Brad Smith is pleased to launch a one-of-a-kind fashion design competition for emerging U.S. fashion designers — DESIGN FOR BRAD SMITH
This competition gives designers a chance to submit a complete Red Carpet Look; suit, shirt, accessories and vest, if applicable as a hand or digitally created sketch, including anticipated fabrics for production. The winning look will be hand-selected by Brad Smith and a panel of fashion industry professionals and produced by an experienced fashion production firm. Brad will showcase the completed, winning look on the red carpet before & after a press worthy MBFW event – February2014. In addition to a cash prize, the designer will enjoy an all expenses paid trip to NYC to accompany Brad on the red carpet, attend a fashion week show, meet with the press, and network with fashion notables during the visit. Plus, attend an exclusive cocktail reception hosted by Brad, at The Strand NYC (Top of the Strand Lounge) attracting press outlets and his invited VIP network.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, Brad Smith (#16) was known in high school for his rapid ball release skills. However, looking at his athletic- and personal resume would make “Do it all” seem a more apt moniker. The former Missouri Tiger began his relationship with sports at age six, when his mother, Sherri, signed him up for the basketball team at the local YMCA. Soon after, he was also on his church’s youth football team. “My mom was the mother and the father in our house,” says the Youngstown, OH native, “and she wanted to make sure her sons were tough.”
Brad continued to play both sports throughout his time at Chaney High School, earning two all-state selections in football, two All-City Offensive Player of the Year honors and an all-city selection in basketball. During his high school career he threw for 34 touchdowns and more than 2,700 yards. He also rushed for more than 1200 yards and scored 19 times on the ground.
By the time Smith arrived at the University of Missouri, though, it was clear that football was his calling. After redshirting in 2001, he never missed a start and became the first player in NCAA history to pass for at least 8,000 yards and run for 4,000 yards. The Business Administration major was also the first NCAA Division 1-A player to amass more than 2,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a season twice in his career. He set more than 68 different Mizzou, Big 12 and NCAA game, season and career records, but he didn’t only excel on the field. He was named to the Big 12 All-Academic team, was a finalist for the Academic Heisman award and participated in a variety of community activities including the Truman Club, Student Athlete Advisory Committee Food drive and Athletes in Action. He graduated in 2005 and was working toward his master’s degree in economics when he was selected 103rd overall in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL draft by the New York Jets.
Drafted as a Wide Receiver/ Quarterback, Brad proved himself a versatile and valuable member of the Jets organization, making plays not only at those positions, but also as a running back and on special teams. During his rookie year, he was awarded the Jets’ Kyle Clifton Good Guy Award for his consistent cooperation and professionalism in dealing with various team departments. In December of 2009, he returned a kickoff for a 106-yard touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts, completing the longest kickoff return in NY Jets history and tying for the second longest kickoff return in NFL history. In 2011 after the NFL lockout, he was signed by the Buffalo Bills as an unrestricted free agent and got most of his playtime in wildcat formations. He is currently signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Thus far in his career, he’s appeared in 76 games with 17 starts and is the only NFL player in history to score touchdowns on kickoff return (three times), reception (twice), rush (twice), blocked punt (once) and also threw a touchdown pass.
Still, Bradley Alexander Smith will quickly state that he has yet to accomplish his most memorable athletic achievement- even with his February 2011 induction into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. In the meantime, he’s getting further acclimated to his new team, growing in his faith, empowering inner city youth through his foundation and now making a place for himself in fashion. He also relishes time with his wife, Rosalynn and their son, Bradley Alexander Smith, Jr., whom they welcomed into the world in July 2010.
Professional athletes are seldom publicly known for their humility. Yet brad doesn’t take much credit for his accomplishments. He says, “I’m just an ordinary guy with extraordinary faith.” It is that faith that pushes him to “do it all” even when times get rough. He says he’s constantly encouraged by Hebrews 11:1- “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”
Keser (Kassie) Haji was born in 1989, in Dohuk, Kurdistan, Northern Iraq. Her mother passed away shorty after she was born. Her father and five siblings fled the country fearing a chemical attack by Saddam Hussein regime. During the Gulf War, they took refuge in a war camp in Turkey for tow years where they were later taken in as refugees in the United States. They arrived in Spring Valley, Texas on August 31, 1993, which already had a large Kurdish population. A short time later they relocated to Bremerton, Washington for six years. Not long after, they again decided to move, this time landing in Rhode Island. This is where art shaped and changed her life forever, garnering her closest friends and confidants, as well as asserting her on the path she now follows.
Kassie’s passion for art and design started as early as the day she first held a pencil. She grew up realizing that anything that enabled her to use her creativity and innovation, especially architecture and fashion designs, was what she wanted to do.
Her local Kurdish community viewed art and fashion design as a useless thing and didn’t see it as a career, instead encouraging her to become a doctor or lawyer, etc. Once her family realized her inherent talent, they supported her in all her artistic endeavors.
In a small art classroom in Providence’s Feinstein High School, Kassie would meet two important people that would help steer the course of her academic and professional pursuit; Silay Yem, a daughter of a Cambodian refugee family, (her then and constant best friend) and Manette Jungles, the Art teacher whom recognized her skill and passion, pushing her to further study. She began attending the after-school art program at Rhode Island School of Design, where for three years enabled her to explore her abilities. She built a portfolio of work and, at the behest of her Art teacher, applied to and received a scholarship to attend the RISD Pre-College Program where she chose to focus on fashion design.
This program exposed her to the professional side of her interests and allowed her to ascertain whether or not she truly believe she could make a career of fashion design.
During the Pre-College program, under the advisement of Mara O’Day, she created yet another important portfolio, consisting of paintings and illustrations, many of which focus on fashion and architecture design which would later earn her a Golden Key award, that would provide a scholarship to the college of her choice. She applied to RISD and Columbus College of Art and Design, and was ultimately accepted to both. She then decided on CCAD because she and her family felt they liked the campus and surrounding environment better. The whole family moved to Columbus to begin a new life.
In May 2013, she graduated at the top of her class with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fashion Design from the Columbus College of Art & Design.
Since graduation, she took short break to participate in Columbus Fashion Week, freelance designed for Royal Factory, a local boutique, and was contracted to exclusively design and produce men’s and women’s attire for a large wedding party back in Rhode Island.
Her dream and goal is to launch her own clothing line. She knows it will be hard work. At the suggestion of a friend, she entered Brad Smith Emerging Design Competition with only a day and a half to complete and submit her wok. To her surprise and elation she won. Kassie truly believes this opportunity is a first and major step in beginning her career as a Fashion Designer.
As part of her Grand Prize package, Kassie Haji received a one-month internship with competition sponsor INTRICATE CONCEPTS.
At Intricate Concepts she mastered Illustrator, learned about business plans and fashion marketing, tech pack, costing and understanding her customer base. She studied trends and fabrics, discussed innovation, learned labels and logos, fine-tuned sketches of her new collection, and much more.
Kassie also visited stores along 5th Avenue to research luxury brands, had regular mentoring sessions with Eman Awuro, Creative Director of FOURFRONT1602. She met with film producer, Mellicent Dyane, had business meetings with Hyela Makoujy, Marketing DirectorSchuyler 4 Ltd Showroom, as well as with Brian Boye, Men’s Health Magazine who reviewed her new collection of sketches and discussed her future goals. She also attended the Draft Classic event during NFL draft week.