Dr. Farrah Gray a millionaire genius has captivated the designing industry with his creativity and ingenuity for the fashion industry. Dr. Gray crafted his life from poverty to being destined to an entrepreneur icon. Dr. Farrah Gray rose from poverty to purpose through working hard and fighting to live above the norm. He has had great mentors stemming from far and close but his mother and grandmother were his biggest motivation to live his dream to the fullest.
His journey was not one that was handed to him but was earned by hard work and dedication at the age of six selling home-made body lotion and hand painted rocks as book ends.
Gray understands how being an entrepreneur has its greatest advantages but will never forget the journey it took to get to become a retired millionaire that travels around the world and designs for celebrities, empowers and educates across the globe.
Dr. Farrah Gray shares with K.I.S.H. Magazine how he collaborated and created a million dollar jacket that has made an outstanding embark on his career in the fashion industry.
TM: When did you first realize you had a dream and a passion to be a fashion designer?
FG: Pretty much from a youngster I always looked at what was possible from outside of a box perspective … I would always ask people how many of you believe you are an out of a box thinker and people always raise your hand… And I would always say first of all in order to think outside of the box you first have to believe you are inside the box. SO let’s throw the box away… So I always try to not just think outside of the box but pretend there isn’t a box at all so I always believe that your visibility is just important as your ability and being an entrepreneur and marrying the two. My passion for fashion and always hitting red carpets, speaking engagements. I’ve done over now 1,000 public appearances and I don’t really recall ever really wearing the same thing over maybe I might of stuck with an outfit or two but what I found I was always referring people to other designers and for the most part a lot of them didn’t look like us. So, I wanted to step in the area of fashion very quickly and stop referring, directing, recommending and giving props to others when I said to myself we as the people do fashion well. I mean we are the originators of style and culture not necessarily of traditional fashion but the pieces and the colors and the folk ways and more ways of norms of our people we have always been a people of rhythm and culture and what I have seen over global land scape in the fashion world I have not seen really anyone get our culture right and really be able to vibe with our rhythm so I said I’m going to offer something different so it’s been on my mind for a couple years but just a recent launch.
TM: Did you always know entrepreneurship was an avenue you wanted to experience or was that just something you felled into?
My mother left my father when I was very young. He was a black leader and activist name,Khalid Abdul Muhammad and one thing that was always very relevant from his message and my mom’s message to me (even though I didn’t grow with my father in the house who was one of the greatest of our time) was this “who we give our dollars to is who we give our power to” and when my mother left my father when I was young I grew up in such poverty but what was confusing in our neighborhood in the hood and the ghetto I never saw business owners for the most part that looked like us. It was always other people taking taxes from clothes worth money out of our community as we got poorer their communities got richer and richer. So, if you’re not a table you’re on a menu. So entrepreneurship is extremely important at a very early age wanting to provide for my mother and help her pay the bills as she had two back to back heart attacks. I made it an extremely very important mission of mine to focus on starting my own business to employ myself and I think entrepreneurship is so important we look at the state of black America rather if it was today or 30, 40 years ago the turn of commission it was so many reports over the past few decades that discussed the flight of our people and that fact we lived so far below the poverty line. However, we have the buying power over a trillion dollars which would make us one of the top 20 powerful wealthiest nation in the world. We are really a nation within in a nation but we don’t recycle black dollars. The Asian community dollar roughly stays in their community for 30 days. The whites in general 17 days. We as African Americans keep our dollars for 6 hours. I believe It’s very important for entrepreneurship. At a very early age it made sense that I needed to hire myself and not beg the oppressors for something I believe as the people we could do for ourselves and that’s to create our own jobs through entrepreneurship.
TM: Who was the very first person you created a design for?
FG: The first few folks I every designed for were family members. Thereafter I designed for a private client who was my first paying client. However, it has catapulted to a creation of a 10 million dollar jacket with over 460 karats of diamonds that is currently available on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. This was a collaboration piece with jeweler extraordinaire Peter Marco. One of the best to ever provide extraordinaire jewels all the way from some of the top entertainers as well as royal family members. This makes me the first African American with a line that actually bare his name. It’s a series of jackets available and can be customized on Rodeo. I wanted to also show that African Americans do luxury extremely well and as an example to develop the ultrahigh end piece. A percentage of the jackets will be given to charities. In fact we have four potential buyers for the jacket as we speak. It’s been truly an honor to collaborate with Peter Marco.
