When Elect Nation founder CB Terrel took to his room drawing sketches, he was just doing it to pass the time. The teenager spent almost 18 hours a day home alone, drawing sketches to escape into his own world. “One day I drew a shirt. When I finished that first design I knew that this is what I was destined to do” says CB.
Born in Austin and raised in Houston, Texas, CB is thankful for his diverse upbringing and the major role it plays in who he is today. “The city of Austin nurtured my creativity, while Houston instilled in me the work ethic to chase my dreams”, notes CB.
Inspired by The Bible and some of his favorite music, thirteen year old CB embarked on his journey as a fashion designer. He needed a name though; something in accordance with his artistic vision. He expresses, “I always wanted the line to have a name that would push shallow minds to deep thoughts”. Equipped with innovative designs and a profound moniker, Elect Nation was born. Now, the seventeen year old young man has developed his personal style and designs and infused them into the Elect Nation brand that we see today.
FYI Houston sits down with the young visionary to get an in depth look behind the man and the brand.
Why did you decide to create a clothing line? When I was 13 years old, my parents were going through a divorce I would be home alone for about 18 hours a day. I would always draw sketches in order to escape into my own world, and one day I drew a shirt. When I finished that first shirt design I knew that this is what I was destined to do. I still have that first shirt drawing too (laughs).
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is form of art, and the canvas is the fabrics and materials you are using. For me and for a lot of people fashion is form of self expression.
What is the meaning behind your clothing lines’ name?
I always wanted the line to have a name that would push shallow minds to have deep thoughts. Most people don’t know that the biblical definition of the word “elect” means to be highly favored or chosen, and that was a perfect description for the kind of people we made this brand for.
What age group does your line target?
Between 14 and 29 years old.
How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
The style that would define Elect Nation Apparel is simplistic creativity. The designs say a lot without being loud. The key when I designed the brand was to be creative and innovative, but in a classic way.
Where do you get your inspiration?
A big inspiration for me is the bible, the journey here would get difficult at times, and it always gave me the strength to push through. I actually read the bible cover to cover by the time we release Elect Nation. Also Drake’s So Far Gone Mixtape came out around the same time I decided to start a clothing line (when I was 13). To me that tape was like a big brother telling me about the highs and lows of chasing your dreams, but how the journey was all worth it.
Do you consider yourself an artist?
I consider myself an artist, not because of the individual designs, but the body of work as a whole. The pictures, the name concepts, the color schemes, making all that fit into one brand is why I would consider myself an artist.
Tell us about the process of sketching a design.
When I am sketching I usually start will a really complex idea and I simplify the idea more and more until I can fit that complex idea into a single image. It’s almost how a director takes an entire movie and shortens [it] down to make a commercial.
What are your favorite colors to work with and why?
When I start designing, I always start with black, red, and white. I’m a [Miami] Heat fan so I guess it’s in my nature (laughs).
What are some of your fashion goals?
To make my own stamp in the clothing industry has always been my main goal. Also to create designs that could break racial categorizing. I intended on this being bigger than just another “urban” brand.
How would you describe your city’s fashion?
With such a big population, Houston is a melting pot of fashion trends from all over the country. You see a little bit of everything here, that’s the great thing about this city.
How would you describe the fashion trends of your generation?
The trends of this generation are focused more on fitted clothes rather than the baggy clothes of the previous generation. We are more into our appearance now, as opposed to the rougher, more urban attitude of the 90’s.
How would you describe your personal style?
I’ve always dressed more mature than my age. I never wanted to be that guy that looks back and say “Why did I ever dress like that?” (laughs). I wear a lot of dress shirts with Sperry’s. I aim for that sophisticated style.
What are some of your favorite winter fashions?
I’m a big fan of cardigans during the winter. It’s a great way to keep warm, without having to sacrifice style to do so.
What is your favorite everyday fashion accessory?
My 21 inch gold rope chain is something I can’t leave the house without. I took my first ever paycheck (back when I was a janitor) and bought that chain so it means a lot to me. (laughs)
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
The Elect Nation Blog is where I document this journey, but also I let people know what products are coming out next. Also people can keep up with me on my twitter account @electCB.