Piece | Masters : Chelsea Coffey

We are so happy to have our very first visual story complete just in time for the Fall! Our honored  guest is none other than Houston's own philanthropist, entrepreneur, and creative, Ms. Chelsea Coffey. She let us into the fold to highlight her intimately in our story titled "Risers". Check out the photos and her interview below....




Give a glimpse into what your daily schedule is like.

This question almost gives me as much pause as when I get asked what I do for living. Being an entrepreneur is a tricky discipline because I have to build work hours into my week. Most every day starts out between 6:30 and 7am with time of prayer and meditation followed up by getting ready to either start working on my online store, The Coffey Shop, head out to a meeting or the office. 

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of denying oneself and getting up early! Can you delve more into that topic?

I love that you ask that. When I was younger, I relished being able to sleep in. Now that I'm older, there's something so special to me about the quiet time I have with God early in the morning. It's this little sacred window to set the tone of my day before emails, texts and calls start coming in, and I can totally tell the difference from day to day when I don't take the time to find my center and get off on the right foot.

Tell us what Mia’s Closet is and how it came to fruition.

Mia's Closet is my nonprofit, my baby, my passion project. I simply love the work we do. Every quarter, we hosts events for guys and girls kindergarten to 12th grade in underserved communities. At our events, each kid get a personal stylist who helps them shop through donations of new and gently used clothing, and they get to take all of their finds home with them for free. We've been doing it for four years now, and it's such a blessing that I can barely remember the time before Mia's Closet. 

I was employed by a chemical distribution company, and working on my masters when I came up with the idea. I had reached a point where I recognized an emptiness and wasn't sure where it was coming from, so I figured giving back could possibly be the answer. I was totally right, and God has just blown me a away with the success of the organization. It's crazy, and I'm so thankful.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a non-profit?

Just start. Start giving back. Tell your friends. The right ones will get it, and dive in with the craziest sense of dedication. It's going to blow your mind... So get your chit together. Find an attorney or CPA who can help you apply for 501 (c) 3 status with the IRS as soon as possible. This will allow you to offer a tax deduction form to donors. They'll want to know if you're tax exempt, trust me. That status creates all sorts of opportunities.

Also, research. Research. Research. Research. A nonprofit is still a business, and needs to be respected as such. Identify the things you're good at, and not so good at. Ask questions, and build a team of people who can supplement your shortcomings. Otherwise you might find yourself banging your head against the wall, and that'll slow you down. 

What do you think is the main factor that has attributed to your success?

Man, the list... Prayer. The best friends ever. The most supportive parents that I could have possibly asked for, and clarity. I really feel like the vision for Mia's Closet is a gift from God for me to give back in a way that was uniquely destined just for me. I honor that calling wholeheartedly

Have you ever thought about expanding Mia’s Closet to a international platform?

Yes! lol That was the original intent. To go wherever we're called, whether it be domestic or otherwise. 

What is your definition of a composer? Do you feel as if you are one in your own right?

Hmm. I'd define a composer as someone who walks in the truth of their vision. They see something so clear in their mind that they just know they have to create it. Simple as that. A composer is the visionary who executes. So ya, as long as I'm bringing my visions to life I'd like to think I'm a composer.

photos by: Deun Ivory

Wanna get involved? Mia's Closet is always recruiting for new volunteers!!!


Follow Mia's Closet:

IG: @miascloset || Twitter: @miascloset_hou || FB: Mia's Closet Houston

Edwige Pierre Presents: Intermezzo AW16

Introducing the new guy on the block, Edwige Pierre. This menswear brand has launched its second collection titled, Intermezzo for your sartorial pleasure. The driver behind the brand is NYC based Joshua Washington. After receiving his masters from Polimoda in Florence, Italy, Mr.Washington created his brainchild, named after his late grandmother Edwige. 

The references for each garment can be traced back to his days living in Europe while traveling all over the world. Intermezzo takes us back to the Vienna Sucession movement. This period was a thriving time for Austrian painters, architects, and sculptors. We had the opportunity to be on location during the lookbook shoot at Internum, one of Houston's premier home decor boutiques. The usage of various structural elements within the lookbook serve as a representation of the infamous Gustav Klimt, the leader of the movement whose claim to fame was tied to his supreme skill as a decorator. 

The term Intermezzo was coined from Joshua's believe that his collections are interludes or preludes of the ideation process of his mental. As a budding designer we cannot wait to see where his creative thoughts continue to lead him. 

We got the opportunity to ask Joshua what his definition of a composer is and does he think that he's one is his own right.

  "A composer is someone or something that can unify multiple elements to create a unique experience. I do believe I am one to some extent, but I'm still learning."

Visit: edwigepierredesigns.com




Model: @theurbanesavant || Photographer: Emil Browne

CompoZer Spotlight: Doreen Caven

Meet Doreen Caven, one of three of the fantastic trio behind the budding brand, Caven Etomi. This beauty took time out to speak with us about the brand's inner workings, humble beginnings, and the part she plays in making the garments and visuals come to life! 