I believe giving back is so very important. I truly feel we all should be ashamed to die unless we made a contribution to society. I am all about planting seeds positively economically that will harvest in a positive way for others and that’s really my message for philanthropy and economically evangelism that will have two charities the proceeds will be given back to with being open to more charities.
TM: Did you have a mentor that? Who was the person who helped you to transition to designing for celebrities?
FG: No, I didn’t have a mentor per say but there have been so many phenomenal black designers that are currently in the industry that gone before me and I feel with many respect I stand on their shoulders not just given credit to just one but just giving credit to our overall gifts and creativity in the world of fashion and by the way of black designers.
TM: Do you envision doing another creation such as the 10 million dollar jacket?
FG: Yes, we have quit a few other jackets we are working on as we speak and you can actually order jackets that aren’t as expensive. These jackets range more in the $25,000 and they have diamonds on them as well. They are just different quality as well as different karat numbers. You can customize then from one Karat to hundreds of Karats and that’s’ for customization at Peter Marco Jewels.
TM: What is your favorite part of being a fashion designer?
Limitless creativity, looking at what is and looking at what hasn’t been done and or either what has been done but not done that well. I’ve always again had a fashion for passion and originally starting off in entrepreneurship was based on wanting to make money and the whole making sure my family, my mother, my grandmother would never have to think about poverty or that level of stress because as they say “Ghetto life makes everybody uptight”. Now being semi -retired because I have properly invested all the millions I’ve made over the years. I never have to work another day in my life by God grace and my mother and grandmother is still retired to this day. So fashion gives me that outlet creatively and also I think it’s a known fact that we act, behave and we feel how we look so to play a small part of someone else putting on a piece and looking their best and feeling their best and creating phenomenal memories with pieces that I’ve made is truly an honor for me and to get the stories of “ oh, I wore this and got this compliment” or” I lived to close this deal” or “I killed them on the red carpet” or” I was killing it”. I thought about naming the company Killing the Game or Killing the fashion Industry or something like that but I stuck with Farrah Gray Couture because not every knows what killing it is all about. I always jokingly say, whenever I create a piece and it does well or its selling out I be like “ Man I’m getting ready to ride around in a hearse my friends was like “what” because I’m killing them, I’m just killing them. When you’re killing it that’s what you have to drive. That’s a little inside joke.
TM: Is there a celebrity that you would like to design for that you have yet to design for?
FG: Of course, but I’m going to hold on to that right now because I am actually collaborating with several different celebrities. I am currently sitting at the four seasons in a very powerful movement that I was able to slip away to have this interview. That’s what we are currently discussing with some iconic celebrities that I never knew they knew my name or knew what I was doing or even heard of me. So, I was like wow, very interested, okay. I have been sitting with quit of few industry players here today discussing some collaborative deals and K.I.S.H. magazine gets the exclusive on this.
TM: Describe how you feel when you see one of your designs on the red carpet.
FG: The easiest way to describe is kind of like my brother who just celebrated his 66th birthday, Flavor Flav, says “ Woooooowwwww. That’s the feeling I get. It’s an Amazing feeling. It’s an outer body experience, it’s almost like did you really do that and I didn’t even know that I was that creative. One of the things I am really excited about is the fact that I try to tell people all the time it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t know what you can’t do yet. It’s like a child. You know when your young you think you can fly. You jump off a dresser, jump off the couch with a cape. You haven’t been jaded with the negative noise of society so with Fashion I’m not confined creatively.
TM: What advice would you give to young designers that’s just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?
FG: Most people say you have to be at the right place at the right time. I would say, No, you have to be everywhere all the time. Introducing yourself, networking because a lot of times what has helped me I am both left brain and right brain. I’m on the creative side but I also understand that there is a very practical marketing dollars and cents expect to every business and a lot of time we just focus on the creative side or we just focus on the business side. So you have to understand that with your passion you need to look for multiple streams of revenue monetization. How many broke artist do we know? There are countless of them. It’s like in the book industry, how many phenomenal books exist and I always say there are millions of English language books published annually and never even sell five thousand copies. However, it’s not book it’s the hook. So, you have to really introduce yourself, market get on the phone with K.I.S.H. Magazine if you are blessed with that opportunity to promote and introduce and project and be everywhere all the time. Sometimes I am in two cities in one day with meetings and sometimes I’m in different countries. I may be in London tomorrow back in New York in LA then back to maybe even Ghana and I have to go back to Italy, Paris so you definitely have to connect with people and again networking is the most powerful piece remain creative and don’t forget to network.
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Tamika MaCheyle, Columnist for K.I.S.H. Magazine