001 — HOW DISPLACED BY DESIGN GAVE MY LIFE PURPOSE
This was going to happen sooner or later. So, here it is… Welcome to the DISPLACED BY DESIGN blog!
I decided to start this blog for two reasons. The first being I love to tell stories, and the second to create an online presence for DISPLACED BY DESIGN. I created this brand in October 2018 before I finished undergrad, and honestly I had no idea of what we could become. I knew I wanted DISPLACED BY DESIGN to be more than a clothing brand and do more than make t-shirts, so my main objective has been creating a strong message that represents a feeling. Personally, I’ve always been set on turning passions into words and relating to people from all walks of life. I’d then blend the two in order to establish a connection. So, for DISPLACED BY DESIGN, authentic connection needed to be at the center of this brand.
I’ll admit, in the beginning I rushed the process of starting a t-shirt company and made a lot of costly mistakes — as with most entrepreneurs starting up their first business. However, I wouldn’t go back and do anything different. That’s a cliche, but, for whatever reason the only way I am able to learn something is by making the mistake myself instead of listening to someone’s advice or learning from their mistakes... Is it just me?
DISPLACED BY DESIGN had meaning before having any kind of logo or signature design. I was okay with that because my design skills were nonexistent at the time. I was able to utilize a simple distorted cross, I created using Canva, as a ‘mark’ for people to recognize DISPLACED BY DESIGN. But I struggled to attach meaning to the distorted cross and the initial online introduction brought more Christian followers than followers of streetwear. While faith is at the center of my life, the meaning behind DISPLACED BY DESIGN centers around self-acceptance through authenticity.
“Simply put, to be displaced means to lack a home, or belonging.”
So, there I was doing everything I could to spread awareness for DISPLACED BY DESIGN when it hit me… outside of my immediate social media footprint no one knew of this clothing brand’s existence. To take it a step further, I realized I was more focused on getting my friends, family, and followers to recognize I was doing something productive instead of establishing a foundation for DISPLACED BY DESIGN to build on. As 2018 came to an end, I’d sold a few t-shirts here and there but had given away far more shirts than I had actually sold. To this day, I’ve given out so many t-shirts. After launching DISPLACED BY DESIGN online I had done no advertising — not even a Facebook ad.
“I didn’t belong in the streetwear industry.”
This is partially because I was a part time sales associate, then an assistant store manager at a Finish Line retail store, living well beyond my means leaving myself no money to save, yet alone investing into my t-shirt company. But mainly, I had no idea what I was doing and was going at it alone with little to no plan nor research done. I didn’t belong in the streetwear industry. I just enjoyed looking good and being intentional with my outfits. But, at 6’0” — 6’2” on a GREAT day — weighing more than 260 pounds I couldn’t wear whatever I wanted to wear without standing out or being clowned by friends and family for my jeans being too tight.
I love graphic and novelty t-shirts, layers, sneakers and boots, and accent pieces to take my outfits to the next level. But had no idea what went into planning the construction of a t-shirt from the collar, style of yarn and fabric, the difference between single and double seamed neck and shoulders, the label, or where such garments were produced... Talk about “in over my head.” All I wanted to do was tell stories, my story, create designs I’d want in my closet, and build on a feeling I had felt that was similar to those I had met over the years.
“...my own self-worth was determined by people and things and not me and a greater purpose.”
During undergrad, I had two college radio shows, hosted several events on campus, and established a small amount of clout in the artistic community. Amongst the outspoken, rebellious, unique and different ‘people’ that gravitated towards arts and crafts, music, and other creative outlets as their choice of expression; I had established myself. Finally! Throughout my entire exhausted college career I had finally felt a part of a community that welcomed freedom of expression.
Whether it were related to radio, music, fashion, resale, or generally being a likable guy my name stood for something more than what it once had. I rode the wave of communal recognition until it washed me up on the shores of shame, trauma, and rejection. After completing undergrad with honors and outstanding recognition from my college, I was admitted into a postgraduate business marketing program. What a time to be alive! Not shortly after completing undergrad, my grad school admittance, and continuing onto the next phase of life, my once credible name was nullified by the reemergence of past mistakes.
I had worked so hard to establish myself outside of who I once was and had worked so hard to restore my presence in the lives of those I had once let down, wronged, or mistreated with brief encounters; that I lost sight of who I could become if I had only focused on me, and no one else. Because I had given myself to every single person I had come into contact with, that meant that my own self-worth was determined by people and things and not me and a greater purpose.
That was, until, December 11, 2019 when I had no choice but to take a look at who I was and take responsibility for who I could become. To be honest, there are only a handful of dates that stand out to me in life, but all I can say is that each and every one of those dates give me every single reason and all the motivation to give DISPLACED BY DESIGN everything I have.
“...creating a community.”
My purpose with this brand is to create a community for like-minded people to come together and express themselves without judgement. I realized, through growing this brand, that I was afraid of living my truth. I was afraid of the world rejecting me, which delayed self-validation and accepting myself for who I am. With DISPLACED BY DESIGN, we encourage living your best, and most fulfilling life. Once I started to accept myself and live my life authentically this brand stopped being a t-shirt company.
Creating DISPLACED BY DESIGN’S meaning has given my life purpose. However, it’s not just about me, it’s about using my life experiences to uplift humanity. My hope is that by doing so, each person I impact will uplift the people around them until we are all whole. We are uniquely designed and experience life differently. We should embrace that. We should not compromise ourselves for “likes” or validation from others.
We are all DISPLACED. Your story belongs to you, and no one else. We experience life as snowflakes, each and every one of us is different from the next person. As a snowflake, we are all unique, yet we are all perfect in our own way. Every life is different and born of its own special set of circumstances. Every story is unique. Own yours and every decision you make. You’re where you belong.
Join the DISPLACED.