When Flame is first introduced in Diamonds in the Rough, it is nothing more than a small, but trendy boutique located in downtown East Brookstone, New York. The store, owned by Carmen’s mother, Patricia Davenport, caters solely to young women although Carmen dreams of designing business suits for men. As the series progresses, so does the business. The store eventually becomes a company with several different collections under its belt.
The idea to incorporate fashion into the book came from my random visits to Cato in Greenville, SC where my sister worked as a manager. During my breaks from college, she would allow me to come to work with her on occasion which gave me a glimpse into the ins and outs of running a clothing store. However, before my sister was even of age to work, she had always dabbed in fashion design. I can remember plenty of times when we were younger watching my sister draw different outfits. Often times when I am writing a scene where Carmen is designing, I try to envision these experiences that I shared with my sister.
In terms of the name of the store, Flame, this came about after watching Romeo Must Die, a film which starred Aaliyah and Jet Li. If you’ve seen the movie, you may remember that Aaliyah’s character, Trish O’Day, owned a clothing store called Serpentine Fire. The way the store was portrayed was almost identical to the way that I envisioned the store in Diamonds in the Rough. Therefore, from this movie, Flame was born.
The transition from store to brand came from following the career of Kimora Lee Simmons- Hounsou, most known for being the former President/ Creative Director of Baby Phat. She also starred in her own series, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane, which gave the public a firsthand look at how she simultaneously ran her business and managed her family. I tried to show this same concept with Carmen’s life in Diamonds are Forever.
I will admit that it was from watching the growth of Baby Phat that I got the idea to branch out Flame with different collections (see the list below). It was also the Baby Phat Kids ads that featured Kimora’s daughters, Ming Lee and Aoki Lee that gave me the idea to have Carmen’s daughter, Kristian Kane as the face of Peaches.
Last, but not least, there are currently three locations of Flame aside from headquarters. The first store is located in downtown East Brookstone, the second store is in Time Square and the third store is in the fictional Brookstone Galleria Mall.
The Collections of Flame, Inc
Flame- the original line, geared towards women, aged 21 and up
Peaches- created by Carmen Davenport for teenage girls. Her daughter, Kristian Kane, is the face of the collection
King- created by Carmen Davenport and dedicated to her firstborn, Jayceon “King” Santiago, a collection of business suits for men
Fresh Prince- created by Carmen Davenport, a collection of clothing for boys (toddlers), this collection is introduced in The Ace of Diamonds
The Major Key Players of Flame, Inc
Carmen Davenport, President
Tiara Washington, Vice President
Jerry, Senior Director of Marketing (introduced in Diamonds are Forever)
Cathy, Carmen’s receptionist/assistant (introduced in Diamonds are Forever)
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