New fashion designer opens in Main South

WORCESTER – When Qlynton “Q” Carboo first saw an unused sewing machine at his friend’s apartment, he didn’t realize he was looking at his future career.

Until he was testing it out on his shirt.

Theodore Howard gets help setting up an embroidery machine from Wavvz founder Qlynton Carboo.

Theodore Howard gets help setting up an embroidery machine from Wavvz founder Qlynton Carboo.

“(My friend) said he didn’t know how to use it,” said Carboo, who remembered watching his mother sewing clothes back home in Ghana. “I took off my shirt and cut off a piece of fabric. That memory clicked and I got really excited — I had found something that made sense for me finally.”

That week, he bought his own sewing machine from Walmart, starting with designing hoodies for his roommates before his work went “locally viral” and he was selling designs. This was in 2017 and the start of Carboo’s business, Wavvz New Age.

Fast forward six years, Carboo celebrated the grand opening last month of the Wavvz storefront at 651 Main St. and making a name for himself in the local fashion scene.

“We’ve been open almost exactly a month,” he said. “It’s getting packed and wild.”

New kid on the block

Carboo has come a long way from sewing clothes in his mother’s kitchen to his own store opening. Not only dealing with the regular challenges of building a small business, he faced more than a little resistance as an immigrant trying to break into the Worcester scene.

Wavvz founders Qlynton and Jaribel Carboo hold 4-month-old son Joziah in their Main Street shop.

Wavvz founders Qlynton and Jaribel Carboo hold 4-month-old son Joziah in their Main Street shop.

“When I first got to the city, I didn’t know who to go to for information, who to talk to,” he said. As an outsider, he recalled, members of the art and fashion scene were hesitant to offer support, believing he represented competition with local designers. “I didn’t grow up here. If you didn’t go to North High or something, you can’t really have a conversation.”

On the other hand, while Worcester has a strong African immigrant community including from Ghana, Carboo did not quite fit there either, finding himself caught between two worlds.

“I wasn’t doing something that connected (to the Ghanan community),” he said, such as specifically African music or clothing designs, favoring what he called a more futuristic style.

Cultural hang-ups also played a role.

“Tailors aren’t really respected (as a profession) back home,” he said. “I was seen as just another tailor trying to make it (in America). You’re more encouraged to go to school and become a doctor or lawyer.”

Despite this, the cultural place of sewing meant that others like Carboo came to Wavvz to reconnect with an aspect of their lives they had left behind.

“They don’t want to forget about the passion they had back home so they volunteer to sew,” said Carboo.

One of these volunteers was a professional tailor for 45 years from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Though he now works at FedEx, the former tailor comes to Wavvz to help teach the interns.

About a month after moving into the new location in August, Carboo found he had established a team of volunteers with their own unique skills and realized that he now had to fill not only the role of a designer but also a manager.

From designer to business owner

In shifting from a creator to business owner, Carboo started taking business classes at Clark University, Creative Hub and the Worcester Arts District.

“I try my best to seek information on programs that are holding this kind of stuff to educate myself,” he said. “I wanted to learn the right way to print and manufacture. I don’t want to be just a local designer. I want to be high-end like Versace but I need to see how they got there.”

“Watching him grow as a businessperson has been really rewarding,” said Laura Marotta of Creative Hub Worcester, who gave Carboo a studio space as part of the agency’s residency program before his shop location.

Marotta and her wife, Stacy Lord, met Carboo at one of his early exhibitions in Worcester, soon after he had been featured during New York Fashion Week 2018. Since then, he has not only become a resident artist but also a mentor to others in Creative Hub’s programs as well as teaching sewing workshops and helping other young entrepreneurs, said Marotta.

“I think his shop is becoming a sort of a fashion hub,” she said.

The American Dream is real

Now Carboo is continuing to teach other future entrepreneurs as interns at Wavvz, encouraging them to follow their own dreams.

“In America you can take a talent and make a business,” said Carboo, who became a citizen this year. “The American dream is real, especially for the immigrants. There are so many opportunities here if you look for them.”

This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: wavvz-nee-age-opens-in-worcester/71881273007/” data-ylk=”slk:Qlynton Carboo’s fashion shop Wavvz Nee Age opens in Worcester;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “>Qlynton Carboo’s fashion shop Wavvz Nee Age opens in Worcester

Related Posts