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FASHION Carl Wesley Brazel, gay designer, lives dream in the big city
by Vee L. Harrison
2019-09-17

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Carl Wesley ( Wes ) Brazel, 25, knew as a child that he was a fashion designer.

He had been sewing since the age of 5 and by the time he was a teenager, he was a designer. His love for the show Project Runway inspired what he knew would one day be his career and his destiny: Carl Wesley designs.

Wes said that he's pretty much a self-taught designer. He's currently a part-time student at College of DuPage and while there, he was honored as the Best First Year Designer. He also works full-time for Amazon.

He grew up in downstate Illinois, in a small farm town near Peoria, with his family.

"My graduating class was, like, 60 students, to put things into perspective," said Brazel. "It was an itty-bitty town."

Brazel said that he would watch his mom sew he and his brother's clothes when they were children. He recalled her beautiful quilts and costumes.

"She'd make my brother and I the most amazing homemade Halloween costumes. She would always have different ladies at the house that she would be doing alterations for. She made my sister's wedding dress. I think that's what kinda got me interested in fashion design."

Brazel said he has fond memories of the things that inspired him—like his mother's work and the show Project Runway.

"I was just fascinated right away by that show," he said. "I knew that was something I wanted to do.

"Fashion is like creating wearable art. It's not like you do a painting and hang it up on a wall or you do a drawing and put it in a frame. It is art that you actually get to live in. And it's functional."

He's currently been designing rompers in unique prints. And he considers these designs his "alter ego."

Brazel recently debuted his rompers for men at a local fashion show. He thought it would be something fun for the guys, and the idea to create a line of rompers was launched.

"I figured I'd take the opportunity to do something a little bit different and a little bit fun for the show," he told Windy City Times. "The first thing that came to mind is that [doing] rompers for guys."

Brazel said that his queer friends are loving his romper designs.

"[Regarding] the gay community, we are more open into trying things," he said. "We are a little bit more comfortable in our own skin and we are more open to trying new things. I feel like LGBTQ individuals would be more open to wearing my rompers."

However, it isn't just fun onesies that inspires him. "Sometimes I get inspired by the fabrics I find," Brazel said. "Sometimes I'm inspired by nature. Something else that has been really inspiring to me is this idea of using quilting techniques as garment fabrications."

He seems to be blending in with the Chicago fashion landscape quite well. Brazel has been featured in a few fashion shows, including a couple of school at College of DuPage when he's not in his draping class.

Brazel was featured in Chicago Fashion Week last spring and recently in the Stopping Traffic Fashion Show, a human trafficking awareness event. Carl Wesley Apparel were also featured at Do Division Street Fest this past summer where he did three day of fashion shows.

Brazel said besides running around Chicago's fashion shows and debuting his designs on red carpets, he's also been putting in time for designing more of his rompers. Declaring "I'm more interested in doing unique one-of-a-kind things," he wants to release a long pants jumpsuit for autumn.

From a small, quaint town to the Windy City, Brazel said adjusting to fashion in Chicago is a dream come true. None of his two customers are alike—but they all have one thing in a common, he said:

"[My client] is someone that is looking for something really special and unique and that fits them amazingly."

Shop Carl Wesley's designs at CarlWesley.com .


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