Building a Network and Getting Creative w/Brand Developer & Creative Engineer, Severino Alvarez



In this week’s episode, we have the pleasure to introduce you to Severino Alvarez. Creative Engineer, Brand Developer, Stylist, and collaborator for several major fashion brands. Severino started with a passion for baseball, which developed into a passion for being a creative and a style professional. 


In addition to talking about his journey into the fashion industry, Severino also talks about the value of developing a strong network, having “Kayne Moments” and also the importance of not focusing on what others think, but rather focusing on passion & direction. 


We also attempt to navigate a White Tiger Podcast first, when Asante’s building management starts testing his building fire alarms during the podcast, which definitely added an unexpected twist to this interview.


Severino also talks about his recent work doing creative direction for “Jarritos” soft drinks and how he created opportunities that led to events including Miami’s Art Basel and Kanye’s Sunday Service during Super Bowl Week in Miami. 


We also talk about working in the fashion industry and why who you are and what you do are two totally separate things and why this time during quarantine is a great time to self-build and to invest in yourself. 


This and much, much more here on this week’s episode of The White Tiger Podcast.

You can follow Severino @severinotruely on Instagram and you can catch him at projectblitz.com and @projectblitz on social. 



Full Podcast Transcript is Below:


What's up guys. Welcome back to we brand spanking new episode here at the white tiger podcast. I am Craig and I'm your cohost, and I'm excited to have you here. And I'm also excited to introduce you to this week's guest. So this week we have Severino Alvarez. Now Severino is not just doing some amazing things in the fashion industry, but he's also working as a creative director.


Brand developer. And he's also collaborating with some major fashion brands and really is just a creative at heart. And it was just amazing to actually sit down and talk with him and pick his brain about his creative process and what he's doing in the fashion industry. Well, guys, if you're into anything fashion related, if you're into sneakers street wear, this is going to be an episode that you're definitely going to want to listen to.


And if you're not, you're still going to want to listen to this episode because it's really great information that will hopefully inspire you to get creative, especially now when we may have some extra time on our hands. So. Guys, thank you so much for being here. And I hope you enjoy this episode that we had with Severino Alvarez.


so thank you so much. I feel like this has been like a long time in the making, trying to connect and make this happen. Yeah, man. I mean, I'm glad it finally has happened. Yeah, same here. Same here as well. Yeah, let's do it right. Silver lining in everything. It just depends how you look at it. So for sure, especially if we know everyone's home.


Yeah. There's no hiding out. We could track you down now. Can we in one spot I gave you my address. It's still be hard to track me down. Oh, I'm sure. Cause I know you're out there in the middle of nowhere. Right? How does this affect what you're doing? Because you've kind of already been isolated. I mean, it doesn't affect the, I'll say it has affected the standard of the qual literally quality of life.


But I mean, We're still going out. We're just not obviously mingling with anybody. I mean, seriously for the last, what? 20 days now I have been inside, we've gone outside and gone on walks, but we have no contact with anybody other than my wife's parents who basically live right next door to us. So I am an Iowa, as far as business goes.


I mean, obviously it's affected a lot with. You know, I haven't, I haven't been traveling a lot of the projects I've been working on are either postponed or have been totally kind of shut down, um, for the time being. So, yeah, I mean, but as far as me, you know, being an Iowa, I mean, it'd be like if I was in New York, heck yeah.


It would be affecting everything business. And like, man, I can't even go get groceries, but yeah, I can go get groceries. I'm still cautious. I mean, I think in the town of 5,000 people, there are two cases of it here, but still, I mean, if I'm going shopping at the grocery store, I'm still wearing black gloves right now.


I mean, some people think that's crazy. I just, this thing is this thing, you know, I'd rather be cautious and it'd be nothing, then not be cautious, then it'd be something. So, yeah, for sure.

Yep. Two boys, man. It's been awesome. I'm the oldest is almost three. He'll be three in may. His name's shepherd and the, uh, youngest is almost two and his name is Arnie party's army, but you don't have to worry about homeschooling right now. No, not at all. Thank God. We do have a lady who kind of nannies for us.


