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'I’m definitely blessed': How this St. Louis man went from nothing to having his own clothing line

“Every day I wake up, I’m living the dream,” he said. “Serving the people with my talents.”

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis fashion designer Brandin Vaughn wants to keep kids warm during the upcoming winter. He has partnered with the organization Black Men Build for a coat drive.

Vaughn knows what it is like to be without.

“At a young age, I left home and decided to fend for myself,” he said.

He was just a teenager at the time and didn’t have a true plan for where he was going to go.

“There were times when I was sleeping in the basements of my friend’s house. Like literally sneaking in their parent’s house just to not sleep on the streets,” he told 5 On Your Side.

The world that he lives in now was incomprehensible at that time.

“I don’t even think I was dreaming about fashion then. I just knew I had to survive,” he said.

It was during those days of trying to survive when he met someone who would change his path.

“I was in a hard place and there was this lady. She kind of looked out for me, but she was a seamstress,” he said.

Watching her work as she put articles of clothing together sparked his interest in making clothes himself.

“That was the first time I had actually seen a garment produced from fabric ready to put on somebody’s back. It really fueled me to make me believe I could do it too,” he explained.

Vaughn eventually got himself together and went to school at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago and honed his craft. In 2017, Vaughn opened his shop on Cherokee Street in south St. Louis to make and sell the Brandin Vaughn collection.

“Sophisticated elegance with an edge in my design theory,” he said.

Credit: KSDK

He has come a long way from a potential life on the streets.

“Every day I wake up, I’m living the dream,” he said. “Serving the people with my talents.”

Even though his name is on the door, he finds people can be a little skeptical when they meet him.

“It’s hard to get people to believe this big guy is making beautiful ballgowns. They come in and then I tell them, ‘hey I’m the designer,’ and they’re like ‘oh my God, impressive,’ That cracks me up every time,” he said.

Vaughn hopes his success in the fashion industry sets an example for other aspiring Black designers to chase their dreams.

“More of us get an opportunity to step forward is a beautiful thing,” he said.

Vaughn does not take the opportunity he has worked for lightly.

“I’m definitely blessed to be working in my gift,” he said.

And with the coat drive, he wants to extend his blessings into the community. He is hoping to collect 100 new coats on Dec. 10 at his shop at 2604 Cherokee Street for needy kids.

If you would like to donate, click here.

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