Rafael Cox is an AIU graduate, fashion designer, and contestant on Bravo TV's Project Runway. Rafael was compensated for this guest article.
My journey as a designer has been just that, “A Journey.”
I have come from and gone through so many changes that I forget different scenarios that may have happened over time, until nostalgia takes a toll and reminds me of those moments in my life.
I grew up like most kids—dreaming of a fantasy world and creating one within my imagination in hopes that life would turn out the way I imagined it to be. I was born in New Mexico and grew up predominately in California. My California childhood was filled with games, laughter, socializing and FUN! I had plenty of friends from all different races and backgrounds, and that really gave me more insight into other cultures. I was able to explore and develop my own thoughts on life, which really helps my creativity.
In 1995 I moved to Atlanta, GA. The transition was really a culture shock due to the location and different cultures. I learned so much about myself from going through hardships within my family, being homeless, being a young out spoken “socially different” teen, and just questioning life and what I stood for. In this stage of my life I learned to be independent, self-reliant and confident within my skin. I made it a point to remind myself that if I was to succeed at anything it was all up to me and my determination to do so.
After finishing High School in Atlanta, GA I applied to five colleges and received full scholarships to three and partial scholarships to the remaining two. I just remember when applying to college and seeking out opportunities that I knew I would be doing everything on my own. The hardest part was continuing to believe in myself to succeed as well as pushing myself to continue my journey to better my future and myself.
So all of the hardships and challenges I went through as a child, teen and adult have provided me with the tools and knowledge to succeed. As Abraham Lincoln stated,
“Leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today.” So I decided to pursue all of my dreams as if there were in arms reach and never stop dreaming and pursuing them.
A quote I say after an opportunity doesn’t work out is, “Not every opportunity is intended to be for me, but the ones that are I will pursue to the fullest and be prepared for them once they present themselves.”
Designer Rafael Cox
AIU School of Design Alum