Roanoke, Virginia native, Xavier Duckett, is a creative soul and a multi-faceted entrepreneur making real change in his community. His love for helping others succeed, particularly the city's youth, led to his creation of several companies beginning in 2015 with The Humble Hustle Co.- a non-profit created to provide programs and resources for the community in new and innovative ways.
From there he created Imagine Me Mentoring, the first Black-owned school-based mentoring program in Roanoke serving at risk youth in Roanoke City Public Schools; Xavier Tramaine Creative Consulting, where he works with young Black entrepreneurs to keep pushing towards their dreams and set up a strong plan to achieve their goals; and Hmble Hstle Clothing, a streetwear brand designed by Xavier himself.
photo credit: Sarah Henry
As you might imagine, Hmble Hstle Clothing is about more than just beautifully designed streetwear and sets out to encourage giving back to our communities. We are honored to be working with Xavier and Hmble Hstle to create a few pieces that honor Xavier's brand and mission and combine that with our mutual love of Virginia. We asked Xavier to tell us in his own words about his company, its mission, his designs for the collaboration and what he hopes to inspire through this project, check it out below.
Tell us about yourself and your company, Hmble Hstle? How did you get started?
My name is Xavier, X, or Xavier Tramaine. I’m 30 years young, currently living in Roanoke, VA. I am a very free spirited, creative, adventurous, and spontaneous person. I thoroughly love to laugh, I enjoy music, art, travel, and I love going to the movies. I love simply creating, putting together events, connecting people and advocating for youth. I pride myself on leaning into uncomfortable spaces to learn more, grow, and provide creative and innovative thinking for my community.
photo credit: Sarah Henry
Hmble Hstle Clothing started as a fundraiser vehicle to support my non-profit organization, The Humble Hustle Company, Inc. Just like any other starter brand, we sold merch, until I began to dive deeper into my creativity, and started spelling it without a “U”- to encourage people that when you take out “U” and focus on others, you begin to truly fortify your hustler spirit and humble mentality. As clothing began to take off, I separated the clothing as its own business so that I had more room for creativity, but I could still donate to the non-profit to further the mission and be directly involved with the community that we were providing for.
What was the inspiration behind the collaboration with the Virginia is for Lovers brand?
When I first got the call, I really didn't know what to do, I just knew that this was HUGE, all I could see in my head was the VA is for Lovers license plates and signs on the highway. After several calls and meetings we agreed that we would focus on really changing the narrative of what Black travel looks like to Virginia.
I've traveled all over Virginia, and lived in different parts of the state. I am from Roanoke, VA and I have always had pride in this small city. I consistently encourage friends and people in my network to travel to Virginia because I know how much the state has to offer. There is so much vibrancy, history, and love found in the food, culture and music in Virginia; my mission was to highlight these gems in a creative way. I have also traveled around the world, and because of this I understand the importance of getting out of your normal environment as a young Black man because ultimately it will force you to grow and think differently; it’s essential.
Walk us through each of the designs, and what they each mean to you?
LOVE & HSTLE : It’s simple, and it's on-brand for both entities. The simple and very powerful word Love is from Virginia is for Lovers. The unique and very much engaging word Hstle, is from Hmble Hstle Clothing. Together, they provide a raw, creative, and intentional statement of what both brands are trying to push overall.This design and word play made me think of all of the love and support that the brand has received from my home state. I also tied in a message on the back design that emphasizes encouragement and empowerment for Black travel.
It all started with Us: Very history oriented, I believe If we're going to promote black travel it's imperative that we remind people that everything started with Virginia. Our cities, towns, shores and soil provide the roots of black culture today.
Virginia is all I see: I wanted to get a lil’ funky with this one, one of my team members had the idea of an eye chart, and I loved it, (shout out to her) I knew exactly how I wanted it to be laid out and knew how to get it done. I believe that this shirt gives respect to the spirit and mentality of Virginians that I was raised with, graduated with, worked alongside professionally and have seen travel. The hustler spirit and humble mentality is embedded in us. This shirt is a creative way to pay homage to the state that birthed it.
Black Travel is Essential: It means what it says. Black people have been oppressed for hundreds of years, so I wanted to put a message on a shirt that empowers Black people to see the roots of where they come from in Virginia. Also, to challenge people to explore more of this world and what travel has to offer; it's pivotal. When we travel, our awareness and humility for others is heightened. The exposure provides hope for not only ourselves, but those visions are spread throughout our communities and we begin to break the cycle of thinking in a limited way.
What do you hope the impact of this collaboration will be?
The impact I want from this collaboration is for people to realize how essential Black travel is. It's imperative that more people explore different cities in Virginia and are comfortable doing it. Virginia is the birthplace of it all, it literally all started here and despite our dark history and forgotten and untold stories there is history that everybody needs to see and experience. If we continue to push Black travel in its entirety, we begin to change the narrative, which unlocks doors for generations to come.
What is your key takeaway/message to the community?
There are a few things that I want people to take away from this collaboration. I want people to be inspired, I really want my peers, youth and community to understand, don't quit! I also want people to truly understand the power in writing their goals and visions down, speaking them out loud, and not giving up. Even for a small brand in a small city, dreams and major collaborations can happen for you too. Just a lil’ hustle n love.
I want Black people to travel more and explore places in Virginia that they haven't or may have stayed away from. We really have to change the narrative for others and embrace the state we come from. I believe that even though it's just Hmble Hstle that has the official collaboration this is a call to action for all people to take pride in their city and expose travelers to the gems of your neighborhood, community, city and state.