Um, which obviously right now we don't have her coming over here, but, uh, she's uh, a retired school teacher. So just her being around the boys and bring it all over. I guess, teaching supplies, uh, has already been like a good way to start. Doing that. I mean, we're not going to homeschool, but we're trying to get them active and learning at an early age.


So it's been cool. You know, Sylvia wanted to get started by kind of just finding out about you and your roots and kind of where this whole journey started for you. Yeah. So I was born and raised most of, uh, most of my days and Greenville, South Carolina. Um, my father was a baseball player, so. I spent a lot of time in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as San Francisco.

Uh, what I was my kind of three, four, five years old, we moved back down to the South. But, um, yeah, so I mean, a lot of travel as an early kid, a lot of, I guess, passion for sports, which took me through college, uh, but always enjoyed style and creativity. I grew up playing baseball my whole life, even though style and all this stuff was really cool to me.


It was a, it was kind of secondary, you know, I mean, it's cool to walk out with a fresh pair of kicks and, and, and, you know, a whole new fit and stuff, but it's a whole different level when you become involved in the industry on like a very. High level of aesthetic and Pantone and, and, you know, like mixing what the psychology of how things flow and look on people too, you know, yada yada yada, I would have, I never knew that when I was playing baseball, like I said, like, it was just.


You know, look fresh. And I was still the guy, you know, everybody was like Hollywood, you know, I had the fresh, the fresh pleats and the fresh batting gloves and like always the fresh pro preferred Rawlings. Like it was all there. But again, I had a lot to learn when I made that shift, which was about again, growing up.


Always conscious of style, but really making that really big shift when I was about 24 years old, 23 years old, uh, into like, okay, I'm not playing baseball anymore. I thought I was going to play, you know, you know, at a higher level, it didn't ended up happening. What am I going to do now? So the styling is what it started with.


A lot of my friends who were athletes are like, yo, keep me fresh. You know, yo like, let me get those shoes. So not only did that generate a little bit of a revenue stream, but it continued to grow that network. Uh, then I guess somewhat, I got bored with that maybe a little bit. And again, it's not like I won't style somebody or anybody at any given time.


It's just, I found some opportunity and uh, and another Avenue that I'm like, man, I want to go see if I can conquer that. Kind of little lane right there of this industry to where it kind of just snowball effect, a lot of failure, a lot of success to where, you know, now it's kind of like creative engineer means.


I mean, it means a lot of things to me personally. I think if you tried to explain it on like a literal level, I think it would mean different things. But to me it means, uh, Kind of being able to encompass, like not only a creativity and creative direction type mindset, but kind of like an experiential, uh, thing.


Uh, again, I have a strong belief in image. Um, that's the first thing that people see. So I've kind of built it around that. You know, another, another reason just to be totally honest with you guys is. A lot of people are like stylist. I'm a stylist. And I'm like, man, I'm not calling myself a stylist anymore.


And then it was like, I'm a creative director. And I'm like, well, I'm not going to use that. So I just put creative engineer cause kind of, I feel like that embodies a multifaceted. Yeah. That's great that you really found a way to separate yourself from the pack. So when we talk about, uh, you were styling some friends for a while and then wanted to move into another lane, what was the first.


Determined to conquer once you're moving away from just style. I think, I think one of the biggest things that had happened was probably around 20. I think it was 2014 or 15. And again, like. You know, styling can be a lot of different things. If you're styling for Beyonce knows you're probably getting paid six, seven figures.


That's not me. You know what I'm saying? Like I was grinding, I was flying to New York and sleeping on my boys floors, like to try to get to a fashion show, to try to network with somebody for many years. So, um, I think those were little speed bumps and help me grow. But one thing that really helped me grow was meeting one of my business partners who you've met Andre.

Um, when we met several years ago, again, I had already like been developing myself and kind of my ideology on how to go out here and conquer a lot of this. These goals that I have for myself, but he showed me a whole new lane, uh, of stuff that kind of not only had I been missing out on and just not been aware of, but a better way to do certain things that I had already been trying to do.


So basically added some. He sharpened my tools, I would say in a business sense as well, a couple of other people in my life, again, that was 2014, so six years ago. And yeah, man, I mean, like, I think that was probably one of the big things. And since then, I mean, again, failure is a part of, of the journey, but, uh, it's been good.


