I can definitely say that moving from Jamaica Queens, New York to the Bay Area, California when I was a youngin' was a real culture shock; but I can say today that it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
When I was very young, I loved the street culture in New York; the graffiti on the walls and subways, the breakdancing in the streets, the music, the boom boxes, the small shops with affordable prices, the accents with which we spoke, and the unique fashions that no one else seemed to have. Moving to the Bay Area, California was a bit difficult in the beginning as I noticed the street culture but it was different. People spoke with a different accent, the streets were polished, and people spoke to me but didn't even know me (while smiling :). When I came from New York, I had just come out of the foster care system and was adopted by an established family. Unfortunately, as my teenage years approached, I found the streets to be more enticing and did not yet understand the beauty of the creativity I had within myself. I knew that I loved the streetwear, the slang, the hustlin', the constant grind, the slaps (music), the smells of certain foods, specific environments, and the cultural diversity in the Bay Area. What I hadn't learned then is how to use my passion for street culture in a positive light. Through circumstances that demanded growth and higher education; today I am able to appreciate the beauty of urban street culture; I am able to represent it in a positive light and recognize the people who represent it and love it as much as I do.
Fast forward to today; I am a Behavioral Health Counselor, as well as Founder & CEO of FACZ Clothing and Accessories. I am still socially awkward, and I love it, it can be seen in some of my designs :). I struggled with being a professional counselor and balancing my cultural street side. I knew that I wanted to express this side of me, while teaching my own children book smarts as well as street smarts. I wanted a healthy balance and be able to legally sustain financial stability while living in an environment where it takes a consistent and constant grind to make ends meet. I needed to be able to teach my kids the importance of learning business as well as having short and long-term goals. As a result, FACZ was born. I knew I wanted to be able to express my street side without judgement and I wanted to bring some creativity that would motivate others to freely express themselves. I didn't have the capital to start a business and I knew that growing a business from grassroots would take effort, time, persistence, patience, and the ability to cope when things aren't seeming to go the way I think they should. This encouraged me to learn how to make T-Shirts, Hoodies, and Hats as a form of expression. In the beginning I didn't know how to create a website or use photoshop, I had no clue what print-on-demand was, but I was willing to learn. I decided to buy myself a Sawgrass printer, a good computer, and a heat press to start practicing. Of course, family and friends were saying my designs were good work, but I also wanted to bring my creativity to the online platform. My family and I made the decision to bring FACZ Clothing and Accessories to life.
During this Fierce And Candidly Zealous grind, I have observed that some folks look down on me and automatically assume that the term "street culture" demonstrates a criminal mentality, negative behaviors and/or poverty; I choose to challenge that assumption. I have learned the beauty of urban street culture. Although in the past I have endured bouts with the criminal justice system; however, today I have learned to appreciate the struggle that comes with urban street culture and the absolute grind that must remain intact. I am a professional today and I want to show people, through my clothing designs, that you can be professional and still be a lover of urban street culture and urban streetwear. And most importantly that it is ok to freely express your urban street side and remain a BOSS on an ABSOLUTE GRIND!
I'm always looking to network with others who share the same passion for urban street culture. Let's connect.