We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Alston and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brandon, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I grew up attending The Waldorf School of Atlanta, a school that incorporated many different arts into our education. In first grade you learn to knit, in second grade it’s crochet, and so on all the way to 8th grade where you learn how to use a sewing machine. After high school, I took a gap year to explore all my passions and begin to figure out what I wanted to do in college and with the rest of my life. My mother works at the school and I really did grow up there so I have a wonderful connection with my old teachers. I spent time working with my middle school handwork teacher and asked for help to restore my favorite old light blue hoodie, which was covered with stains, to a wearable condition. In an attempt to save it, I made patches out of the graphics and put them on an old jean jacket I had thrifted. Over the rest of the year, I made a handful of pieces out of stuff from my closet. Once I got to college I was taking costuming 1 as a part of my theater major and again, this time because of covid, I  found myself with a lot of free time on my hands. I was introduced to the wonderful professors in the costuming department, and they were happy to help. Around that same time, I met a group of people who thrifted all the time and a couple of them had businesses and resold vintage clothing. We were constantly going to thrift shops and I was always surrounded by new materials to work with. I was making more pieces because I was thrifting so much and I didn’t have room for everything. When they saw a couple of my pieces one of my friends Will Denny (Owner of Carolina Vintage) commissioned a rework to restore one of his favorite hoodies that had some stains and holes. It was my first commission and the first time I was working on a piece for someone else. It was more stressful but the joy he got from getting to hold onto something he thought he might have to part with. That’s when I realized there are tons of people out there who believe in sustainable fashion and would love to keep wearing some of their favorites if they could be fixed. I figured I could rework to restore and make unique and personal pieces out of people’s already loved clothing. That’s how I came to start my sustainable reworked fashion brand Fresh Prince Fits.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have always loved and expressed myself through clothing and fashion; somewhere in high school, I started to only thrift and shop sustainably. One of my favorite shows growing up was and still is the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I loved how it challenged the stigma and stereotypes surrounding men and fashion, specifically black men. Will’s identity was a black kid from the hood and he used his clothes in a unique, outgoing way that wouldn’t have usually been seen as “gangster” or “ghetto”. However, it never changed who he was at his core. I wanted to bring that same expressiveness to my brand, and make clothes that let people wear their stories. During covid I saw one of my favorite quotes come to life, Boredom inspires. Everywhere people were learning to rework and sew in their new free time. I realized I was lucky enough to have some actual training in what others were learning to do at home. Although a lot of people have figured out how to cut and sew, my training as a costume design and technologies major allows me to deconstruct pieces and reconstruct them with new fabrics in a way that makes my clothing more intricate and almost seamless. I grew up not really understanding how my holistic education would translate to the real world and it has been exciting to capitalize on a unique skill I got the opportunity to learn. On my 21st Birthday, I got the opportunity to work my first pop-up at 84Flea here in Charleston sharing a booth with my good friend Will Denny, who ordered my first commission. We had a really great turnout and I saw a lot of support for what I was doing. I knew I was going to have to focus on letting myself take the time needed to make really intricate personal pieces. Everyone who does this has their own style and it’s easy to lose yourself in all of the content online. So I had to learn and continue to have to remind myself to do this to enjoy the process of making each piece unique. So many people, myself included, use clothing as a form of expression and I want to make clothing that works to tell the story of each individual.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

One of the things I love most about Charleston is the art community and its impact. It’s nice because there are always pop-ups going on and vendors selling so I would make sure we go to some pop-ups like 84Flea at Tradesmen brewing, or the second Sunday market at Lo-Fi brewing to get to see some of the other amazing small businesses around Charleston. I love these events because they extend past just the vendors at the pop-up. Each one has different food trucks and are often held at breweries and other beautiful locations so they are a great way to discover new spots to hang out and great food.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are almost too many people to name. So many people have been a huge part of this journey for me and I am so thankful for every single one of them but to name a few. My parents Stacey and Ron Alston have always supported my endeavors from the beginning. My middle school handwork teachers Lisa Roggo, and Carol Bulmer as well as the whole Waldorf organization for the wonderful holistic education and view of the world it gave me. The college of Charleston and the entire School of the Arts department has been a huge help, especially Ellen Swick and Janine McCabe. They are both incredible professors, stitchers, and designers themselves and their guidance has been invaluable. I also have to thank my Girlfriend Sylvia Jones for driving me to all of my pop-ups and helping me set up/break down. Lastly my roommate Dennis Wright the owner of Wright Bros Vintage, Anna Todisco the owner of ThreadsTodisco, and Betsy McLeod the owner of ModSalt. They are all small business owners who have provided tremendous help in advising me in growing my business. I am eternally grateful to all of them and many more.

Instagram: @Fresh.Prince.fits

Image Credits:
As for credit the 5th-7th photo were taken by Malik Gist.
Ig- @squidlik

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