FASHION SPOTLIGHT: Desmond J. Handon
Described by elitedc Magazine as “amazing and talented,” the company’s CEO and creative director, Desmond J. Handon professional experiences range from show production to fashion design. In the last two years, Desmond has had tremendous success growing EthniCITY’s national visibility serving as a Red Carpet Correspondent in September 2014 BET.
Desmond served twice as the Master of Ceremony for Righteous Ones Entertainment’s “Fashionably Loud I & II” (2013 & 2014) in addition to his collections being featured in shows such as “The Jarmal Harris Project” (2013 & 2014), “The Iconic Fashion Awards” (2014), and “Fashion Rocks DC” (2014 & 2015).
Desmond cites the flair and sophistication of New York City’s fashion runways and the flavor and grittiness DC’s sidewalks as the impulse behind EthniCITY’s creative designs. The company produces runway and casual fashion collections, jewelry, and original accessories—including the popular “lego bowtie bowties and briefcases”—for men and women.
MEDIA PRINCE: How did you begin your journey into fashion?
I began as a model in high school. Doing school shows, community events, and small events that needed model. I started to venture out more and began booking gigs as a model. After working so many shows, I eventually found a love with working behind the scenes and more specially directing fashion shows. While directing the show I learned different thing like styling techniques, how to become a successful runway trainer, and how to design. Before I knew it designing became apart of my everyday life.
MEDIA PRINCE: What inspired you to begin your line?
I enjoy men's fashion and accessories. I love it. I also love to travel, see different cities, different countries, and learn different cultures. When I go to other lands, I always find different artifacts, trendy stones, natural beads, and learn from their cultures- even pop culture. This has always been my inspiration. What I learn from other cultures, including pop culture, is how to merge them into my lifestyle so I can produce cool, trendy, original designs for fashion lovers. When I learned that my style was retail marketable is when I was inspired to begin my line.
MEDIA PRINCE: What about fashion excites you?
Breaking boundaries!!! I love doing the unthinkable. Coming up with something original that people love to wear is what excites me about fashion. Watching someone wear my designs and truly love it is a feeling that sends my level of excitement through the roof. Another thing that excites me is watching my fashion icons design jaw dropping designs during New York Fashion Week. I love to see what high fashioned jeweled garments The Blonds are going to produce, or what High end street wear Jeremy Scott (My personal Fashion GOD) will produce, to what celebrities will drool over Alexander Wang 2016! Those things keep me excited, moving, and figuring out which pawn do I move before I let the king go in for the kill. This keeps me ready to win.
MEDIA PRINCE: What is your current view on the state of fashion?
Fashion is Fashion. I think fashion is in a place where people actually get to do what they want, when they want, and not be judged by another. I think the days of judging someone by how they look at first glance has finally gone out the window (thank GOD). Fashions are so different the days. Most people normally dress for their surroundings. America is such a fast paced country filled with busy people with our busy lives you interact with people outside of your social surrounding very often. On your way to the club you see your neighbor, then the people on the subway, the people in the liquor store (pre- game of course) so you get to see so many different styles, and finally people have realized just because they don't understand it doesn't mean it's not fashion. So while you may not understand the look of that skater chick with the holes in her shoes, or the church woman with her over sized hat, or the fly guy with his Lego bow tie, more than likely when they get into their environment they fit in.
MEDIA PRINCE: What was the first item you made for your collection?
The first item I made was a necklace. Jewelry and accessories was my thing until I got into clothes. Once I begin to really do clothes my first collection I loved. It was filled with sequin and it was soooo sexy. It was my favorite. Inside of that collection there was this one gown. Velvet cheetah printed with golden hologram spots with a mermaid bottom. I fell in loooove with it as it was done. I always consider that my first piece that gave me everything I needed to help me rest assure that I could make it in this industry. I actually still have that dress on my mannequin in my office.
How would describe your line?
Inside EthniCITY Brand we have different lines. I have my Main wardrobe collection and there is also our accessories collection. Our main collection is very Glamor!!! It always fun, chic, and trendy but it has a very glamorous edge to it. Lots of gowns,suits and formal dinner styled looks that always have a touch of sex. Sex is fun and everyone wants to look sexy. Stretch fabrics that hugs a woman's curves, trendy patterns that makes a man feel like it's his world, and eye catching designs is all apart of what make EthniCITY.
When it come to our accessories, Pop culture is the ruler! What's in, what's not, what's cool, different time periods, different places, and fun is always the outline for our accessories. Familiarizing people with what they remembered and putting it into something wearable seems to be what helps our success. Making bags and pendants out of bricks you played with as a child could really "wow" you. Not realizing the things you could do with everyday unconventional things that you are so familiar with has become part of EthniCITY's success and the backbone of our line.
MEDIA PRINCE: What advice do you give the little girl who wants to follow in your footsteps?
You know, this seems to be a popular question and I have a really honest answer. I don't think most young people desire to be designers or wardrobe stylist. As youth when we desire to be in the fashion industry we desire to be models. I worked with so many "up and coming models" that have eventually moved on to doing something else in the industry. It's not until you've grown up, you learn that you want to become a designer or wardrobe stylist, and that's the person I have advice for. My advice is to stop everything you are doing and devote 100% into your craft. It's hard to work a full time job and make this work as a designer. Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 job where you take breaks when you can. Trying to balance this life with a job is a major set back. It takes a lot of strength to step out, drop everything, and make it work. If you want the success like you say you want it, you can do it.
MEDIA PRINCE: What is next for your and your brand?
Right now we are moving into the holiday season so we are preparing loads of accessories. This is the season where we sell the most accessories and we are getting fully prepared for a great season. We are also booking inside of different retails shops across the US and keeping our fingers crossed about one big shop in NYC (we can't tell yet,lol).
MEDIA PRINCE: What is the misconception about fashion designers in your opinion?
That fashion designers are rich. Although some are the creative directors of major fashion houses, they are also employees of that company and get a pay check just like the next person. Sometimes that check isn't as glamorous as one my think.
MEDIA PRINCE: Where can your line be found?
The best way of finding more information on where to find EthniCITY or how to book our services is to check out our website. www.ethnicitybrand.com
MEDIA PRINCE: Are you social? FB? Twitter? IG?
FB- Desmond Handon or EthniCITY Brand