Last week, Cedric Brown Collections was a vendor at the I- Elevate Conference in Atlanta, GA. At the event, Vivica A. Fox led a discussion about Beauty and Confidence. Not only that she came by our booth and patronized the business. Getting two of our silk kimonos.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Cedric Brown.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Cedric. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As a toddler, I grew up sketching stylish women on paper. By the 5th grade, I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer. In middle school, I cultivated an entrepreneurial mindset by selling candy and mix CDs. By 10th grade, I won my first art competition “What My Future Holds”, sponsored by Vox ATL. Going to high schools across metro Atlanta, my winning entry was featured in their May issue. I used the cubism technique to display a fashionable couple standing in the middle of a park, wearing my personal clothing line. Its caption read: “In my future, I want to be like Sean John and Ralph Lauren and have my own clothing line.”
Throughout grade school and community college, I received multiple art accolades, such as having my artwork displayed in a children’s exhibition in Beijing, China, as well as having my painting about gambling prevention featured on 8 billboards across metro Atlanta. One of these billboards was at the intersection of Whitehall and McDaniel Street, close to my family’s roots in Mechanicsville. The support of my mother and art mentors, as well as the recognition I received, boosted my confidence to pursue my dreams. It was then that I knew the sky was the limit.
Through hard work and dedication, I obtained my degree in Fashion Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design, completely debt free. After graduation, I completed design internships in Atlanta, New York City and Hong Kong. I later enrolled in some small business courses, which helped me to give it a leap of faith and launch my accessory line: Cedric Brown Collections.
I initially designed and sold custom-made scarves because it was the best way to showcase my background in both art and fashion. Since then my business continues to grow. I’ve added ties, bow ties, handkerchiefs and capes to the collection. Currently, my designs are sold online and in over six stores, such as Mansion on Forsyth Park Grand Bohemian Gallery, Ebenezer Baptist Church Gift Shop and Square Threads. We also do pop up shops throughout the whole year. Many consumers have been requesting new products from Cedric Brown Collections, making us confident that the business will continue to expand.
Has it been a smooth road?
Entrepreneurship definitely takes a lot of guts. It’s one of the biggest risk-taking adventures you can undergo, but it can be very rewarding. Yes, my beautiful designs have taken me somewhere; however, to be an entrepreneur takes more than that. You must be business savvy, be a good salesman, take some calculated risks, keep an open mind, maintain your persistence and work hard. Oh, and prayer works for me as well.
When I first started out I struggled with finding stores that were a good match for my product. For me, paying taxes was the hardest part of learning how to sell my art on my own. Throughout my career, my mother has been supportive. She once told me “If a person can stand out on the street corner risking their life to sell a rock, I know you can sell a scarf.” It gave me confidence that I can sell my own work, too.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
“It’s luxury streetwear. It’s the new era,” I stated on my CNN special about streetwear and the fall of the sagging pants trend. My business, Cedric Brown Collections, is the new fashion forward-brand out of the South, which boasts street appeal and more. We offer luxury, elegance, quality, and versatility. Our slogan “From evening wear to streetwear, CBC makes a chic statement” rings true. Sending a message through my colorful, bold prints I create abstract art that is made into limited edition prints on silk accessories Each piece of my eponymous collection boasts hand-crafted designs that catch the eye and refuse to let go.
The versatility of my accessories ensures that they can be worn for any occasion. In our trunk shows and video tutorials, we show our customers different ways to wear scarves including, but not limited to crafting a halter top, tying a head wrap, and tailoring your neckerchief. Our accessories come with first-class packaging, personable customer service, and southern charm.
From top celebrities, Young Thug and Wale to news anchor Jovita Moore, Debbie Tuff and CNN Commentator Dr. Jason Johnson our consumers embrace bold colors crave originality and are loving patrons of the arts. Even young, professional men are loving our one-of-a-kind pocket square designs! My work has been displayed on CNN, Jezebel, Sheen, The Birmingham Times and State Farm.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Since online businesses are becoming more and more popular, I don’t think it matters what city you start in. However, I do feel Atlanta a great city for networking and gaining exposure. With so many entertainers living here or coming here to do business, it’s a great way to get into the mix.
Atlanta is definitely the place to be for me. It’s my hometown, and I think it is the perfect place for my business to grow. As of right now, the cost of living isn’t as high as other artist-driven places, which allows me to invest more money into my business. The community supports its local artists, and I consider Atlanta an open market. If you want the best opportunity for yourself, you have to create it and put yourself out there.
