McGuire Brown founded a new creative agency called Orientation NYC. His key goal is to provide a safe and comfortable space for young creatives to develop through collaboration with independent designers and publications and present creative opportunities for those who need them. Currently a 2nd-year student at The New School (Parsons), Brown wants Orientation NYC to be a launchpad for those towards ongoing success. HUF Magazine had an opportunity to speak with McGuire to discover more about him and his agency Orientation NYC.
Photography by Abby Lorenzini

My name is McGuire Brown, and I am a 2nd-year student at The New School (Parsons) and aiming to achieve a BBA Major. Holding a dual American/British background, I grew up being exposed to various cultures, but a significant impact on my aspirations and lifestyle was my exposure to art and fashion. In High School, I studied an art-rich curriculum with AP and IB Art but found myself working numerous internships and attending fashion weeks; this led to my desire to work in the fashion industry. I am a true workaholic with a massive drive for success and love teamwork and collaboration in the creative field.

I think my creativity comes from numerous outlets and provisions. Growing up, I always used art as an emotional outlet and found enjoyment in art classes within the school. From a young age, I benefited from parents who were super excited and supportive to follow my passions regarding fashion. I think my exposure in school, traveling, and internships continued to build on my prior basis of creativity. My triggers can stem from various areas, including personal life and plain vision boards; typically, I approach each project differently and breakdown, how I’d like to approach the direction of the project. The people I surround myself with in any sense also harbor forms of creativity and expressive outlets that influence me and potential project directions.

Defining what triggered my idea to open an agency would be a long-winded response; I think numerous factors inspired me to move into the creative space. Ultimately, being my dream to develop the projection of my visual direction and allow fluidity in my work and application. At the same time, I found there was little room for young creatives to break into space and present their work in either a collaborative or individual manner.

Orientation NYC was built off a conversation in London, this August. I was offered a direction opportunity and decided to build a team of individuals with different backgrounds and talents. From that first shoot, Orientation NYC was born! I love all the avenues in which my agency can direct me. Overall, I would dream of pursuing Creative Direction in most applications or formats, ideally in the fashion industry. The beauty of an agency is that I am never “tied down” to an exclusive job or brand but can place my artistic impact on various brands. For example, a dream job would be advising and collaborating with Marc Jacobs, solely featuring independent young designers. I believe I am just starting the roadwork to my dream job and uplifting other young artists at my pace and current state.

At the moment, the agency is still super young and constantly growing. Currently, I have focused on a solid workflow to produce a following and portfolio for the agency. Developing is an intricate process because I have been able to establish the basis and foundation of my agency alongside its stance in fashion. Being only a few months old, we’ve notably had early success with published editorials with NOCTIS Magazine and the AW campaign of LuByLu, following the launch of an art gallery in collaboration with The House Down Foundation. I am excited to say; we also have three projects pending release for November. I think the work we produce must be of high and consistent quality; in the development stage, I have collaborated with so many talented and young creative individuals, which has been the most exciting aspect of development. Building teams off of originality and talent is something I am happy to present to the industry. In terms of a challenge, I believe having publications and designers trust a foreign and young vision viewed as a “risk” has been an idea that needs more “selling.” Everyone we collectively have worked with has been outstanding and allowed a great environment to present our work. It’s a continuous climb to establish the agency in a very competitive space but build it as a “launching pad” for young creatives with a long list of opposites.

I think young creative talents can range in any category with no limits but can hold experience. I have focused on those in university, but talent does NOT age. I think talent stems from an emotional response and attachment to one’s work and thought. I remember being taught by my art teacher Julie Lafrance, about the importance of young talent and the support of creativity. Rather than judging someone on background or experience, building off one’s thoughts and ideas in a creative format allows for strong collaboration and artistic impact. Orientation NYC has currently collaborated with young (age) publications and artists as the industry has a tendency to discredit or overlook a majority of the young collective and has a fear of risk. The key is not having the opportunity to present their talent and work, which Orientation NYC makes a key goal.

Julie was my high school art teacher, a mentor to me, and a close friend. We had a powerful bond regarding my education, but also, her influence of strategy and application is something that follows me through my work. I’d consider her a substantial impact on my thoughts around art and fashion, but I have to give her credit for grounding me and leading me through high school. She’d kill me if I called her Julie, as I am sure I am still a kid in her eyes.

