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Check Out Corey Henry’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Corey Henry.

Hi Corey, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
My story starts way back to like age 2 or 3, honestly. My mom has told me stories of me being very young, like already picking out my outfits, matching from head to toe, and not wanting to take them off. Fast forward to elementary school, I fell in love with skateboarding. I would try to skate but never super consistently, but I was fascinated with how skaters dressed, talked, and just the overall aesthetic and aura they carried. Fashion didn’t hit me hard until my sophomore year of high school. I was figuring out what I liked and didn’t, and there was plenty that I didn’t like. Growing up in Durham, NC, there wasn’t a fashion scene, so I had to outsource and learn about designers, fashion design, and style. I connected very early with designers such as Rick Owens, Raf Simons, Martin Margiela, and Kanye West, just to name a few. I saved up some money and bought my first sewing machine sophomore year and would experiment. At first, it was a mixture of perusing YouTube for sewing tutorials and just cutting pieces and sewing them together, not caring about actual techniques and knowledge on constructing a full garment. The rest of my high school years were just filled with experimenting with my style, studying fashion shows, creating 1/1 pieces, and just coming into myself more and more.

I wanted to apply for a while and hopefully get accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. But due to my self-doubt and fear, I never applied; instead. I studied Fashion Design at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro for two years. I used those couple years in college to soak up all information/knowledge I could to benefit my brand. In school, I learned much more about sewing garments, creating with Adobe Suite, and. networking. In my first year there, I interned at a local screen-printing shop, where I gained more knowledge about creating mock-ups for clothes, formatting artwork to be printed on shirts, hoodies, etc. Shortly after that internship ended, I briefly helped in a few fashion shows put together by this shop in Greensboro called Vintage to Vogue. That experience gave me a lot of insight into what it took to manage the chaotic beauty of a fashion show.

I finally decided to launch my brand NVIZHEN in 2020 while dropping out of school a few months later. I started with two pieces (a t-shirt and hoodie), and that was my first time creating a product for purchase, and the release was pretty decent, honestly. My best friend Amari helped a lot in the drop production process, so it was only natural for him to be the first member added to the team. Now we are co-owners of the brand, me being head of design & creative direction, and Amari being the brand’s writer/head of business management. We have released four drops/collections of pieces two years in. Currently, we are working on our first full cut and sew collection, hoping to be presented later this year.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a smooth road?
It hasn’t been a smooth road. We have faced plenty of road bumps and standstills since coming out. From janky screen-printers in the city messing up our garments, delaying our releases, certain drops being a complete bust, the list could go on. A big lesson Amari and I had to learn early on was patience in all aspects. We’re 22 years old, so we’re a part of a generation that has grown up on social media. Although it has its perks and advantages, there is also the negative side where you can get sucked into the facade of seeing everyone “succeeding” and flexing all day on your timeline. Naturally, that can be a little discouraging when you compare yourself to others and wonder why you aren’t on the same level or place in life. That was a big challenge for me to overcome. I’m not going to say I’ve completely overcome that hurdle, but I’ve improved in not taking everything I see as the truth or reality. Once you realize that Instagram is just a highlight reel of all the good moments for that person, it makes it easier not to care or let it phase you.

Another struggle we’ve been working through is finding our target audience/market. Greensboro is such a weird place because you can tell it’s definitely on the up and up as far as the Art, Fashion, and Skate scene, but there’s still a ways to go before it’s really tapped into what’s hot and what’s not. There are also many new fashion brands worldwide, so just working our hardest to differentiate and separate ourselves from the rest of the pack is a struggle in itself, but a good struggle, in my opinion. Anything worth lasting doesn’t always click at first. I always keep our rise as a fashion house in the back of my mind. Through the slow times, however, I’ve been able to meet some cool creatives that I can see as part of the NVIZHEN team.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m an Artist first and foremost. I specialize in Fashion Design but dabble in art projects such as film, painting, & music. I think my drive and vision are what sets me apart from others. I’m most proud of our brand, NVIZHEN, and what the future holds for us. Everything is intentional regarding projects we put out, from the styling, music choice for our films, color palettes, literally everything. We plan for the future always. There are enough brands out that create for the moment, and that’s where we come into play. We want to create more of a way of living. We want our supporters to eventually have their whole wardrobe filled with NVIZHEN, mixing and matching from different collections to fit any situation. We hope there is a real connection they feel to every piece that gets purchased. Purchase with true intention, not for the look or picture, because it fits into your lifestyle and attitude.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
That intention is everything. Consumers can feel when you put your all into something; they also can feel when it’s just a money grab. Well, at least I can tell. Taking that extra time to fully work out the kinks before just putting out something you think is cool at that moment will go a long way. A lot of your first idea isn’t always complete enough to be presented to the public. Asking around and getting feedback is a good way to self-analyze and have you say to yourself, “hmm, I think there’s still more that can do.” And when I say ask around, I mean to everyone. Even if they don’t fully understand, you might not think they’re cool enough or tapped enough to give an honest opinion. It’s still good to hear every perspective possible to make the result more well-rounded and marketable to the masses.

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Image Credits
@donsoloist @9flags @mauuricio.g

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