I think the last, at least since 2018 things have been really rocking. So yeah. Was there ever a point during that journey? To where you are now, where you're like, I don't know if this is necessarily going to work. Maybe I should kind of pull my resources towards something different. I think that happens a lot more than just like one time, man.


I mean, in fact it happens a lot. I mean, shoot, two kids been married for almost eight years. It's like, that happens a lot. Even still, you know, being growing up on a team like in baseball, especially a football too, you know, I mean, there's a lot of team sports. It's not like I'm a golfer where it was like, I grew up just being that one man guy that if I failed, I felt like if I was struggling, we could still win a championship.


In fact, we have, you know, there was a world series I won where games in that world series. I didn't play that well, but my team picked me up. It's like now. Man you get sent to the fryer you fry, you know, I don't know. I mean, I think, I think it's a daily. I think it's just a daily process of just kind of renewing myself in my mind.


Like I'm just trying to renew my mind and just make sure that I'm trying to do things from the heart and not from the head. Like that's just coming from that. I've been telling myself, but yeah. I mean to answer your question, man, like I, I still go through, that's a challenge. Man do I pack it in right now and then do this or do something else?


Cause again, like that's one of the beautiful things about the opportunities that I've been put in is the network. Of which people have is really their net worth. And a lot of senses like who you operate with and you learn from like you become who you're around a lot, you know, like I believe that. So I try to surround myself with a lot of unique people, but ones that can like, not only give me wisdom, but maybe set me up for great opportunities.


If things get crazy and the fashion industry never does come back. You know what? I always love to be doing something inside of it. Yeah, for sure. But if it didn't like I'm going to have other avenues to go down that I, I, I feel like again, the network has set me up for, so how did you know? Cause I think a lot of times people look for a sign or some type of feedback, knowing that what they're doing is working and that they're successful and they're moving in the right direction.


It's kind of like. You know, the whole marathon mentality, like this is a marathon, it takes a long time. It takes years, you know? And I think a lot of people want to see something right away. Like, was there something that you saw that kind of maybe confirm like, yeah, I'm on the right path. This is working.


I gotta keep doing this. I think a few paychecks were definitely like, and again, I don't want to always be monetary, but like. You know, w when you see that you've done a job and that everything like on your end, that you agreed to works out and on there and works out, you're starting to be like, wow, like, I'm really doing this, but I'll say even more important than that would probably be my wife.


Like my wife has always believed in me, but I think when she started, you know, again, this is coming from my wife who is a master's in finance and a master's in accounting. Really sharp, sharp lady. And when she started getting like, not over my shoulder in a bad way, but like interested in like, man, I can, can I give you some tips?


And you know, I'm always like, please give me some advice. I think when she kind of jumped on and I was like, man, this is really rock and we can do this, this and this. I was like, man, like this can be something great and it's not like I have figured it out. Totally. That's something that I don't want to get.


You know, a misconception of this is a crazy world we live in it's it's abs and flows, markets change, marketing changes. Um, so I think just kind of having that mindset, but having, like I said, my wife and a strong team around me, of people who I, who believe in me and I believe what they're saying to be true.


Um, Yeah, that's great. I think too, as a creator and you kind of fall, sometimes a lot of guys and gals fall into this whole artist thing. Like you just have a passion around what you're doing and just love what you're doing. And then there's another aspect of it where you have that you wear that entrepreneurial hat where this is like, I understand the passion, but the same time there's a business here.


And I have to figure out and make the decisions as an entrepreneur, as opposed to just that artist and having that balance was. Was it always, did you talking about your wife too in this equation? Like, did she provide that balance for you or was that something you had from the beginning, man? I definitely don't think I have, uh, as much balance.


I'm a, I'm pretty, you know, I wear my heart on my sleeve. Um, yeah. You know, it's funny, like. All jokes aside, my wife and I have like an inside thing. That is it when Kanye West goes crazy. Not that like my ideals and his align, and I would tweet the same things that he would tweet, but it's like, I have Kanye moments, you know, like, um, I think that's the artist than me.

It's like, I don't care what you think your opinion doesn't matter to me. I'm doing it this way. Um, no, I've been like that a lot.


Sorry. No, you're fine.


