Last week I wrote about reconfiguring Buttawear.
In my research I came across "six questions every brand should ask themselves, before they start."
The first and most obvious question is what's your brands story? I tried from the beginning to be vague about my past, as I thought it should not matter what trials I've gone through. To not be judged for the mistakes I've made, but objectively judged on the talent to be successful or not. But the deeper I get into establishing a brand and a business of my own, the more I understand authenticity is the only way. So here is Buttawear's story to date; enjoy:
Ever since a child I always wanted to be a car designer. I used to wake up (during the summer) and grab my sketchbook from my room and head to the other room and pretend that I was going to work. I would draw cars from the exterior to interior, labeling every cool detail and feature that I could think of. Creativity and art has always been my first love. Fast forward to my first job out of high school I became a mechanic for the car company, Infiniti, hoping to learn more intimately everything there is to know about cars, more specifically luxury cars. I also went to college for industrial design, while still working full time, to further pursue this dream. I must add that I grew up in Colorado, a quite beautiful place scenically, however was not without its ugliness "culturally". As a child of hip-hop, (a story for another day on how hip hop molded me), the more I pursued this dream the more I ended up in environments where I was one of one, literally. No black students, and if there were, they weren't male, or certainly not dressing like me, (bright colors, du-rags and timbs, I swore I was from NY, lol). I wanted to prove that my appearance didn't, or shouldn't matter, as long as I was smart enough and talented enough. And even though I was obviously misunderstood, I was determined to break the mold of what a car designer looked like, it was going to be great!
Alas, my expectations did not line up with reality. And with every slight, every trip up, every failure, every frustration, I self medicated with weed, way before it was legal. Whenever a teacher treated me unfairly, or a job wouldn't promote me, or I was passed on opportunity after opportunity I turned to weed and music to help me feel better… and to a point it did, until it didn't. My mind, mixed with working full time, going to school and smoking weed led me to landing in jail because I didn't know how to ask for help. Not that I didn't want it, I just literally did not know how. It wasn’t a long stent, but long enough to where I lost my apartment, my job and obviously had to drop out of school. I was, in effect, homeless, lost and had nowhere to really go. I was 24 years old.
Luckily, at the time, my Uncle knew what it was to fall on hard times and in affect empathized with my situation. He mention to my mom who then let me know about a program ran by the Denver Rescue Mission called the New Life Program. It is a Christian based program that is specifically tailored for those going through tough times, no matter who you are. This three tier program gave me the opportunity to get clean, while serving my community, meet some of the most interesting and influential people, and most importantly, get right with God. It also gave me the opportunity to go to trade school (Emily Griffith) to earn a certification in a limited number of subjects; The two that peaked my interest were to learn how to become a barber or a certification in Fashion Design. And as dope as it would be to know how give an Ill uptown fade, I chose Fashion Design. It was here that Buttawear was born:
My first logo: (I like how the crown silhouettes the “w” for Buttawear) circa. 2006
Please tune in next week for the conclusion.. until then: