For Samuel Marshall, life wasn’t easy growing up in Clarksdale. He said many of the kids he was surrounded by were only interested in gangs and guns, but he was different.
“Being a part of gang-related events wasn’t my lifestyle,” he said. “I went out to parties, played football, you know – regular kid things. But I didn’t get interested in fashion until early senior year.”
Today, Marshall creates his own designs, tapers jeans, and makes custom dresses with an emphasis on street style and distressed clothing.
Marshall attended the University of Mississippi in 2014 as a freshman and majored in exercise science, but withdrew from his studies to follow his dreams. He plans to move to a larger city like Atlanta that he described as the “heart of urban street wear.” He said he’s currently deciding between launching a solo clothing line or attending The Art Institute of Atlanta to enhance his design career.
Friend Melrick Poindexter said he’s known Marshall since elementary school, and he was always unique.
“Whether it was his style, hair, or how loud he is, he never – quote-on-quote – ‘fit in’ with a crowd,” he said. “Clarksdale was not the place for either of us, which is why we decided to come to Ole Miss.”
Poindexter said he didn’t take his friend seriously when he said he might drop out of college.
“We all were thinking about dropping out, though we were never going to do it,” Poindexter said. “It was just a funny thing to say. So one day, sometime before the first week of school, I asked him if he made his schedule. He said, ‘I’m chilling at a smooth zero hours.’ I chuckled thinking it was a joke, but he really was set at zero hours, and decided to not go to school.”
Poindexter said he didn’t know how to respond, but he knew convincing Marshall to go back to college wasn’t an option.
“So all I do now is support him in everything that he does while he is in Oxford,” he said, “and, hopefully, he’ll make it big in fashion school to show the world what he has to offer.”
Friend Justin Cosby, a UM junior, met Marshall his freshmen year of college.
“He was always out there,” he said, “a little weird, but ambiguous, yet very intelligent. You never find anything like that, and I knew there was something great about him, just didn’t realize it would be fashion.”
Marshall is now working on creating a business logo and finding a design team in Oxford. He wants to build a foundation in Oxford with hopes of expanding his business throughout the South and the world.
“My inspiration to this day is Kanye West,” Marshall said. “When I say inspiration, I’m not saying I want to be like Kanye. People misuse that word so much that the meaning is tainted. I want to be more than Kanye, more than his empire. I want to change the world, and that is what I’m planning to do.”