I was born in the foothills of North Carolina in a small apparel and furniture manufacturing town called Taylorsville. When I was a child, my parents bought me a little desk that was in the shape of a horse. I would sit at that desk for hours drawing and sketching all of the things I, at that age, thought were beautiful. Many times it was a picture of my mother in a dress that I thought she would look exceptionally beautiful in or a re-creation of something I saw someone wearing on a television or awards show. I’ve always had a natural sense of knowing what styles and colors work best for the individual wearing them. An unusual talent to possess for a young African American boy in a small town like Taylorsville.
Throughout high school, my love of fashion never faded but I wasn’t sure that it could be a lucrative career choice. In high school I excelled in math and upon graduating, in the fall of 1991, I began collegiate studies at Johnson C. Smith University with the intention of majoring in Accounting. By the end of my sophomore year I had transferred to Appalachian State University (ASU), decided to follow my passion for fashion and earned a Bachelor of Science in Clothing and Textiles.
It was while I was pursuing my degree at ASU that I met my tribe, a core group of friends that became family (my chosen family). We supported and encouraged each other and created an environment that allowed us to be our authentic selves with no apologies. Freddie Grant was/is an essential part of my tribe and has proven to be a forever friend and brother for 25+ years.
My life has taken many twists and turns. I’ve forged and lost relationships, earned additional degrees (Master of Arts and PhD), held a variety of positions in the apparel industry in New York, Florida, and North Carolina, been an entrepreneur, and a faculty member in higher education . Through it all there are some things that have remained constant: My connection to family (natural and chosen) and my love of fashion. Our Pride Life represents both by celebrating unity, diversity, individuality, peace, and love and has been created 4YOU, 4ME, 4US!