Hey guys I know it’s been a minute but guess what! I got the chance to catch up with Mike the Creative Director and owner of Whence&Whither. After speaking with him all I can say is that he is the epitome of a humble individual! Check out what he had to say!
Mike: My name is Mike Brun and I am the Creative Director of Whence&Whither.
Me: Mike can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Mike: That’s my least favorite question cause I hate talking about myself. I am 26 years young, Haitian American, and I grew up in Orlando, FL. My parents always taught me that if you could work hard then you can do anything. They always put that faith in me. I never really grew up thinking that there was nothing that I couldn’t do. My problem was deciding on what to do and being passionate enough to see it through. I was that kid that thought I was good at it, but never took that extra step to be great. So one of the decisions I decided to do was push myself to the next level.Me: I get what your saying. It kind of sounds a little bit like me at this point now. Can you tell me how you came about Whence&Whither?
Mike: I was playing football in Missouri and I kind of fell out of love with the passion. When that was happening I stopped caring about school and kinda let my life drag away. I wouldn’t say that I was depressed but I reached a very low point in my life. I had to have a conversation with myself to focus on something and figure out what I enjoyed. I was going to drive myself crazy. So I wrote a list down of everything that I loved. Fashion was at the top of the list of things that I wanted to pursue. It wasn’t fashion at first but I just enjoyed getting dressed in the morning. That brought me happiness. So I was like cool I’m going to focus on clothes. I started drawing t-shirts and I met this girl named Francine. She took my vision and grew and blew it up. We started going to fashion shows and getting into designer stuff. It introduced me to more nice things. We were at a fashion show and I met this teacher at International Academy in Orlando and she gave me the advice to go to school. That was the first time I thought about even going to school for it. She talked to me about their program so I decided to attend school that next semester in Tampa. of Design and Technology
Mike: About 3 or 4 years ago.
Me: So Francine was the one that motivated you and got that fire going in you I see! Can you tell me what is the inspiration behind the clothes you design?
Mike: Our mantra is versatile, functional, and forward. Those are the three things that we think about when going thru the design process. We go for comfort and sporty materials because they feel better on the skin. We like to keep it very simplistic and classic with a modern design and a twist.
Me: Is it for males and females?
Mike: It is for males but we have a lot of female clients.
Mike: It took 2 years because going into it I already had my AA degree. So I had a few general education classes left to take. The hardest part was learning how to sew because I had no experience in it. It took most of the time perfecting it, but I stayed diligent and I didn’t fail any classes. I graduated with a 3.36 GPA with honors. When I was younger I didn’t care about grades I just wanted to play sports. That’s also where the athletic inspiration comes from.
Me: Wow! That is so good! What sports did you play?
Mike: I played football, basketball, soccer, volley ball, track, etc. Pretty much any sport that you can think of. If it had a ball I was active trying to do it.
Me: But you still had an eye for fashion?
Mike: I always liked to get dressed. My mother put that in me because my father was a Pastor and she was the First Lady. So I was used to having that spotlight–radar to come with it every single Sunday. She instilled that in me and I took that and applied it to everyday. I would be that kid to put my outfits together and wait to wear mine after the first week of starting school.
Me: You jumped clean and fresh on everybody with your new stuff on lol! How would you describe your own personal style?
Mike: I would say that I’m a mood dresser. I dress how I feel for the day. I’m usually even tone with jeans and a t-shirt or maybe basketball shorts. I like to do a little bit of everything so one day I may want to dress like Fonzworth Bentley, the next day Andre, ASAP, or Kanye.
Me: You like to switch it up a little bit..
Mike: Yes, eclectic!
Me: I like that word too because it does describes everything about you! I know you went thru a down and out phase and I wanted to know what did you do when you lost your inspiration?
Mike: I have two answers. When I was down and out I had to focus on me cause I know I got myself there and I had to get myself out. I spent a lot of time alone and I didn’t talk to anybody. I had three good friends while I was in Missouri: D lo, Scott, and Nick Pettlon. They tried to keep me in my highest spirits and could sense there was something different from how I’ve always been. I had to focus on something that I loved to get myself out of it and that’s what I did. Present day when I look for inspiration when I feel like I’m in a rut with my creative inspiration I go to synthetic inspiration. Basically you pick apart stuff that you like and tweak/ move it around to make it better. That’s how I get out of a rut whether it be two days, weeks, or months. There is always that moment when the light bulb goes off when something new comes and you kind of run with that.
