Students celebrate their culture through their clothing

Photo by Jada Hobson.

Morgan Jupina

Dunya Jeane, a student-ran company launched in December 2012, gives Kent State University students a chance to express their culture and celebrate their diversity through clothing.

The line features T-shirts and sweatshirts with designs representing many different countries and cultures including Africa, China, India, Saudi Arabia and African-American culture.

Danielle Flemister, senior entrepreneurship major and CEO of Dunya Jeane, said she was inspired in August 2012 at a friend’s barbecue.

“I was with a few friends from Africa and was observing how much fun they were having being around each other,” Flemister said. “I saw that they were celebrating their culture and realized, [because] I am into fashion, that there aren’t many ways to celebrate their culture through fashion.”

Flemister said she wanted to begin a clothing company that would stand apart from the others on campus.

“There are a lot of clothing lines on campus, creative ones too, but none that have a focus on all international students, all minority students and all people who love culture,” Flemister said.

William Lewis, junior electronic media major, said the clothing line interests him.

“I think this is a great idea. I love how the line reaches out to all of the different ethnic backgrounds on the Kent Campus,” Lewis said. “I would definitely wear these clothes to celebrate my culture.”

Flemister said the name of her company was influenced by the word “dunya,” which means “world” in at least 20 different languages.

“Because the clothing line is geared towards international students, it seemed to be a good fit,” Flemister said.

The clothing line has marketing and public relations specialists who work together to help publicize.

Thylitha Johnson, senior entrepreneurship and Pan-African studies major and chief marketing officer of Dunya Jeane, said she helps market the company.

“My goal is to find places to vend,” Johnson said. “I’m usually the one to get the name out there and help with the behind the scenes portion.”

David Jusu, sophomore entrepreneurship major and public relations manager of Dunya Jeane, said he works hard to promote the company.

“I am in charge of dealing with the social aspects of the company as far as promoting,” Jusu said. “If we have events, I promote within social media using Twitter and Facebook.”

Johnson and Jusu said the company tries to come up with creative marketing strategies.

“Something creative Thylitha came up with was on the fliers you’re now able to scan with your smart phone and it directs you directly to our Facebook and Twitter pages,” Jusu said.

Flemister said Dunya Jeane has been featured in three fashion shows and can be seen in upcoming events. She said the line is also involved in charities and will give a percentage of its sales to UNICEF at the end of the year.

Flemister said she plans to expand the company in the near future with a personalized website.

“I want to expand to different universities – hopefully nationally and possibly even internationally,” Flemister said. “As far as clothing, we want to expand to different types of apparel. Right now we just do sweatshirts and t-shirts, but we would like to expand to possibly jewelry and other accessories.”

Johnson said she is happy with the learning experience Dunya Jeane has brought her.

“I really love that our department allows us to have a hands-on experience,” Johnson said. “When I graduate I’ll be able to say I started a business in college and I can do this.”

Jusu said he really enjoys being a part of an organization that celebrates diversity.

“Dunya gives students a sense of home and pride of where they come from,” Jusu said. “I think that’s the most important thing we’re trying to do.”

Contact Morgan Jupina at [email protected].