Hood Hip Art and Culture Community for Empowerment was created in 2013 and educates the youth in the community by giving a fashion platform to help aspiring artists, fashion journalists, and designers explore more opportunities in the arts and culture field while allowing them access to more information geared towards youth culture and how fashion can influence it, which is the premise Chiffon's business was created on. Hood Hip Art and Culture Community for Empowerment aims to strengthen the self-esteem and confidence of our aspiring young artists, youth, and children in the communities to enable them to find the courage to build their own brands for their futures as a member of the Hood Hip Arts and Culture Community Empowerment movement which is a division under the Hood Hip Bottoms Fashion Line. The purpose of this business is to help focus putting back more positive influences as opposed to negative influences for our youth when it comes to youth culture.
1. When did you first become interested in fashion and design?
I first became interested in fashion and design about five years ago.
2. Would you tell us about the ways that you are working to empower youth through fashion and entrepreneurship through your project, Hood Hip Art and Culture Community for Empowerment?
The ways that I am working to empower youth through fashion and entrepreneurship in my project is by giving young people, especially minorities, a platform where planning assistance to aspiring artists in different fields for the future is provided. Creative interactive tools are available in the scope of how the project is set up where young people of different cultures in our communities in different areas of the country will be able through the web to have access to information regarding youth culture challenges in trends as well as an initial outlet to use in expressing what they may have experienced in their life so far that relates to many of the problems typical teens in society or culture experience. My project offers assistance for young people for preparation in how fashion or trends can be used in each of their futures to spread messages of positivity as opposed to those of negativity.
3. Why is it that art is such an important tool, in your opinion, to helping young people build confidence and a stronger sense of self?
Art is such an important tool in my opinion when it comes to helping young people build confidence and a stronger sense of self because effectively being able to express yourself whether in physical form or on paper is how ideas and visions for a person's life should start: that is what finding one's self is all about. Youth should be able to express themselves through fashion and art, but if the only thing some are only doing is always creating messages of negativity or spreading those negative messages, how are our youth supposed to react to what they see? I think the answer lies within the question: they will not react; youth will often follow whatever it is being done on T.V., magazines, or even around some of their peers in school just because everyone else is doing it. Let's show youth how to do it right by showing giving them the right tools and ways to positively express themselves, not just tell them to follow someone else because everyone else is.
4. What do you see as some of the important connections between fashion and culture?
What I see as some of the important connections between fashion and culture is that they influence one another and that they relate to each other in a lot of aspects in terms of what is happening in society as a whole, whether it be through self-esteem topics, confidence topics, trends, art, or design. These are all products that can either be a negative reaction to what is happening in fashion culture or a positive reaction, but regardless you cannot have fashion without culture and you cannot have culture without fashion because fashion is culture: the ideas and how we as individuals interpret things or events that come from our surroundings as a result of the way we live are what shape the platform of how each person decides to create a piece of fashion.
5. As a businessperson, what have you gained by inviting young people to work with you, and what would you say to encourage other businesspeople to collaborate more directly with young people?
Being a business person what I have gained from inviting young people to work with me or feel that I will continue to gain as the project gets going with more assistance is a sense of purpose that I am giving back to a community of young people with talent that may have no idea what direction to start in or access to tools because I once was one of those young people with no idea about what direction to start in myself in going after my dreams with very little to no access to tools. What I would say to other business people in encouraging them to collaborate more directly with young people is to think of these young people as customers you are selling a product to: whether they are actually shopping for something you sell or not, get these young people to buy into the idea of planning for their careers and goals because that is priceless. These young people are the future, and no one can put a price on that. If we as business people want business in the areas of our communities and society to be more productive long after we have gone, we have to start working with our young leaders of tomorrow now.