Brandon Warren has always been surrounded by hair, makeup and all things fashion. From sitting at the hairdresser’s with his mother every other Saturday as a child, to now, sitting — and working — in his home studio, Warren’s life is one where glam is always at the forefront.
“I grew up in the ’80s, so fashion was a little more prominent, like you saw people getting dressed up,” he says, referring to the women in his family who wore colorful silks, rayon, shoulder pads and ruffles. He discovered his flair for design as a teenager, experimenting with fabric, making skirts out of jeans for girls and designing prom dresses for his classmates at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.
He went on to study marketing at Morgan State University. Then an epiphany happened, when he needed something different for a night at the club — a statement piece that would speak for him — and he couldn’t find anything. Without any sewing experience, he spent eight hours creating a shirt on a 50-year-old sewing machine he borrowed from his grandmother. When he wore the shirt to the club, everyone asked, “Where did you get this?”
“That feeling of validation basically pushed me to continue making jackets and pants and doing things for other people, so that’s how I got started,” he says.
Inspired by the luxury of Dolce and Gabbana, the timelessness of Tom Ford and the inventiveness of Balmain, Warren’s designs are for women and men who love sparkle and his clients include Pastor Jamal Bryant, Lil’ Mo, Ty Hunter and Jaslene Gonzalez. His goal is for his customers to be the center of attention when they enter a room, whether they’re slaying in a sequined gown or rocking one of his “Dream” T-shirts. It’s “comfortable leisure with a statement,” he says.
In 2003, Warren started making prom dresses. “That was probably the first time that I really sat down and challenged myself. I think, after then, I went on to do proms and a lot of people came to me and asked about weddings,” he says.
Warren went years without creating wedding dresses, wary of the stress associated with planning a wedding. But after getting married in 2016 and dealing with a wedding firsthand, he changed his tune: “I do weddings,” he says.
One wedding, in Las Vegas, was for a client he went to high school with. He enjoyed helping the bride and her bridal party, especially now that he understands all of the decisions that must be made, questions that must be asked and money that must be spent while planning a wedding. Stress is an inevitable part of the process, but he tries to put his clients at ease. “I feel like when they come to sit here, they should feel a sense of comfort to know, ‘OK, I got them,’” he says.
With so much success, some may wonder why Warren decides to stay in Baltimore, instead of moving to New York City. The answer is simple: He wants to honor his hometown by building up Baltimore and highlighting all of its charm. Not to mention, he thinks the Big Apple is oversaturated.
“Although I’m confident in who I am and what I do, I don’t want to go to a place and just get swallowed up,” he says. “I don’t want to be in the majority. I’d rather be a minority here and excel.”
This year, Warren celebrates nine years of self-employment.
“I love it,” he says. “I wouldn’t ask to be doing anything else. I enjoy making people feel good about themselves.”