Check the Label: Stem & Thorn’s Sharp Streetwear With a Rosy Twist
Founder and creator of Dallas apparel brand Stem & Thorn Jeremy Biggers hand-prints every piece. A multidisciplinary artist, he also directs music videos, paints, and designs clothing under the Stem & Thorn umbrella, a metaphor for achieving beauty.
“The stem represents everything that is vital to sustaining life,” he says. “The thorn protects that life-force from potential predators. If not for these two vital forces, we would never see the rose.”
Deep meaning is the crux of Biggers’ designs, though they’re appreciated for their aesthetics. “Some of my work deals with what it means to be bi-racial, or being two people at once in America,” he says. “All of the figures are on a grey background; that represents another childhood memory, of learning to mix colors. Once I learned that black and white make grey, I started jokingly telling people I was grey.”
The Viva La Paloma Tee, a white dove on a rich red rose background, also means more.
“It's a tribute to my mom, who passed away in 2007 of cancer,” says Biggers. “Before she passed she told us she wanted a single white dove released into the sky.”
Inspired by Marc Ecko, Biggers got his start during high school (Booker T. Washington, in Dallas), playing around with Adobe Illustrator. Before that he carried around drawings of clothes his parents couldn’t afford.
But, “It was cumbersome and difficult to keep the work in good condition,” says Biggers. “So I figured putting the work on shirts was a smart progression.”
After high school, Biggers studied graphic design at the University of Texas, at Arlington. His influences shifted. Now he’s into Kehinde Wiley, Chuck Close, Ron English, local artists Hatziel Flores, Carlos Donjuan, and Mike Herrera, as well as brands Staple, Stussy, Publish, and Zanerobe. He’s a self-proclaimed hip-hop head and digs TDE and Drake’s latest album. He also posts music videos he’s directed for local artists, like Blue, The Misfit, on his blog.
His brand has plenty of potential to grow, but Biggers is adamant about keeping everything in-house.
“I just really love that I can control the consumer’s experience,” he says. “Often stores gloss over details and might not give customers the same attention to detail. It’s a catch-22, because I know being in stores will grow the business faster than I can do it.”
For now his designs are exclusive to Stem & Thorn, with tees from $18, caps for $30, and hoodies just over $40.