Jojo’s Heart Apparel is a brand bigger than fashion. It’s a brand commemorating a legacy, rooted in positivity, making sure to tell a story through every creation. After determining college wasn’t the best route for him, Darius Vanblount, the 25-year-old founder of the streetwear line, became “fed up with working for people” and found himself mentally strained and broken inside.
One night in October 2018, as the moon gleamed through the bathroom window, he broke down, seeking guidance through God’s divine intervention. That night may represent his breaking point, but it was also the birth of something that would become bigger than himself.
Whether you’re on social media or roaming the Jacksonville streets, Jojo’s Heart Apparel cannot be missed. The combination of the variety of colors and the distinct logos commands your attention and captivates your curiosity. The brand is named after Vanblount’s mother, Joanne, who passed away from cancer in 2015. What’s most important for him is for the “world to remember [his] mother.”
Recently, he stepped out on a whim and was accepted to the Complex & Parsons Streetwear Essentials program, which teaches the ins-and-outs of being a streetwear brand. He believes in executing every action with a purpose. “It has to be a meaning in everything [we] do because if it doesn’t have meaning, you won’t find the value.” When someone orders new apparel or even if he spots someone sporting a shirt, he’s seeing a piece of his mother, which confirms to him that her memory will forever be eternalized.
Darius has experienced immense success since launching the brand, but with that comes its share of negativity. Early on he learned that some people close to him didn’t have his best interest at heart. After gaining success, he often heard comments like, “you’ve changed” or “don’t forget where you came from.”
“In the beginning I didn’t know how to react to it, so my mind was literally on attack and scramble mode. Now it’s to a point where if I identify anything as a red flag, I’ll just nip it in the bud right then and it’s no feelings or love lost.” He admits at times the negativity would discourage him, and he even contemplated giving up and getting a job again, but after changing his perspective and disassociating himself from things of his past, he was able to positively realign his focus and see the fruits of his labor. In hindsight, he laughs at how much energy he gave to those moments, but he also acknowledges the growth that was needed to fully manifest his goals.
The overall goal for Jojo’s Heart is to “go beyond being just a streetwear brand and evolve into creating products that people can apply and use in everyday life.”
Darius aspires for the brand to become a megabrand, not just in terms of worldwide recognition or financial status, but also by broadening his merchandise range. One way he is working towards that goal is by moving to Los Angeles by 2021. He believes that LA is the next step for the brand to continue to expand. However, that doesn’t mean he is leaving Jacksonville in the dust; it just means the team will be functioning from both locations.
When people see the brand, he wants them to say that it is “positive and motivational.” The brand’s mantra, “For the people,” an excerpt of a line in J. Cole’s song “Let Nas Down,” is the quotation the brand lives by. Jojo’s Heart is more than fashion; it’s also for the community, for the people.
“I am for everybody. I would help anybody in the world. I don’t feel like I’m above anybody. I feel like we are all equal.”
Darius believes in giving back with the successes that’s been given to him. Within the two years of establishment, Jojo’s Heart has hosted and sponsored an array of events in hopes of unifying the community and changing the stigma related to Jacksonville’s social scene. Recently the brand had a major opportunity to sponsor the Welcome to My City concert with Rod Wave, Young Jeezy, and Lil Baby on February 8th at the Vystar Memorial Arena.
They are also “bringing [Easter Sunday] back and making it even better.” Easter Sunday was an annual community celebration, but over the years it has since died off. The Return of Easter Sunday 2020 will consist of an Easter egg hunt with five golden prizes, free food, music, a Greek stroll-off, and most importantly, a good time with a nostalgic feel. Then in July, they are participating in the Christmas in July: Sneaker Give-A-Way Tour, where they will be gifting 200 children with new shoes before the upcoming school year.
If you were to ask Vanblount if he envisioned this for himself, he’d reply: “I literally can’t tell [you] I predicted or planned to be in fashion. That wasn’t the plan. It never was. I like clothes, but I never thought of myself as a fashion designer.” What separates Vanblount from other streetwear creators is his can-do attitude, unbelievable sense of humility, and his devotion to help others. He uses the streetwear line as a model to “motive people to see that [their dreams] are attainable.” He is a strong believer in self-motivation and recommends believing in yourself as the first step to seeing dreams come to fruition.
Jojo’s Heart Apparel proves that with a focused mindset, clear perspective, and the right tools, you can achieve anything…and with that formula, “[Jojo’s Heart Apparel] is going to win every time… megabrand.”
The new Easter collection is expected to launch towards the end of March with pastel themed apparel, so head over to the website to grab your springtime gear.
Follow Jojo’s Heart on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest @jojosheartapparel. For more information, visit jojosheartapparel.com.