*As I’m taking notes..
Me: Who inspires you whether it’s a relative, celebrity, singer, etc?
Mike: My mother that’s my baby and I love her to death. I’ve seen her work so hard and diligent to provide for us. She embodies that love that you would want to aspire to be like. She gives unconditional love no matter what happens even when she is mad and makes sure your fed. Even for people she doesn’t know she has always been that person. She was always the person the kids ran to for candy at church. I felt like she gave me good morals and at the same time she showed me that work ethic that it takes to be successful. They moved straight from Haiti to Jersey and started a business. They taught me how to be an entrepreneur and be independent from the system. They inspired most of things I did. She also went to school for fashion which I didn’t find out about until I graduated.
Me: Oooooooh ok, she didn’t tell you?
Mike: I would always see her making stuff on the sewing machine but I never put two and two together.
Me: So it was in your blood basically?!?
Mike: One day I was in my office and I was working and she found one of her old journals and showed me her old drawings and patterns that she made.
Me: What was your reaction when you found that out?
Mike: I was like I can ask you questions now cause you know what your doing lol.
Me: Wow that is crazy!
Mike: It’s funny cause the last collection I did had a bunch of different fabrics. On the detailing I put in suede and this one hounds tooth suede with a cotton twill that kept slipping and moving. I got frustrated cause I didn’t know how to make it stop. She told me that I had to baste it in place and put a loose stich thru it so it stayed while sewing. I was like duh I knew that to myself but didn’t think about it until she showed me. It was good to have her there to help me out.
Me: I bet she is very proud of you now! And you always have that one person that can help you when you get frustrated. That is awesome!
Mike: I think she is more so just glad I focused on anything at all.
Me: And finally figured out what it is that you really wanted to do…
Mike: She is definitely happy that I chose her passion, but with whatever I chose she would’ve been ok with it. If I wanted to be a garbage man she still would’ve supported me.
Me: That’s a mother for you! She will still support you anyway. That’s unconditional love and a mother. My mother is the same way!
Mike: We are blessed!
Me: We are very blessed! Are there any tips or advice that you would like to give to future entrepreneurs, designers, or creatives?
Mike: Never let anybody tell you that you can’t be or do nothing. If you can put your mind to it and your willing to put in the work to get there cause it’s not going to be easy; you can do anything.
“If you focus on your craft it’s literally like a mathematic formula to it. It takes 10,000 hours to perfect a craft. If your not willing to atleast put in 10,000 hours before you decide to quit and move on to something else then it’s not that IT didn’t work, it’s that YOU didn’t work. So if you want to be anything you can do it.”
Not to be funny but Donald Trump of all people will be the president. So you cannot tell me you can’t do anything. And currently who do we have now President Obama.
Me: I totally agree with that. We just gotta keep it moving.
Mike: It’s going to be real hard. I wanted to give up soooo many times.
Me: But I bet your glad that you didn’t now.
Mike: I’m so glad!
Me: Even like looking at your instagram I’m like he is really doing something. And it looks like you have a good support system behind you. I’m thinking like wow this is cool and your inspiring me.
Mike: I definitely have some good support. I appreciate that!
Me: Where do you see yourself in the future and are there any new events/ projects that you are working on currently.
Mike: Our website launched recently. As far as the future we want to be known as more than just a clothing brand but more of a philosophy. So what we are going to do is help elevate planetary consciousness. That’s what we kind of push with the main thing being self love cause if you don’t love yourself you can’t love other people. We also want to get to the point where we are more involved in the community by having events where we go out and feed the homeless. Whatever we think, we aspire to do. Just teaching things like the right eating habits, how to better your diet, getting enough excercise, and the psychology of fashion. (When you dress good you feel good) When you put yourself together from day to day you take care of yourself and start on a good note the good will keep rolling…start on a bad note the bad will keep rolling.
Me: Absolutely! It’s all about mindset! Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Mike: I would like to say thank you to you for the interview and I appreciate you reaching out.
Me: Nooo, thank you!
Mike: To anybody that is looking for what’s next to come we just want to promise to always be an inspiration and to always push creativity. I feel like in this day and age where the system is trying to get rid of the arts and taking them out of the schools like losing music and drum programs with low funding. They are cutting athletics like cheerleading. We promise to always be that inspiration to promote the arts.
Me: And I will keep watching because I know you have some good things in store for you.
Mike: I’m excited!
Me: I’m excited too! Thank you so much for having me!