Who, What, Wear: Raul Perez Navarro
Who? Raul Perez Navarro
What? Owner and Creator, Change Your Fate Clothing Company
Raul Perez owns local streetwear clothing brand, Change Your Fate, a company that implores wearers to take risks, work hard and see every challenge as an opportunity. The range of casual apparel is graphically appealing and the garments are high quality and comfortable, with most designs available for men and women. Born in Mexico, Perez came to the United States with his family in 1996, graduated from IPFW (now PFW) with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and works for Ruoff Mortgage as a graphic and web designer. When he’s not illustrating for his nine-to-five or his side hustle, Perez likes to workout, hike and play with his two pups.
What does your design process look like? My designs start as an idea from something visually or audibly that inspires me; this inspiration could come from the art of another artist or a quote that I’ve read or sometimes heard on TV. If the idea is strong I’ll start out by sketching it out on paper or on my iPad. From the sketch I take the idea and start illustrating it and mocking it up on actual garments to make sure the idea is strong and suitable. Through this process, I’ve learned that not all designs work on shirts, or that sometimes they just need to be refined. I also like to pre-order garments to make sure the quality is strong.
At the beginning of this venture, I started by selling things that I would want to wear, focusing on men’s apparel, but the women in my life spoke up and said they wanted designs, too. I listened, and now most of my designs are unisex.
It’s hard for a one-man startup like mine to buy and sell for every season, so at the moment I’m releasing designs as a collection and on special occasions by one design-only. Some designs will never be reprinted, which keeps me creatively motivated.
Who is your typical customer? I target my brand to be more streetwear but, surprisingly enough, my list of customers varies based on the design of each garment. I’ve had 10-year-old kids buy an oversized large hoodie one minute then turn around the next minute and sell the same design to a senior citizen who just happens to love the same design. Diversity and inclusion are very important to me and to the brand.
In addition to your online shop, is CYF carried anywhere locally? CYF has not transitioned to wholesale yet, and I’m learning more about the process before jumping in. Most of my business comes from local pop-ups and online sales.
Describe your personal style, please. As of lately, my personal style has gravitated more towards trendy streetwear, in particular, the black and white look; I love the stark contrast and timelessness. I recently started watching “Schitt’s Creek,” and I am constantly inspired by every look David Rose wears. At the same time, I’m not afraid to step out of the norm and wear something different for a special occasion. As long as I feel comfortable and confident that’s all that matters.
What’s next for CYF? This was supposed to be “The Year for CYF,” but the pandemic has halted most of my plans and everyone else’s as well. I want to look for any loans or grants that might be available for small businesses like mine since I’m currently running out of space at home and looking to streamline my current fulfillment process to save time and money. I’m keeping an eye on the market and taking this time to plan and test new ideas so that CYF is ready when things get back to normal.
Best fashion/style advice? The best fashion/style advice I can give is to take proper care of whatever it is you’re wearing. Growing up with a lot of hand-me-downs you learn to trick the eye into thinking every piece is new or trendy; Keep it clean, ironed and lint-free – yes – even your t-shirts.