Home Education A Virginia-based designer HBCU apparel brand is hitting department stores

A Virginia-based designer HBCU apparel brand is hitting department stores

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Ashley Jones graduated from Norfolk State University back in 2015 and decided to focus on filling the gap in fashion for students. She released Tones of Melanin in 2017.

Tones of Melanin was founded by an HBCU graduate to create streetwear that would appeal to those who attended the schools.

(Courtesy of Tones of Melanin)

When Ashley Jones graduated from Norfolk State, she wanted to create gear that reflected the culture and self-expression of the people who attended HBCUs.

(Courtesy of Tones of Melanin)

Jones gear can now be found in HBCU bookstores across the country.

(Courtesy of Tones of Melanin)

Her clothing, which includes jackets and shorts, is also available in major department and sporting goods stores, as well as online.

(Courtesy of Tones of Melanin)

Ashley Jones graduated from Norfolk State University back in 2015 and decided to focus on filling the gap in fashion for students. She released Tones of Melanin in 2017.

“When I walked into my bookstore, I really didn’t see anything that represented my population. I really want to highlight the HBCU culture,” Jones said, referring to historically black colleges and universities.



Her clothing line offers everything from double-sided shorts and jackets to hoodies and shirts ranging from $20 to $100.

Eventually the line caught the attention of major retailers. Her artwork is now in Belk department stores, HBCU bookstores, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

“Everything happened very quickly. I hope to get more stores in the coming years,” Jones added. “I feel like we have our own community and I’m making it bigger for the world to see.”

Jones said the killing of George Floyd helped her business gain more recognition and support alongside the social justice movement. HBCUs are too more attention was paid over the past few years.

“I hope it’s not just a fad, I hope it’s a permanent thing. We are properly trained and education is top notch,” Jones added.

She says she hopes more young creators stay true to their vision. Her advice? “Be persistent and do your research. Be creative, that’s us, we’re creative as humans.”

Items are also available online at TonesofMelanin.com.

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