ToShara Braxton is the owner and designer behind Bad Joy Customs & Apparel, a locally sourced, sustainable fashion brand that repurposes and resells pre-loved fashion. Bad Joy encourages individuality, community and sustainability.
When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
I've always known. I remember being eight years old and playing in clothes, my dolls would have clothes and I'd put together outfits. I would draw clothes in the fifth grade and show them to my teachers and friends...watching America's Next Top Model, not wanting to be the model but wanting to put clothes on the models, and always loving it.
Growing up my childhood was pretty traumatic and it was always an outlet for me, kind of my escape from all of it. Clothes made me happy and excited to do something. A lot of people told me that I wouldn't be able to pursue a career in fashion because we live in Virginia and it's not very likely. But I refused to take that. When I was eleven I begged for a sewing machine and I got one for Christmas. The rest is history.
How did you start your brand Bad Joy Customs & Apparel?
I didn’t call it Bad Joy in high school but the idea kind of surfaced then. I wanted to create a brand with one of my friends, but it didn’t turn out that way and I’m glad that it didn’t because we had two different visions. At the time all I could really use were the clothes that I already had to create something else. So that was how it started.
In college I went outside of that and let people give me something of theirs and I would make it into something new that they'd want or do repairs, like jeans with holes or that split in the back. Or if they had things that they really liked or had sentimental value, but it didn’t fit, I would flip it and make it into something that they really, really liked.
The more that I did that with my own clothes more people would ask me to do it for them. It started that way with custom orders, but I am transitioning to a new direction where I get to create the clothes that I like, and if you like it too you can buy it.
What new pieces are you working on?
These [new] t-shirts say "Save Yourself". My main thing is if you save yourself you can save the planet. Everything starts with you. If you're in a good headspace, if you know what you want, if you change your circumstances you can make a difference in the world.
Click here to watch the full interview on YouTube.