Full Focus: Fashion Designer Whitmore “Weedy” Merrick, CEO of P.U.R.E. Pizzazz

“Collaborating with like-minded individuals brings me to my highest level of creativity.”

One of the best kept secrets in fashion, P.U.R.E. Pizzazz, is delivering great quality clothing, visually pleasing presentations, all while infusing a unique take on modern streetwear aesthetics in each collection.

The ONYX Team recently sat down with fashion designer and CEO of  P.U.R.E. Pizzazz, Whitmore “Weedy” Merrick, to discuss his journey into fashion and some of his philosophies behind his design inspiration.

1. Tell us more about P.U.R.E. Pizzazz… What are you about?

I came up with the name while incarcerated. Pizzazz came from the term ‘swag,’ really just another way to say it. Me and a guy I met from Tidewater (Virginia) while doing time use to write raps together, and we were very big on being different and using different vocabulary. So, we began using ‘pizzazz’ regularly to switch our lingo while everyone was using swag. Then, I decided to use it for my clothing line.

P.U.R.E. came later which translates into an acronym which stands for Passion Unites Rare Energy. I truly believe when passionate people unite it creates a rare energy; collaborating with like-minded individuals brings me to my highest level of creativity.

2. How long have you been in operation?

I have been operating since 2017. I started designing hoodies in 2015, but I had the name and idea since 2008.

3. What were your initial struggles with launching P.U.R.E. and how did you overcome them?

So, first it was finding a company locally to print my designs. I had a cousin that worked at Blue Ridge graphics — a locally-owned print shop which produces great quality. Then I decided to invest in equipment, so I could be more hands on, more creative and also this could allow my clothing to be more affordable. The hardest part was figuring out what equipment fit within my budget and how much space I had to create.

Another struggle was the turnaround time for custom designs. I had to set it up so that everything is pre-order and 7 to 10 days would be the turnaround that way I have time to order specific materials that I may not have and I wouldn’t have to stockpile. 

4. What are your sources of inspiration for P.U.R.E.?

My sources of inspiration are top designer brands as well as less popular brands. I’m very big on quality. One brand I’m really big on is Sia Collective. I really respect Delvin Carter’s passion and creativity, and the quality of his clothing is unbelievable.

5. How important is social media for your brand? How do you best utilize it?

Social media is something every entrepreneur must have whether you like it or not. It’s important to be seen and found. Even though I don’t get a majority of my sales via social media, it is free marketing and a way to engage with potential partners or customers. It also automatically makes your business global. I still have a lot to learn with it and can admit I don’t utilize it to max potential, but it’s definitely something I’m working on.

6. Did you know much about manufacturing when launching P.U.R.E? If not, how have you been learning about it?

I really didn’t have any previous knowledge of manufacturing. I literally researched then purchased equipment and learned from software, YouTube and lots of trial and error how to create my clothing.

7. In your own words, what differentiates P.U.R.E. from other clothing brands?

Our clothing is intended to really stand out and the meaning of P.U.R.E. is what differentiates us. Also, we give customers options to customize colors and designs. 

8. What are you looking forward to in 2019/2020?

I look forward to creating more designs and having more collaborations with other designers. Hopefully, I will also get to attend a few fashion shows. Lastly, I plan to purchase more equipment to expand in-house production.

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