The Hayze Brand
Be Smart, Be Happy, Be Big, Be Different, Be Strong, Be Black, Be Caring, Be Straight, Be Gay, Be You!
Artist Hayze (aka Andrew Hayes) was ahead of his time. The founder, CEO and Creative Director of the Hayze Brand, was making shoes into works of art before it became cool. As often is the case with artist, his creativity and trademark were born out of necessity.
“One year it was a struggle to get me shoes because my feet had been growing so fast that my mom was tired of buying new shoes so in the summer, she bought me a pair that were two sizes big. They were white Converse. They were the only name brand I could afford… I had to wear them till they fell off. The night before the first day of school came around and I was a bit embarrassed about not having new school shoes. I decided that since my mom was an artist and we had plenty of white paint at the house, I could paint my shoes white and no one would be the wiser.” Despite Hayze’s best efforts some kids did find out and made fun of him, but the results fueled rather than discouraged him. “Like other artists I have turned trauma into work.”
Hayze, who graduated from University of Miami with a degree in and Music Business and Entertainment, Business Law, is driven to show his positivity in his artwork. He loves to explore what makes people unique, and so has sought to provide unique and personal designs for his fashion and lifestyle brand that champion’s personalization and self-love. “I work to inspire people to feel free to be their happiest most authentic selves more and more each day. My work is meant to remind people that FREEDOM IS EXHILARATING! People live happier and fulfilled lives when they are free to be themselves. BE FREE, BE YOU!
Hayze has incorporated this idea into his “BE” movement. This movement is about empowering people to be comfortable in their own skin. To be themselves unapologetically. “I want the movement to be anchored by some really important themes to me, but also I want it to be an interactive experience. Where people who see it, can add things that they feel proud of, or want to be proud of such as “Be Smart, Be Happy, Be Big, Be Different, Be Strong, Be Black, Be Caring, Be Straight, Be Gay, Be You!” I will of course be leaving space for further interpretation and space for whatever else people would like to insert so “Be___________.”
Hayze does not see his art as a comment on social or political issues. “Frankly I don’t believe that an artist’s job is to be overtly political or otherwise. The job is to put a mirror to society and allow them to see themselves. Art is History. and whatever my role in that history is, I will play. I do not however, like to force people to see my point of view, to me that’s not influential or helpful. While some of my work can be seen as polarizing, my attempt is simply to mirror the experience we may be having culturally and if that point of view is seen as political or me taking a position then I have accomplished something important because my viewers are seeing my mirror.
One of Hayze’s greatest inspirations is his mother. “My mom is exceptional. She found a way as a single mother to get her twin sons into all the best schools and extra curriculars available and still put food on the table. Watching her made me aspire to be free. I wanted to be able to live successfully my life on my own terms like she demonstrated every day. Not only did I go to the best schools and universities, but I traveled the world. My view of the world was much broader than what I should have seen from my front door at the time, all because of her.”
Hayze’s has seen his art change over time. “When I started painting on clothing in 2007 It started as a way for me to explore Black history. I called the brand Origins initially and pulled inspiration from an urban brand called Miskeen that my cousin, another artist, worked with and appreciated. But because I was in college, I realized that if I wanted to sell my designs, I was going to have to add themes that people recognized and appreciated so I quickly pivoted and found a niche designing custom work for people that made them feel closer to their own personal branding or message. This was a big shift. I decided then to take the graffiti name I had been writing “HAYZE” (also an iteration of my last name) and turn it into a brand that was about owning individual messages combined with my unique style.”
“Beyond that the messaging has remained the same but my skills and thoughtfulness about what I am painting has grown over the last 13 years. I have created a visual language all my own and become very comfortable with it. This comfort is huge because artists work for years to find a style that they feel expresses themselves, and currently I have found mine. Ironically, it is very similar to the natural artistic style that I was unsatisfied with as a teenager. Hayze is currently working on a number of projects including a series of paintings called “Happy Places.”