Do you want to create a clothing brand? Do it yourself, says a Utah-based fashion designer
(ABC4) – Fashion designer Tim Hortons has had a vision for some time, and thanks to the digital age, he now has the tools to bring it to life.
Shortly after an injury ended his college football days, he found himself looking for his next move and a possible career at 19. Growing up in Chicago, he had always had a passion for streetwear and did a kind of unpaid internship, helping with a local designer, doing whatever the brand would allow him to do.
Dreaming of one day launching his own brand – he had already decided on the name, KODA’FE, an acronym for Keeping Our Dreams Alive For Eternity – he hoped to be taken under the creator’s wing and receive advice on how to build something for him. -same.
This does not happen.
“Chicago can be a very selfish place, that’s the best way to put it,” says Horton. “Nobody wants to see their own people succeed. So trying to find a way to succeed in those days was very difficult.
That was in 2009. Since then, Horton has had a warrant in the military and moved his family to Utah. He was also able to launch KODA’FE Luxury Streetwear, largely due to advances in technology and tools made available on the Internet.
Working from home, as the sole employee of the brand, Horton is able to design and sell her designs around the world using social media and her Shopify-run online store as platforms to do so.
It’s hard work and he finds himself wearing many hats to live his dream.
“I’m the marketing manager, I’m the distribution center, I’m everything right now,” he laughs.
Horton’s story is not unique. As more and more tools such as social media, online shopping platforms, and the internet as a whole become more advanced, many have been able to take the reins of their creative careers on their own.
These days, if you have an idea and a vision, you can build it and sell it from home within hours.
ABC4’s Shaadie Nunnally, who hosts a segment on Good Things Utah called “A Shot with Shaadie,” says that right now it’s easier than ever to start a business such as a clothing brand.
“The advancements in technology, they’re so user-friendly, and they allow creatives to create without having to invest in huge equipment or have an actual storefront,” he explains. “It makes that old-school statement of ‘coming out of the trunk’ feel a bit more legit.”
For Horton, his home is his workshop and the headquarters of his brand. After sketching out his ideas, he orders his materials from a foreign manufacturer and assembles his collections himself, usually by hand. He learned to cut and sew on his own, as well as to create an online store. Due to the time-consuming nature of assembling his clothes himself, Horton aims for quality over quantity when releasing his collections.
The ability to promote KODA’FE on social media and ship it wherever it can find a customer online has been huge, says Horton. Even only 13 years ago, in 2009, it would not have been possible to do what he is doing now.
“There was no technology then, YouTube didn’t even exist like there is now. Instagram didn’t exist and Facebook was just getting started, but you couldn’t really rely on Facebook or MySpace back then. era,” he recalls. “So it was hard to try to find a way to start it all at that time.”
Even though the digital world has brought his sketches to fruition, Horton still does some things “out of the box,” as Nunnally would say. He worked to build in-person relationships with like-minded designers in Utah, including Jon Stan, who makes hats and jackets for superstar rappers back home, and Zaire Wade, the son of Dwyane Wade who also plays for Salt Lake City. Stars.
Wanting to connect with Wade, Horton brought a few of his jackets to a Stars game to gift to the young baseball player and his NBA champion dad. Now, Horton attends every Star game to cheer on his friend from the field seats. The two are also working on a clothing collection together.
Horton is all about his brand, viewing it as his full-time career. He has big plans to elevate KODA’FE even further by continuing to push his products online and out of the vault.
The time has finally come, he says.
“To see technology become what it is, I’m grateful that I can do it all on my own. I feel like it’s God’s plan for me to do it all on my own,” says Horton: “It’s a big job, and I’m grateful for the technology. The technology is a lifeline.”