Since early 2020 the new fashion brand based out of Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania, Love Designs Us has been generating a small buzz with big love.
Founder Charles Love (@acoldwalmart) has always been interested in art. “I can go in any notebook I’ve ever had and there are drawings in it,” he says. When he was working at an arcade, he’d be doodling on receipts and scrap papers- collecting them all in an old iPhone box he still has today. About 3 years ago, Charles began creating graphics on Photoshop, and soon after he bought some paints and started decorating his own clothes.
When he'd be wearing the painted jeans and jackets out people were taking notice, complementing, and wanting to see more. After an opportunity to collab on a merch project, he ended up making the decision to pursue the business venture solo.
“I wanted my own brand unlike what you normally see... I knew I had to just do it on my own.”
With the knowledge and skills to thrift, tye-dye, and paint, Charles jumped into making his custom-designed threads into his own business. Each repurposed garment is a unique 1-of-1 piece that Charles custom creates by hand. His grunge DIY style combines tye-dye, graphic prints, and hand-painted designs. Original collages of drawings bring light-hearted and playful images, often featuring a signature skull character and the bubble-letter LOVE logo, on jackets and jeans makes each look stand out from the last.
“I wouldn’t call myself a designer. What I do is take things and give them new life.”
Charles sources clothes from thrift stores and The Salvation Army shops in his area; uses brushed, fabric paint, paint markers, and sharpies making clothes he's proud of and wants to wear himself.
He recalls starting out, “I took a trip to the thrift bin in Queens and it was an eye-opening experience. How people went to the bins and make a living off it.” This gave him even more ideas and comfort as he learned from watching other creators. “I always analyze people,” Charles says; telling how he often reads biographies or even Wikipedia pages of people who inspire him.
Charles is also deeply inspired by music, sometimes writing on the clothes lyrics that stand out and connect with him. He tends to gravitate towards the sound of music- it feeling fresh and new. Growing up inspired by hip-hop artists like The Cool Kids, Mac Miller, Flatbush Zombies, and recently digging into grunge, punk, and new wave artists. Some current favorites being KEY!, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti & Pi’erre Bourne.
“I love art that breaks boundaries in a good way. I love duality, deep meanings, and smart cultural references.”
At 9 months old, Charles’ parents moved from New York to Pennsylvania. "Moving here is the best thing that could have happened to me," he says reflecting on the support and possibilities from his hometown. "It's a lot more diverse and open-minded than you think or people give it credit for." There Charles has been given the safe space to work, grow, and connect with other creatives. "There's a lot of potential here… When we were younger we just didn't realize the power we have. We need to initiate that change and action."
Charles has been doing so by building opportunities for fellow creators. "I needed a photographer so I got my friend to work with me” Shout out to @denzwiththelens, who continues to work with Charles building that consistent style and brand image.
Most recently Love Designs Us held a pop-up at INKstain Studio making custom hand-done designs for visitors at a flat rate. Big appreciations for the event go to the tattoo shop owner, Ty who has opened up his space for fellow artists to work and connect with customers. “When I had questions of how I’m going to do this? Ty motivated me and pushed me to do more.”
“At the end of the day, I want the people that support me to be in the spotlight with me.”
Looking towards the future, Charles Love wants to continue to learn more, collaborate with different artists, and host pop-ups to meet with fans and other creatives. By building on what he has, growing Love Designs Us into a sustainable fashion business.
“I want to continue to inspire people. I couldn’t do anything without God and Family.”