N.C. A&T student debuts self-made A&T-based shoe
We can’t mention HBCUs without mentioning the artistic and inventive students that command them. Creativity and innovation go a long on HBCU campuses, especially at N.C. A&T.
This is especially true of freshman business IT student Machi Nashon Gibbs. Originally from Jacksonville, NC, then moving to Buffalo, NY, Gibbs had a passion for artistry since his youth.
“I started selling paintings when I was about 13 years old,” Gibbs said. “I remember I used to sell durags at one of the biggest barber shops in the city. The more products I sold, the more I became known throughout the city.”
Despite having art to keep him grounded, Gibbs admitted to having a somewhat troubled childhood, which led to his mother taking him out of school and homeschooling him from half of 3rd-half of 7th grade.
“I’m not going to lie, I used to be in a lot of trouble,” Gibbs said. “I used to get in many fights in school, which led to me being expelled from my 8th-grade charter school. I mean, I was young, and I didn’t care about a lot of things. I just wanted to do whatever I wanted.” He started being pushed for being expelled and couldn’t do anything noneducational and could leave the house under any circumstances, where his artistic ability was sparked and cultivated.
Gibbs’ move from Jacksonville to Buffalo played a role in his difficult upbringing, considering he went from living in rural/suburban areas to being an inner-city resident.
“When I moved to Buffalo, there was a lot more you could get into. Many of the kids I was cool with were in the streets; some went to jail, and I have friends who got killed, in and out of jail or accepted systematic defeat” Gibbs said.
Nonetheless, Gibbs’s tough upbringing made him resilient, inspiring him to attend an HBCU and do what he loves.
“At a certain point, I wanted to start leading by example,” Gibbs said. “HBCUs represent Black excellence, and I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be around people like me so I could begin to pave the way for those who want to do what I do or gain the confidence to make a world impact.”
While being at N.C. A&T, Gibbs exemplifies what it means to do what you love while crediting the prominence of HBCUs. Gibbs effortlessly combines the two things that HBCU students love, fashion and repping their prospective universities.
Gibbs created an A&T-based shoe that embodies A&T culture from the moment audiences get the box. The shoe bleeds yellow and blue and is stamped with an Aggie Bulldog to show audiences that the shoe screams Aggie Pride.
The box represents notable N.C. A&T students, including former NBA champion and athlete of the Aggies Men’s Golf Team, JR Smith. The box also incorporates historical aspects of the school, including pictures from the early 80s and 90s so that buyers can see the school's entire history.
His shoe project will be a mix between a skater and an athletic sneaker, featuring positive words and monumental dates for NCAT. The shoe box, one of the project's most jaw-dropping and mind-blowing aspects, will showcase yearbook pictures dating back as far as 1891-recent years.
Gibbs believes that his attention to detail and how well the shoe goes with N.C. A&T apparel should lead students and alums to support his business.
“People should buy my shoe because of its attentiveness to the design and how it looks fashionably with N.C. A&T merchandise, Gibbs said. “I incorporate different facets of the school. Not to mention, it never hurts to support an Aggie.”
Gibbs notes that he doesn’t want his shoe business to stop with N.C. A&T. He hopes his business can expand and become more extensive than ever imagined.
“I’ve thought about making shoes for other HBCUs,” Gibbs added. “Additionally, I’ve thought about reaching new heights and making shoes for celebrities or companies with a huge following. I think I could get myself out there.”