- Yes, Atlanta Voyage readers can receive 20% off an item using code ATLVOY. Our retail prices range from $25-$90 and we often run sales on ties and pocket squares. Currently, you can receive two pocket squares for 30 with the code 2@30, and you can get two ties for $50 with the code 2@50.
NEW YORK, March 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- CIT Group Inc., (NYSE: CIT), in partnership with the nonprofit Operation HOPE, today introduced the Launch and Grow video series to empower and educate small business owners. The series features small business owners across the U.S. telling their unique stories and offering guidance on key business topics like accessing capital, recovering from mistakes and leading through growth.
CIT Chairwoman and CEO Ellen Alemany with Operation Hope Founder and CEO John Hope Bryant announcing the Launch + Grow small business series.
"Strong businesses are integral to creating strong communities, and CIT has been powering businesses for over a century with financing and expertise that support their goals. We are pleased to partner with Operation HOPE on this series, which delivers inspiring content to small business owners in an easy and accessible way," said CIT Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer Ellen R. Alemany.
The series, which features CIT customers and Operation HOPE clients, kicks off with Operation HOPE's founder, chairman and CEO, John Hope Bryant and CIT's head of digital small business lending, John Donohue, discussing a common challenge for small businesses – accessing capital.
"Entrepreneurs need a financing partner that can empower them to tackle challenges and reach their goals, whether they are in the beginning stages or looking to expand," said John Hope Bryant, founder of Operation HOPE. "CIT and Operation HOPE's collaboration provides both the knowledge and support to drive small businesses into action. This is Operation HOPE's first digital series focused on small business and we are pleased to partner with CIT on this effort."
"Roughly three-quarters of small businesses require financing to make investments and grow their businesses" said John Donohue, managing director for CIT Direct Capital. "Since we began our journey about 25 years ago, we have provided approximately $4 billion in capital to over 100,000 small businesses across the country. We work with small business owners every day and are proud to showcase some of our customers and their success stories in this series. We hope their journey will inspire others to launch and grow their businesses."
Video topics include:
- Accessing Capital: John Donohue, Head of CIT Direct Capital Small Business Lending, and John Hope Bryant, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Operation HOPE
- Building Your Team: Edward Song, Founder of Five Points Learning
- Passion, Purpose & Profit: Patrice Diaz-Migoyo, Executive Director of Career Gear
- Cultivating Your Personal Brand: Nia Dara, Founder of Nia Dara New York
- Leading a Business Through Rapid Growth: Whitney Sullivan, Founder of Size Matters
- Recovering from Big Mistakes: Jewel Thompson, Operation HOPE Financial Wellbeing Coach
- What's Your Price: Cedric Brown, Founder of Cedric Brown Collections
- Confidence is Key: Shirley Batchelor, Founder of Grandma's Gourmet Quick & Easy Cornbread
- Building & Leveraging Relationship Capital: Jayel Priester, Founder of Kuponya
- Your Reputation Precedes You: Kimberly Starks, Founder of Blue Scorpion Reputation Management
Individuals can access the content and resources by visiting www.cit.com/launch-grow and engage on social media by following #LaunchAndGrow.
Founded in 1908, CIT (NYSE: CIT) is a financial holding company with approximately $50 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, 2017. Its principal bank subsidiary, CIT Bank, N.A., (Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender) has approximately $30 billion of deposits and more than $40 billion of assets. CIT provides financing, leasing, and advisory services principally to middle-market companies and small businesses across a wide variety of industries. It also offers products and services to consumers through its Internet bank franchise and a network of retail branches in Southern California, operating as OneWest Bank, a division of CIT Bank, N.A. For more information visit cit.com and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook. Register to receive press releases at cit.mediaroom.com/email-alerts.
