Page 20 - South Mississippi Living - October, 2021
P. 20

story by Gabbie Bowden photos courtesy of Steve Johnson
“At the age of 12, I’m lying next to my boom box, listening to rap music my parents didn’t want me listening to, watching the videos on MTV – and getting so inspired by the clothing and shoes they were wearing.
I was telling myself at 12, You’ve got to go for it: your own brand with diverse interests as inspiration, and clothing for not just one group of people, but for everyone.” Steve Johnson recounts his earliest interests in fashion and design. His clothing brand, Scuba Steve, is popular along the Gulf Coast for two clear reasons: his colorful designs and the journey they represent.
20 | October 2021
  When Steve graduated from high school, he still wanted to follow the dream he’d held onto since childhood. “I had meetings with myself in between classes. I thought, Okay, I’ll use my nickname and trademark it.” The infamous nickname came from a funny middle school incident; he once wore goggles in the shower. His friends found out, they called
him Scuba Steve, and the name stuck. For years,
he toyed with different kinds of clothing, including polos and shoes, but eventually settled on t-shirts for their versatility.
Steve and his brand struggled at first, but he finally caught a break when Edgewater Mall offered him
a kiosk. He remembers his first sale clearly. “A lady stopped me 30 minutes before closing; she said, ‘I’ll take this peach one, I love it.’ I jumped up and gave her the biggest hug. She was taken aback, and I said, ‘You’re my first customer!’” From there, his business and story continued to grow. His current designs “come from the beauty of our Coast, and my recent found love for Jeeps after my Jeep purchase. I’m inspired by music, art, shoe design, high fashion...
I take colors from those inspirations and mix them with my love for our coastal lifestyle and beauty.”
A cancer survivor, Steve now uses his brand’s platform and social media accounts to help others with the health battles he knows so well. He also understands the deep, and often hidden, struggles that come post-cancer. “I have made people aware that I battle extreme depression and anxiety after cancer. I want people to realize the support for cancer survivors does not and should not end the moment they are cancer free.” | SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living

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