By Rachel Sokol

A creative force to be reckoned with, fashion designer Brett Johnson explains why—and how—clothing makes the man.

When your parents are media moguls Robert and Sheila Johnson, the founders of BET (Black Entertainment Television; now part of Viacom), you have one of two paths to follow: fade into obscurity, or make a fantastic name for yourself, citing your family as your inspiration.

Fashion designer Brett Johnson, 24, chose the latter, and represents the next generation of Johnson family moguls. This fall, he launched The Brett Johnson Collection of new outerwear and footwear, with successful marketing events in Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and Washington D.C.

His digital store’s debut was a creative partnership with Interview magazine and Nylon media.

“I am extremely proud of my friend Brett Johnson,” says Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Chairman and CEO of Epic Records. “His fresh, new line captures the essence of his fly sense of style.”

Johnson says, “Growing up in the entertainment world and being surrounded by innovators and creatives, I was immediately drawn to that lifestyle. I was the kid who always wanted to create things.”

He describes his recent collection as “luxury sportswear tailored for men within the creative industries.” Johnson believes that taking pride in the way you dress “conveys confidence, charisma—and creativity in a truly global sense.”

He reflects on how he’s grown over the years, both personally and professionally.

“As a pre-teen, I was in my throwback jersey phase, with every Nike Air Force 1 [sneakers] to match!” he recalls. “My style then evolved, and as a teen I wore a lot of Hugo Boss, Polo, and Burberry.” His three fashion must-haves? “Great shoes, jacket, and shirt; it’s that simple.”

In 2014, Johnson explains that his collection expands to “shirts, pants, and accessories in luxurious fabrics; all new designs.”

He adds: “I’m very excited about what I’m about to release to the world.”

When Johnson isn’t designing clothes for the oh-so-stylish male, he finds ways to give back and pursue other creative pursuits. “My heart will always be invested in sports, education, entertainment, music, and the arts—or a combination thereof,” he says. In fact, he co-produced the acclaimed Lee Daniels’ film The Butler, which received favorable reviews this summer.

“Historic biographies always intrigue me,” he says, of his interest in the film. “It’s important to revisit the past through the lens of the present context.”

As Johnson continues to carve out a niche for himself in the fashion world, he makes sure he never forgets his roots—and his motivators.

“Both of my parents inspire me,” he says. “To create BET and now their other companies while growing up with very little financial means is truly remarkable.”

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