McGuire Brown

Orientation NYC currently targets independent designers and publications to produce unique, bold, and intriguing work to present and project ourselves into the field. Focusing is a defined term, and I don’t want to place Orientation NYC in a “bubble” or narrow the vision; currently, the company is leaning more towards editorial, campaigns, and advertising for young designers but is open to events and other aspects of the industry. Based on groundbreaking work, I am laser-focused on establishing identity and standards for the agency but aligning with brands and artists that represent the same values and dreams. The work we produce is created solely by the youth and will always work with independent thought, as I believe it’s the source of creativity. My to-do list is long and expansive! I want to show growth in the industry in a “respect” sense and establish our vision while giving opportunities to young people like myself; Ideally, build on visual work and project it on social platforms, creating a home for people needing creative opportunities.

COVID-19 threw a lot of people for a loop and took away a range of opportunities. The rules and regulations, which are essential for the safety and well-being of others, have impacted the ability to present work in all forms and allowed time to grow new forms of application, presentation, and creativity. The showcase on social media has been something both Orientation NYC and myself personally have participated in. The beauty of social media is accessibility, attainability, and power of personal identity and projection, allowing control of work’s curation and presentation. Social media has duality as there is a stigma and negative aspects, harming others and the creative process. At the moment, I do believe social media is the future for young creatives as it serves as a massive hub to display work and collective identities. It’s accessible, instant access is its beauty and allows Orientation NYC to build a following and network. I believe saturation is inevitable, but far in the future due to the revolving door of trends and talents. The saturation may occur, but it serves as a stepping stone for new incoming talent. Social media is beyond significant but has the potential to become redundant in the future. The next big thing is probably on the horizon, and Orientation NYC will position itself to enter the space with a bold impact.

At the moment, Orientation NYC is always an open door and house to brands, artists, and creative individuals to produce quality work. I wouldn’t hold someone to the agency in terms of representation, as I like fluidity and wish to have a constant influx of new thoughts and projections of creativity. Of course, once they are established, I wouldn’t expect them to move, but I would force their representation through my agency. My ideology of an “influx” is based on opportunity and its provision to young artists. Being established is a success but by no means presents the thought that I wouldn’t enjoy or present the idea of collaboration with them. Orientation NYC wants to serve as a launchpad for creatives with continuous support and opportunities and intends to offer a variety and diverse selection of artists.

The criteria to be represented by Orientation NYC is to come as you are and present what you can offer! The one value is an alignment of values both as a brand and individual, as I want to have the agency established as an ethical and comfortable creative space. Solely focusing on independent brands at the moment, we have great work in the pipeline for November displaying young talent. I wouldn’t use the term “picky” but more focused on a select vision and basis of opportunity.

I think Orientation NYC is a space for those who have been ignored and a place to push those concepts, work, thoughts, and more into the fashion/art space. Focusing on sheer talent and room for collaboration rather than someone’s prior experience or resource base, I want to build the agency as an area of acceptance and risk. Risks can be fun and produce good results; I have learned that the worst answer is no and that you can do it anyways. The people I choose to collaborate with and present in terms of work evoke thought and talent, producing a reaction in the space. I hope Orientation NYC provides a safe and comfortable space for young creatives that allows them to express themselves – at the same time, producing top quality work that can establish the collective in the industry by providing opportunities ranging from helping at events to shooting a front cover. I am personally working with each individual during the whole process and development to ensure quality products and a sustainable and accessible area for collaboration and thought. In the end, I want Orientation NYC to be a launchpad towards ongoing success.

I believe success is determined by the individual and industry, being a multifaceted idea. Whether it is financial success or notoriety, I think each person has their idea of success and personal relation to it. I remember following small designers on Instagram who now have boutiques and show at Fashion Week. Advice is a tricky one since it’s so personal. Though, I may have some insight and ideas. Firstly, a strong support network, and in my case, a great family, friends, and partner. This has helped me through the decision-making and building the agency; secondly, having a solid and distinct thought or vision that you relish and project out in any possibility or space. I am far from my idea of “success” but am building the foundation towards success. The biggest takeaway is to surround yourself with creativity and be open to new thoughts.

Orientation NYC is about risk, risk, and more risk! Not in the sense of lighting stuff on fire or delays. In the intention of allowing creative thought and letting each individual communicate and collaborate their ideas. We work with strictly independent areas of the industry, so there is room for small risk and immense reward. The difference for us is a lack of judgment and growing acceptance. I started Orientation NYC as I was not granted space or opportunity to present my ideas or own artistic direction. So my goal was to provide an area that was not available when I wanted to enter the field and project my thoughts. I always and forever highlight a vital attribute: teamwork and that all work produced is done in-house, whether it is booking and press releases or the styling of an editorial. This is done by constantly refreshing and collaborating with new artists, and I have to say working with these people is always a thrill and learning experience. My agency has become a home for those to grow in many forms.