Published on April 7th, 2020 | by Landon Buford0
The Hype Magazine Chats with Montee Holland the CEO of the Tayion Collection
Montee Holland the President and CEO of the Tayion Collection launched his brand to the mass market in 2004. The Detroit Native specializes in men’s tailored suits. Over the years, the collection has expanded to include classic suits, blazers, trousers, shirts, accessories, men’s and women’s outerwear, and a casual-luxe line that includes denim.
Since he was a child, Holland has been passionate about fashion. After obtaining his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, and serving time in the Marine Corps, he realized a career in fashion could become a reality. Today, the Tayion Collection is a respected and internationally distributed brand.
Holland says, “I premiered the Tayion Collection at MAGIC Las Vegas in 2003, and we’ve evolved into a revolutionary leader of contemporary style.”
Holland recently spoke with The Hype Magazine to discuss new additions to his collection and upcoming collaborations for this summer.
The Tayion Collection was first established in 2004. Please share with us what inspired you to start your menswear line in the first place?
I have always had a passion for fashion, and I knew I wanted to be a part of the fashion industry. I just didn’t know-how. During my time with the Marine Corps is when I began to figure things out. I was making a few pieces while I was stationed in Korea. When I returned to the states, people began to ask me where they could get some of the items I was wearing. I then started to use my contacts overseas to make pieces for other people just as a hobby.
Then I got more serious about it when I discovered I could actually make money from it. I decided to attend my very first MAGIC Men’s Garment Industry Convention in 2003 with some of my samples, and we sold out. We would officially launch the company shortly thereafter in 2004. We sold to stores across the country and sold a million dollars in merchandise in just three days. I was working a very lucrative job with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals at the time but knew then that I had to quit and follow my passion.
How important was your full-time job to funding your fashion venture?
I was one of the top salespersons in the country with Pfizer selling the “little blue pill.” It financed my first trip to the MAGIC Show. It was a great investment because that’s where I met Steve Harvey. He fell in love with the line, and he gave me some great advice and resources. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend in those early years, but I had enough to make a real presence at the show.
What’s the background story on choosing the name “Tayion” for your collection?
That’s an easy one. My middle name is Tayion. My mom said she was watching television when she first heard it. She liked the sound of it and gave it to me as my middle name. I decided to share that name with my fashion line because, at the time, it was unique. Now, there are a lot of people with the name. I like to think the first time they ever heard it was from my collection.
You recently partnered with MAGIC to produce a happy hour fashion show. How did this opportunity come about?
It’s actually a pretty cool story. Deborah, the representative who sold me my initial booth back in 2003, approached me with the idea. She knew the Tayion Collection always received a lot of attention and excitement ever since the beginning. She knew our story, saw our vision, and the rest is MAGIC history.
Share with us some of the trials and tribulations you’ve faced as a business owner, and how did it motivate you?
Having served in the Marine Corps trained me to work hard. Whenever I’ve faced turbulent times, I quite frankly have to check myself and make sure I keep a cool head, stay focused. Those times make me stay diligent and work even harder. A failure is never an option.
How do you feel about the rise of online shopping sites like Amazon, and how do you think they will affect partnerships with big chain stores like Macy’s?
Every brick and mortar store are faced with this issue. I create a product that can generate excitement. It makes men want to come into the store, multiple times. Coming into the store is the only real way to get the complete Tayion experience. Our customers are cool doing that, and it’s an experience they can never have online.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your designs?
I’m from Detroit, and I think Detroit is a very sexy city. We have a rich history with Motown. Some of the styles they were wearing back then still inspire fashion today. I also draw inspiration from the Harlem Renaissance. Back then, a guy would go to work with a suit on then come home, take off his work suit, and change into a different one for his evening’s entertainment. It’s a bygone era I love because men were so proud of dressing up. No matter how much money they made or didn’t make, they expressed their personalities through fashion every day. I look at old magazines and movies then mesh that with contemporary millennial styles.
What new styles will you be releasing for the Spring and Summer months?
We will be releasing new separates that will include a lot more jackets. We are always going to show classic high fashion suits, but for the upcoming seasons, we are adding more mainstream twists. Our separates will allow a corporate guy to very easily go from a day look to an evening one. That’s one of the main attractions you will see in the new line.
How has the industry trends changed since you started the Tayion Collection?
I’ve seen trends that have come out that were super fire hot, but because it was a fad, it quickly fades out. I have seen some “designers” take advantage of that trend, but then they disappeared. I have seen it all, but at the end of the day, the one thing that ensures stability in this business is connecting with the customer. They love to see honesty, passion, and consistency in your product, not just trends.
Have you ever considered partnering with fashion schools that are not in New York, Los Angeles, or Paris to bring in interns?
Your question is right on point because a lot of people believe you can only make it in fashion if you attend FIT in New York or FIDM in Los Angeles. Well, I have been approached by the University of Hawaii and the University of Cincinnati to speak to their apparel and fashion programs. I am always motivated to share my skills and expertise with these schools because they don’t have the same access as some of the more well-known ones. I have great respect for all of the fashion institutes, and I want all of them to have access to me.
What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
Anyone that reads this article must first understand being an entrepreneur is a beautiful thing.
However, they must also go into it with realistic expectations. There is a lot of hard work that goes into having your own business. I’m at an office in Turkey right now at 9 pm, getting things done for my business. If you have that kind of passion and dedication, it doesn’t feel like work. You will work tirelessly, but in the end, it’s all worth it.