Behind the Brand
Kenzo was born in South America, Georgetown, Guiana. His parents moved to the United States when he was three years old. He lived in Brooklyn, New York, for fourteen years and ultimately moved to Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, for some time. He returned to New York years later to pursue a career in fashion, but before pursuing a career in fashion Kenzo was into videography and photography. Kenzo attended New York Film Academy for two years and eventually dropped out. Kenzo felt like he was capable of learning his craft on his own, self-taught as they would say. Being well rounded with photography and videography Kenzo decided to take a turn to the fashion industry. With CIDE not being his first brand, Kenzo recognized what he wanted and what he wanted was to see people “Kill it” wearing his brand CIDE. This is his story.
How would you describe your personal style?
Streetwear with a bit of high fashion. I have always been into the preppy look, but I felt that streetwear was where it was. Simultaneously, I did not want to look like everybody else. I embraced the idea of the track pants and the jeans jackets, but I knew I could put my own touch to it without resembling everyone else.
What inspired you to want to become a designer?
I have always been creative and If I could put "my" touch onto clothing or fabric people would buy it because of who I am. I thought I could create some cool content that I thought people would like and luckily, I went through with it and all worked out.
How would you describe your personal style?
My favorite part about being a designer is the freedom to do whatever I want to do with it as far as the design aspect. Using various types of fabrics and having full creative control. And with that creative control expressing it to the world is the most self-satisfying feeling ever. When designing stuff that people like shows me how much I motivate and inspire them. That is the best part about it all.
The meaning of CIDE is to “Kill It”, not in a negative way I don’t want people wearing this thinking they can go out a kill people and look great doing it. Growing up and even now we use the term Kill in it, meaning that outfit is on point you kill in it.
What does your brand stand for?
My brand describes me because you can recognize my style and look at my designs and say “Kenzo assembled that.” The way I dress is a representation of me as well because I feel like it’s different, and it stands out opposed to other streetwear brands. CIDE was created March of 2017 and we sold in seventy different countries already. We reached places like Dubai, Kuwait, Australia, China and many more. Seeing the variety of acceptance from something that I designed is mind-blowing to me and that’s what kept me going with my brand.
How does your brand describe you as a person?
What is your design process?
Many people are interested in my design process and want to know what inspires me during that process. I start off with a blank canvas and that canvas can be a jacket, pants, or even a shirt. Once I have that decided I then try to figure out how to make this garment as dope as possible. How I figure that out is by going to the fashion district and choose from millions of fabrics, once I find the perfect selection my creativity takes over. This is how the process begins.
What obstacles did you have to go through to get where you are today?
"My personal" obstacles that I had to face throughout my life was being homeless, that was something that changed my life around. Also, with being deployed to the military, it had its pros and cons, but my experience was good and bad. As far as my business, the obstacles I had to face were finding the right manufacturer for mass production. I am still producing everything through my own little factory which is the most ethical way for me to produce clothes. Ethical production is a big issue right now through the fashion industry. But besides, that everything else has been great, celebrities like it and people from all different ethnicities and background love it as well. Eventually, one-day CIDE will end racism.
How do you wish to inspire young people?
Inspiring someone is the greatest feeling and the only way I can inspire them is by inspiring myself. With, consistency and manifesting to have the best clothing line in the world. For any young designer to see another young kid make it proves it is possible if you put your mind to it.
Other than fashion what else do you venture in?
Other than fashion I am into cryptocurrency, I like the idea of it, but that’s a different topic to get into. Reading is also another thing I like to do because knowledge is power and there is nothing like reading. Photography and Videography are also something that I love to do especially when it comes to my brand. But with all those fashion is my main focus and once I make Cide a household name everything else will fall into place.
For someone that wants to pursue a career as a designer what advice would you give them?
I would inform them to just do it and during that process, you have to exploit your craft and network with other designers. You have to interact with different social blogs, attend various fashion shows and understand your market. It works out in your favor when you know who your target audiences are because it makes your design process easier when you know who’s interested.