J. Branson Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Of Rags: Sustainable Fashion

Branson is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner for Of Rags: Sustainable Fashion, a fair trade fashion cooperative for sustainable development. He came up with the idea to make clothing that makes a difference when he was in ninth grade and started making t-shirts with sayings from Che Guevara. Yet it wasn’t until he came to Ghana as a student with New York University and serendipitously met RAAM, his fellow Of Rags co-founder, that he truly put his idea into action.

He has traveled extensively throughout the Americas. Between graduating high school and beginning class a year later at the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies at NYU, he lived in Quito, Ecuador, where he studied at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito while producing a video on Ecuador’s Constitutional Reform. He worked for HSYLC in China and studied in Europe as well. Branson, a fluent Spanish speaker, was awarded a Princeton Prize in Race Relations for his work establishing a bilingual, Spanish-English, magazine to tell the stories of Hispanic immigrants, both students and employees, in his high school. An Amigos de las Américas alum, Branson is also a founding member and the lead organizer of Tuition for Peace, a campaign seeking to establish what would in effect be a ROTC program for organizations like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

Branson hails from Washington, DC. He is in his third year studying the Globalization of Public Health and Societies at NYU and is very honored to have been named one of five 2010 NYU Reynolds Scholars in Social Entrepreneurship as well as one of NYU’s 15 most Influential Students.

Branson’s first love is music. Since he began seriously playing music in sixth grade, he’s written and recorded four full-length CDs and several EPs as a singer/songwriter. He often uses his music to promote causes and fundraise for organizations with which he’s affiliated.

Branson enjoys watching movies and listening to music. He’s happiest working hard, but seeing kids smile at the end of the day is what makes it all worthwhile.

Branson works as the resident photographer, web and graphic designer for Of Rags and his friends and family. He keeps a personal blog at www.theparallelworld.com and tweets @unityforward.