Onyii Brown moved to the United States from Nigeria when she was three years old. Living in poverty in Amherst, Massachusetts, Brown and her family drove from dumpster to dumpster, foraging for food thrown away by college students. Brown and her family would get their clothing from a community center—which first sparked her interest in fashion, little did she know it would lead to a lifelong passion.
Although times may have been tough growing up, both of Onyii’s parents had extraordinary work ethic. Brown’s father worked as a janitor and a pizza-delivery man while finishing his doctorate. Brown’s mother also worked and went to school fulltime, so strong work ethic is in her nature.
After graduating from school and interning in the fashion industry, Brown decided to put her fashion dreams on hold and relocated to Houston to follow a career in commercial real-estate. As the real-estate industry crashed, so did Brown’s career. To add to the matter, Brown’s husband was laid off, leaving them to wonder how they would pay their mortgage. Once hitting rock bottom, Brown was able to see her true vision of what her life should be and that was in the fashion world.
In 2013, after working Onyii started her own fashion line in her garage with only $125 in her pocket. After selling clothes on Etsy Brown her business began to grow and social media allowed her business to soar. In 2015, Brown showed her collection at NYFW Africa and couldn’t be more elated at how far she had come in three short years.
At Cadillac, we celebrate those whose passion and vision have reshaped our city, our lives and our culture.