“In high school, I used to design my cleats just to make sure they were different… I’ve just always loved shoes and fashion”
The next 20 Something feature that will be at the event August 26th is an athlete turned designer who turned to making shoes after he wanted something different out of life. This 20 something has always had an eye for fashion and decided to put it to use when he created the Nonconformist brand, which specializes in shoes and embroidery..
CJ Washington has played sports his entire life so I was intrigued to find out more about his new endeavors in creating shoes. I watched him lay out the various types of leather and all the different shoes he has been working on. I have never met or seen anyone who knows how to make shoes by hand so I was amazed by that alone. After he is done setting up, he hands me a set of hats and says I brought one of these for you. The denim hat embroidered with the NC acronym, similar to that of North Carolina, stood out and immediately was my first choice
We chatted for awhile about various fashion trends and the hypebeast culture before we got to him and his brand. You could definitely tell this is what he has a passion for. CJ learned how to make shoes at a coworking space for shoemakers in New York, called Brooklyn Shoespace. After learning the various techniques for creating shoes, he learned how to do embroidery and was blessed with industrial machines from an old professor.
He has some beautiful embroidered items, that not only include shoes, but also jackets and hats. His clothes have been seen on artists like Young Thug and on display in luxury brand stores like Gucci. He has a lot of new things in store for his brand and plans on changing it up a little. One aspect of his new endeavor is taking the dad hat trend to another level by creating them for babies.
Enjoy the art, food and music at this year’s 20 Something Doin’ something, where you can mingle with creative and designer CJ Washington Saturday August 26th from 7 to 10 pm at Ambience Special Event Center.