Chris Gibbs and Designer Chelsey Carter-Sanders Talk Mentorship, Shaping Fashion's Future and More

Carter-Sanders is mentored by streetwear legend Chris Gibbs through the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple’s Classic Remix program.

Fashion 
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Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple’s Classic Remix program is completing its fourth year of championing independent brands and fostering diversity in the fashion industry.

This year, Jack Apple Classic Remix saw designer Ouigi Theodore of The Brooklyn Circus make a return from 2021 to deliver a remarkable collection consisting of a varsity jacket, cardigan sweater, and cap. Beyond the special edition drop, Classic Remix’s 2024 edition also heralds another round of mentorships. This time, it connects streetwear legend Chris Gibbs with 2022 Jack Apple Classic Remix grant winner, Chelsey Carter-Sanders. Carter-Sanders, the founder of her fashion label Alex Carter and co-founder of Black Women Are Essential, partnered with Gibbs for a video segment to discuss the importance of Black voices in fashion, the nuances of building a clothing brand, and more.

Chris Gibbs’ impact on streetwear has resonated across generations, leading the influential retail space UNION and its private label clothing line. Additionally, Gibbs has been a beacon of inspiration for both up-and-coming designers and his peers. He’s been featured on Hypebeast’s annual HB100 list, which honors the most accomplished figures in street culture. Hailing from Saint Louis, Chelsey Carter-Sanders unveiled her unisex fashion label, Alex Carter, in 2015. Her line challenges the boundaries of sensuality without relying on overt exposure, attracting high-profile clients. In collaboration with Jack Apple’s Classic Remix, with Gibbs serving as mentor, Carter-Sanders and Gibbs merge their unique fashion perspectives.

Gibbs mentoring Carter-Sanders is streetwear and womenswear coming together, especially in the age of gender neutral fashion in which Carter-Sanders excels. “I think that more women are starting to embody, want to implement and wear more men’s inspired silhouettes, textiles and just overall vibes,” Carter-Sanders told Gibbs. “So I think that it’s perfect that you are mentoring me and we’re in conversation around this because I pull a lot of inspiration from menswear when making clothes for women.”

The two also touched on the challenges people of color face when it comes to access and recognition in the fashion industry. “Programs like this (Jack Apple Classic Remix) are really important for up-and-coming designers,” Gibbs said. “Fashion historically has not at all been inclusive and has pushed people out. I’m very proud that fast forward 25 years, the biggest thing streetwear has done has ushered in more inclusivity in fashion.” For Carter-Sanders, breaking barriers had to start with her own vision and the goals she wanted to reach for her community. “I started the brand really just because I saw a hole in visibility of what black women designers look like,” she said. “There were none that I could look up to when I was in school and really wanting to become that girl for another young girl or guy. And now I can create these beautiful collections in tandem while telling beautiful stories.”

Jack Apple Classic Remix extends Jack Apple’s ethos of cultivating the talents of independent designers looking to make their mark on the fashion industry. The initiative prides itself on being able to fully support artists through not just mentorships but also grants and exposure, which is something the brand has been able to grow since the program’s inception in 2021 and still continues on to this day and beyond.

“What I really appreciate about this program is that they (Jack Apple) really support the artist,” Gibbs mentioned. “And I think that’s beautiful to just give them the opportunity to be the designer, and artist they want to be.” For Carter-Sanders, Jack Apple Classic Remix seamlessly aligned with her values. “I didn’t even know that this was possible for me and it cemented the principality behind what it is that I do, how it’s done, and the rooms of opportunity that it provides,” she said. “But also being a beacon of hope and or aspiration for a lot of young designers that look like me, that look like us, who didn’t see it possible.”

To learn more about Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple Classic Remix, head to Jack Daniel’s official website.

Please Drink Responsibly.

Whiskey Specialty, 35% Alc. by Vol. (70 proof). JACK DANIEL DISTILLERY, Lynchburg, Tennessee. Jack Daniel’s and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple are registered trademarks. ©2024 Jack Daniel’s. All rights reserved.

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