Written by MoniSade Fabunmi Photographed by Jarrell Brodgins
A ninth-grader in a Science and Technology program in 2006, Darius Stanton began to walk the unbeaten path to becoming both a scientist and a trendsetter. Student of James Bond, Martin Lawrence, Pharrell, and Matthew Henson, Stanton’s personal style reflects the range of his childhood influences. As a senior, he would be voted Best Dressed and accept an offer to attend Claflin University to study Environmental Science.
The Rough is a vintage collection curated by the 27-year-old environmental advocate and aesthete. The Rough synthesizes Stanton’s commitment to promoting the health of the natural world, his appreciation for timeless fashion, and his appetite for history. Stanton explains that your “Rough” is the environment within which you were wrought—the environment you must push through to come into bloom. One might travel through many in a lifetime, and each prepares you better for the next. Rather than feeling like the “rough” you happen to come from is a disadvantage, Stanton inverts the concept to garner positive connotations.
"The Rough prepares you for your next move; it doesn’t define you. It’s all really stepping stones."
“The Rough prepares you for your next move; it doesn’t define you. It’s all really stepping stones.” He says, explaining that equipping yourself with whatever you need to survive your “rough” is your duty, and your clothing is a part of that.
For Stanton, style comes second nature in the DMV, where locally owned and operated clothing brands are embedded in the culture and where sneakerheads and ball players are among some of the most respected in the world. He explains that clothing and sneakers for a lot of DMV natives are a natural way to express their understanding of themselves and the world around them. He understands the feeling that in the DMV, style can be a method of survival, a means of setting yourself apart.
“I came up in the perfect time to care about streetwear and vintage,” he says, describing important fashion moments between 2006 and 2010: NERD, Kanye West, Andre 3000, and Kid Cudi slowly having everyone moving towards tapered ripped jeans, and the market price of the BRED 1’s skyrocketing. Stanton says these icons helped stir his taste for high-end streetwear and rare finds. Colorful and unconventional, Stanton’s vast personal wardrobe allows him to create looks not easily accomplished. Mixing African prints with Jordan’s, or sporting a tailored summer suit, Stanton comes off like a man with roots in West Africa and PG County who’s living in Italy. He attributes his extensive closet to his instinct to buy timeless pieces and preserve his things: “I have shoes that I’ve had since the 8th grade, shirts too.”
“As a people, we can’t keep buying fast fashion,” Stanton advises. A goal of his company is to promote innovative recycling of textiles and the adoption of an instinct to repurpose clothes rather than throw them away. “The textile industry is the second highest emitter of carbon in theworld,” Stanton explained. “It makes no sense to buy anything you’ll only wear for 3 months.” Our addiction to the trendy, he suggests, is actually killing our planet. “I went to school for environmental science … [I wanted] all the business ventures I wanted to embark upon to be rooted in the green movement or environmental sustainability,” he said. Through The Rough, Stanton embeds purpose in style, letting his collection reflect his desire to get black people outdoors, in suits, and, most importantly, in garments they’ll want to keep. Readers who’d like to connect with,Darius can do so on Instagram @shoptherough and @planeteer_d.