Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Louis (LC) Johnson IV talks Currency jewelry, other endeavors
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

This article shared 5498 times since Tue Jun 23, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Louis ( LC ) Johnson IV is only 24 years old but he's already making waves as the creative director for Currency, a New York City-based jewelry company that he co-launched in 2012 with jewelry designer and straight ally Gee Powell.

"I started interning at Complex Magazine in New York City and from there I went on to intern at Showroom Seven, a multi-branded PR house, and that's where I met Gee. We connected creatively and wanted to create more together so we started Currency together and began to get her designs mass produced," said Johnson. " I was already a freelance fashion stylist and one of my clients was Gee's artist, Asian rapper Luz, so that worked hand in hand with what we were doing. We worked with artists and models doing photo and video shoots to visually compel a new market. We marketed this to young, creative people who were into fashion, music and those who wanted to be a part of something new. I think that right now our generation is about supporting everyone's endeavors. It's about comraderie and that's really the essence of what our company has been about since we started."

According to its website, Currency "was inspired by gifts of coins from personal friends who traveled to faraway destinations such as Cuba, Bahrain, Morocco, Costa Rica, France, Africa, Israel, India, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Jamaica and Hong Kong.

"Currency uniquely turns international coin currencies into a modern lifestyle and fashion jewelry collection for both men and women. Currency necklaces and bracelets are the perfect day to night jewelry. Each piece can be dressed up for evening or pared down with a T-shirt and jeans for day."

As the company has grown, Johnson and Powell have been able to use their personal relationships with people to spread the word. Some of the notable people who've become fans and clients of Currency's jewelry are Rihanna, Rita Ora, Dasha Polanco, Zendaya and Justine Skye as well as top fashion stylists like Yusef Williams, Ty Hunter and Law Roach. Last September, Currency was featured during a presentation at the James Hotel during Fashion Week in NYC.

Johnson's role as creative director for Currency involves making the jewelry artful as well as appealing to the masses while also figuring out the direction that they want to take the company. He also does all the social media, runs sales, decides what images that will be featured on the site and gets the jewelry to various stylists. Powell designs the jewelry and has full creative control over the way the jewelry looks.

Being in the fashion industry has always been a part of Johnson's life, even when he was a kid. He was born on the West Side of Chicago on April 14, 1991, and attended Providence St. Mel for elementary school and went on to graduate from Steinmetz College Prep High School. He attended The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago before moving to NYC to attend The Art Institute of New York City where he's currently finishing up his degree in fashion marketing.

Currency isn't the only thing that Johnson does professionally. When Johnson returned to Chicago for a vacation he got offered a full-time job at Etro, an Italian fashion house, so he decided to move home last May. He is completing his degree online as well as continuing in his role at Currency while also working at Etro.

Johnson noted that he first came out as gay while attending high school and except for a handful of negative comments about his sexuality he's had mostly positive responses from family, friends and colleagues. Johnson explained that while in high school he started meeting new friends that he could relate to and they all supported each other since they were going through similar adversities. He said they gained a strong sense of brotherhood in friendship as they navigated their coming of age years.

"It was definitely not easy to be brave at that point in my life but it's empowering to become comfortable with yourself," said Johnson. "When you start owning who you are you get so much more love, support and understanding from people. I encourage people to be who they are but everyone has to set their own time table as to when they want to come out."

"I will say that I don't feel like my sexuality defines me. I'm definitely not ashamed of who I am and if you ask me I'll tell you I'm gay," said Johnson. "It was easier for me to be out when I moved to New York City because at least for me it was more acceptable to be gay there than here in Chicago. It's more shocking if you aren't gay in New York City, especially in the fashion industry."

Not only does Johnson work full-time, run Currency and is finishing college he also hosts an LGBT friendly dance party on the first Friday of the month at Esso Bar in Wicker Park called The Firm.

"I'm trying to create a space where the LGBT and straight community can collide similar to what I saw in New York City when I hosted parties at Mister H with Rapper Sir Michael Fernandez, where everyone is integrated within a social space," said Johnson. "I want to help eliminate some of the segregation that exists in Chicago."

When not working; Johnson likes to hang out with his friends, travel, work out, run, play tennis and swim. During summer vacations at Camp Chippewa in Minnesota, Johnson also likes to do archery, kayaking and water tubing.

"I'm like a mermaid," said Johnson.

As for what he would tell people thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, Johnson said the most important thing is to not give up on your dreams.

"Always focus on your own dreams whether you are working for someone else, you have to mind your own business," said Johnson. "It's important to remain positive even when you think something isn't working or you can't see a light at the end of the tunnel. Just know that every day is another step towards your dream and as long as you keep going you'd be surprised to see where you are a year or two from now."

