Columbia, SC native, DeVon Brownlee is a graduate of Coastal Carolina who recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia to further his life aspiration and goals. In hopes to become an educational administrator or guidance counselor, he serves as a mentor in the Communities In Schools organization. Who is the man that wears so many hats? Brownlee is a thrifting expert, a killer skater, and quite frankly, the camera loves him. Allow us to introduce him to you in this SHEEN exclusive interview.
When did your love for vintage thrifting begin?
The nature of thrifting is that you choose pieces you love from the most random assortment. My love for thrift shopping started in middle school when my dad would take me to places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Value Thrift, TJ Maxx, and Ross.
For the most part charity thrift shops run on donations, so you have to keep in mind that you never know when an AMAZING group of garments is going to be donated. The best part is sorting through racks of clothing from the 2000s to find these vintage gems!
The key is to always keep an open mind when thrifting. It’s ok to buy things that are out of season or out of style if you love them because your vision with how you want to wear the item is totally up to you. I call myself a Vintage Connoisseur. I try to rely on my instincts more than anything because I see myself as a vintage expertise. Don’t get me wrong though, thrifting can be overwhelming when you first start out. There are racks and racks of clothing to sort through! The nature of thrifting is that you choose pieces you love from the most random collection.
Can you share with us a fashion tip for the fall season? What do you believe is a must-have we all need in our wardrobes?
The HOT item in for women going into 2020 is the leopard print. For men I would say the same thing but implementing scarfs, turtle necks, and trench coats. For shoes wear pumas, combat boots, Chelsey boots or loafers will work fashionably.
You are also a mentor. Why was it so important for you to reach out and help the youth?
As I grew older, I began to study the ways teachers/counselors and professors interact with younger people. There are certain character traits that are needed to mentor the youth! Some are in situations in which they don’t even know their real biological parents so having people like mentors help make life more relatable. I could literally see myself in front of a classroom helping guide younger people in the right direction through education. During my sophomore and junior years of undergrad, I served as a member of SNAP mentoring which is an initiative created under multicultural student services. SNAP, standing for students navigating and assisting peers, this group gave me the perfect chance to engage with incoming freshman as they got ready to transition into college mentally and physically.
This stage serves as a valuable time in one’s life as you get ready to enter into a whole new atmosphere where its easily to get thrown off track and distracted. Being a role model and aid to these younger students carries a lot of weight as it gives them a person with campus experience to associate with or use as a reference for their academic success.
On top of all that you do, you are seeking to obtain your Masters! How do you juggle all that you have on your plate?
Time Management! Knowing and understanding your agenda is very important. I love staying busy because it keeps my mind flowing. Mentoring is important to me that’s why I will continue to do so but mastering the use of your time throughout the day can be applied to anybody rather if you’re in school perusing a degree or not.
Tell us about your love for skating, have you always been good at it?
I’ve always had a love for skating. This all started when I was about 8-years-old and I would go to Red Wing Roller Away off Decker Road in Columbia, South Carolina. This is where I originally learned how to skate. Moving to Atlanta and going to Cascades every Sunday has allowed me to get even better! Atlanta’s skate culture is very different and up to beat so it gives people the chance to embrace new skills while adding their own touch.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the years to come and what can we expect to see from Devon Brownlee in the future?
The startup of the brand #GrandpasCloset which as online and mobile vintage thrift shop. I’ve teamed up with my brother Miles and our mission is to provide vintage garments from thrift stores across the nation to our community. The designer clothing that I used for my recent photo shoot is by Reese Alexander. @reesealexander. DM for any inquires and that goes for modeling, purchasing merchandise, networking, collabs, etc. I’m taking the modeling endeavor serious as well as I have aspirations to cross collaborate with multiple model agencies. #LinkInWithDevon is the YouTube channel that’s up and running so be on the lookout for new content.
With the Masters of Public Administration from Kennesaw State University, my initial plans are to take all the courses required for graduation while pursuing an internship or field placement opportunity in the Fulton County School District possibly serving as an Administration Consultant/Assistant or teaching assistant as both will help with the career goals that I have set. With the internship opportunity hopefully I can get some beneficial hands on work with local teachers or administration groups as collaborating with these individuals would further assist and develop my oral skills in a educational environment, while also using the skills and assets learned from the placement to help with community service based activities and promote diverse learning.
These connections can be used as recommendations for job positions, and networking platforms for service projects. Post-graduation plans include going to Clark Atlanta University to obtain a Ph.D. in history or attending Georgia State University for a Ph.D., in Education or History but also to discover new methods for inquiring and resolving questions promoting a diverse and well-rounded community.