In the age of social media, seeing sometimes is not believing. Adding filters can help create beautiful but altered images of reality. A local Detroit designer is offering an inspiring message with her new clothing line that celebrates authenticity in reality.
Detroit brand Dope Too, recently released its Dope in Real Life signature hoodie. Created to celebrate reality and to spread the message that it is okay to be notable on social media, but even better in real life, the hoodie is just the first piece from the collection but is sure to not be the last.
Also the owner of a travel and experience planning business, Postcards from Everywhere, Sharise Crumley had to shift business direction because of the onset of the pandemic. As travel was halted the entrepreneur still wanted to establish a business that showcased life in a more realistic way. Tying both businesses together, the Dope Too fashion line is an extension of the travel business.
“It was doing pretty well and then the pandemic hit. So, not only are people not traveling, they aren’t doing staycations or get-togethers where they would need anyone to plan it,” Crumley says. “I wanted to figure out what I could do that still aligned with that brand. The idea behind Dope Too is, especially now with so much emphasis on social media, I wanted to show people it is still cool to live life offline,” Crumley says.
Getting the brand’s name from an unlikely source, the travel planner turned designer set out to create a comfortable hoodie for everyone to enjoy. Inspired by her first date with her now-boyfriend, the hoodie’s name comes from a compliment paid to her by her admirer.
“I met my boyfriend online and one of the first things he mentioned was he liked to see how people are in real life,” Crumley explains.
Launching the line during Black History Month was a mix of chance and divine timing. Experiencing pushback from suppliers, delays caused the product to become available in January. Making the decision to wait and release the line during Black History Month proved to be more symbolic for the owner while providing the chance to create a little piece of personal history.
“I wanted to wait until February. I thought that would be the perfect time to launch. It’ll be Black History Month and I wanted the opportunity to use Black History Month as a way to create my own Black history,” Crumley says.
Close to selling out the initial inventory, the Dope in Real Life hoodies are available for preorder for the next shipment. With the arrival of spring, additional colors and products will be released in an effort to extend the brand’s line.
“I started with this one garment with the idea that closer to springtime, I’d like to launch t-shirts and masks and grow from there,” Crumley says.
Wanting the brand to be more than an apparel line, the Dope Too founder is hoping Detroiters and fans of the brand will want to live life off social media and take time to enjoy life in real time. Defining the slang term “dope” as a number of different achievements, the owner wants customers to wear the clothes and embody the line’s overall message.
“I’m hoping that the Dope in Real Life hoodie really becomes more of a movement to celebrate people out there who are still doing dope things even though we can’t do much right now,” Crumley says. “Dope can be whatever you want it to be. It can be living out your dreams, it can be reaching your fitness goals, it can be a dope mom or dad, or starting a new business.”
Customers are encouraged to shop the brand’s website to order the first exclusive piece from the collection.
“Dope in Real Life is the epitome of a lifestyle. It is a movement. Dope in Real Life represents myself, my friends and all of you out there who may or may not have a social presence, but social media is only a small percentage of what you do, it is NOT who you are. You don’t just get through life; you’re out there living it!”