Christian Streetwear: A Conversation with the Designer Behind the Brand
Where was the idea for Coram Deo Apparel born?
Growing up I never had things handed to me, I was the type of person to push myself to achieve those things, that others deemed impossible. As a young visionary I always dreamed of creating a clothing brand that I can call my own. In 2013 I was in university pursuing a business degree but somewhere along the journey I lost my motivation to keep studying. At the time I was struggling with depression so I would sit in the back of my classes and create designs on my Laptop.
As a Christian i was always being inspired to inspire others so I created a blog during my first year of university. I started creating picture quotes where I could communicate my struggles i experienced in life, hoping to reach others who were trying to overcome daily struggles. From there the idea of creating my own clothing brand still lingered in the back of my mind. I received confirmation about starting a business from teachers, pastors and friends but never put any action towards it. As the years went by, I kept on procrastinating waiting for the right time, doubting whether or not I had the potential to create a successful business. After spending years creating different designs, logos and receiving feedback from my peers, I finally decided to launch the brand on June 29th 2018.
Your brand name is unique. What does Coram Deo stand for?
The words Coram Deo are Latin for “in the presence of God.” We plan inspiring others to live in the presence of, to the honor and glory of God.
What was the reason for birthing Coram Deo Apparel?
The reason behind Coram Deo Apparel stems from the fact that I was never satisfied with what the local stores were selling; for example, shirts with bones/skulls or shorts for men that were too short, was something I would not support. In my opinion I felt that the fashion industry was trying to emasculate men, so I decided to create my own clothing that went in the opposite direction of those trends.
Our mission is to build a brand and leave a Legacy. Where young visionaries are inspired to chase their dreams, no matter how small. Everyone has a dream but many struggle to achieve it, so we create clothing that has a deeper meaning. In the end we hope to have changed the perspective of how people see the fashion industry, to understand that it’s not just about the clothes you wear but also the message that stands behind it.
Your brand is considered a premium lifestyle brand. What do your products and your message bring to the market that is different from what is already out there?
This company combines premium products and a mission statement for those who can relate to the message behind the brand. As a brand it’s important to offer value and not just a product to customers. In the end people will always remember the value that was added to their life. Trends last for a season but a Legacy last forever.
Where do you see Coramdeo Apparel within the next five years?
In the next five years I see Coram Deo Apparel as the biggest premium lifestyle brand that is known for it’s mission statement and global message to “build a brand, leave a legacy.” We look forward to start selling in major cities such as New York, London, Paris & Milan. As we grow, we plan on continuing to help those who have dreams/aspirations but are not sure where they should begin and also become a voice for those going through daily struggles.
Who are your inspirations within the business world and why?
I came across an American Fashion and Sneaker Designer “Jerry Lorenzo” who owns a brand called “Fear Of God” that has inspired me to keep the faith and remain humble while I’m working towards my dream. Reading his story of how the idea for his brand came about, the different people he was able to work with, and the lives he has inspired motivates me to keep believing in my dream even when others don’t. I always remind myself that life is not a race it’s a marathon. Anything we plan to achieve in life we have to stay committed and keep working at it, even when things seem tough at first. In the end, it will all be worth it.
As an entrepreneur, how do you balance your time personal commitments alongside running your business?
Alongside running my clothing brand I do freelance graphic design. When I have days off, I’m either working on a design for a client or new collection for the brand. Within both businesses I play the roles of a Social Media Director, Illustrator & Designer, Marketing & Creative Director. The best part about all this is that it never feels like I’m working because it’s in my DNA to design & create. In between my busy schedule somehow I manage to kick back and enjoy time with the family.
How has social media contributed to the launch of your lifestyle brand?
Social Media has helped get my brand in front of hundreds of people via Instagram where I mainly use ads and hashtags to create brand awareness. So far this platform helped me learn how to market my products and because of this I was able to get an NBA player “Torrey Craig” from Denver Nuggets to wear my brand. As a business owner I experienced first hand how marketing plays a huge role in any company.
What is one tool that you must have to do your work?
The one tool I need to do my work is an iPad with an Apple Pencil. Creative ideas usually start to flow when I hear a certain song or when I'm commuting to school. Being able to carry my iPad around helps me bring those ideas in my head to life on the go, by the time i reach home I can continue adding to my designs.
How have you adapted your business during the COVID-19 pandemic?
During the pandemic stages that the world was going through, I was in the process of designing a spring/summer collection for the brand. At the time there weren't any major changes that we had to make, except for keeping our customers updated on the shipping delays for their orders.
For someone who is considering starting a business, what would the first five things you would advise them to think about?
- Write out your vision. I have come across many people who struggle with this part but once you have your vision set in place it becomes easier to work towards your dream.
- Start off by examining your motives, think about the reason why you want to create a business.
- Do what you love and love what you do. Many people will tell you to do things only if the money is in it but if money is the only motivation then whatever you plan to create has not been built on a solid foundation.
- Daily businesses face obstacles and how we overcome them is what helps us grow. Struggles in life happen for a reason but they only last for a season.
- Sole Proprietorship or Partnership. Whether you plan on operating on your own or with a partner, examine all possible outcomes in the beginning. I have seen businesses that were once partnerships split because one member never had the same motivation or determination as the other. It’s key to know what you want, to make sure that whoever is on your team has the same vision and that you are both willing to consider each other’s ideas.
As a man of God, what is your favourite scripture that gives you comfort, confidence and composure?
My favourite scripture comes from the book of Proverbs 3:5 - "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." For me this verse really speaks because a lot of times i try to do things in my own strength then end up getting frustrated or stressed when things don’t work out the way I planned. When I begin to put myself aside and trust everything i hold dear to my heart in Gods hands I’m able to experience peace in all that i do, knowing that He’s in control.
What can we expect from you next?
More designs and motivation hope you stay tuned for a special collection we got coming soon.