6AM | Skillshare Projects

Brennan Manuel

Founder | Product Developer




Name and Location:  Brennan Manuel, Los Angeles, CA

Brand Name:  6AM ( /siksˈāəm/ )

Slogan/Mission Statement:  Grind Over Glamour

In lieu of the extra credit video with non-native English speakers saying the brand name, is a link to Google Translate where the brand name is spoken in non-native English speaker's native tongues.

  1. Click the link: http://translate.google.com/#en/it/six%20a%20m
  2. Click on the "Show Phrasebook" starbook icon on the far right.
  3. Press the play icon on the left hand side of the translated brand name (Simplified Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, and French respectively).

Visual Brand Inspiration: http://6ambrennanmanuel.tumblr.com/





The above image can sum up many things I want to say about this brand. From the message, to the fabrication, the detail, and the time spent to get the cut just right. 6AM is a lifestyle brand. The idea for the 6AM came about in April of 2013. However after a couple name changes, and a refining of the brand's ethos it was officially launched in January of 2014. 6AM was launched to outfit the individuals who work hard and persevere to become masters of their own destiny; to outfit those who are up early to grind and get in late because they know the hustle doesn't stop. Those purveyors of cool who are hungry and humble, and know that the road to success is paved with mistakes that will lead to greatness. Those champions of fate that will lay their heads on luxury and their lives will be high-end, because they earned it.

The inspiration for the ladies tank above came from flag football games in middle school. I remember how players would tear the sleeves off of their shirts. Eventually the armhole would stretch further and further down the side. I chose to recreate that silhouette using an original pattern but I used sweatshirt ribbing to finish the dropped armholes as well as the neck. The end result was a "tankshirt." This attention to detail and trying to recreate staples are of the utmost importance in the 6AM design process. 

Grind over glamour is something that I live by every day. I believe that the secret to a successful and fulfilling life comes from hard, focused work and dedication. Too many want the glamour and the glory without the necessary work. I've been designing since high school but I didn't have the guidance on how to take it to the next level. I eventually taught myself how to sew and took a leave of abscence from law school to study fashion design at F.I.T. in New York. After returning to my hometown from New York to complete my law degree and move forward with my fashion career by participating in a few New Orleans' fashion weeks with a higher-end line of tastefully fashion-forward menswear. I also taught at a local middle school. I thought it would be a good way to mentor the youth, give back, and put some change in my pocket without taking up too much of my time. That way I could continue with the clothing business. 



My high school students would always talk about what every rapper was doing, and how they were going to be in the entertainment industry, but they wouldn't even want to complete their class assignments. I would continually stress the axiom "grind over glamour," so they'd understand that school is teaching them the self discipline and work ethic that they would need to be successful in any industry. I took every opportunity to mention how I would be there early to teach them and then go home and stay up until all hours in the morning to work towards my dream. My hope was to reach at least a few that wanted more than what their surroundings were showing them. They would always ask me why I would come to school in this tailored black suit...and my response would be, "(Y)ou don't have to look like your grinding when you're on the grind."

I've always had a conflicted design aesthetic. I loved the refined, higher-end clothing that I was creating but it only represented one half of the grind over glamour philosophy; it was only the glamour. I still am very much involved in the grind and I realized that it never truly ends. I needed an outlet, something that I could wear everyday, an understated cool that still allowed me and others to stand out, that let people know that we worked hard for what we wanted...but from a more shadowed perspective. 

| Logo |

A few months ago I reached out to a local boutique that carried lines like Play | Comme Des Garçons and A BATHING APE, to propose a collaboration between me and the store. The end result would be a separate brand that could exist independent of the boutique and I. Thus "6AM" was created, for those who are "up early to grind and get in late because they know the hustle doesn't stop."


The font for the wordmark is something that I call a "statement font." I wanted something that was bold but also powerful in its minimalism. I wanted a font that represented the psychographic that I was targeting. That psychographic that likes nice things and has nice things, but doesn't feel the need to constantly flaunt them because they want people to feel who they are first. 

The dark grey font color or "fashion grey" as I call it (C:73 M:64 Y:61 K:78) symbolizes the grind, the shade of grey that is life in itself, neither black nor white, but a muddy grey that represents the "mistakes that will lead to greatness," if you learn from them. Key word...learn.

The icon fell into place on its own. I envisioned something that was not so obvious in its representation of the brand name, like a clock, but something that was the brand name itself. A design expressed in such a way that it could transcend streetwear and be used on the bezels of blacked-out watches, in the corners of billboards, embroidered on the heel counter of coveted sneakers, getting the trompe l'oeil effect on a cap, emblazoned across a fine jersey tee, embossed on a zipper pull, something, surrounded by any color and needing no explanation. I combine the Roman numeral "VI" for 6 with a stylized version of "AM." 


Style Guide





Alternate logo graphic


"Medals of Honor" graphic


Hem tag graphic...this is another stylized version of the Roman Numeral for the number six.


Care label graphic


The actual design process for the apparel didn't take as long as it did to come up with the wordmark and icon. Things flowed because I was so hyped. I was gettting the chance to design a line that would encompass my philosophy and how I dress most days, but it would be my signature fit. I drew upon influences that encouraged the way I dressed. I started looking at old photos of Aaliyah, Tupac, Nas, and others alike. When the clothing was intentionally baggy but not falling off. I liked the utility and the play on volume.


