SheepBlack Designs has been making big waves through Birmingham, and the fashion brand is aiming to do more than put clothes on people’s backs with their business. The company’s founder, Cherrisse “Res” Colvin, spent her life feeling like the black sheep in a variety of situations, but turned that outsider feeling into a successful business that uplifts the communities around her. Recent releases include their famous My Sweet Home shirts, which provide a fun take on the city nickname “Bham”. Other favorites are My Definition (which defines SheepBlack), My Crown (features the company’s logo), and Different (uses Colvin’s handwriting). More exciting designs including the unveiling of the SheepBlack mascot and the addition of bucket hats, shorts, and more are planned for later this year.

“It’s more of a movement versus an apparel brand,” Res shares, “Being known as the black sheep, and being pretty much ostracized or known as the outcast the majority of my life for various reasons, I felt that when I started my clothing brand what better way to turn that around than to give people empowerment? Not only what they wear, but who they are as people.” Brand taglines like “No BS”, “Love you”, “Embrace what makes you different”, and “Wear your story” encourage viewers to keep pushing forward beyond these inner obstacles. “It’s your personal journey and you’re able to conquer anything,” the creative shares, “That’s what the brand is basically about. It’s just self-empowerment, self-awareness, self-respect, self-love.”

The “Different” shirt features Colvin’s own handwriting, and is known for being a conversation starter. All images from Steve Lester Photography

Res is the artist behind every design to date, and says that the inspiration comes from “ideas that I’ve jotted down throughout the years and things that I want to wear.” Colvin’s been an artist since they were a child, but let other people’s opinions stifle her creativity for decades. “I’m just getting back into what I consider to be my passion and my gift,” the artist shares, and they want to help others feel comfortable taking a leap of faith with their talents. “My journey has been basically the same as my clothing line. It’s kind of a comparison, to where I’m just coming to life. I’m comfortable with who I am as a person,” Colvin shares, “I’m comfortable with everything about me. I love me fully. I’m not just saying that, I truly do. And that’s the same with my clothing brand, it pretty much empowers people to have the same kind of mentality.” 

SheepBlack first became a concept in 2018, formed in 2020, and sold its first shirt in June of last year. The company hasn’t looked back since, and is currently focused on continuing to establish the brand and the eventual goal of acquiring SheepBlack’s first brick-and-mortar location. While Res is serious about their business, they also want it to be unique in that the focus is not on sales-it is on empowerment. Birminghamians shouldn’t feel like they need to spend a lot of money to afford fashion that makes them feel proud, and Colvin is here to provide it. “It’s okay to love you. It’s okay to love where you are right now. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be your end result, but embrace you because you are you right now. That’s what the SheepBlack movement is about,” the designer shares, “You define yourself. You define who you are. That’s the first thing I want people to get out of my brand.”

While Colvin wants (and plans for) their brand to succeed around the world, SheepBlack’s owner always wants to bring the love back to their home city. “I truly love Birmingham and what it stands for. I feel like Birmingham as a whole has grown a lot over the last couple of years,” Reese reflects, “I’ve lived all over, and this has not only been my hometown. It’s a part of me. It’s in my heart.” We’re thankful Colvin is able to express her love for the city, for herself, and for others so beautifully.