What is Open Discussion Apparel?
This is our first episode and we discuss the brand, what we’re looking to accomplish, how we’re going to accomplish it, and where we’re hoping to go. More than anything OD is a vehicle for change. We are a socially conscious apparel brand built around the addiction crisis. Our mission is to revolutionize the dialogue surrounding addiction, reassess the problem, provide a voice to the effected, and offer aid to those in need. We’re going to do this by collaborating with addicts, their loved ones, and local artists to create our designs. O.D. will be interwoven in the fabric of the community we serve. Each piece telling its own story.
Addiction has become so mainstream that it’s time for something like the OD movement to materialize. The president issued the problem to be a public health crisis late last year. There are more than twenty three and a half million Americans addicted to some form of substance. That’s one in ten people in our country. The current system in place to combat addiction isn’t working, the system has failed us. That goes to show you why I think OD is needed, why I felt like i had to come up with this brand. I truly believe the best way to combat this is through discussion so others may learn for the future. Obviously this is something that I’ve dealt with personally. I won’t go into too much into the details about my story because I’m excited for that to unfold in other podcasts. To give you an idea of what’s ahead my story will be viewed through a multitude of different lenses. I’ve talked to my mom, my step dad, my step mom, and my brothers so you’ll be able to see my story through a number of different perspectives. I’m really excited for the opportunity to share that. But this is something that consumed me for the better part of ten years.
What’s the inspiration?
The inspiration behind it came to me while working at the clothing store Buckle we sold a brand called Tentree. This brand really appealed to me because of their message which is simple enough. For every piece of merchandise sold they plant ten trees and it’s really cool because it’s interactive. Your shirt comes with a QR code so you could see where on the planet the ten trees your shirt contributes are located. Pretty simple concept. Anything environmental or socially conscious I’m going to be able to get behind that’s just the type of person I am. We’re seeing a huge trend in the apparel industry towards brands that give back. Some of the other ones that come to mind are Toms providing shoes to children in underprivileged countries and Bombas which provides socks to the homeless right here in the US. My thought was how can we do something similar to that but for addiction. The clothing is the vehicle behind our message, we’re about the movement.
How is OD giving back?
Part of the proceeds from each sale will go towards funding the opiate overdose antidote Narcan. When I had the overdose I wrote about in 2014 Narcan saved my life. It really can be a miracle drug if someone OD’s this can basically bring them back to life. My dream is to provide all areas that may not have the resources to supply it for themselves with Narcan so everybody can have that opportunity at life, that same second chance I was given.
What are we doing differently?
While Tentrees helps the environment and Toms provides shoes we’re looking to save lives. Eco-friendly initiatives are commonplace in the apparel industry, I’m looking to take on a whole new societal issue. My vision is to create the most interactive apparel company ever conceived. Tentree’s QR code shows the trees you help plant, each of our products will have a QR code that will enable you to unlock the story, in their own words, behind its inspiration.
What about the apparel?
Currently I’m collaborating with local artists to create the work behind my story. Shout out to Marshall Bennett at Eternal Ink out of Eastpointe in particular. I strongly encourage everyone to check out his work he’s amazing. I’ve been getting alot of questions about when our products will drop. Our initial product launch will take place in late August, early September and will be entirely preorder. We will launch a crowdfunding campaign simultaneous with that launch to help turn this into a nationwide movement. Launch/marketing strategy will take place in five sites Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Lansing. Anyone familiar with Michigan, which I’m sure most of you are, knows all of these sites house public universities. They also all have disproportionately large amounts of addicts. We’re currently in the process of connecting with these universities to get involved with campus life so that we are able to spread the word across college campuses. We will be involved in the recovery communities at each site as well as be in contact with local news outlets.
To give you a feel for what’s coming next, later this week we’ll be releasing an interview I conducted with Sean. A recovering drug addict who also suffers from Schizophrenia on Thursday. Beginning next week more of my story will be shared in the form of a podcast, through the lens of my stepmom Terri. I’ve been getting alot of questions asking how people can help or get involved. The easiest way to help is to share our story, share us on social media check out our site and our page on Facebook. If anyone wants to share their story please reach out to me and contribute to our open discussion. If anyone has artwork they would like to see featured on upcoming releases to go along with their story send it my way. Lastly, if anyone needs help or needs to talk reach out to me directly at anytime.