|Photos courtesy of Cody Nathaniel Johnson|
1. Who are you and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Cody Nathaniel Johnson and I am Native American from the Tohono O’odham tribe. I am a fashion designer who’s just starting out but has a long journey to go on from here. I grew up in downtown Phoenix. As a child I did live on my reservation for about 4 years but came back and lived in downtown, Garfield area, ever since. Last year was a great year for me, being a part of Phoenix RAW Artist showcase presenting my first crochet mini collection and later at the end of 2012 winning a RAW Artist Award for Fashion Designer of the Year. Although I did not make it to nationals after winning, it still was a great year. From that exposure, I believe that’s how people started noticing my work.
As of right now, kind of late in the game of fashion, I’m working on a sixteen piece fall collection of hand crocheted pieces mixed with fabric pieces with both men’s and womenswear. Sixteen pieces to pattern, sample check, fix patterns if I have to, and later sew again to real fabric is tons of work with only one person doing all the work. So hopefully sometime in November I’ll be having a fashion show, but fingers are crossed to see how much I can get done!
2. How did you get your start?
I started having an interest in fashion design during my sophomore year of high school, reading and collecting fashion magazines all the time, “tried” sketching clothing I wanted to make (I look back on them now and laugh, cause they looked so silly now, I had no clue what I was doing). Also doing some online studying and research on works of fashion designers, models, fashion photographers, hair and makeup artist, trends and so forth in the school library after school. Around 10 years old, my grandmother – who always sewed up these beautiful quilts – showed me how to sew pillow cases, but that was the only experience I had with sewing until in high school I bought my very first sewing machine and started ripping up old clothing, even sheets, and tried to make the clothing I sketched, I was a mess. But luckily I went to fashion school and learned the dos and don’ts of fashion sewing. Although I didn’t finish fashion school, my mind was blown with the amount of work becoming a fashion designer is, and I’m ready for it, all of it!
3. What inspires you?
Basically I find inspiration in everything and anything from people to animals, stories to art, movies to books, music to even sitting outside listing to the birds chirping while enjoying my cup of coffee. One of my favorite ways to learn something new about this amazing world we live on is to spin a globe as fast as I can, close my eye and using my finger to stop it. Where my finger has stopped, I “Google it.” I spend a week learning all about this place, the culture, the people, and the history I even go to the local library in downtown Phoenix and check out books about the subject and take notes in my sketch book. This helps me to feed my brain with inspiration from all around the world even if I never get the chance to travel there.
4. What do you like about Arizona?
Being that I’m full blooded Native American from the Tohono O’odham tribe south of Arizona, near Casa Grande area, Arizona is very special to me. One cause it’s home (really, really home). I have a spiritual connection and history to the land that we walk on every day, while some people don’t. Besides that I feel that Arizona people are way stronger in way that we survive Arizona summers every year. I mean, come on, 116 degrees in the summer, it can get crazy spicy outside!
5. Where can we see you(r) work?
As of right now, check out my Facebook designer fan page to keep up with information about Cody Nathaniel Johnson.
6. What would you like to accomplish before you die?
There’s so much I want to accomplish based in the fashion design area, my bucket list is getting bigger and bigger every time I find something interesting! For one, to have a fashion show in New York Fashion Week, who doesn’t want that as a fashion designer? I’ve dreamed of those months and months of hard work to have a 10 minute show during fashion week. My time will come one day, I just know it! Other than that to travel to every fashion capital there is: London, Milan, Paris, Tokyo, and China. And hopefully finally see the ocean and walk along the beach shores without having to live it through pictures.
7. What’s your mantra?
I don’t really have one… But now you got me thinking about one!