Marcus John is
Marcus John is the kind of person you would take notice of when he enters the room. The soft-spoken Atlanta native stands at over 6 feet tall of lean muscle, his meticulously accessorized appearance, sporting Doc Martens and a crisply ironed kimono jacket
Creative Director, Storyteller and Owner of TheStraightForwardFoundation.org
The immensely talented Creative Director shares what it’s been like for him taking the leap from fashion to philanthropy and how he’s created the perfect intersection of the two worlds.
It runs in the family;
Marcus’ grandfather, the first black suit maker for the luxury brand “The Brooks Brothers” in Massachusetts played a prominent role in Marcus deep appreciation for fits and silhouettes. From a young age Marcus understood the importance of tailoring and craftmanship and he later began a burgeoning career in contemporary culture and fashion. It wasn’t long before Marcus John was working with some of the most recognizable names in the industry. Tyra Banks, Ashley Graham, Martha Hunt, Harpers Bazaar and Time Magazine, to name a few. Marcus had also moved from Atlanta to New York in 2013 during this period as he transitioned from imagining what high fashion parties might be like, to attending designer runways and magazine cover launches in New York City.
New York was a big move for Marcus, but he was never shaken by the unknown, “Sometimes you have to jump and find your wings on the way down,” he likes to say. He found courage to move- and the tenacity and persistence to pursue his career, but now that he had it did he really want it?
Fashion opened a world of possibility for the Georgia-bred stylist; but the industry can take its toll and Marcus found himself longing for more. He launched his organization in 2016 as – “The Straight Forward Foundation,” (SFF) to raise awareness for scoliosis, in honor of a friend who suffered from a severe S-shaped spinal curve. He used his creative skills to showcase how beautiful we all are, no matter our differences. S.F.F is helping to impact the stigmas of scoliosis focusing on the beauty of spinal curvatures; rather than the condition of it. Marcus has hosted gallery parties with portraits of people affected to bring an artistic perspective to the condition, partnering with some of the biggest doctors and institutions in the medical field.
With the success of The Straight Forward Foundation, Marcus John had dreams of further expanding his mission globally. Just last year, he took his foundation to Ghana to raise awareness and bring a deeper understanding to the spinal condition that affects 2 to 3 percent of children and adults, according to CLEAR Scoliosis Institute.
In 2020, Marcus John launched yet another brand. The brand called Q.L.E (Quality of Life Enthusiast) was envisioned with the goal to help reduce waste in our environment by creating 100% eco-friendly products made from biodegradable, recyclable and compostable materials. Marcus and business partner, Nicole Barrett are extremely excited and hopeful for this new endeavor to take off and hope to launch it in the beginning quarter of next year.
Marcus shares Shinbone Alley’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, which is why we bring you his story and others like it.
Born: Boston, Massachusetts
Currently residence: NYC and ATL
Position / Title: Founder, Creative Executive and Storyteller
Favorite Quote: “Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.”
The best advice given or taken: “Don’t take it personal, it’s just business.” and “you have to pay to play.”