It's your apartment? It's like rated or something. They'd been running a fire alarms all day, but it stopped for the past, like two hours, something


like, dang, bro. Is there like cops outside with the megaphone? Like. Stop your podcast. Get off the mic, mr. Cleveland, step away from the microphone.


You need an autograph right now, sir. 70 is listen. If you, if you just got up and started running, then I'd be worried. That would be tilted. It always is. It always is. Yeah. You know what? That's that's interesting too. I think a lot of people who are creative, maybe just don't think of the business side. And I think that's kind of like one of those things that I always like wonder when people are really, really passionate about what they do.


Yeah. I, uh, I, I'm getting more passionate about the business side because I know how important it is again. I mean, you're talking to, I mean, I'm 33 now, but if you were talking to the 27 or 28 year old me, it would be. Yeah, I totally get it. I love it. There's this whole area is actually, we're not editing any of this by the way.


Just so you know,the podcast first, are you going to go yell at somebody? This is the best, man. See, I love it. Yeah, this is great. It's all about it's adapting, right? You just gotta roll with it

the best, best hitters. And it's so true. Everyone's going to say, I love that episode. You know, Santa had to go out to his balcony because they were pulling the fire alarm. Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah. So that's cool. So it's not that, do you have anything to add here? Because since you just decided to, I have some questions on.


What? So I know as a creative, it's really challenging when you have an idea that you think is amazing, but were there times that like, I don't like fear, self doubt, you got self conscious about like putting an idea out there over giving a fear of getting rejected. I know it's happened before. I don't know if I have anything that comes directly to mind.


I know that I have been, I've had moments of self doubt for sure. That have caused me not to make up a decision that I should have. Mmm. If anything, it would probably have been a communication thing where all, man, I want to go speak to this gentleman or this or this or this lady or whatever. It may be in a business setting.


And I kind of was like, Oh, I don't have anything where now I've developed the. Kind of belief in myself that it doesn't matter if I have something to talk about or not. I'm still going to come up to you and shake your hand and say, Hey man, good to see you. And if something sparks and we ended up talking for five minutes, then it happened.


And if not, then the worst you can say about me is that I, you know, I had a weak handshake. You know what I'm saying? That's great, man. You keep the idea of like, regardless, I'm going to make the connection, whether I have company or not. Cause I know I run into it where. So you see something you want to talk to, but it's like, I don't know what I have to offer them, or I don't even know how I approach this conversation.


I think most of the time, again, I'm not telling anybody to just go, you know, like jump off. The end of the diamond board and be like, I don't have anything to bring. I'm just going to go in there and be like, ah, what's up. That's probably not going to be beneficial. But again, like, I'm a big believer in just like that energy man.


Like you can just put it out there. It's going to come back. So. I've always been, but again, you're talking to a guy that always thinks he has a good idea. You know, that's, again, the artist in me, it's like, yeah, people just shake their heads. Sometimes. Maybe I'm having a Kanye moment when I have those thoughts, but I feel like that passion is what keeps you going.



So, yeah. What was the craziest idea that you put out, but it worked. Oh man. Cause I I've seen some of like the experiences that you put on your, your social media. I love looking at your Instagram page because I like the luxury and exclusive stuff. And it's your page is all about, you know, I've always enjoyed collecting man, like.


Again, I was the guy back as 13, even before like the real, like sense of all those Jordan fours or whatever came. I was in line for beanie babies. You know, why beanie babies and baseball cards like bro, I was slinging them. I loved, I loved it. I would go buy beanie babies and go on eBay. And they're like a hundred dollars.


I bought this for 10, like boom, sell it. Like. So that collecting essence of like, man, I love collecting things that are like valued in society and have equity. That was, that was fun to me. Um, but a big deal would be like, I mean, again, there was a really cool collaboration that happened a few years ago with Supreme and Louis Vuitton.

And I was able to facilitate a lot of really, I mean, we had. Collectively me and a partner had like, just an enormous amount of it. Um, and we were able to allocate that to a lot of our clients and, and also sell it for a price increase. I mean, again, sometimes this is a, a gray area of like, man, you guys resell to an extent.


