A Kass Spotlight: Harlem Fashion Designer To Art Influencer, Using Art To Heal

By Kass

Hey Harlemites, we are back at it! We want to showcase a Harlem brand who recently made the transition from fashion design to art design. 

The influence of art has been intermixed into fashion design for decades.  Current art trends include street art, immersive art, contemporary African art, and the revival of Memphis art.  

As we highlight Harlem’s Milton Wes brand, we offer consumers a peek into a contemporary art brand offering colorful visual art and a fresh take on Art + Home décor.  Additionally, we had the opportunity to discuss how Milton Wes. CEO, Corey Wes uses art as healing therapy.

I recently had the chance to catch up with Corey Wes, CEO of Milton Wes. Check out our interview below:

Kass: It’s a pleasure to chat with you again.  The last time we caught up, you were full throttle into fashion design. Recently, you’ve rebranded and have transitioned from fashion to art. Congratulations on your launch of the Milton Wes brand featuring art and home decor. What inspired the transition from fashion design into Art design?

CW: Originally, I was doing t-shirts under the brand Flirtatious-T and then transitioned to Urban FLRT. From a sales perspective novelty t-shirts were becoming obsolete. From there I developed Milton Wes, originally a home décor collection of pillows, throw blankets, and mugs.  

During the pandemic, I went from designing t-shirts and developing brands, to curating art.  I realized there was a market for art. It was an easy transition from fashion to art design.

Kass: Tell us about your new brand Milton Wes.  What does Milton Wes stand for?  Describe your brand inspiration.

CW: The inspiration behind the brand is to make art accessible. We walk by art every day. The vibrations and colors of street and urban art make cities brighter, and better, and more exciting!

When it comes to Milton Wes, Milton is my grandfather’s name and Wes is a variation of my middle name. My grandfather was one of the first, African American conductors on the New York City MTA. He used to work in the yard, where they held the trains.

He used to talk about the graffiti on the trains and how when the cars returned to the yard, they would clean them, yet when they returned had graffiti again. Riding the train with my grandfather, I was just fascinated by the color and the artistic expression of graffiti.

Kass: Why Milton Wes?

CW: Well, that’s easy. I have a unique eye for art, inspired by early graffiti art influences and love interior design.  During the pandemic, people were looking at blank walls and inspired to redesign their personal spaces.

Art décor allowed consumers to communicate their hope for the future through home décor using artistic expression.

Kass: You’ve noted the art is something you’ve traditionally used for healing.  Living in a world post-pandemic, how does the Milton Wes brand speak to mental health, utilizing art for healing and comfort?

CW: Living in the heart of the pandemic, people were surrounded by blankness, meaning there was silence, it was quiet, life was at a standstill. People began working from home, lost connection with people and things, and places for a time.

Personally, having beautiful art in my home brings me joy. When you’re feeling alone in a space you can look at the color theory of a piece taking you back to a happy moment in time. 

Kass: You’ve always been very outspoken about who you are and the things you’ve been through.  Why is it important to discuss mental health among minority communities? How will you use the Milton Wes partner with mental health programs to support the Art for healing movement, post-pandemic?

CW: Mental health challenges often have a negative connotation and seen as a weakness. Mental health issues are viewed as an ugly stigma, and if you’re a minority, that stigma is exacerbated.

As the Milton Wes brand continues to develop and grow, I would like to partner with mental illness programs to offer scholarships for burgeoning minority artists.

I will work to demonstrate that art is also a way to meditate and create.  We at Milton Wes want to create a positive and safe place for people to interact through art inspiration.

Kass: As an art enthusiast what do you want consumers to remember about the Milton Wes brand?

CW: “Art is life, art is knowledge, art transmutes energy and stimulates your soul.” – Corey Wes.

Kass: Harlemites – remember, your art is an expression of who YOU are – how will you fashion your art and home décor? As always, make it your own! Stay in content with CW on his website http://www.miltonwes.com and on Social Media at Twitter @coreywes212, Instagram: @miltonwesart and Facebook – @coreywes212

Photo credit: 1-5) Photos.

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