Old photos of Japanese fashion designs from the eighties, when those designers came to prominence, were also a big influence in the design process. There was that emphasis on texture and a super-abbreviated color palette (and again volume), so the actual garment had to speak to you. Both of those cultures represented a certain passion and vision from different perspectives, but together represent the counterculture, which is always perceived as cool.

Comme Des Garçons A/W 1983



Yohji Yamamoto


The mood board was created to showcase the vibe and silhouettes of the line. It's a symphony of images that spoke to the heart of the 6AM brand. I referred to this collage again and again during the design process.


This is an emerging brand but the emphasis has always been on cut-and-sew designs. Finding the right manufacturing and sourcing, and a company capable of doing the initial productions runs has been a hurdle. This is one of the issues that I'm hoping to address with the assistance and guidance of Jeff Staple and his team. My goal for this brand is to not only uplift the wearer but to adjust the conventional silhouettes.  

| Initial Cut-and-Sew Offering |


I'm an Eighties baby, but I grew up in the Nineties. That's where alot of the inspiration for the cut-and-sew comes from. My formative years were spent watching MTV Rock N' Jock basketball games, My So Called Life, listening to Green Day's Dookie album, using a dial-up modem to chat on AOL Instant Messenger, wearing plaid shirts, teen angst, etc. I incorporated plaid shirting but with smaller check patterns. The shirt tied around the waist is also a revisited silhouette. I like length as well so there is a long, plain tank. The denim offering is pretty cool too, with twisted seams and awesome denim jackets, as well as a focus on utilitarian, yet attractive, work-inspired outerwear.   

| Sample Tech Pack |




What's also special about this collection is the focus on original photorealistic imagery for the graphic t-shirts. I wanted to focus on something a little different besides just the animated graphics. The goal is that these designs can be something a more mature streetwear enthusiast would wear as well as young one. I didn't want graphics that were too trendy and following the current popularity of Renaissance painting and sculpture imagery.

I had the opportunity to work with one of my favorite local models to stage photos that would later become the designs for the tees. I was able to take the pictures as well, which was alot of fun, until we got to the "Fear Has No Place" photo. It took an hour just to drape the cloth around her face and body.


| Initial Graphic Offering |


This design, in my opinion, is self explanatory. It further supports the Grind Over Glamour slogan, which is the heart of the Brand. This is one of my favorite pieces because of the way a powerful statement is made in such a simple way, and there is room for interpretation of what message the shirt is trying to convey. Underneath the main logo is the mission statement "Grind Over Glamour" presented using the Katakana alphabet, as the Hiragana and Kanji alphabets didn't yield more exact translations. Underneath that is the Medals of Honor logo which is a series of badges or patches that represent excellence and achievement under the principles of the 6AM brand.


Fear Has No Place Tee

This tee was inspired by a picture of a Pakistani woman praying. Even though she was praying she did not seem at peace. You could see how tense she was in her fingers, even though she wore gloves. I could only imagine what a fearful situation it must have been like to be so shrouded for fear of bodily harm or death. In America we can express ourselves however we want, not saying that we are better, but that we value different things. Yet in this country, people are still afraid to seize the opportunities that this country has to offer, even though they have the freedom to. Complacency, being uncomfortable, and the fear of failure paralyze so many. When you are working towards a goal or a dream, it's natural to have those fears, but you can't let them stop you. You cannot give Fear a place to live, it cannot exist in your house of hustle. Hence the message of "Fear Has No Place." The background image represents Fear personified. I imagine that if Fear were a person, it would be completely wrapped up because it was afraid of its own reflection. Fear would only know how to fear.


Fear Has No Place Sweatshirtfeb779c5

The Life Tee

The Life tee represents the other side of the waking-up-early-to-grind lifestyle, this is the side where you take time to celebrate the small victories. This design could have been entitled "Bad Women, Good Smoke." As wound-up, analytical, and serious as the hustle is, they need to unwind. This involves good company, libations, and whatever else you need to relax. The bar across the girl's face is to allow her to be the cool, attractive every-girl that you have fun with when you have down-time. She understands, she listens, she provides the balance to the hectic life that you've chosen.


Grind / Glamour L/S Tee

This is the most self-explanatory design. This tee is the 6AM brand's mission statement and defining ideology. This is a statement design that stands alone in a jersey-esque font to indicate seriousness. When you wear this shirt, it's game time and you're playing for keeps.


Grind / Glamour Teeda63dd8cb856c0b3

The Hustle Sweatshirt

The Hustle sweatshirt is showcasing the emotion and the drive that hustlers possess. You can see the determination in this predatory animal's eyes. It's even licking its chops as to say, "I want this so bad that I can taste it." There are no words needed, everything is said through the eyes. The eyes of a hustler are focused on a goal and success is the prey. But that is what makes the hustler dangerous...we enjoy the chase, we crave the thrill of the hunt.  


Beauty Is A Beast Tee

This design is a composite image of three different shots featuring the same young woman. This is the woman who becomes a part of your hustle. She is the one that you can never catch, that always gets away. Just as you hustle to achieve success, you hustle for her. However, she remains elusive because she knows that she is desired by most. Beauty that is aware of its existence is truly a beast. The purpose of this design is to take the images of this attractive young woman and place them together in such a way that it becomes less attractive, showing her true nature. 



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