Now, Brown is a junior at the Atlanta campus of Savannah College of Art and Design in Midtown, majoring in fashion design.
He recently returned from a 10-week trip to SCAD’s Hong Kong campus with the design department’s first program at that location.
“I can say that it was a life-changing experience just living in Hong Kong,” the Stone Mountain resident and Redan High graduate said. “There were kids from all over the world, like Venezuela, Sweden and Germany. … I was competing with students from all over the world. It taught me to be more competitive and it taught me things about the world.”
Sarah Collins, associate chair of fashion at SCAD, said the Hong Kong campus is just like Savannah and Atlanta with the same course curriculum and goals.
“Hong Kong is a natural fit because of all of the production and everything that’s going on over there,” she said.
SCAD provided Brown with a $1,500 scholarship toward tuition and housing, and he said he also received a $3,000 scholarship from the Buckhead-based Paint Pals Foundation.
Brown took three courses in Hong Kong: designing for a brand, advanced fashion sketching and 20th-century art history.
Outside of schoolwork, Brown completed an assistance-ship with local designer Ranee K, helping to hand-sew sequins, studs and beads, and preparing for fashion shows.
“I worked backstage at a fashion show and made sure each model had the right outfit on before they went on stage,” he said. “I was also selected to work in a TOMS Shoes ‘Style Your Sole’ event.”
Brown said he fully embraced the culture during his stay and knows international experience will help him with his future design career, which he thinks will be in New York.
“I got to really live there and be a part of Hong Kong. I miss Hong Kong,” he said. “I feel like if I can’t get a job in America, I could get a job in Hong Kong because the economy is so great and there are so many opportunities.”
Collins said the study abroad program will play a large role in determining students’ jobs.
“We’re seeing that especially this industry is becoming so global,” she said. “The expectations of a designer are to travel all over. Being able to say, ‘I’ve come from an American university but I have international experience, and I can live and work in a big city and adapt to foreign cultures’ is something that will really help when they’re looking for jobs.”
Collins said students are selected for the program after being recommended by professors.
“Cedric was recommended because he obviously made an impression about being talented, well-spoken and able to navigate in a different situation,” she said. “Whenever we do study abroad, we ask, ‘Can they go abroad and be okay? Do they have the maturity?’ … He’s kind of a go-getter. … He has that drive in fashion.”