About Operation HOPE
Since 1992, Operation HOPE has been moving America from civil rights to "silver rights" with the mission of making free enterprise and capitalism work for the underserved—disrupting poverty for millions of low- and moderate-income families across the nation. Through our community uplift model, HOPE Inside, which received the 2016 Innovator of the Year recognition by American Banker magazine, Operation HOPE has served more than 2.8 million individuals and directed more than $2.7 billion in economic activity into disenfranchised communities—turning check cashing customers into banking customers, renters into homeowners, small business dreamers into small business owners, minimum wage workers into living wage consumers, and uncertain disaster victims into financially empowered disaster survivors. Project 5117 is our multi-year four-pronged approach to combating economic inequality that aims to improve financial literacy, increase business role models and business internships for youth in underserved communities, and stabilize the American dream by boosting FICO scores. Operation HOPE recently received its third consecutive 4-star charity rating for fiscal management and commitment to transparency and accountability by the prestigious non-profit evaluator, Charity Navigator. For more information: www.OperationHOPE.org. Follow Operation HOPE on Twitter and Facebook @operationhope
CIT MEDIA RELATIONS:
OPERATION HOPE MEDIA RELATIONS:
SOURCE CIT Group Inc.
Read full story below or at https://www.sheenmagazine.com/the-multitude-of-cedric-browns-collection/
The innovative and creative designs that complete the Cedric Brown Collection were carefully curated with versatility and class. Cedric Brown himself maintains an artistic edge when crafting each piece.
How it all began…
From an early age, fifth grade to be exact, Cedric knew he wanted to be a fashion designer the moment he found what the true definition of it was. He was inspired by designers such as Sean John. While attending Savannah College of Art and Design, Cedric had a multitude of internships in New York and Hong Kong included Sear’s/Kmart and Carter – OshKosh.
Even with vast experience, Cedric still struggled to find a career in his field. After taking classes at a center called Operation Hope, it helped him launch his business.
All About the Cedric Brown Collection
“I try to keep an artistic edge, very abstract with a painterly feel. It’s all about making a
chic statement. I have very classic and elegant pieces and can be worn anywhere.”
The Cedric Brown Collection includes high fashion and versatile scarves. These scarves can be transformed from a neck scarf, head scarf and possibly even a shirt. Made of 100% silk, the collection is safe to wear.
When you need jazz up an outfit, each well-crafted scarf will amplify and serve as an accessory. The rich bright and bold scarves add pop, from your solid colored turtleneck to your favorite suit.
Young Thug, Wale, Wyleaf Jean, and Angie Stone are among some of the celebrities spotted wearing the Cedric Brown Collection.
“I want to perfect and enhance my craft and continue to show my collections to show my definition of luxury and define the Cedric Brown Collection. Also, continue to satisfy my customers. Consumers have been requesting more items such as shirts and more traditional attire, so I would like to add more products to my brand.”
For more on Cedric and his beautiful collection:
Cedric Brown takes on the fashion world
Cedric Brown, 25, is a creative soul. The visual artist and fashion designer has even received international recognition. In 2010, his painting “As the Twig Bends, So the Tree,” was selected for permanent display in St. Petersburg, Russia. His elegant apparel walked the runways at New York Fashion Week.
Flashback a few years, the Atlanta native had an ambitious dream but needed help to get there. “I’ve been scribbling women’s fashion designs on paper since I was a toddler. My mother who raised me all by herself had a unique sense of style. That’s how I really developed my passion for fashion,” shared Cedric. “By fifth grade, I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer.”
In high school, he took art classes and won several awards. Later, he graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with a BA in Fashion Design, and completed internships in New York and Hong Kong.
His hard work and talent paid off. He got freelance work with a popular children’s clothing line getting amazing professional design experience. “That’s when I decided to follow my passion and start my business, Cedric Brown Collections,” Cedric said.
He enrolled in Operation HOPE’s Entrepreneur Training Program, which is supported by State Farm, after his cousin went through the program.
“My cousin saw I wanted to start my own business, but I wasn’t completely secure with the concept of running a business,” Cedric explained. “I immediately loved the program. I learned everything from how to structure and run my business to how to market and obtain capital.”
“I was surrounded by entrepreneurs along the same path. We all learned from each other, just as much as we learned from the program.”
Cedric Brown Designs is doing very well but the young artist is not done yet. “I would like to leave a mark on the fashion industry as one of the most fashion forward brands of the South,” said Cedric. “My designs are in some Atlanta and Savannah-based boutiques but I want my designs in every major department store in the South eventually.”
Cedric’s current situation is a far cry from where things started for the first-generation college graduate. He is thankful for the opportunities he was given and is determined to inspire and encourage other dreamers to work hard and live their dreams too.
