Growing up in Denver, Chance Coward clung to the importance of staying authentic through his artwork and fashion. This young artist believes that everyone must “explore the world, create new things, follow a passion and find yourself before time runs out.” Coward takes our most beloved staple pieces and turns them into elaborate works of art. This self-taught artist has found the beauty of merging his artistic talent, music and love of fashion through determination and a lot of customization. With an arm full of custom-made jackets and distressed fitted jeans, Coward set out with 303 Magazine through RiNo as he shared his work.
303 Magazine: So, Chance you just had a fashion show at D.Lite Denver. Tell us about the process of putting the show together and how you booked that show?
Chance Coward: The process to book a show was difficult at first. I didn’t have much experience with putting together a fashion show. Myself and another individual that helped me were going around to the people that we knew to see if they would be interested in modeling in a fashion show. Once we had the models in place, we began to figure out days and times to rehearse the process. Soon, when the day came I made sure the models knew what they needed to do and prepared them. I had a vision of how wanted this whole show to look like so I tried everything in my power to get in similar to my vision. Luckily, the whole idea of the fashion show was supposed to look like we were on a street, so it was easier to think of props to put around the stage. The only way I was able to book the show was through this organization named D.Lite. They provide a space for local artists in the Denver metro area to perform and connect and I was lucky enough to use their venue to make this happen.
303: What inspires you behind your custom designs?
CC: What inspires me behind my custom designs is my background as a child. When I was younger, fashion has always been around. Every piece of clothing had to match each other and look right. Just growing up in that era just made fashion so much important to me. The custom designs all come naturally for me. I just know what looks right and what doesn’t.
What also inspires me is other people’s input and opinions. Whatever their vision is, I try my best to match that. The outcome when it’s finished is usually a positive reaction. I never limit myself to what I’m capable of doing. Even if they want something crazy that I’ve never done before I still push forward from all the doubt and negative talk and I make their needs, simple as that.
303: How long have you been painting and drawing?
CC: I’ve been painting and drawing since I was about 11 or 12. YouTube helped me get where I am today, to be honest. I started to watch this graffiti artist on there for about three years. I would just watch him draw as I’m following on my paper. I would take notes on his techniques and just practice every day. Eventually, I could just look at a photo and draw it. Consistency and loving what I was doing is the only reason why I’m so good at what I do now.
303: What interests you about fashion?
CC: What interests me about fashion is that it can be whatever you want and you can do whatever you want with it and it’s who you are. Just the feeling and excitement of creating and finishing a jacket or some sort of custom clothing just brings me an accomplished feeling.
Another interest that stands out to me is artists in this music industry. A$AP Rocky and Jaden Smith have always been role models that I look up to when it comes to fashion. Just the way both of them wear their clothes with different colors and textures tells me you can be yourself and people will follow. It’s not about wanting the fans to follow but being in such a position where everyone looks up to you in different ways, you can still tell the difference between the two of them.
303: Why do you feel that it’s important for young artists to showcase their talent?
CC: A young artist needs to showcase their talent so they can get exposure from anywhere. I think it’s always the best to take every opportunity you get because you never know if that opportunity was the right one at the right time to build your platform faster. Young artists should always allow people to see their talent whether it’s good or bad. Everyone has a different perspective on what talent looks like. Also, I think it’s important to showcase your talent to other artists so that you can collaborate and learn new ideas. It’s never too late to learn something new. I also feel that it’s better to start when you have the talent at a young age because it helps establish who they are now and continue to grow as an artist later in life.
303: What are your goals with your art and further business plans?
CC: My goals and further business plans with my art are to continue designing custom clothing and collaborating with other designers. I want to be able to travel the world and design celebrity jackets. It’s a dream to meet an artist that I look up to and to be able to design a custom piece for them to wear will be the best feeling. Knowing that art can bring all that just makes me work twice as hard. I also want to be able to own an art gallery or building for my brand. I want it to be everything I created and what I know from photography to pastel, paintings, sketching and custom clothing all around the premises. Art is a part of me so when people come in and walk around the place it’s a story of my life through my art that they would witness.
303: What are your dreams for the art community in Denver?
CC: My dreams for the art community is that I want everyone — young people, etc. — to get involved with something they love doing. I think when you work towards something that’s not money but a passion it means more and you get some of a greater outcome. Living in a world with so many people who have a small mindset on things and never branch out to something that makes them happy is upsetting. There’s more to life than what you think and you’ll waste it and regret it later. I want them to experience something greater than what they think they can’t achieve. The mind is so powerful and you are the person that can change a pessimistic mindset. Explore the world, create new things, follow a passion and find yourself before time runs out.
All photography by Jordan Chek.