The Story Behind 1 of 1 Blazers
How Charles Anderson is fighting crime with fashion
Charles Anderson left his home of New Jersey in 2007 and headed south. Like many that came before him, he felt inexplicably drawn to New Orleans. It was not the music, art, or food that pulled Anderson here however- it was the crime.
Anderson came to New Orleans with a mission to make an impact. He started by forming peace rallies which eventually lead to a position as a community organizer for a program called CeaseFire. The program aims to reduce violence in the city's most vulnerable neighborhoods by turning at-risk individuals into mentors and violence interrupters in their community.
In 2011, after five years as a community organizer with CeaseFire, Anderson decided to pursue a career in art to help spread his message. He had been drawing portraits of victims of violence as well as important community figures since 2010 and at one fateful peace march he stumbled upon the idea for 1 of 1 blazers.
While painting protest signs, colorful paint dripped on to the blazer Anderson was wearing. During the march he received so many compliments on the jacket that he decided to make more, this time on purpose. He realized he could make money selling the jackets when a man bought one off his back for $100. A business was born and ever since Anderson has been selling his jackets on Frenchmen street. They are the perfect finishing touch to any party outfit but there is much more to them than that. Not only do a portion of proceeds go to CeaseFire but the jackets represent an important message as well. The blazers are 1 of a kind "1 of 1" just as every human life is, unique, special, valuable.
For more information about CeaseFire check out their website: http://www.nolaforlife.org/progress/stop-the-shootings/ceasefire/
For more information about Charles Anderson check out his artist profile: http://palaceartmarket.thecanarycollective.com/artist/9/1-of-1-blazers