Corey Reed’s wife opened his heart to true love, he said.
Love of God, community, creativity and family.
The revelation didn’t just inspire Reed’s Heartshaped Clothing line, it allowed him to recognize and appreciate the gifts and sacrifices of his faith and those around him, like his parents, who adopted him at birth, he said.
“To take someone who they didn’t birth, and treat them as their own, that was so significant,” Reed said. “God’s hand is in a lot of things. Seeing His love for me, to even put me into a situation like that … It wasn’t like I was adopted to people with money or anything like that, but it was rich in love, beyond the cliche. Looking back, I see nothing but true, organic, unadulterated love.”
Reed and his wife, Christle, try to bring that sentiment to life every day, they said. Through Heartshaped Clothing, they hope to spread their passion by tapping into Corey’s design talents.
“How can we take the creativity that we have, the real-life love, and just put it into the art form of fashion and get it out to the masses?” Corey said. “We want to encourage people and allow that platform to be used to get into our community, support art and just love.”
Beyond doubt to a broken heart
As a child, Corey was fascinated by his older brother’s art, as well as the styles and fashions he saw in Eastbay catalogs, many of which he still owns, he said. Intrigued, his passion grew, but he wasn’t sure what to do with it, he said.
“I never had enough confidence in it because of the area I grew up in. It was pretty rough, especially in the ’90s. And you never saw anybody who was like, ‘Oh! I’m going to do fashion!’” Corey said.
Doodling eventually turned into dabbling with graphic design. He experimented with footwear, but the project fell through, he said.
With Christle’s encouragement, he kept going.
Their first few tries failed, but as their marriage and faith matured, they could see purpose in utilizing their creativity, Corey said.
“We had to make sure the foundation was straight. And then we were like ‘Let’s go!’” he said.
It took about five years to get Heartshaped where it is today. The logo alone took two years to perfect, Corey said.
Simple, but meaningful, the design reflects the duo’s philosophy to a T.
“The broken heart represents reconciliation in the end,” Corey said. “A lot of us, at some point in life, we’re broken. We’re hurt. It goes back to God, showing us our worth, our purpose, love.”
It’s also about reconciliation of humanity — black and white — brought together by the sacrifice of the blood, he said.
“These pieces are different, but if you take time, they can come together,” Corey said.
The name “Heartshaped” itself combines reverence to God (“He”) and embracing creativity (“Artshaped”), the Reeds said.
The brand’s most popular products include Dad-hats featuring the broken heart logo and T-shirts emblazoned with another simple mantra: “It’s All Love.”
“Whatever you’re going through, whatever is causing friction, it’s all love,”Christle said. “That’s really big in the urban community because we have a problem with just loving on each other, period. To see somebody walking around in the community with a shirt that says ‘It’s All Love’ is so different from what we’re used to. It opens the door for questions and to allow people to start building relationships.”
Made’s event will be an exciting opportunity to learn from others in the local design community, Corey said.
“We still have room to grow,” he said of Heartshaped. “We respect the business, and we understand we always have more to soak in.”
Just keep moving
With Corey and Christle both working full-time jobs while raising three young children — ages 1, 2 and 4 — finding balance can be a challenge. Especially when they’re running Heartshaped out of their home, Christle said.
“We are so passionate about what this means to us, that we’re willing to put in super early mornings, late nights — to sacrifice things that we would like to do with our kids and as a family,” she said. “We see the vision behind it, so we see how this can impact our kids.”
That vision: Bridging disputes and finding solutions to problems large and small by embracing the idea that everyone deserves love.
“From a parent’s standpoint, that’s the type of world I want my kids to grow up in in,” Christle said. “If we can plant those seeds now, and start that little ripple effect, by the time my kids are of age, they now stay in a world where they don’t have to be worried about economic or racial background. They just know to love.”
It’s about making the meaning behind Heartshaped a household name, she said. And the couple is happy to lead the charge.
“With us being young, urban parents who still have a little bit of hip hop left in us, I think that works,” she said. “It’s a different face.”
The Reeds said they have no choice but to keep moving. The duo agrees: When they get to heaven, they want to be exhausted, Christle said.
“I don’t want to go up there hype and full of energy. Because we should’ve done it here. We should’ve spent all that love here,” she said. “Until we get to that place where we can do that, I don’t think we’ll be mentally or emotionally satisfied.”
In the meantime, they also hope Heartshaped can become successful enough to support their family full-time, Corey said.
“I’m always scratching to design and create. I’m finally tapping into the confidence to make it happen. And I would love more hours to do it,” he said.