It’s been a long walk to success, but fashion designer Curtis Callwood is finally on the verge of making his dreams come true with Callwood Couture.
Originally from St. Thomas but raised in Tortola, Callwood has always had a passion for design.
âIt is a talent given by God. We cannot escape what our destiny is in life, âhe said recently. âGrowing up in a family with many women who were so proud to dress, I always wondered how I could one day use my gift to help make other women look beautiful and feel good. “
While in high school in BVI, it was normal for girls to learn home economics and boys to learn something more technical, but Callwood had other ideas.
He approached the school administrators about his interests and persuaded them to let him take the home economics course.
“Basically they gave me a trial period to see if I would be good and they were overwhelmed with my progress because the feedback I was getting from most of my teachers was that I made a lot of girls look bad. with the caliber of what I’m producing, “Callwood said.” I don’t know what it’s like now after all these years, but just knowing that I was able to make a difference was a great feeling, to encourage others to follow their passion. â
Connection to the White House
Callwood’s first major project was to make an outfit that his mother would wear for graduation in 1996 at what was then High School in the British Virgin Islands. After graduation he moved to St. Thomas and worked with William “Champagne” Chandler at the Champagne and Roses Model Agency. He worked as a wardrobe designer and assistant to Chandler. It was through the agency that he launched his first collection in 1998, the Purple Collection, which was featured in Flair Magazine in 1999. The latter was founded by the former director of Daily News Creative Ad and four times VI Calypso Monarch Louis Ible Jr.
While in St. Thomas, Callwood submitted a design to the White House for First Lady Hillary Clinton. He then submitted a design for First Lady Michelle Obama. Their thank you letters are a proud part of his portfolio.
In 2000, Callwood moved to the BVI and in 2001 participated in a Youth Expedition where he won the Fashion Design category. Three years later, Callwood moved to Atlanta to study at American Intercontinental University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion design and marketing in 2008.
While still in school, Callwood took part in a major fashion expedition to the Caribbean to promote the British Virgin Islands and provide an opportunity for local talent.
âI have approached a lot of people in the industry,â he said. “I have a friend who is actually a celebrity photographer and he was able to confirm with an industry magazine and he had models coming up.”
He added that there were “a lot of wealthy people I have been in contact with who were so excited to come to the islands and the swimwear magazine did an article with local models as well. only celebrity models but at that point BVI didn’t I don’t see it as something that would benefit the country so they turned it down.
âIt was devastating. But everything happens for a reason and I was able to learn a lot from that experience, âCallwood said.
He said he found the courage to continue when there were setbacks near his home. Her mother, brother and cousin were always there to provide support.
Callwood also credits his mentor Sir Gregory Brown of Sir Gregory’s Design and being in the right place at the right time. The two met while Callwood was helping out on a project for 2018 Project Runway All Stars winner Anthony Williams. Williams encouraged him to go ahead and stay in the fashion game, and Brown, whose The Atlanta-based company was instrumental in its development and “further instilled the art of perfection and my love for tailoring.”
From Atlanta, Callwood moved to Florida, where he currently resides, and enrolled in the University of Australia program where he earned a master’s degree in 2018 in International Business to merge the business aspect with his knowledge- to do.
Since graduating, Callwood has prepared to take the leap into business. He âworked on the junk,â invested in the equipment and materials needed to make his brand work, and turned his home into a studio. On his 42nd birthday, Callwood celebrated by founding the company he had been talking about for years and is now officially the owner and founder of Callwood Couture, LLC.
For starters, Callwood is revamping a line he designed in school and dubbed Caribbean Blue which he describes as an elegant and sophisticated line using all elements of the tropics and cultural heritage VI.
The rising brand will also include a line of trendy masks and a collection of Cherel Angel handbags named after his mother. The collections will be available soon.
Callwood said he plans to add a social element to his work. Her ultimate dream is to travel the world to help the less fortunate and connect with people from Africa and other parts of the world, and integrate their rich cultures into her creations.
âMy mantra has always been that beauty is unique and comes in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes,â he said. âI think we are all created beautifully, we are all equal, so I try to send a strong message with my brand of positivity to create a positive movement. I’m not saying that’s what I’m trying to do; This is what I will do. I want to create a brand that will be a legacy.