What do we love most about D.C.? The city is filled with vibrant and passionate individuals who refuse to sit back when their community is in need, just like Dionna Dorsey founder and designer for District of Clothing.
Founded in 2014, District of Clothing (DoC) is a lifestyle brand that encourages progress, inspires action and supports self-love. Their products are made for people who wake up with a passion for progress and a desire to make their dreams a reality. Keep reading to learn more about how Dionna started her clothing line and how she uses it as an outlet to inspire and uplift her community during the pandemic.
Hi Dionna! Let’s start from the beginning. How did District of Clothing start?
It definitely started from an unexpected place! My prime client at the time had gone on a spending freeze, and I knew I needed to do something that would help me financially during the rough times. Creating something that was both positive and encouraging had been in the back of my mind for a while, and it seemed like the perfect time to branch out on my own.
As a creative entrepreneur, I’m constantly working with people who dream and then take the initiative to make their dreams happen. That’s what inspired District of Clothing, and the first sketch was for the “Doer” series. I had actually sketched it on a napkin early in 2014 to share the concept with a friend, but it got tabled, because… well…life happens. Fast forward to a sleepless night in October 2014, and my idea for DoC was haunting me. That night, I sacrificed some sleep to pour out the creativity I had kept inside for so long, and District of Clothing officially launched December 2014 at the Google/Politico/Tory Burch Foundation Women Rule Summit Marketplace. My life has not been the same since!
How did your business have to shift during the pandemic?
In early to mid-March, I started to notice the decrease in client requests from my creative company, Dionna Dorsey Design. This made me very anxious, but I realized that if I’m constantly encouraging my community to take action instead of just dreaming about things, then I should take my own advice!
District of Clothing allowed me to take action not only for myself but also for my community. The brand’s social media strategy changed from solely focusing on encouraging messages to talking about flattening the curve, washing your hands, being productive, and even how Isaac Newton developed the theory of gravity during the pandemic that he experienced. As time went on, I started posting about laundry piling up and other relevant personal experiences being discussed in my group chats, which added a personal layer to the brand that had not existed before.
Interesting! What are some of the personal ways these changes affected your community?
“The advice I always give to anyone looking to use their skills back is to allow your passion to meet your purpose so that your give back can be authentic and genuine.”
DoC not only helped me creatively pivot during the pandemic, but it also inspired our community during their every day “new-normal” experiences. It was also such a treat to see our customers posting that they were doing Zoom calls in our “Dreamer Doer” shirt or grocery shopping in our “Nevertheless She Persisted” shirt with a mask on.
We also partnered with World Central Kitchen, to give a portion of the proceeds from the “Common Purpose” line to their COVID-relief program that has provided over 30 million meals in more than 400 cities so far as a whole.