A 2019 Dayton Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 and 2021 Ohio Black Excellence award recipient who has launched the careers of thousands of models, designers, photographers, HMUA's, stylists, and more including Aube Jolicuer, Alexis Henry, Keilah Jude, and Aceani Michelle just to name a few. Owner of the first of its kind fashion incubator (DE-FI) Global INC, Caressa has worked behind the scenes of major New York Fashion Week events produced by IMG via the Council of Fashion Designers of America CFDA and Art Hearts Fashion. She is a founding member of the CFDA Connects Program and a member of the programs Executive Board; she sits on the Advisory Board for Hocking College's Fashion Design & Retail Merchandising Programs, and is preparing to launch the Fashion Institute of Ohio in 2023.
Previously, Caressa has served as a Trustee for the Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District, Community Voices producer for NPR affiliate 91.3 FM WYSO in Yellow Springs, and contributor to Dayton Most Metro. In a little over 8 years, she has expanded her initial company the Dayton Emerging Fashion Incubator, better known as (DE-FI) into an internationally recognized and highly coveted brand which consists of an interdisciplinary fashion incubator, the first of its kind one stop interdisciplinary fashion co-working space, the House of (DE-FI)ance, a modeling agency, (DE-FI) Models, Dayton Fashion Week, and more.
Known for her in your face bold (DE-FI)ance, GRIT factor, giving, big heart, caring spirit, yet no non-sense accountability, tough love, and disciplined approach to business and every day life, Caressa is also a mentor, brand building coach, and business advisor who continues to focus on the betterment of her community while using fashion as a platform to enact real economic change and empower those who she crosses paths with to (DE-FI) the status quo, find their voice, and use it to walk in their purpose.
Cues the music...
"When I was 17, I did what people told me, did what my father said, and let my mother mold me, but that was long ago. I'm in control, never gonna stop..." Ugh, umm...inserts looooonnnng sigh because well...right now, at this exact moment, if my autobiography were written, it would be called "I Don't Know". Simply put, that's exactly where I am in life. Not nearly at a cross roads and not quite old enough for a mid-life crisis ( to be clear, I'm not in crisis, so no need to ring the alarm). In fact I'm quite happy, whole, and complete, plus I get my 3 meals in a day with snacks in between, all 7-8 hours of sleep at night in a comfortable bed, and I have a great support system.
I know exactly who I am, what I want, and I have a plan in place to get, take, and earn everything I want and deserve. I've done the Corporate America thing, I've served my community, I've traveled, I've partied like a rock star, I've had money to blow, I've had no money to blow, I've partied with a few rock stars, I've WAG'd it out a couple of times, and I've slowly but surely checked each goal I've ever set off of my list and working on others.
I guess it's the where I am, that I gu-ess, I'm sorta kinda, might be trying to figure out, however in all honesty, I'm not sure if that's it either. This feeling, this space, this level that I'm currently occupying isn't unfamiliar to me, I've been here before, in my late 20's, my mid-thirties, and here I am again in 2022 at the age of 42, navigating this...fill in the blank. (shrugs shoulders). Actually, maybe that's it...it's the "fill in the blank" part...I think. Maybe I'm just bored and ready for a new challenge and what better challenge is there for me than to open my life up for the world to see.
Notoriously private, I'm stepping out from behind the scenes and into position(whatever position thatis! lol). I live a fairly fast paced and full life between taking care of an elderly mother who has MS and is dependent on a wheelchair; working a full time job in higher education; running an international brand that has 8 subsidiaries; and being an unexpected full time college student again....it's a lot to juggle, and then their is The Rona constantly interrupting things. Yet here I am adding one more thing to my plate because something deep inside of me is pushing me to write it all out. I'm not looking to become an "influencer", however, I'd like to think that everything that I do has a positive impact on my surroundings. I'm not really sure how long I'll do this...I'll leave that up to the spirit of discernment.
Some of the titles and adjectives that are attached to me include: Caregiver. Farmer. Higher Education Specialist. Community Engager. Rule Breaker. Disruptor. Fashion Maven. Visionary. Business Model. Industry Builder. Mogul. In short, I AM Caressa Brown, I can do ALL things, My faith in God is more powerful than any weapon formed against me. Welcome to my world...world! Strap on that seat belt and join me as I re(DE-FI)ne life after 40, one distant, in your face, rule breaking, and disruptive moment at a time. (DE-FI)ing all odds, expectations, and the status quo...while occasionally consulting with my parents for advice! lol #LifeLesson I'm not in control! lol #AreYouReady #DontWaitForPermission #WhatDoYouDEFI
Caressa L. Brown
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