the office confused because I wasn’t listening to music like I normally do. I was focused on this prom dress project. She instantly offered to help. She donated dresses, but there was a surprise. Her son, who never was at the office, popped up, saw what I was doing and we began talking about it. He then says, “ Oh! I have a friend in LA! That you need to speak with! He’s worked with Tyler, he’s worked with Oprah!” I didn’t think much of it because everyone has ‘someone’ they know in LA. The person he knew was Kevin Mayes…Kevin Mayes is the head tailor for Selma. This day he happened to be in St. Louis…and also just so happened to be around the corner from our office. That day I had no cell phone on me, my assistant wasn’t there, I forgot the door unlocked, and Kevin walks right on in the office within an hour later! From that day, within days he called me to meet him in Atlanta, Georgia. I rented a car and only had $20 on me on my drive from St. Louis, MO. For anyone who needs to take a dream trip with no money, Quik Trip only authorizes your card for $1. I will just say that. (laughs)
TWHBW: Wow! That is amazing. How do you feel? Since having such big blessings, does it feel surreal?
DC: When the opportunity first came about I thought it was very surreal.
But then I knew I came here with a purpose. My purpose is to connect people with their purpose. I want to be an inspiration to people in life.
TWHBW: What advice would you give to someone chasing their dream?
DC: One thing I continue to tell myself, ‘Don’t look at how Pharrell got to where he is today. Don’t look at how Oprah got to her place in her success. Look at what tools they used to get there! The universe will support the desires that you want.’ I quit my job and the only thing I knew was that I was able to eat and that I wasn’t dying. So what if I didn’t have a phone? We put meaning to things, then that’s what they become. If we don’t put meaning into it, its nothing.
TWHBW: So there was a post you made to Facebook recently how you haven’t slept in your bed lately. Since December 2013 specifically. What’s up with that?
DC: (laughs) When I quit my job, I left Chicago and came here (St. Louis) and slept on my cousin’s couch. I was making couture gowns for prom season and ball gowns. But I knew a needed a more professional area. I rented out an office while I was homeless. I was living out of my office. I was traveling a lot and I’d just take my sewing machine everywhere I went. Shortly I got a call about Selma. I went to Atlanta for some time, Selma, Montgomery, Chicago, Mississippi, Baltimore and now getting ready to move to New Orleans!
TWHBW: What is a goal that you have for House Ov Beeombi?
DC: The ultimate goal for House Ov Beeombi right now with movie/film production, is to be costume designer and I don’t think I am far away from that. I always said I wanted to create costume in the form of what people wear. I think that’s why my pieces are so avant-garde. I think its eclectic, I think it’s over the top, but it usually comes from a dark inspiration. The darkest of settings normally inspire me. I take that inspiration from the deaths, the projects and the killings. I make light of it.
TWHBW: How has your faith effected you through this journey of House Ov Beeombi?
DC: I actually was not raised in the church. For so many churches that I have attended I have had a negative perception. My dad worked for a Lutheran church, so I got to experience Lutheran churches. I also got to experience Catholic churches, Jewish synagogues, and Baptist churches. Though I know I will get bashed for saying this, I always felt they [churches] were like a drug dealer in a liquor store. Churches give you just enough to come back. I know that I found an abundance in life by being a spiritualist and knowing I am God’s creation. I understand that I am God and everything living in me is of God. For me, I know I am here for a purpose. I am always called to the right people at the right time. I am always giving the right words at the right time. It could be a form of ministering or preaching or enlightening, that’s my purpose without me being ordained or looking up past spiritual wombs. I know what is like to feel good. I know I was born to be a creator.
TWHBW: Well congratulations on everything you have embarked so far! What else can we expect for House Ov Beeombi?
DC: House Ov Beeombi will be presented during Paris Fashion Week of 2015! We will be showing in Paris, London, and Berlin.
I am also the Head Tailor in the upcoming film, The Same Kind of Different As Me, a Michael Carney film featuring Renee Zellweger.
Also House Ov Beeombi will be working with Don Benjamin. There’s more in the works, but that is all that I can reveal at this time.
Well there you have it! I have to say it was an amazing experience sitting with this gentleman. He has such an impressive resume but is so down to Earth. Though, he knows what he wants and how to get it. Thank you so much Derron for taking time to chat with me. You are truly an inspiration. You are serving your purpose to inspire to individuals around the world.