Today we’d like to introduce you to Dwight Carter.
Hi Dwight, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I started my career in the music business. I attended Fontbonne University where I received a degree in Music Business and then extended my college years to get a Communication/PR degree. Music started when I was in the seventh grade when I got a bass guitar for Christmas. My grandfather was a musician so I was around music my whole early life.
When I was in college I started an organization called the Society of Musical Diversity. This organization basically coordinated on-campus concerts. The school student government-funded my organization to book entertainment on campus. This began my event coordinating journey. It started out with being bored with the on-campus activities and needing to put my music business degree to work!
I fell in love with entertainment marketing while pursuing my music business degree. After college, I spent 12 years working in the music business promoting concerts, managing and promoting bands, and working as a record label marketing rep before being drawn to the fashion event industry.
My first big project was working with Mother Model Management as a volunteer at a fashion show called “Fash n’ Bash”. I became educated on fashion show production, high profile models and got to book local designers to be in the show! Two weeks later I started building my business plan to be in the fashion industry.
I continued to build rapport in fashion by attending networking events weekly and handing out business cards that said “Dwight Carter, Fashion Expert”. This business card got me jobs as a personal shopper, photo stylist, event producer, PR consultant, marketer, back-of-house stylist for fashion shows basically whatever “Fashion Expert” meant to that person.
My first fashion show production was Project: Design! which lead me to be one of the founders and producers for St. Louis Fashion Week. Project: Design! Became the local and regional designer competition that kicked off St. Louis Fashion Week. Once St. Louis Fashion Week dissolved, I rebranded and it was called the Pins and Needles Designer Competition which ran for ten years.
Once established within the industry, I steered my focus to event planning with a niche in fashion and entertainment. I have successfully planned, produced, and executed many events, including fashion shows, small business launches, charity events, and corporate parties and galas. I also created annual Brainchild Signature Events—Fashion Anarchy, F2, and Gent! Menswear Designer Show.
Fashion Anarchy took over where Pins and Needles left off and that was to provide a competitive designer competition that gave designers a platform to show their talents in front of media, fashion industry professionals, and potential new clients. Fashion Anarchy has evolved from an event into a reality TV show on The Ah! TV Network. Designers are given challenges to create one look and are judged by local fashion industry professionals such as designers, retailers, marketers, and educators. The show airs on Monday nights at 7 pm.
F2 was an idea that I created to show how the culinary industry and fashion industry relate. I paired up designers with chefs to create a fashion and food experience. Each course the chef presented as a representation of a group of looks created by a designer.
Gent Designer Fashion Show was created to elevate men’s fashion and was launched in 2015. Gent continued until 2018 and relaunched on April 28, 2022, to continue the mission of men’s fashion.
For the past eight years, I have been given the opportunity to be an educator. I teach Fashion Show Production and Promotion as an adjunct instructor at Stevens-The Institute of Business & Arts. I have also been a guest speaker at Fontbonne University, Washington University, Lindenwood University, and Webster University speaking on careers in the fashion industry.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road! I have had good times and bad. I learn from the bad and keep moving. The main struggle that I have had are funding.
Fashion is an expensive business and often hard to execute with limited funds. I have been lucky enough to have very supportive sponsors to put on the events that I have been able to execute. More funding would allow me to expand my creativity and allow designers to be exposed at a much greater level.
During the pandemic my event industry was tough. Events were canceled and I did not know how to proceed so I transitioned into the marketing side of things. Brainchild Events was rebranded into Brainchild Next to open up more opportunities to help the creative industry survive during Covid.
This may have been the toughest time being that 80% of my business was creating and producing events. Marketing and promotion for clients were secondary and now had to be primary in order for my company to continue.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Brainchild Next wears a lot of hats… I wear a lot of hats. The focus is to help creatives, not just fashion but art and music as well. I have been a fan of St. Louis creatives since the age of 17 years old when I started attending concerts.
I am very proud of the musicians and designers that I have influenced or inspired to be the best they can be. I am also really proud of the students, interns, and volunteers that I have taught how to run and promote a fashion show.
My services are as follows:
Event Marketing – Brainchild works with business owners in planning their social media marketing to help present their inspiration, innovation, products, and creativity in front of St. Louis media, shoppers, educators, established designers, and other industry professionals.
Seeing creatives succeed is important to me and being a part of the process gives me goosebumps! Marketing and promotion are key to a successful creative.
Event Production – Events are a great tool to launch a product or service.
We handle event logistics such as venue search, event layouts, ticketing and sponsor activation.
We are able to take an idea and make it into a reality. Whether you have an existing event or just an idea for an event we can help you!
There are lots of steps that involve a successful event production. I handle everything from scouting locations, staffing volunteers, designer curation, concept development, entertainment booking, and directing the show. We have a list of DJ’s, musicians, designers and artists that we have worked with if needed for any event.
Consulting. Brainchild works with existing events and marketing campaigns as an advisor and consultant. We can take over and manage, be the piece of the puzzle you are missing or evaluate your concept.
I love to be hands-on in the client’s concepts but I can also be a guide and consult with them on how to execute their own events, concepts, and projects.
Brainchild Next specializes in fashion events. Fashion shows are great for designers to promote their brands but also great fundraisers for non-for-profit organizations who want a fashion show for entertainment purposes. Our events have been featured in St. Louis Magazine, Ladue News, Delux Magazine, Alive Magazine, The Riverfront Times, Fox 2 and KSDK
Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
I was a big music fan! I grew up listening to my grandfather playing music and watching MTV. I was eclectic just like the musical artists I saw on MTV. Even at the age of 10 years old, I loved to be different and stand out amongst my friends and family. I was also very much an introvert but somehow had lots of friends!
In high school, my friends were the punk rock kids, hip hop kids, and metalheads. We all had music in common and I was the connector that would bring these somewhat different groups together. Being a black kid who loved punk and rock music was weird to some of my peers. I had to find like-minded people to really feel like I fit into my high school years.
My favorite sport was soccer. I couldn’t get enough of it! I used to have mini-camps in my parent’s backyard for my cousins. Lol, I didn’t make my freshman soccer team but eventually got a chance to play my sophomore year which was the only year that I played soccer because music became my focus.
- Contact Dwight Carter directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.brainchildnext.com
- Instagram: @brainchildnext, @fashion_anarchy_stl, and @gent_by_brainchild
- Facebook: @BrainchildNext
Cory Weaver Photography and Eric Nemens Photography