“Throughout my journey as an entrepreneur, I started to realize I’ve become somewhat of a role model to others. So, I’ve returned to HOPE to share my experience with aspiring entrepreneurs,” Cedric shared. “My goal is to help young entrepreneurs by volunteering with Operation HOPE just as others did for me.”
“There are many bright, talented young people in communities around the nation—essentially our next generation of business builders who need the tools to make their big ideas come to life,” said John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman, and CEO of Operation HOPE. “We are pleased to empower young entrepreneurs, like Cedric, with the support of our small business development programming offered through our HOPE Inside model.”
Rapper Young Thug Spotted by his private jet wearing a Cedric Brown Collections scarf. #streetstyle
Below, Rapper Young Thug is spotted in LA wearing a silk scarf by the paparazzi
Wearing a Cedric Brown Collections scarf, Rapper Coco Vango is spotted in the studio.
Celebrity Stylist Amy J spotted out in a Cedric Brown Collections scarf. An ATL's socialite hanging out with Singer/Actress Demetria McKinney and The Bam from LHHATL
It's Fall Issue of Trendsetters To Trendesetters Magazine. Cedric Brown Collections is featured, with Lisa Nicole Cloud on the cover.
"Cedric Brown, the 26 year old from Atlanta, Georgia had become a notable fashion Trendsetter, having earned the tile of fashion designer and visual artist for his creativity and original work."
"Oooh La La La, It's the way that we rock when we're doing our thang"
Big homie Wyclef in the Cedric Brown Collections scarf. Styled by Zoe Dupree
"They gone love me for my ambition. Easy to dream a dream. Though It's harder to live it" Wale
Wale wearing a signature Cedric Brown Collections scarf. Getting ready for the epic MMG pool party
Last Thursday, June 22, Dr. Jason Johnson wore the White Black Splatter CBC handkerchief live on MSNBC. View the video below and check out Dr. Jason Johnson website.
On Deadline White House with Nicole Wallace, MSNBC Contributor Jason Johnson discussed the issues of the day with Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, Democratic strategist Lis Smith, and Megan Murphy of Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
On President Trump’s use of Twitter and foreign policy
ATLANTA-BASED FASHION DESIGNER BRINGS POP-UP SHOP TO BIRMINGHAM
Birmingham Times| June 15, 2017 |Recent Stories, Everything Black Lifestyle, Person |
By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
Cedric Brown (Ariel Worthy, The Birmingham Times)
Cedric Brown remembers helping his mother match her outfits as a kid. He also remembers painting on pieces of paper. Now, at age 25, Brown has combined his two passions—fashion and art—and created the Cedric Brown Collection (CBC), a line of neckties, bow ties, handkerchiefs, and scarves.
Brown, an Atlanta native, recently came to Birmingham for a pop-up shop at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Edge of Chaos, a project of the School of Public Health that brings together academia, business, and the community to find real and workable solutions to complex problems.
David Hooks, Director of Innovation at the Edge of Chaos, said Brown was invited to the city to provide insight on being a start-up business.
“Young African-American entrepreneur starting up his business in Atlanta . . . we wanted to get his feel on what that was like,” Hooks said.
Brown, a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), said his slogan is ‘From evening to street wear, CBC makes a chic statement.”
While attending SCAD, he worked with high-end fashion retailers and designers through internships and classes. His fashion professors advised him to incorporate his painting background into his apparel designs. In his Senior Collection, Brown produced hand-painted and hand-dyed designs that received glowing reviews from his instructors and peers.
“I experimented with hand-painting scarves while at SCAD,” he said. “I also interned in New York with Wes Gordon, a designer who does New York Fashion Week, and he gave me some valuable advice: … ‘Start with one item and then expand into others.’”
Brown took Gordon’s advice and began with scarves. Why scarves?
“You can easily put your artwork on scarves, and people will always be able to see it,” he said.
Just before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, Brown, then a high school student, was selected as one of seven Boys and Girls Club members to have his designs featured in “Peace, Friendship, Goodwill through the Olympic Spirit,” a children’s artwork collection.
“At 15 years old, I traveled to Beijing, China. It was my first international trip, plane ride, and worldwide art show. … I went on a two-week excursion around China. This experience was life-changing. It made me feel like the sky was the limit and there was nothing I could not do,” he told True Urban Culture (TUC) magazine.
In college, Brown secured a fashion design internship in Hong Kong.
