FASHION MEETS PURPOSE Meet CEO Al Howard
Hello my brother thank you for sitting down with us! For the people reading please tell them your name and the name of your company?
Al Howard aka Al The Great. My company is Good Steward Apparel Brands. We have 3 clothing brands. Good Steward Apparel, No Robots Streetwear, and Be Athletics Unlimited
Tell us what your inspiration is and how you got started in the fashion business?
My inspiration is counterculturism. Counter a culture of shame and cruelty with normalizing kindness. Since the days of Adam and Eve, we traded fig leaves for fashion to hide our vulnerabilities. Culture has conditioned us to use name brands to blennd in, hide our true selves or stand out just enough for people to find us interesting and appealing. Fashion is a powerful cultural vehicle. Our brands inspire people to be their true selves. Therefore, people don’t feel the need to shame others.
I got started in fashion when God tasked me with using our fashion to illustrate his word. God gave me the inspiration behind our 1st brand Good Steward Apparel, the logo, the name, everything. God has also been the reason I have continued to push forward with the vision, because there have been some challenging times that made me want to quit. However, I am driven to please and be obedient to God.
At what age did you realize this was your passion?
I have been passionate about fashion pretty much my whole life. Even when I lived in a homeless shelter, I enjoyed putting outfits together from the pile of donated clothing. I also found great joy in dressing others.
Growing up we're you fashionable?
I felt like I was, but I dressed to fit in. I wanted to hide the fact that I had low self-esteem, was suicidal, and shy, lived in a homeless shelter, or that I had to share clothes with my cousins when I lived with my grandmother.
Describe your first design?
It was a t-shirt design. “Jesus is for everybody” It was a simple message, but very counterculture. I feel like people think Jesus and his message are only for some people to receive. Love, grace, and sacrifice are something we all can embody and show toward others.
How do you stay current with fashion trends?
I feel like it is a little of both. I stay current because I really enjoy people-watching. I get so inspired by watching people and their creativity. I also get inspired by pretty much anything, TV shows, people working, etc. I also stay in my line of mid-fashion. I like to cater to everyday people and help them really stand out in their everyday lives.
What made you decide to put your faith into your work?
My faith influenced every part of my life, my creativity, passions, etc. I really believe that the Holy Spirit has been the author of my creativity. I am so surprised at myself at times.
How has the church responded and supported you?
My church at the time Victorious Praise hosted our 1st fashion show and they supported us with some other functions as well in the beginning. I feel a lot of our customers are believers, but not necessarily regular churchgoers. Some of our messaging counters some ideas of the church, because we are a company that focuses on counterculturism. Therefore, don’t really expect whole church organizations to support our brands.
What would you say to the people trying to come up in the fashion world?
With the internet and easier access to manufacturers, access to the fashion world has become easier. However, the hardest and most important part is connecting to the audience that you are serving. Know your audience and what they want and care about. Also, be your type of creative and don’t get caught up with what everyone else is doing.
How can people get your clothes? And what's your social media handles?
Good Steward Apparel on IG, FB, and TikTok