Remembering legendary Charlottean and fashion designer Cary Mitchell
“He was always looking at how he could improve the community and how he could pay it forward.”
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Legendary fashion designer Cary Mitchell passed away last week, and today his adopted hometown of Charlotte said goodbye.
He was a personal designer to some of the NBA’s best-known stars, including Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen.
Also on the star-studded list of Mitchell’s past clients is golf superstar Tiger Woods.
Mitchell clearly had the personality that could light up a room.
While his craft was based here in Charlotte, his work gained wide international exposure.
A photo collage at Victory Christian Center accurately illustrates the vibrant tapestry showcasing Mitchell’s fulfilling life.
He did a lot of living in his 62 years, with one of his crowning achievements being designing the Charlotte Bobcats uniforms not long after his friend Bob Johnson became the NBA’s first African-American team owner.
“He was so unassuming and very humble, and you wouldn’t even know he was that guy touching all these celebrities’ lives,” Charlotte Hornets team president Fred Whitfield said.
Relationships with the well-known was one phase of his personality, but Mitchell also understood a deep sense of loyalty and devotion to his college alma mater, Johnson C. Smith University.
Charlotte City Council member Malcolm Graham attended JCSU with Mitchell.
“He really cared about the university,” Graham said. “He served as a member of the board of trustees.”
While tributes flowed from the pulpit, reflections from individuals he partnered with through public events added an assist through such a diverse body of work.
“He was always looking at how he could improve the community and how he could pay it forward,” one friend said.
When the Spectrum Center started hosting events supported by the CIAA and NBA, Mitchell’s influence was undoubtedly felt.
“It is really historical to see a Black man design and have a footprint in something as large as an NBA uniform,” one arena worker said.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver was among many to express their personal condolences.
While so many knew his ability of developing fine fashion, people in Charlotte just called him “Cup.” They admired and respected his ability to establish lasting friendships.
Mitchell a native of Richmond, Va. is survived by his wife Vanessa and a long list of family and friends.
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