Behind the Scenes of Robeson College

Over the past few months we've been working with designer Donte Neal and BlackStar Film Festival to bring you the latest addition to our School of Thought line! We've had a long relationship with BlackStar dating back to when both organizations first began. If you attended the festival during it's first three years, you may have even purchased a BlackStar shirt printed by yours truly. So, when BlackStar asked us if we thought Robeson College would be a good addition to our collection, we jumped at the chance. To commemorate the partnership we've had a little over 100 shirts freshly screen printed with a limited edition BlackStar x PPW tag sewn into each hem. These limited edition tees will be available at the festival starting August 4th - 7th. 

On par with our previous collections, we've asked the artist, Donte Neal, a few questions about the background of the collection, the new design and his process. 

How did you get started in graphic design?

As a kid my primary focus was to consume as much Hip Hop and as many Comic books, zines, culture magazines, video games, anime and graffiti walls as possible. My love for those things all met at the intersection of digital art and design. It took a while to plot a career path but when I finally decided to major in Graphic Design it was a choice based on that intersection of the creative products I loved. Graphic Design informs the placement of imagery in the most basic and practical of ways and for that reason it's the basis of all that I do creatively and visually.

What is it about collegiate fashion that you find so compelling?
College paraphernalia has always been meant to represent the pride and unity in attending your school of choice. That pride comes from a rich history of producing highly educated graduates who help shape the world we live in. The colors, mascots, uniforms and sports teams go hand and hand with the legacy of higher education. That legacy in conjunction with clean, distinctive designs is what makes collegiate design so attractive to me.


What has been your favorite art project so far?
I did an my first solo art show a few years ago called "Mars Five is Dead". MFID was a self-transformative art show. It focused on what separating from and finally leaving behind a former self looks like. I think that was the first time I ever really got to be completely raw in public. Those opportunities are rare for me. The opportunity to say "F**K OFF" and "I'm sorry" in the same conversation.

What is your dream job?
I think I've always wanted to be an art director at Nike, Inc. I think their approach to athletic wear is helping to inform the future of clothing in general. They mix technology, industrial design and practicality to enhance the users experience. When I think of the futuristic clothing I see in sci-fi movies I think of Nike like 50 years from now. I mean, they created a working pair of Air Mags from Back to the Future 2. Rechargeable, self lacing sneakers that light up in 2015? Majour.

Their methods of production have been brought into question throughout the years. Nike has allegedly used child labor and sweatshops with abusive and poor working conditions. I don't know how much of that is true but I'd like to think they're on the up and up. All kinds of shady things are possible with companies that big.


List three words that best describe you.
Frank. Ambitious. Dreamer.
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