If You Try

If You Try

Monday, March 7, 2011

The F.R.E.S.H. Mind of Branden Nelson (Spotlight on Greatness Interviews #1)

Branden Nelson, the creative visionary and founder of the exciting new clothing brand F.R.E.S.H. Apparel took a little time to discuss his vision and how F.R.E.S.H. has become what it is today. We are elated to have him as our first guest on the Spotlight on Greatness Interviews. Let's get right into it.

Branden,how did you get into fashion design and how long have you been doing it?

I have always been an admirer of clothing and placing things together uniquely to look good. However I was never a fashion major, I was actually a Business major; attaining a Bachelors degree in Marketing and a Master's degree in Human Resources Management. The acronym for F.R.E.S.H. was given to me through revelation from God during a bible study that I was involved in while working in youth ministry at Antioch Church of Long Beach. At that time God gave me all of these unique characteristics that one must have in order to have a unique relationship with him and at that point I was puzzled as to what the acronym would be used for. However after praying and seeking God for direction I was told that it would be a clothing line. As I stated before I had never studied fashion before and didn't have the slightest clue as to where to begin in that industry. But I came to realize that when God is orchestrating everything, it all works out accordingly. He gave me the direction that I would start in (unique tees, sweaters and tops) but told me to remain flexible as more would become of this brand with time. So a year and some change later I have seen His words come to pass as we are maturing into a diverse clothing line not only providing our customers with classy and sophisticated spirit filled tees but are now manufacturing high end items such as jackets, dresses, red carpet couture pieces and vests. Being that my time in business and the amount of time that I have been working in fashion are both a little over one year amazes me each time I think of it. God has been good to us and has provided me with an excellent team who are able to bring His vision to fruition.

Those are some major accomplishments. I can see that there are a lot of people who support, which is critical to success. Who are some of your greatest influences in the industry?

Some of my greatest influences in the industry would have to be Chanel and Mychael Knight. Chanel because the brand has built it's foundation on not conforming to the industries standards of what beauty is and how it should look. The brand dares to be different and always pushes the envelope in regards to the styles that it introduces. I am influenced by Michael Knight because for one he is an African American man who is opening many doors for other men of color who aspire to follow in his footsteps. He is a brilliant creative mind and is able to showcase the beauty of African American people through his designs. I love how his work is reflective of him yet can be worn by many. Both brands have characteristics that I want present in my brand (non-conformity and versatility). Those are some excellent influences.

My wife loves Chanel and hopefully one day I can afford to get her something, haha.Moving on (hopefully she doesn't read this) What motivates you man and what one piece is your favorite?

Seeing people wearing my clothes and taking pride in their heart because of what the brand embodies motivates me to continue to provide my customers with even more! My favorite piece that I have worked on so far would have to be the "When I Became a Man" t-shirt. The shirt is very near and dear to my heart because it quotes a scripture (1 Corinthians 13:11) that talks about how we are to mature as believers and put away the childish things of our past in order to fully walk our paths of destiny. The shirt is designed with elementary school/pre-school writing in the beginning of the scripture; however as the scripture talks of maturity, you too see the maturity in the font that is being used. By far one of my favorites and a Classic FRESH Apparel item.

"When I Became A Man" Mens Tee
By F.R.E.S.H. Apparel

That is dope man. The font progression is a very clever idea. You seem like a have a very purpose driven life and that is reflected in your brand. With that said,what mark do you want leave on the world with your clothing line? What is your desired legacy?

As I embark on this journey, I pray to leave the world with a Quest for FRESH! That is to create a hunger and thirst for the presence of God and to have a true authentic relationship with Him. My prayer is to leave a legacy that includes raising soldiers that will always exemplify the characteristics of God and live uncompromisingly for Him in the world. Once these individuals get the FRESH fashion tip that is given by God, it is hoped that they will share it with the world. Hence taking each individual on the journey from Revelation to Transition to Commission.

You sound like a military general. We need more of that, you know, people who provide direction and sow into the lives of other people. I love that that is what you are committed to and are using your brand as a vehicle to influence the masses in that way. I can tell that you are very passionate about God and the vision he has given you. What life experience was of the most significance that caused you to pursue your passion?

I would have to say the moment when I chose to fully live for God and no longer be lukewarm in my walk with Him. Once I completely devoted my life to Christ I was propelled onto the path towards my destiny. Along the way I was provided with different tools that I needed in order to bring this vision to fruition (biblical foundations, a strong and consistent prayer life, Godly counsel, the experience of brokenness and few lessons in humility). Now that I have God as the number one in my life I can't help but be passionate about taking care of His business. Hence the characteristics described in the FRESH acronym can be summed up as "The Steps to Kingdom Building."

At the end of the day, God's business is all that matters. It is good to see another young cat that is grounded and has a good head on his shoulders.Tell the people how they can connect with you, buy F.R.E.S.H.merchandise, and any upcoming events that you may have?

I can be reached via email: branden@iamfreshonline.com, the FRESH website (iamfreshonline.com), Twitter:twitter.com/iamfreshonline, Facebook:I Am Fresh Christian Couture. FRESH Apparel can be purchased online at iamfreshonline.com. Our exectuive team is currently working on in-store placement deals, so please stay tuned for FRESH in a store near you!
-The FRESH Connection-Business networking event with live entertainment, appetizers, fashion! Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 6:30p.m. at Cafe M (1535 Gundry Ave, Long Beach, CA)
-Rags 2 Rhythms Annual Fashion Show and Merchant Marketplace- Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 7:00p.m. (Cal State Long Beach Student Center)
-FRESHellence Scholarship Award applications will be available in two weeks for graduating seniors who attend Antioch Church of Long Beach and for graduating seniors from Edison High School in Stockton, CA. Applications will be downloadable on the FRESH website or can be picked up from with Antioch Church of Long Beach or the Edison High School Counseling Center.
-Fashion Show hosted by the Edwin Hawkins Music Conference- Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas, Friday, July 1st! Show time TBA
Please e-mail us at Branden@iamfreshonline.com if you should have any questions or concerns!

Thanks Branden. You are definitely on the road of greatness. Keep doing your thing man. Any closing words.

FRESH is for everyone. There is no specific size, look or color that makes you FRESH. You are FRESH because of your relationship and commitment to live for God. Remember we are FRESH not because of the tag, but because of the Maker!

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