What is the name of your fashion label and its designer ?
The name of our brand is DRC ApeParel, LTD and we use a collective of designers all headed up by our Brand Director Roderick Vakala and our Creative Director Eric B. Ndelo.
When was it established?
We officially printed our first line of t-shirts in 2004 and completed our first cut-&-sew hoodies in 2007.
Where are you based?
We are currently based between our two offices. Our corporate office is in Raleigh, North Carolina and our creative office is in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Tell us about your fashion background, how you got started, why you got into fashion and the type of designs you do
Well, we are all from different disciplines and backgrounds, none originating in fashion. But we all had various experiences in starting and running our own creative businesses. From Digitial Media and video production to graphic design and web development. It wasn't until 2003, when our Creative Director, Eric B. Ndelo, went to Europe and was looking for a Zaire or D.R. Congo t-shirt and couldn't find one. That was when we saw the opportunity that sparked us to get into the fashion game. We figured there were possibly other people from other countries who were faced with the same dilemma. So we sought out to create a company that would focus on designs based on traditional and modern Pan-African culture fused with popular cultural styles.
How hard was it to get started?
It was easy to start off, being that we were strictly in the business of making t-shirts. The hard part was in building a solid brand and getting our cut-&-sew products developed. Building a respectable brand for yourself takes a lot of time, the right connections and a strong belief that, amongst all the adversity, that you will and are going to succeed. We've made a lot of mistakes. Sometimes the hardest part is figuring out what the mistakes are and finding solutions that work for you and your company. Not to mention how hard it is to get funding to support your dream, LOL.
What has been your greatest success to date within the fashion industry?
Our greatest success to date is to still be in business after 7 years of blood, sweat and tears.
What is the future vision and aim for your label?
Our future vision is to continue to "Blaze the Digital Renaissance of Consciousness" with more interactive ways for the world to be able to communicate with and embrace our brand. We're currently only sold online, so our aim is to lock down some great relationships with retail stores and boutiques here in the States and internationally, as well as learning more about this rich and intriguing world called, "The African Diaspora" and using that inspiration to tell OUR story and to reach our maximum potential.
Check out Drc ApePare LTD here
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