Former Little Hawk Creates Brand to Uplift Youth
May 15, 2017
Sights of a distinctive symbol pervade the hallways of City High. Long sleeve hoodies and crewnecks flaunting a unique red logo have now become common sights at the School that Leads.
Jasper Washington, a 2012 City High graduate, can be credited for this logo surge. He started an apparel line, One Love, two years ago to bring people together and spread love.
“A lot of different things [inspired me to create One Love]. Mostly fear. Just being scared of not being able to do exactly what I wanted to do,” Washington said. “And honestly, just relationships as a whole. I just feel like social media and chaos have drowned out true relationships and true bonds.”
In his time at City, Washington didn’t feel like every student had enough resources or just someone to talk to.
“He just wanted to start something where any kid can feel comfortable coming to him for help,” Gerald Seals ‘18 said.
One Love’s mission is to “create a people-oriented society through the continuous spread of love and unity”. In order to accomplish this, Washington has teamed up with area groups who have the same goal.
“We’ve partnered with the Dream Center. I’ve gotten sponsorships through MediRevv and have kids on tours. Stuff like that,” Washington said. “I just want to continue to do be able to do those things, but at my own pace. That is why I went the apparel route and why it’s not a non-profit–because I want to be able to do it how I want to do it.”
The proceeds from the apparel have gone towards a trip throughout southern states that involved a tour of 14 historic civil right sites, and multiple college visits.
“We went to Selma, Alabama and looked at the bridge, went to a couple museums and talked about what happened during the movement. Instead of learning about these things in a textbook, we saw them in person, and really got to experience how everything was and understand why it’s important to learn from history,” Seals said.
For Seals and Alex Vhoudivong ‘18, One Love has provided them with resources for future planning that they wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.
“One Love has [supplied me] with ideas for what I want to do in the future and what colleges I want to look at,” Seals said. “I feel like before I came into One Love I just wanted to stay in Iowa, stay local, and live with friends and family [after high school] but this summer when we went on college visits and I felt like maybe I might enjoy going somewhere else outside of Iowa. Without One Love I wouldn’t have been able to think of a life beyond Iowa.”
As for future aspirations, Washington plans to take his organization to the next step.
“I want to be able to establish [One Love] as a non-profit– a 501(c)(3)– where we could be everywhere, worldwide, making impacts. That’s just one branch of my vision though. I also want to do this thing called Peep. Peep apparel. It stands for Positive Energy and Efforts Equals Progress. The logo is hot, I like it and [Peep] is more so where I plan to fund myself. I plan to continue to give back, make positive designs, and drop knowledge jewels when Peep slowly releases,” Washington said.
Like Washington, Vhoudivhong also wants to see One Love, and the messages the brand promotes expand.
“I definitely envision bigger projects for us in the community, not just in Iowa but across the world. One Love is definitely important because its [message] is not just something that needs to be said, but something that needs to be spread around to show that because you are different, doesn’t mean that people around you don’t have the same connections as you do. We are more alike than we are different,” Vhoudivhong said.