After playing football most of his life, Terrence Haynes Jr. began at North Carolina A&T with the intention of continuing to play. Things turned out a little differently than planned.
“One day I decided that I wasn’t going to go to the level that I wanted to go, and I just didn’t want to play anymore,” he said.
While the story of a former football player not getting to the level they hoped is a familiar one, where Haynes Jr.’s story goes from there is anything but typical.
The Detroit native – who grew up in Bloomfield, graduated from Lahser High School, and joked he was one of the most stylish people there – continued studying towards his entrepreneurship degree but then began designing his own clothes.
“That’s kind of where the line took off. I’ve always been into fashion and style but I was never really making clothes,” he said. “It just kind of evolved from t-shirts to hoodies and went to cut-and-sew pieces. I learned to sew when I was in college and that, kind of, is what took me to the next level.”
During his time at North Carolina A&T, Haynes Jr. got an internship in Los Angeles working as a stylist. From there he worked in New York at Mr. Porter.
Now, he not only lives in LA working full-time as a fashion stylist for Amazon but is getting ready to release his second collection under his brand T + H (pronounced T plus H, his initials). This collection, titled “Volume Two,” will come out in September and feature 11 pieces, including a denim jacket with matching pants in two colors, a fur coat, a dress suit, hoodie, and a suit in two colors, among other pieces.
Haynes Jr. said his first collection, called T.E.A.M. – for time, energy, and money – felt more athletic than what he usually designs. His second collection is more pieces he would wear and he said felt more like home, more Michigan, than his previous collection. His pieces often have Michigan nods, like incorporating the Detroit Tigers’ colors into his first collection. There were also some actual tigers on pieces.
“It’s just little subtle things I try and do to not make it so clear that it’s Michigan but that anybody from Michigan could tell where the inspiration is from.”
Growing up in the mitten had a huge influence on Haynes Jr.’ sense of style in general. With family all over Michigan, he often found himself picking up on how everyone dressed and the different styles they had. That played a huge role in his fashion line, which he describes as clean, contemporary streetwear that’s more refined. Now though, the only part that’s really streetwear is his use of graphics and logos.
Haynes Jr. said he takes the clean look from Bloomfield and combines it with the grunge of Detroit or Pontiac for his clothes.
Looking in to his own closet also plays a part in what he designs.
“I see what I don’t have and I create that,” he laughed.
Since he primarily works alone he can create whatever he wants. Working alone actually inspired his first line, which he said spoke about how you need to rely on yourself. His second collection evolved from that and showed him sometimes its better to work with a team. He’s already working on building a team, including someone to help with Volume Two’s release and his social media in hopes of gaining more traction.
Haynes Jr. might not play football anymore but it seems that team mentality is still there.
Photo: Daniel T. Jester