A Clothing Company For Men In South Carolina Celebrates African-American History.
When Jaquial Durham talks about how he got his start in fashion, he tells how he missed his prom and instead utilized the money his grandmother provided him for a tuxedo to establish a fashion brand.
Durham explained, “She was unhappy, but that was exactly what I intended to do.” Later, the Clemson native began working with Mr. Knickerbockers to produce a collection based on African American history that would be sold in the company’s stores, but the company finally dropped out owing to the designs not fitting their target demographic.
Durham decided to take a break because he was frustrated. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Winston-Salem State University and two master’s degrees at George Washington University and Georgetown University during that time. He also founded Public Culture, a media organization that focuses on urban and rural communities through music, movies, sports, fashion, and technology.
He designed a fashion collection that told the tales of Black figures and organizations at primarily white universities by combining his studies with his media firm.
“There is a hidden story on white campuses in the South,” he remarked. Durham creates a capsule out of the history of African American individuals and monuments, as well as hand-painted art. In addition to the capsules, Durham curated QR codes for the clothing, which may be scanned to learn more about the design.
Durham said his first collection took two and a half years to complete, but it couldn’t have come at a better moment. Durham remarked, “It was excellent timing because I was recently admitted to Clemson for my doctoral degree.”
“So being accepted to the university, being able to return home and become more involved in the community was ideal.”
Durham’s collection was influenced by Dr. Rhondda Robinson Thomas’ book “Call My Name, Clemson,” which examines African Americans who have helped to keep Clemson University and the surrounding area afloat. The Student League for Black Identity (SLBI), a student-led organization that fostered culture and history at Clemson, is depicted in the first piece in the collection.
Three new sculptures in the Clemson collection honor Harvey Gantt, the first African American student accepted to the university, Littlejohn Grill, a popular hangout for primarily Black Clemson students, and Eva Hester Martin, a direct descendant of Fort Hill Plantation slaves. “I chose to distribute them separately because I wanted to give each item his own life story and opportunity to shine,” Durham explained.
Three new sculptures in the Clemson collection honor Harvey Gantt, the first African American student accepted to the university, Littlejohn Grill, a popular hangout for primarily Black Clemson students, and Eva Hester Martin, a direct descendant of Fort Hill Plantation slaves.
Durham intends to issue further collections featuring other Southern campuses, such as the University of Florida, the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, the University of Georgia, the University of Alabama, and others.
Visit The Public Culture Collections for additional information about Durham’s line.
Content courtesy of Central Daily & NFH