Yeah, that can be true at times, but. Go on eBay and look at Croatian style. It'll be the oldest eBay account ever. There's like 99,000 reviews. You know why? Because he was doing it in the early two thousands. That's why, again, that's why, you know, just, just to, uh, give Dre a little praise right here. Like when Travis Scott and Kylie Jenner and Drake, and a lot of.

Huge people from sports to just like the upper echelon and, and the entertainment realm. Uh, they go to Dre for the shoes. They go to Dre for the Supreme. Like it's always been like that. So I think resale again gets a bad stigma, but again, I'm going I'm sidetracking. Uh, the Louis Vuitton Supreme collection was a huge deal.


And that was more on like a street wear big deal kind of level. I mean, there's been some shoe deals that I've been fortunate enough to be a part of that were major shoe deals. There's a brand that I'm the creator I'm doing creative direction for right now. Have you heard how to retos it's in a glass bottle?


So I picked that up last year. I did. Art Basel. I did a LeBron James opened up a store in Miami called unknown with a couple of owners. Another owner's name is Jarren. Really, really good. Nice guy comes from a great family. Um, and shout out to those guys down there, Peter and Corey and all them. Yeah.


Unknown. It's in Wynwood in Miami anyways.


Okay. So like New York sunshine, my buddy liked the architect that helped build the whole store. Um, anyways, hurried. So it's just pulled up. I mean, again, like I'm doing cultural and fusion projects right now. Like. Her Ritos is, Oh yeah, look it here. See her Ritos yes. I'm not even getting paid to market them.


I'm just being, being authentic right now. There is a great soda and like they're allowing me to do something really cool that no other kind of brand in that lane has ever let me even come around and talk to them about and that's Hey, you guys are in the skate parks. You're in like the, like the, the.


Coachella's you're in the end. They're like, okay, so what do we do? And I'm like, man, let's just infuse ourselves into all these events. So when these stores are having events are Nike's having a release or the super bowl happens, her Ritos was there and has been, I mean, obviously the crisis has shut a lot of this stuff down.


Um, but that's what I've been doing for them is putting them in the right places. I mean, when Kanye West that is Sunday service, the opera. Uh, for the super bowl, I was, that was that art Basel. It was art Basel. Um, I drove out there early with the hurried so's truck and we supplied the whole choir and everybody working on Sunday service with how do you toes?


So they got to drink potatoes with their catered meals. That's amazing. How the hell does that happen? Does it, do you walk up to them and say, listen, this is what I do. Do they say, who are you? Who are you? I mean, so I went through my phone and found a contact inside of production that knew who was doing the production for Kanye stuff, hit him up.


I was like, bro, I need a favor. But in this favor, I was like, you're going to look great. Cause I'm about to drop off 5,000 sodas and just like, bless him. Like kind of Chick-fil-A did the same thing. And again, like. It was just on a window. It was on a whim. I was down there running, running the Hottie toast stuff.


I'm a big art collector too. So like art Basel was, you know, it's a big week in Miami. Um, there's a lot of events to go to and that I was helping out with, but it just came to my mind. I mean, shoot Dior like Christian Dior. I don't know if you guys are familiar with the, uh, the designer for the menswear Kim Jones Jones.


Yes. So Kim Jones is the man first and foremost like this dude. I hope you hears this because Kim, you are a legend. Like this guy is a really awesome guy. On the court in his design lab and off the court as a people person, he liked really genuinely as a nice guy. He's invited me to the last few shows, the one in Miami and another opportunity like that just popped into my mind.

I'm like, Oh my gosh, I gotta send Kim Jones and the whole Dior team Hottie toes. So sure enough, I just brought the truck over there and offloaded it to him. So again, like I'm getting back to like, Being able to work with the brands freely like that, where it's genuinely heartfelt. I feel like that's what makes a lasting impact.


You know, people don't remember all the things that you tell them, they just remember how you made them feel. So if I can incorporate that into this new hot tow stuff. That's kind of how I felt was best serving them. Do you find that it's a lot of people that you collaborate with work with network with are very likeminded.


Do you feel like they have that kind of where their heart on their sleeve, big, hard type of like gratitude people first type of mentality? I think it's mixed. I mean, you can find the good and you can find the bad. It just depends on where you're looking. You know, I've been both ways I have spent.