Dustin Sakr is a tactician. Dustin wasn’t born into money, but was very studious in regards to trends in fashion. At a young age, Sakr would incorporate the trends into his own creations.

The Cali native and his designs caught the attention of Karen Civil, and soon enough the two would link to form Civil Clothing. The brand has spread like wildfire, catching the attention of artists like Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and more.

Recently, Sakr sat down with XXL to discuss incorporating the Cali lifestyle in the brand, the influence of Ralph Lauren clothing on his view on style, keeping his brand affordable and more.—Christian Mordi

XXL: Tell us a little bit about your childhood, how it was where you are from and how did it effect your fashion sense or savvy?
Dustin Sakr: I grew up in a very diverse culture. I am Lebanese, Filipino and German. I didn’t come from the best town either in Carson, Calif. Growing up was hard and exposed me to that street lifestyle. I saw it all in Cali, skateboarding, surfing, b-boying, etc. A lot of the people who work with us also used to MC when they were younger. Being so hands on in the culture outside of the clothing is key. We look to implement everything we see and our style in the clothing brand.

What is that Cali style?
It’s a hardness, it has a attitude to it. We give you that flash but it also has that sense of toughness to it.

When did you get into fashion?
As a young man I was always into fashion. I was aware of trends and kept up with new styles in the magazines.

What brands influenced you when you were younger?
I would say the bigger brands. Ralph Lauren and Nautica were examples of brands that pulled me in when I was young. Those were two brands that were pretty big in the '90s. Nautica was a unique brand because even the skateboarders were wearing those two brands.

What is Civil Clothing?
It’s a lifestyle, streetwear contemporary crossover brand.

Tell us a little bit about Karen Civil, and her involvement in the brand. Why did you decide to have her as a face of the brand, and how did you connect with her?
We got connected to Karen via our marketing team, in particular Brandyn Luhrsen. It really made a lot of sense to work with her and push the brand. Karen is heavily involved in the music industry and overall culture. It was a great chance for us to synergize and capitalize on both of our strengths.

What do you think of the current state of fashion and the integration of some high fashion brands into hip-hop?
I love it. It gives brands like ours a chance to implement our style and creativity through our collections. It allows us a chance to also take things they are doing and bring it down and use our parodies from the street into the brands.

What is in design wise, and how do you find ways to synergize those trendy designs into your line?
We take it in and we do it our way. We take bits and pieces of what is trending in high fashion or in other realms and dumb it down some so as streetwear fans can understand it.

So I heard Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé have worn your clothing. Why did you decide to synergize with them?
Yes, we have had Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé wear our clothing. Those two are big influences in streetwear and lifestyle for many people. We felt like what they were preaching in the industry reflects what we are doing in our industry.

How important is comfort and durability to you with your line in this current state of the economy where people may not be able to buy multiple pieces. Do you make a concerned effort to make pieces that are great for everyday use?
Its very important to me. Coming from a [rough] background, I have [to] understand not only how the market is, but how the customer is as well from a financial standpoint. Making sure we are treating our customer right in regards to durability with our products is a big thing to me. We make our products to the best quality we can and as cost efficient as we can on the customer.