“[People in that part of the world] really know how to dress,” he said. “I was in … awe. They had every high-end brand you could think of. Looking at their clothes for inspiration was awesome.”
As a black man in China, Brown had a unique experience.
“I was treated like a celebrity,” he said. “People were lining up to take pictures with me. They were touching my hair, taking videos of me. One lady even asked if I was from Harlem, but she was thinking about the Harlem Renaissance period. It was crazy.”
Brown’s artwork has been featured on Atlanta billboards and magazines, such as Jezebel and Sheen. In 2010, he was also selected to create a piece of artwork for International Paint Pals, a nonprofit group that displays children’s artwork all over the world. His piece, “As the Twig Bends, so the Tree Inclines,” was accepted into the National Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and he received a letter about his artwork from then Consulate General Sheila Gwaltney.
Several well-known celebrities have embraced Brown’s designs. Rapper Young Thug, who is known to be fashion-forward, has worn CBC scarves and handkerchiefs on multiple occasions, as have comedian Joe Torry and Atlanta news anchor Deborah Tuff.
Brown said he doesn’t have a target audience: “I’ve seen middle schoolers to 70-year-olds wearing my stuff. That’s a great thing, though.”
Brown’s collection can be found in boutiques throughout the state of Georgia, and he hopes to be able to move into apparel, both men and women’s wear.
Being a young black man with his own business, specifically as a designer, can be a challenge, he said.
“With fashion production, you have to make sure you have great-quality everything. It has to come out the right way. You have to make sure you’re on trend. You don’t want to waste your time or money on something that won’t go well.”
“Being an artist is a big risk,” Brown said. “You get so many no’s, have so many people who doubt, but you see the growth. It’s great seeing people wear my stuff. When I created this I had a vision, but when I see people take my stuff and put their own style and spin on it, that’s really big.”
To view Brown’s designs, visit cedricbrowncollections.com.
Within recent years, Atlanta has been receiving a lot more recognition than years past. While Atlanta’s overall culture is on the rise, so is Atlanta’s very own, Cedric Brown. Cedric Brown, a 25-year old fashion designer and visual artist, may soon be responsible for the garments you may see on television or on celebrities in the near future. The Cedric Brown Collection was created as a sense of a bold fashion statement in the form of silk accessories made for both men and women.
The garments are all uniquely infused of original paintings and art creations by the artist, Cedric Brown, himself. These accessories can range from evening- wear to street- wear depending on the consumer. Brown’s favorite thing about his garments is how his consumers wear his pieces. He loves seeing new innovative ways others’ wear his accessories. He believes it promotes confidence and self-expression.
Cedric Brown has always had a drive for the arts. For starters, Brown was raised by a single mother, who has been one of his main sources of inspiration throughout his whole life and career. Brown’s fashion sketches were inspired by his mother’s phenomenal sense of style. He says he would always pick out her outfits on her days out in the city. Brown picked up on art classes when he was younger as well. In his later years, Brown attended Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) where he received a B.F.A in Fashion Design. Aside from his fashion background, Brown also took business courses at the Operation Hope Center. While school helped Brown achieve his certification in the art world, his talent has gone a long way. Brown explained since the day he had the opportunity of meeting Steve Harvey and receiving some great advice on pursuing his dreams, Brown has been unstoppable. His artwork has been showcased overseas, like his painting “As the Twigs Bends, so the Tree Inclines” displayed in the National Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. As well as, his work was featured in the “Peace, Friendship, Goodwill through the Olympic Spirit” exhibition in Beijing, China. While his artwork has received recognition throughout, his collection seems to be getting the same amount of exposure. Notable celebrities have been seen wearing Cedric Brown Collection accessories such as Atlanta rapper, Young Thug, Chairman John Hope Bryant and WNBA Coach Fred Williams.
The Atlanta- based collection is currently sold in five stores and boutiques, one of them including the famous Mansion on Forsyth Park Bohemian Art Gallery in Savannah, GA. The collection is also available for purchase on the brand’s official website. From time to time, Brown does pop-up shows around the States to showcase his latest work. Brown’s work has been seen at Harlem’s Fashion Row Pop-Up Shop to SCAD’s Bee Market in the heart of Savannah, GA. Brown’s vision seems very promising. His overall goal is to become a notable fashion-forward designer, lead a brand with longevity, and follow in the same footsteps as some his favorite fashion designers such as Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani. With this lead, Cedric Brown will surely be there in no time. Read our exclusive interview with Cedric Brown as he speaks to us about his life, career goals as a person and artist.
