Article by: Jeff Adelson
Styling Tips by: Lily Martin
Photos by: Amy Huang and Caroline Geithner
“We’ve always been into fashion and the wave of anticipating what’s next,” describes Camion Horton (SCS ‘17), founder of new apparel line, Young Wild Genius. “My thing was, I wanted us to provide something that would keep people on their toes, but at the same time give them a sense of confidence.” Since creating her brand this summer, Camion, joined by K Mee (COL ‘17) and Deshaun Rice (COL ‘19), has experienced a level of success paralleling her company’s name – wild. I sat down with Camion and K to discuss their initial achievements, the ideas behind their company, and their direction moving forward.
To date, Young Wild Genius has made hats, particularly “Dad Hats” – their signature item and the only product currently available on their website http://www.youngwildgeniusonline.com/. When I asked ‘why’ Dad Hats, K responded, “Dad Hats [as a trend] has been more universally accepted as unisex, so we’re not catering to any specific kind of person. You don’t have to have a certain fashion style, you don’t have to be tomboyish or whatever, anyone can wear them.” The success of Young Wild Genius has already verified this universal appeal; they have sold hats internationally on their website, to a number of students on campus, and to two brick-and-mortar stores in New Jersey and Virginia.
The Clearport in Jersey City was the first store to express an interest in their merchandise. As Camion describes, “The guy that owns the shop, his name is Hatham, he is a stylist for P Diddy, he has a lot of other accolades. He’s well known in the New York and New Jersey area. He called me over… and he was like ‘How ‘bout you put your hats in my shop?’ and I was thinking it would be two or three hats but we get half of the store!” Not to mention the hats have done well there, with more being shipped to the New Jersey location and to a new store, ThriftLorde$ in Manassas, Virginia, each month for restock. Camion and K both remarked on the enthusiasm of their partner stores, saying, “I don’t think we’ve had to do much work to convince people to carry our products,” and “Even though these two stores have been in the business longer, we can tell by the way they’ve interacted with us that they see a lot of potential in us, and that’s why they’ve initiated working with us.”
Building off this success, the brains behind Young Wild Genius are now considering expanding their merchandise to include clothing in addition to hats. Camion expressed her dreams for the brand, “I want to be able to have a physical shop and bring in people who have been with and supported Young Wild Genius from the beginning. Anyone can sell something, but if somebody is working there and they feel empowered and they’re providing something that’s bigger than what the product is, like they’re selling an experience, rather than just a hat or a shirt, … I really want a shop and to expand to more shops that are not just on the east coast, but also in other parts of the world – that would be dope.” Underlying this and everything else Camion and K shared was a desire to create more than just a product, a desire to engage with their customers in an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual support.
Camion touched on this theme, “Seeing the talent within us, as people of color… just seeing the potential within us is something I think is sometimes overlooked. And both of us being queer… brings so much power to what we are doing.” And K added, “Just being who we are and being the people who own this business… we’re never gonna have a problem with being exclusive – [our identity] is not fake.” Camion also expressed her ambitions to ensure customer’s long-term satisfaction by first providing quality products, and then by staying in contact and taking their feedback into account when considering the company’s future plans. Camion, K, and Deshaun are thankful for their initial success as now it allows them to expand Young Wild Genius in not only the right way, but in their own way.
Dying to try the Dad Hat trend for yourself? Click below for stylist Lily Martin’s tips on how to achieve K and Camion’s effortlessly cool style.
Camion would like to give special shoutouts to: K and Deshaun for all the work they do, The Clearport in Jersey City, and ThriftLorde$ in Manassas. Be sure to check out Young Wild Genius on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YoungWildGenius/?fref=ts and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ywginc/ for more info.