See for more information .

This article shared 5498 times since Tue Jun 23, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

PASSAGES Writer, attorney, activist Takeia R. Johnson 2021-07-25
- The local organization Affinity Community Services announced the recent passing of Takeia R. Johnson. According to Johnson's LinkedIn profile, she was editor-in-chief and lead writer at Inclusion at Work as well as a Ph.D. student focusing ...

Gay News

SAVOR Talking with new Travelle Chef de Cuisine Qi Ai; Profile of Travelle's breakfast 2021-06-09
- Travelle Chef de Cuisine Qi Ai Travelle at the Langham (330 N Wabash Ave.; has undergone a major change during the COVID pandemic: New Chef de Cuisine Qi (pronounced "tee") Ai was promoted from sous ...

Gay News

MOVIES Dutch journalist talks about making 'My Friend, the Mayor' 2021-02-17
- In the Amazon Prime Video documentary My Friend, the Mayor: Small-town Democracy in the Age of Trump, Dutch journalist Max Westerman profiles friend Sean Strub, an openly gay activist, activist, long-term AIDS survivor and POZ magazine ...

Gay News

Booksellers launch "Boxed Out" campaign, a look at consumer choices 2020-10-22
--From a press release - (New York, New York) 20% of independent bookstores across the country are in danger of closing. Today, theAmerican Booksellers Association launched the "Boxed Out" campaign to draw attention to the high stakes indie bookstores face this ...

Gay News

Author/academic John D'Emilio on new book, future endeavors 2020-10-01
- Queer Legacies: Stories from Chicago's LGBTQ Archives is a new book by Gerber/Hart Library and Archives President and University of Illinois at Chicago History and Women's and Gender Studies Professor Emeritus John ...

Gay News

Out Illinois State coach dives into new position 2020-09-16
- Logan Pearsall, an accomplished college diver who has since transitioned into master's level diving, was competing at the 2017 FINA World Masters Championships in Budapest, Hungary. He was doing a challenging inward dive from a one-meter ...

Gay News

Joseph Baar Topinka preserves legacy of mother: Pro-gay Republican Judy 2020-09-02
- Riverside resident Joseph Baar Topinka is still impressed with the resolve and stamina with which his late mother, longtime GOP politician Judy Baar Topinka, was able to "slug it out" in the political arena. "She got ...

Gay News

'Making Sweet Tea': Out NU dean talks about new documentary 2020-08-18
- Performer and Northwestern University Dean E. Patrick Johnson discussed his new film and the importance of reclaiming storytelling agency in a virtual Q&A Lambda Legal hosted Aug. 9. Johnson, dean of Northwestern University's School of Communication, ...

Gay News

Asha Ransby-Sporn talks building on the anti-racism movement's legacy 2020-08-05
- With anti-racism protests happening around the United States, in what some media outlets are saying is the largest movement in this country's history, demands to abolish the police have increasingly been a part of the rallying ...

Gay News

Local lesbian couple celebrate 50 years together 2020-08-05
- When Alice Cozad and Linda Young met each other as freshmen at the University of Iowa they knew almost instantly that they would be together as a couple for the rest of their lives. "The electricity ...

Gay News

Teen LGBTQ+ activist aims to inspire with Be You Tiful Initiative 2020-07-31
- Allison Frank is a 16-year-old lesbian activist from Lincolnshire's Stevenson High School who found her passion for activism and began the Be You Tiful Initiative. It all started when Frank was feeling overwhelmed in a makeup ...

Gay News

Cicero student finds his voice 2020-07-29
- When Jorge Martinez-Arevalo was in eighth grade, he was elected president of an LGBTQ+ after-school club at Unity Junior High School, in Cicero. During his eighth-grade year, the club, which is known as NJAW (short for ...

Gay News

Chicago man takes face masks into luxury 2020-07-10
- During COVID-19 David Altman is encouraging people to wear their heart on their face with masks that his brand Vintage Luxe Up is currently making out of vintage luxury designer silk scarves. Altman grew up on ...

Gay News

E. Patrick Johnson, a man of firsts 2020-07-08
- E. Patrick Johnson is a man often associated with the word "first." He was the first in his family to go to college, and the first Black native of Hickory, North Carolina, to receive a Ph.D., ...

Gay News

Gay sign-language interpreter on press conferences, LGBTQs 2020-04-01
- As a child, Michael Spencer Albert never knew how important his hands would be one day as an interpreter for the deaf community. He was born in Edgewater Hospital and grew up in Skokie. In college, ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.