Paulette: Usually designers start off by designing garments, what made you decide to start your collection with accessories? Do you plan on expanding your collection by adding apparel anytime soon?
Brown: I have a painting background, so what better way to use my art than with a scarf. In school, I experimented with making hand painted scarves, so I thought about it as a good way to launch my business. Some of the greats started their businesses with accessories, such as Emilio Pucci with scarves and Ralph Lauren with ties, so I knew it’ll be a strategic way to introduce Cedric Brown Collections to the fashion industry.
In the near future, I plan to make ready-to-wear collections. As I continue to learn about my customers, I’ll gradually add new pieces for both men and women
Paulette: Who do you feel is mainly your target audience for your collection?
Brown: Cedric Brown Collections target market is well-to-do, professional men and women, ages 25 and up. However, the brand also caters to all ages. We have had parents buy our bowties for their kids, which they wear with their school uniforms.
Our customers appreciate the arts, love to travel, support small businesses, shop at upscale malls, and attend dinner parties and church. They also know how to have fun — occasionally attending evening-wear events, fundraisers, and sophisticated lounges. Our collection allows them to create their own unique looks and styles wherever they go.
Boutiques and stores that carry my line are typically located in wealthy neighborhoods. These partners, in addition to our target customers, care more about innovation and the quality of the product than the latest trends, so they will spend extra money on quality pieces.
Paulette: How did designers such as Gianni Versace and Ralph Lauren influence you as a designer?
Brown: Both Gianni Versace and Ralph Lauren influence me in different ways. In regards to Versace, I love the brand’s sensual style and Italian cut. The color combinations and prints on silk are phenomenal; I love their silk shirts for men and women. Their influence in the hip-hop culture in the 90s made an impact on my personal aesthetic. I would love for my brand to make this type of influence on pop culture as well.
Ralph Lauren influences me as a business man. His brand represents true American style, with timeless pieces. The label is iconic and has been that way for several generations. I really admire the way he excelled at selling products at different price points, and it still kept a chic edge. I want my brand to have such longevity and appeal to the masses.
Paulette: What role did your mother play in your life in helping you achieve your goals of becoming a fashion designer?
Brown: I was raised in a single-parent household, and my mom’s phenomenal style was an inspiration for my fashion sketches. Whenever she would hit the town, I would help pick out her outfits.
She has always been supportive and encouraging of my dreams — always complimenting my drawings, even the bad ones. I was never discouraged by her not to follow my dreams even when I worried about making a decent income for myself.
In addition, my mother is still supportive to this day — helping out at most of my pop-ups, picking out colors for the new season, and contacting event planners and boutiques to showcase my work.
Paulette: Did your educational background contribute to your success? Or do you believe your skills came from outside influences?
Brown: I cannot say my success came from one thing because it came from a variety of sources. As a youth, I participated in the Boys and Girls Club, where I took art lessons at the Youth Art Connection. I grew up in church, so my Christian values encouraged me to take risks and have faith. I have mentors I go to for life, career, and business advice. Also, I took business courses at Operation Hope Center.
Professionally, I was trained by great instructors at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). I studied influential designers, worked with other talented students, learned from design critiques, and was challenged to be more innovative with my designs.
While attending SCAD, my fashion professors advised me to incorporate my painting background into my apparel designs. In my Senior Collection, I produced hand-painted and hand-dyed designs, which received great reviews from my professors and peers. Later, I decided to launch the Cedric Brown Collections, my line of accessories. Featuring my original artwork, each accessory has a story to tell and can be worn anywhere.
In addition, I gained professional work experience through design internships and freelance work in New York City and Hong Kong, as well as interning at big corporations such as Sears/K-Mart, Li and Fung Limited, and Carter’s.
Paulette: How was your experience meeting Steve Harvey? How do you feel that opportunity may have helped you in your future endeavors?
Brown: Back in 2007, I won an essay competition with the Boys and Girls Club and Black Ebony Family Reunion, sponsored by Coca-Cola North America. Winning the competition, I was 1 of 3 students awarded the opportunity to spend the day with Steve in Atlanta. The whole day was a magical experience. I received VIP treatment and participated in the biggest Cupid Shuffle dance ever. In addition, the personal conversation with him was life changing. I felt like I could relate to him. He inspired me to really believe in self-affirmation and personal vision.
