Anthony Franklin — better known by his hip-hop moniker, Frank Foota — is a born-and-raised New Orleanian who wears many hats as CEO of Anja & Francois, a streetwear clothing company, and as a producer and rapper. His ventures began in his childhood, under the guidance of his godfather, Slim of Cash Money Records, but these days he’s making a name for himself on his own with the goal of opening a storefront.
Gambit: You’re a CEO, philanthropist, designer, investor, executive producer and an artist. How do you manage all those things at once?
Frank Foota: I try to compartmentalize … I’ve got to do something for my charity, or I’ve got to start designing some new clothes. And once I finish that, I just jump into working with any artists that I’m collaborating with and just juggle.
G: What inspired your clothing line?
F: I have always been into fashion, but I was poor growing up. A lot of times [I] just had to put stuff together. I just started making my own stuff. I was only wearing them myself and then my little brother started wearing them. And then it just kinda snowballed.
G: Do you have a favorite design that you’ve made so far? Or a favorite fabric?
F: My hoodies are one of the top sellers and one of the favorites. I really like the [font] that I use for it.
G: What’s the goal for your clothing? And what statement are you trying to make?
F: I want a storefront in the mall and not the ones in the middle — not like the little booth — I mean an actual store. And for my statement, I just wanna show that someone who grew up poor can accomplish these things — like building a clothing line.
‘When people choose to get dressed, they’re curating a statement. What I appreciate about fashion and about wardrobe is that we make decisions every day about our bodies.’
G: When you were younger, did you always know what you were going to do?
F: No, not at all. I’ve always liked clothes. And even back then, when I was making my own shirts, I never was doing it to make a clothing line. I was just doing it because it was easier and cheaper for me to make my own clothes instead of buying Gucci and all that. So I just was doing it for that, and music just crept into the picture. And with the music, even in some of the videos, I actually wore my own clothes. I never actually looked at it as a combined effort until a couple of years back.
G: What motivated you to start making music?
F: I’ve been around music my whole life. The owner of Cash Money Records: Slim, baby. Yeah. So Slim [Ronald Williams] is actually my parrain [godfather] so I’ve been around them for years. I’ve always known them. I started getting into music ’cause it was always around me and music is like therapy for me. It just helps me think, and I like creating music.
G: Do you have any advice for kids or younger people who are maybe looking to become any of the things that you are?
F: My advice would always be to focus on what you want to do and don’t let anybody say you can’t do it. If you just stick to it, put your mind to it and hustle hard enough, you’ll get it.
G: What type of music do you listen to?
F: R&B, rap, pop, all kinds of music. I listen to music all the time. But that one go-to person would probably be Kanye West.
G: Who’s your intended audience for your music?
F: It’s got to be women. Women listen to music and women buy music.
G: What or who has helped you become where you are today?
F: Mostly my family has helped me with a lot of promotion and stuff, wearing my clothes all the time. And every time I send them clothes, I’m like, hey, I need you to wear this and take pictures and post them. But different members of my family — a lot of my cousins — I send them clothes all the time. But then I’m like, hey, look, I didn’t get to wear that kind of stuff growing up. And then they always post the stuff that I’ll send them. Those are the main people who help me.
When Tank takes the stage, part of the show is seeing what she’s going to wear next.
G: What motivates you the most to keep going with this?
F: Honestly, my previous lifestyle motivated me — I’m a self-motivated person. So I can look at the way my life was and be like, ‘I don’t ever want to go back.’ I just keep telling myself this is not enough. I need more, I want more, I want to be further. So that’s kinda what motivates me. And so I guess the main thing that motivates me is the fear of failing. Because I’ve started it, I don’t want it to fail. It just keeps pushing me.
G: What was the hardest piece you had to make?
F: The hardest things to make were the hoodies because I had to keep getting samples and keep re-doing [them] and telling them what I didn’t like. Say I don’t like the strings, so then they’ll send me another one. I’m like, “Yeah, I like the string, but it doesn’t give me a good feel.” One time they made it too wide and I needed to be a slimmer hoodie. That was one of the pieces that was hardest to make because I had to go through so many. I’ve been designing on that specific style of hoodies for about a year and a half now.
G: So you’re aiming for a mall specifically in New Orleans?
F: Eventually, yes. I think my first one could probably be in New Orleans or it may be in Atlanta. I’ve been weighing my options. I’ll figure it out when I cross that bridge.
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