Calvin Klein I one future #ckone


“The youth are our future” — it’s something that’s been said for generations, but for many, the phrase has become nothing more than an empty platitude. However, there has been a recent sea change within the young people of today. Rather than being content to stay on the sidelines, today’s teens and twentysomethings have entered the spotlight, raising their voices on a number of social issues and taking to the streets to ensure their message is heard.

Calvin Klein has accompanied these youth movements for over 25 years. Today, the label is celebrating that fact by highlighting specific individuals making a difference in the modern world. Change takes all forms, and as a result, so too do the individuals emphasised in this series — musicians, artists, students and everyday people trying to make the world a better place all unite to tell their stories.

Schön! spoke with two of these people to get a better understanding of their message and their stories.

Brandon Woody is a musician and all-around creative from East Baltimore. With his band UPENDO, Brandon is currently working on an album set to be released next year. Brandon’s musical history can be traced back to his youth; as a life-long lover of music, Brandon spent a year at the Brubeck Institute followed by another year at the Manhattan School of Music before dropping out to return to Baltimore. Before the pandemic, Woody taught and performed in venues, schools and more internationally; today, he’s spreading his message of vulnerability through digital platforms. We caught up with Brandon to hear more from the artist.


You dropped out of the Manhattan School of Music before returning home to Baltimore. What inspired you to do this, and what was going through your mind when you actually did it?

When I was attending Manhattan School of Music, I was learning from my mentor, Stefan Harris, and also got the privilege to play with some very beautiful musicians every week — namely, Rocky, Sav, Rodney, Matt and Hwansu. I loved being in school, but I felt like a lot of my classes weren’t stimulating or inspiring me outside of these aspects. I decided to leave, to work on my album, and to build with my band. I felt as though I was already doing what I came to New York to do, so it was time to go back home and build. Dropping out of college and moving back to Baltimore was the best thing I could have done in that moment.

How do you think music connects people in ways that other media can’t?

Music is vibration, and it is so open and such a non-judgmental way of communication. I can say something musically that you can’t quite put into words but still convey my message better than if I were to say it in a sentence. Music is more of an inspiration to me in my everyday life than anything else. Music is way more than a type of media. It’s a universal language. It’s magic.

What inspires you musically?

My deepest feelings and memories inspire me the most musically. In my music, I portray a wide set of emotions and stories from my life, my subconscious, and my ancestors.

What’s giving you hope right now?

I think of the potential that I see in these younger kids in Baltimore, that I will invest in them so that they can go way further than I do. I am only a vessel, a part of the lineage of greatness.

What does having a brand like Calvin Klein highlight young voices looking to change the world mean to you?

It gives me a different type of platform to keep saying what I’ve been saying. There haven’t been a lot of people like me to do this. I am a black trumpet player from Baltimore talking about vulnerability. That’s pretty unique. I want to take this platform and shine light on positive people and important causes in my city and find funding for them as well.


As one of ten children, Destiny Batista has a keen awareness of others and how their support — or lack thereof — can influence your life. Born in Brooklyn, Destiny currently resides in Brownsville in the eastern part of the borough where she’s finishing an accounting degree while working part-time in food service to support herself. Apart from school, Destiny has an interest in music and exploration, dreaming of travel while she spends time at a local studio with friends enjoying music. Part of Destiny’s present success can be linked back to photographer Miranda Barnes, whom she met four years ago at an after-school program. We talked to Destiny to hear more of her story.


You come from a big family. How has that impacted you on your journey through life?

Coming from a big family doesn’t mean guaranteed support. I have ten siblings in total; six are older than me and four are younger. Even though we grew up together, none of us live together anymore. After my eldest brother, Tavi, was incarcerated back in 2013, it felt like life ceased completely. Tavi was the only person who kept me motivated and level-headed. During that tough time, I began to skip school due to the feeling of my family not giving me the support that I needed. This included little things like waking me up in the morning or making sure I left the house to go to school, to bigger things, like showing up to parent-teacher conferences or checking report cards.

My family losing faith in me resulted in me losing faith in myself. That faith was regained when I took them to visit my billboard in the heart of SoHo, Manhattan. They were able to see how much of an impact my story had on them and others in the community. It was very important for me to show my nieces and nephews that we can be products of better things in life.

Why do you think having people who support you is so important for success?

Having a strong support system is essential for success. The feeling of having confirmation that you have people in your corner that genuinely want to see you win and whom you can confide in makes life a lot less stressful. I’m grateful to call on my loved ones and ask for advice knowing that they won’t be biased. Two people that I hold dear to my heart are Peter Lawerence and Brandi Barber. I consider these people lifelong friends and family. It’s important for me and my continued success to have people like them in my life. They never gave up on me even when I gave up on myself. I know that, no matter what, they both have my back.


You met photographer Miranda Barnes at a high school support program for adolescents. What has that program and that relationship meant to you?

At my high school, Frances Perkins Academy, I joined an after-school program called “NYC Together.” Once Tavi was incarcerated, I realistically attended school once a week. NYC Together provided me with the support and motivation to go school. They gave me access to valuable lifelong skills, and I gained meaningful friendships too. It moulded me into the young woman I am today.

Miranda Barnes is a powerful woman whom I hold dear to my heart. She has inspired me to aspire for more in this lifetime than I would have ever thought for myself. I am forever appreciative and filled with love of her sharing her platform and blessing me with the opportunity to finally be heard. It’s always a pleasure to be in her presence.

What are some places in Brooklyn that inspire you?

I love living in Brooklyn because it’s a place of limitless inspiration. My first job was at the Wythe Hotel, where I loved to visit and be in the area. I loved being in my neighbourhood, Brownsville, where the shoot took place because I see how much I inspire everyone in my neighbourhood. I find comfort in being around a lot of people. Living in the heart of it all can be very rewarding, yet also very dangerous at times. It can be dangerous because there is a lot of gang violence going on. I just recently lost a friend due to this. I try to stay clear of that negativity; it feels contradictory to add since ‘she said she loves being in her neighbourhood earlier’. I would like to leave it open-ended with the following sentence: I love where I grew up, but I wouldn’t mind travelling the world.


What’s been making you happy recently?

Recently, my achievements are the main source of my happiness. I’ve faced many challenges throughout my life, and sometimes, the burden tries to take over my mind. Since the shoot, I’ve learned to genuinely love myself inside and out. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that I can’t look for anyone to make me happy. I have to put energy into the things I love and care about in order to fulfil that happiness that I desire from within.

What does having a brand like Calvin Klein highlight young voices looking to change the world mean to you?

I commend Calvin Klein for shedding light on my generation. As a child, I never saw people who look like me in magazines or ads. It’s hard to imagine life’s possibilities if you can’t see examples of all those possibilities. CK featuring a range of people helps change that, and I am honoured to be one of the select few to use my voice to create change. I’m grateful that my whole city was inspired, and most importantly, that my family was. It fills me with joy to see how my accomplishments have impacted them. I’m grateful to give people the courage to want better out of this life. They see purpose in me that I now see in myself.    

Discover more from Calvin Klein – one future #ckone on its website. Follow the brand on Instagram.

all clothing. Calvin Klein


Schön! Magazine is now available in print at Amazon,
as ebook download + on any mobile device

by /

Tags: , , , , ,