Paulette: How would you describe your art to others who have never seen your collection before?
Brown: When I create artwork for my brand, I always think about my mission statement, which is to express freedom, confidence, and luxury through art and fashion. Freedom and confidence are expressed through my gesture strokes, hand movements, color palette, and different brushstrokes. I make sure the design has a high-end aesthetic to it.
I love to create abstract art because it shows my free spirit nature. I look up to a lot of the abstract expressionist painters.
Paulette: How did it feel to get recognition and have your artwork in China?
Brown: In 2008, at 15 years old, I traveled to Beijing, China, and it was my first international trip, plane ride, and worldwide art show. My artwork was featured in a children’s art exhibition, “Peace, Friendship, Goodwill Through the Olympic Spirit,” sponsored by International Paint Pals.
I went on a two-week excursion around China. This experience was life-changing — it made me feel like the sky was the limit and there was nothing I could not do.
Paulette: Do you plan on expanding your locations?
Brown: Yes ! , I would like to. However, I plan to make Atlanta my permanent headquarters, but I would love for my work to be distributed nationally and internationally.
Paulette: Explain what it felt like to have celebrities like Young Thug, Chairman John Hope Bryant, News Anchor Deborah Tuff, and Coco Vango.
Brown: It’s humbling to meet the celebrities you admire, and see that they love your work, but whenever I see anyone wearing my accessories, it’s always a great feeling. I love to see the different ways consumers style my product, and it gives my brand more exposure.
It’s funny when you witness self-affirmation working for you. Last year, I made a list of celebrities I would want to wear my clothes, and rapper Young Thug was on my list. I really admire his style and I’m a big fan of his music. All of the high fashion brands want him in their clothes. After bumping into him twice in the mall, I knew I had to approach him and show my line. On the spot, he was very supportive and bought all of the samples I had on me. A few weeks later, I saw him wearing my scarves in innovative ways on his various Instagram posts.
In one of his post, he quoted “highest fashion” and he received over 80,000 likes. In his latest video with Birdman Bit Bak, I really loved the confidence he displayed wearing my scarves around his head and hand movements with the scarf.
It’s been great seeing other celebrities wear my products as well, including Chairman John Bryant, the founder of Operation Hope, where I took business courses. He came by my display and loved my work, and he asked me to show him ways how he could style the scarf on his Louis Vuitton backpack.
Deborah Tuff, a news anchor on NBC in Atlanta, wore one of my scarves live on air, and rapper Coco Vango used my scarf on the cover of his mixtape, Cocaine Flow 2.
The embrace from celebrities shows that my slogan rings true, “From evening wear to streetwear, CBC makes a chic statement.”
Paulette: Do you have any advice for anyone who is struggling with a dream and putting themselves out there?
Brown: The first step is to believe in yourself, and I mean really believe in your talent. Then, others will follow and believe too.
Next, you have to put in the work and do a lot of research. James 2:26 says, “Faith without works is dead.” Your research will help you find innovative ways to separate yourself from the competition. When following your dreams, everything you want may not go your way. Sometimes the reality you want may not be there, so you have to create it for yourself.
Most of all, do not be afraid to take risks. I feel like it’s better to take a chance with your dreams than getting older regretting things and having the “should woulda coulda” sad song.
Paulette: Do you have upcoming projects you’re currently working on?
Brown: Yes, I’m always working on something. Currently, I am working on some new Fall designs and also adding some new items to my line. I plan to add kaftans and sport shirts to the Cedric Brown Collection really soon.
It's the A-Players edition. Cedric Brown Collections is featured in the April issue of Jezebel Magazine
"Cedric Brown of the locally accessories brand @cedricbrowncollections has been designing since grade school. But it was during his stint at SCAD that he honed his style sensibility and began to blend his painting process with his fashion pieces..."
Young Thug also sported one of our scarves throughout the entire new 'Bit Bak' video, (This video contains explicit language)
Also, fashion-forward Rapper Young Thug was spotted twice this month wearing one of our scarves. In the pic above, he has on one of our Green Expression scarves
Cedric Brown was featured in the new Pharii music video, "No Makeup." His role was an extra, and you can check him out around 2:54. This song has an amazing message, and we want all women to be comfortable showing their natural beauty.