What role do you play in the CavenEtomi trio? 

I am a co-creative director of Caven Etomi. Our company is so small that we, the co-founders wear multiple hats. Alongside my partners, I oversee production, brand management and social media management. 

You have spent time both stateside and abroad in Africa, describe the difference of feels both places give you.

I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to the U.S at age 16. I have lived in America now, almost as long as I did in Nigeria, I would say that both places feel very much like home right now. Nigeria has such a strong sense of family. I would say that being home you interact so much more with people around you that are not your immediate family. There is that strong connection between people- even while out here you have that same kinship when you run into fellow Nigerians. That feeling of comradery is something that you don't find as much here in the states.  

What were you doing before you decided to develop your line of clothing?

I was in grad school, getting a Master's degree in Epidemiology. I also was a Fashion & Lifestyle blogger for The4acesdate.com.

What is one misconception people have of you?

I am an introverted extrovert. I am a social person among my group of friends and social media captures that aspect of my personality. Most people meet me and expect me to be more outgoing and outspoken, and I am mostly just shy, quiet and reserved. I get "You are not what I thought you would be" ALL the time. 

Which collection has been your favorite up until now? Why?

 Our IDIA collection has been my favorite and it's because it was our first introduction to creating the brand, Caven Etomi. We spoke about creating a product all the time, but had no idea when we would  have the time to do it since we really all had very different lives and lived in different cities (D.C, NY & Lagos). We wanted a desirable trendy product that had African influences and something that would be appreciated by both Africans & International fashion lovers alike. Creating our first samples of the IDIA collection was a very awesome moment for us. We had no idea if people would love it, understand our concept, or if they would be moved to actually purchase it. We had no solid ideas on how to promote it, we at the time only had our own personal social media accounts. We uploaded a selfie wearing the T-shirt to all our accounts and we had multiple orders that day. We didn't even have a website or a way to purchase it. It galvanized us to realize that we had a shot. We went back to the drawing board and constructed a business plan and decided on how we wanted to produce, distribute & brand our company using this first collection, and the rest is history. 

If you guys could collaborate with anyone on a particular product, what would that product be, and who would it be with?

I would like to collaborate on a line of African inspired Apparel for a huge brand like H&M or Target. I think it would be amazing for an African designer to have that opportunity to be the storytellers of contemporary African Fashion in a global market.

What is your favorite part of creating a visual from a simple thought?

My favorite part is seeing it come to life. From a mockup design to holding a finished sample or a campaign concept to seeing it in print, I just love seeing an idea come alive. 

What is your definition of a composer? Do you feel as if you exhibit those characteristics?

My definition of a composer aligns with my definition of a creative. I am a creative so yes, I feel like I exhibit those characteristics. Making desirable ideas come to life is a huge part of working for Caven Etomi. 

You can find out more about Caven Etomi here:  cavenetomi.com

Follow Doreen in IG: @doreencaven

Orange Culture presents "Alex"

When I think of Orange Culture I immediately reflect on youthful innovation. Youthful in its approach of relaying a message; in that it's distinct and clear while always remaining fresh and energetic. This brand has been able to capture the very essence of beauty because they highlight the magic in the details. 

Here we take a different #CompoZers approach and highlight an actual composition- the newest photo story from the brand titled, "Alex". Founder, Adebayo Oke-Lawal breaks down the visual and bring us into his realm. 

What inspired the title?

The idea that two people with entirely different characteristics could be totally tied together by a name . Both models for example - both their names are Alex. From two entirely different worlds and interests but in that moment when someone says the name Alex - they are one.

Give us more info on the theme of this story.

We wanted to explore the idea of youth . The freshness of individuality in youth. The choice to explore the softness of youth as a man and how beautiful it could be . We wanted to explore the art of soft masculinity in youth and how beautiful it could be. The idea of loving art , loving flowers , loving beautiful things as a young African man - all those things should be beautiful even as a man.

When you are deciding on the visual for a lookbook or campaign for Orange Culture, where do you start first?

I start with a moodboard really . I pull what I call inspiration journals - which you can sometimes see on my tumblr - images, music, words that paint a picture of what I am feeling and I present that to a photographer - if he feels the emotions I feel when I see those things - gbam! - the relationship to build that visual begins.

Do you have more fun creating visuals such as Alex or designing the clothes?

Nothing better than creating clothes . Visuals do excite me but the stories I tell through creating clothes cannot be replaced

Do you feel “Alex” is a composition? Why?

I do because I feel it composes of so many different pieces of Orange Culture / so many aspects of what inspires and builds orange culture as a brand - Alex is a composition of one of the pieces of the puzzle that is orange culture. Hopefully that makes sense. 

photography: The Bisbol Man

Follow the brand:

Website: orangecultureng.com  ||  IG: @orangcultureng