Bram Pitoyo, Portland Creative/Tech Event Review

Damali Ayo at Cre8Con: An Event Review (Part 3 of 8)

Damali Ayo

CROW clothing

I’ve had a lot of creative incarnation. And right now, I’m in the part when I said “hey, maybe I don’t have the follow through.” This little chat is about creating the garment for what I call the “perfect hoodies.” I’m going to talk about my approach to design.

But first, who am I?

  • Artist
  • Author
  • Thinker
  • Curioust
  • Recently learned about sustainable fashion
  • Self-made
  • Problem solver
  • Activist
  • Life-long seamster
  • Performer
  • Web designer
  • Fashionista
  • Historian
  • High standards
  • Recently got new sewing machine
  • 10 year student of yoga
  • Personal trainer
  • Recent conquered CFS
  • Recently adopted the motto: “everything is possible”

First career I had was being a black child.

This journey began with me as a shopper. I’ve been a meticulous label reader, so this is a perfect fit. So I asked myself: “what do I want to buy when I bought a hoodie?” I’ve been a year without a hoodie, and I wanted something really comfortable, so I was stubborn and never bought one.

I want something but didn’t find it. So then I decided to make it myself. I want it to not using eco-model as a marketing model.

I want it to be well made. Not cutting corners. I want something that will demonstrate diversity in our advertising, and take the idea of “what happens when you’re done with the clothing” into account. And something you can wear everyday when I want to be dressed up. You can see the spotty nature of the industry when I did the research, I want something that could do it all. I get some of these things that I want in the hoodies that I researched, but not all of it.

Let’s take a look at the design. The first thing I looked at was the style. I want it to be sleek and streamlined.

Sustainability: it’s 97% organic cotton. Made locally, in Portland. Our label reads “mostly compostable.”

Function/features: I’m a traveler, so I create a side pocket. I want it to be stiff enough to hold my Blackberry, and high enough, so that when you walk around, your headphone doesn’t get stuck. Also: I tried to refine the ‘kangaroo’ pocket and hood parts of the hoodie to make it less ‘six year-olds.’

I also want to make it unisex, and for everybody inbetween. Being in Portland, where gender is a big issue all the time, I want to honor that. So I created an all-gender wear.

And last but not least (this is the most controversial aspect of my company) is that I want to make it affordable. My board member asked me “do we need another company whose clothing we can’t afford?” So I work on a sliding scale basis. It says “Hey, we have value. And when you can pay more, you’re helping others pay less.”