For some reason, the summer in Atlanta this year has been unusually scorching; and earlier this week I had the chance to delve into a clothing brand that's just as hot. The outside patio of the oft-attended bar, MOTHER, located on Edgewood Avenue in Old Fourth Ward, served as the perfect backdrop to a conversation that included inspiration, self-confidence, as well as past and present endeavors. Tonight's focus was that of Fuck Ya Fashion, a clothing line that is garnering heavy attention in the Atlanta area. It's owner and founder, Devon Burrowes sat down with me in order to give insight into what the brand is, what it means, and it's influence.
Okla: I feel that in order for people to get to know your clothing line; they need to first get to know the man behind it. Who is the creator of Fuck Ya Fashion?
Devon: My name is Devon Burrowes, I was born in New York City... Flatbush to be exact. I grew up in both New York and Atlanta, and I do a little bit of everything. Ever since I was young, I've always been into clothing, and I respect everyone trying to be and individual. The ones that keep themselves out of bad company, and refuse to follow trends. I believe that you should always be yourself, because no one can do that better than you.
Okla: I dig that. Now, I heard you say that you were from New York; what got you to Atlanta?
Devon: My family... they just up and moved here after the first visit. I know that's funny because most people don't really do that (laughs). They came down here, rent was cheap and they fell in love with the city. They moved right on Old National Highway...
Okla: Oh, they moved to the block! But nah, were you interested in fashion before the move to Atlanta? Or did the fashion scene here prompt you to get into clothing?
Devon: Actually, the first time I moved out here I was too young to really get into all of that, I was still growing up. It wasn't until the second time I moved back here, which was about when I was 21, that the idea of starting a fashion line really became a thing. Being from New York, I felt that I had an advantage over a lot of other brands in the area. At the the time, Atlanta wasn't really known for fashion, but more so entertainment and music.
Okla: Gotcha... So, to expound on your previous statement; with you living in both New York and Atlanta for long periods of time, what are the differences in the fashion scenes, respectively?
Devon: It's a real big difference, honestly. The fashion scene up North is that everyone tries to be different, and they are really into designer clothes. Many of them try to wear things that they know they're not going to see anyone else wearing. Atlanta is more of a fashion forward, trendy city. Whatever is hottest at the time, you can come to Atlanta and see the latest trends. Now, don't get me wrong, some people do their own thing clothing-wise as well; but I've just noticed that some articles of clothing down here get trendy a lot quicker, similar to the music, you know?
Okla: All these trends and styles right now, how do you feel about the direction that the fashion industry is going?
Devon: I feel like the direction that fashion is going now, is that people don't care what it is anymore; they just care about who did it. A lot people copy styles, you know? Like, the distressed shirts for example, that's Kanye. I feel that if Kanye didn't do that, you probably wouldn't see it.
Okla: (Laughs) Word. So, what is F*ck Ya Fashion? What does it mean to you?
Devon: Fuck Ya Fashion is a lifestyle, it's not even really the clothes to me. I'm big on telling people (especially younger people..) to have a personality. Of course you want to dress nice, but you have to maintain good character. I remember someone saying "Dressing nice is a form of good manners..."; I think it was Tom Ford that said that. Too many people try to use what they have to explain who they are, but I'm the type of person that understands that you don't need to have on the most expensive clothes to be popping, you know? You could be wearing some bullshit but if you have the personality and the confidence that you're unique, then that's how you'll be perceived. It's so much deeper than what you have on, it's how you carry yourself.
Okla: The name "Fuck Ya Fashion", where did it come from and why did you want to make that the motto for your brand?
Devon: Yo, Fuck Ya Fashion definitely came from the Brooklyn in me. Just coming outside in my neighborhood, which is Flatbush, you have to be confident over there. You won't get any respect from anyone if you don't present yourself right. You almost have to tell everyone "fuck your fashion, I'm flyer than you..". If you're confident, you have to let everyone know.
Okla: I've always enjoyed the creative process, with that, what or who inspires you to do what you do?
Devon: The process of being an entrepreneur is what inspires me. I wanted to influence people through something that I'm good at... I've always been into clothes and dressing nice, it's a real good feeling. Regardless of what they say, everybody on this Earth wants to be somebody. I was blessed with the opportunity to present myself to the world through fashion, and being myself through the clothes that I create. It's a beautiful thing.
Okla: Where do you see your brand going in the next couple of years?
Devon: I definitely see it touching different states, and diversifying it a bit more. I feel like people will gravitate to it the more that they see it.
Okla: ...I got you. Ok, a lot of brands today just do tops from what I see. Do you ever see yourself branching off into denim and shoes?
Devon: Yeah, I want to do that, for sure. I have the same problem Kanye has, though (laughter). None of these factories want to fuck with me; once I make that move then sky is the limit.
Okla: I'm definitely looking forward to it. Before we get out of here I want to make sure the people have your information. The website is www.fuckyafashion.com, the IG is @fuckyafashion_, and what was the Twitter again?
Devon: I got a Twitter but I'm never on it for real.
Okla: Fair enough. Do you have anything you want to say to aspiring fashion designers, etc?
Devon: Oh of course. I just want to tell people to always believe in yourself. If you have a hustle, or an idea and you want people to see it; then you just have to go or it. Don't think too deep, just get out there and pursue it... have fun, you know? I don't look at this as a business at the end of the day, because this is really just me doing something that I love. The moment that I start looking at this as a business is the moment I think it will start to stress me out... you'll never get tired of doing something that you love.
Okla: As a matter of fact, speaking of selling yourself... I've been seeing a lot of celebrities wearing your products. I'm sure that they have hundreds of designers pushing their brand to them in order to promote it; how do you get them to purchase and wear your product?
Devon: Most of the time it's how you present your brand. If you come across like you're just trying to make money off of this particular person, it may turn them off towards your product. I tend to gravitate towards the people that I already like and respect. So when I come to them it's always gratitude, and they know when it's genuine... People can see the grind in your eyes.
Okla: I know you said you run the day-to-day operations by yourself. When you do expand, do you see yourself putting a team behind you?
Devon: The thing about it is, I never feel like I'm doing this by myself. When people that care about you see you doing something positive, everyone wants to support. Even the people that I don't know; I feel that once you wear my brand, you become a part of what I'm trying to do... you're invested in it just like I am.
...and, in going back to the celebrity aspect, I think it's cool when a celebrity wears my product but it's more gratifying when someone I just met, or someone I don't know wears Fuck Ya Fashion. There's a million reasons why someone would NOT want to support someone; especially if they know them. It's just dope when someone sees what I'm doing and the passion I have behind it; and they reach out to purchase or tell me that they respect the movement. People that don't know you and take the time to invest in you; it's really a blessing.
Okla: It most definitely is. I appreciate the time, keep doing what you're doing.
Devon: Will do.
Make sure to check out FuckYaFashion.com, and support the movement. As always, thanks for stopping by the love, above. Enjoy the weekend...
- Okla (@coolhandoak)