Rolling Out

HBCU graduate Drew Sanders puts activism message into clothing line

Brand hits road on HBCU tour

Drew Sanders had a vision and put it in his apparel company.

The Aware Brand is a clothing line founded by Sanders, a Tuskegee University graduate with a specific message, birthed at a particular time.

Recently, Sanders spoke to rolling out about the brand and his HBCU.

What is the backstory of starting The Aware Brand?

The idea of The Aware Brand came in 2016. We started selling it in 2017. I was a young pup, growing up in the world, just trying to figure things out about myself, learning who I was, and transforming into the man I am today. The biggest [thing that] was happening around that time was a lot of police brutality happening around the world. Philando Castile and Eric Garner, the news was just pumping [it] down our throats. I was like, “What’s going on?”

It was taking a toll on me. I was like, “OK. What’s the issue here?” I talked to my great-aunts because they were from Selma, Alabama, and they talked about marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the big march to Montgomery. We’ve been marching and protesting for 56 years, [so] what’s the solution?

Instead of pointing the finger, let’s look back at ourselves in this situation. Are we taking ownership of who we are? Are we aware of our power, [because] we’re allowing people to do these things to us, but are we actually aware? That’s when I started getting these thoughts, [because] there’s so much power in awareness.

So, our brand stands on self-love and self-awareness because in order to see yourself, you have to love yourself first.

What is going on with your HBCU tour right now?

This is our second annual HBCU tour. Last year, our first one, was amazing. We were like, “We have to do this again.” So this year, we started off with Tuskegee. We’re going to be at Clark Atlanta this week. The week after that, we’re going to be at FAMU, and we’re going to end it off at North Carolina A&T.

We decided to do this tour because we wanted to really focus on the target demo[graphic] [whom] we wanted to talk to, which are people between the ages of 16 and 24. Fashion really lives on these HBCU campuses, but also, the enlightened ones live on these HBCU campuses. We leave our homes and go to these college and university spaces to learn more about ourselves. We become more aware of ourselves, so I thought HBCU campuses were the most ideal locations. For us to spread this message, connect with the kids and even some of the alumni who come back. That’s what we’re doing; we’re utilizing this opportunity to build brand awareness.

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Rolling Out