Gay Atlanta’s own Melvin Browne is reeling and reveling in the success of his 2012 Spring/Summer collection. Get to know the man behind the swimsuits that add to your sexy bottom line.
Sold in Atlanta exclusively at Brushstrokes, HCS suits (top photo) are a natural fit for the Atlanta gay retailer in that they share a core value: community support. And having it in one store in each city is also key to the exclusive nature of the brand that makes sure HCSwimwear remains special.
That exclusivity is part of the HCSwimwear experience, and sets the company apart from other swimwear manufacturers–and sets you apart from having all the same queens sporting the same suit at that hot summer pool party.
But let’s let Browne (second photo) himself do the talking. We caught up with him to chat about expanding his HomoCouture fashion and lifestyle site into swimwear, his approach to life and work, and how by owning your look, the man makes the fashion, not the other way around.
What was the idea behind the HCS line?
I’m new to design and production, but vision has no limits. I was inspired by the lack of appealing swimwear options for men. Unfortunately, menswear is not evolving as fast as women’s. Designers today still put out the same designs and typical colors found in men’s swimwear. Swimwear is a very delicate and personal item. It’s that piece of fabric that you experience some of the most amazing and fun times in.
What makes HCSwimwear special is that it’s designed to be fashionable and comfortable. When you’re out, you must look your best, and HCS has pieces for everyone. I used bold colors and prints for this collection combined with the finest fabrics. While others pay for a designer name, HCS fans will be paying for quality and wearing pieces they love. HCS adds variety and fashionable options to the swimwear market.
Who is the HCS man?
The HCS man is fashionable and effortlessly sexy. He is a hard worker and deserves to treat himself to the finest things in life. When he’s out, he commands attention and owns his look. Not perfect, but he inspires others and is a contributor to his community.
The HCSwimwear client is special. He wants to be appreciated, and his dollar is worth more than its value. He wants the best for himself and is confident in everything that he does. You will see him at the beach, nightclub, on the boardwalk, and you may bump into him at local events.
What do you think appeals to gay men about HCSwimwear?
HCSwimwear is all about being yourself and achieving ultimate confidence. Gay men like myself shouldn’t have to be limited to what other people think we should wear.
I designed HCS to match the fashion sense and character of the person wearing them. So all the vibrant colors and prints in my collection I think will appeal to gay men the most. Also, most gay men love quality products, and once you wear your first HCSwimwear piece, you will become a lifetime lover.
What’s the background that led to you designing HCS?
I studied Fashion Merchandising in New York. I was establishing a creative portfolio and was strong in business. So from there, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but I piggy-backed off a school project and started a non-profit called HomoCouture.Com, an online fashion and lifeftyle guide for gay men.
Being as young as I am, a lot of my dreams at the time didn’t seem realistic. The only thing I was sure about is that I wanted to be a part of empowering and placing realistic positive views on the gay community. This is what made me want to extend HomoCouture into an actual product. That’s how I came up with HCSwimwear.
Why did you decide to go exclusive with Brushstrokes?
Mark [Jackson] of Brushstrokes showed so much support and interest in my line that I could not pass on the opportunity. I love when gay men support each other. It only makes our community stronger, but it also attracts respect from the rest of the world. Brushstrokes is an amazing store, and they carry almost everything.
I also don’t want to be the swimwear whore, so any stores I do deal with in the future will be the only ones in their city carrying my collection. Exclusivity is what makes HCS so special.
View Browne’s latest collection online, and get up close and personal with the line at Brushstrokes.