For the first installment of the #FashionFriday series, I had the opportunity to speak with Krystina Brown, the owner of Choice1950 clothing. In dealing with anyone that has a positive spirit, I always value the growth and development of that particular person. I've had the pleasure of knowing Krys for quite some time now, and it was a joy seeing how far she's come in her journey, as well as her plans for the brand in the future. Let's get into it..
Okla: What's good Krys? How've you been?
Krystina: I've been good, blessed. It's good to see you doing well. I see you got the website up!! Everybody I know has something going on now... that's a great thing.
Okla: You already know, that's what we're here for. So, tell me what sparked your interest in clothing?
Krystina: Honestly, as a little girl, I've always done my own thing... from sneakers to clothes, you know? Ever since I was a young I picked out my own clothes. My parents believed in that too; they instilled in me that I should always be well kept. I carry that 'til this day... one should always be presentable. That's pretty much how I live my life. It doesn't really matter what you have on, it's about your confidence, it's about being comfortable in who you are.
Okla: So, I need an answer I've been wanting for a while now. Where did you get the name Choice1950? What does that mean?
Krystina: (Smiles) Ok, literally, Choice1950 is about my mom. It's named after her... Her maiden name was Choice, and she was born in 1950. So this is a tribute to my mother, she really did a lot for me. She passed away about three years ago; both my parents are deceased, actually.
Okla: I'm sorry to hear that... Your parents, that is. I know you've made them proud. When you design and create your brand, what feeling do you want people to have when they wear; when they see Choice 1950?
Krystina: A positive feeling, a free feeling. Because everything that is going on right now and everything that has happened in my life, I'm finally in a positive place. I want people to feel that freedom and that breath of fresh air. Like, everybody wants to be hard; you don't have to be hard all the time, you know? I can be cool with anybody... I can be cool with lawyers, drug dealers, etc. That's how my mom was... she got along with so many people. Everybody loved her. People always tell me: "Krystina, you're just so cool. I feel comfortable around you..." That's how I always want people to feel; comfortable, free and positive.
Okla: Now, how long have you actually been designing clothes?
Krystina: (Laughter) Designing clothes? I've been designing clothes for about 2 years now.
Okla: Oh wow, so, fairly new to the game, huh?
Krystina: Yeah, I'm in fashion design school now, so that kind of helped me. But, honestly I never thought I would be designing clothes. I thought that I would be playing basketball, somewhere. I got out of the military and I didn't really have a plan.. So I started praying daily; I was kind of lost, you know?
Okla: We all were at one point...
Krystina: ...yes. I already finished college, then I went to the military, then after that I was like "what do I do now?" I've always been like that, I rarely have a plan. But it seemed like God always brought an opportunity to me; and I always took advantage of that opportunity. So, I ended up going back to school, studied fashion design... at that point, visions just started coming to me. Most of what you see today, the stock, the website, etc.. all these visions and ideas happened in one night. I couldn't sleep one night, and I bought the domain, some of my stock, etc., in like, one day...
Okla: So, you going back to school to major in fashion was kind of a "spur of the moment" thing?
Krystina: Ohhh! (laughter), My friend. One of my good guy friends... DJ Loui Vee, shout out to him. At the time, I was actually traveling with him; one night we were just throwing out ideas at each other. He said: "Everyone loves the way you dress, have you ever thought about going into fashion?" I thought about it long and hard, and finally decided to take that leap of faith.
Okla: What's dude's name again?
Krystina: DJ Loui Vee.
Okla: He's based here in Atlanta?
Krystina: South Carolina. He's a DJ at 100.1 The Beat. That's my man, 100 grand. (laughs)
Okla: Now, I want to know about the process. From the time you had the thought "I'm going to do this clothing thing..." Until the day you decided to release the line; how long was that process? How difficult?
Krystina: Honestly, all I can say is that I've truly been blessed. The most stressful thing is that I'm doing all of this by myself... that was the biggest thing. A lot of people that you see doing this, they have a team... with this, it's just me. From the website to the clothes, the pictures, it's been all me. I guess that the hardest thing really was just getting started. My mother really blessed me before she left; and I wanted to make sure that the funds I did have wasn't squandered. I wanted to put it into something positive and to do the right thing by her, because she always did the right thing by me.
Okla: That's dope. So, what designers do you look up to? Do any designers inspire Krystina Brown?
Okla: (Laughs) I dig that.
Krystina: No, honestly... It's no shade towards anyone but I've always done my own thing, I've always been my own person. One thing about this process is that you really have to trust yourself, and I think that's with anything that you do.
Okla: You have to do it for you...
Krystina: Yep, me. If people accept it, they accept it. If they don't, they don't.
Okla: In what ways do you feel that Choice1950 is different from other clothing lines? What do you bring to the table in terms of fashion?
Krystina: Great question! Seriously, because it's my own, and we are all unique. Also, the simplicity. Simplicity is a key characteristic that is taken out of fashion nowadays. Simplicity for me stands out more than anything. With simplicity you can do so many things! You can add, you can subtract... so, just being to the point, and clean; that's what I'm going for.
Okla: I know you just started the line, but where do you see the brand going? What's your ultimate goal?
Krystina: Wow. Well, this happened in school one day... I created a PowerPoint project that really grabbed my instructor's attention. His response to it was: "Choice1950 is a great idea, but it could be so much more, you know? It could be almost a creative hub. You can go from clothing, to music, to photography..."
Okla: A lifestyle brand.
Okla: I'm grateful that I got the chance to speak to you today, this interview was very insightful. Before we go, where can the people find your line, and how can they contact you?
Okla: Is there anything else you would like to tell the people?
Krystina: Yes, always put God first... and remember to trust in yourself; whatever you may do. Also, I got some advice from a friend of mine. He told me that if you ever have an idea, make sure not to tell everyone. I learned that the hard way (Laughs). I've always been very spiritual, and I would talk to God as ask him "Why do you want me to do all of this by myself? How can I handle this task??" I understood later that whenever I make it to the top, God will get all of a glory... I truly believe that.
Okla: Dope... definitely good seeing you, Krys. Take care.
Krystina: Same to you, Oak!
- Oak (@coolhandoak)