VCU Fashion Event: Donwan Harrell
This past Monday, VCU fashion design alumnus Donwan Harrell came to speak about the success of his businesses and brands that was open to the public. Calling himself a “shy worker bee”, Harrell talked about his work at Nike, creating his brand Akademiks and luxury denim line PRPS. After giving a brief overview of his work and his time at VCU, he opened the floor to questions.
Before Harrell even started at VCU, he was into reading comics and got into fashion by drawing comic book clothing. After graduating from VCU, Harrell started working at Nike and moved his way up to one of the highest positions as a top designer for Nike. Moving into urban wear by starting his own brand Akademiks, Harrell started dressing famous hip-hop artists and other famous faces. He was a fore runner to urban wear and started the trends. Then, after selling Akademiks, he started his high end denim line, PRPS. He was tired of “fast food fashion” and started researching unique ways to manufacture denim. PRPS denim is made on pre-World War II looms that create a distinct and different weave in the denim. He plans on expanding PRPS and creating a collaborative line with Tom Ford.
When later questioned about what advice he would give to students Harrell said:
- Be super competitive and have a vision
- Being a successful part of the fashion world is 70% training and 30% instinct.
- You have to be talented and super savvy while being able to communicate your idea
- In order to get the job you want, you have to always be thinking ahead and make businesses feel that you are brining something to them. Have an angle.