NSU Alum’s HBCU Clothing Line at Major Retail Stores

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Norfolk State University graduate hopes to represent all historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in department stores.

Ashley Jones thinks “HBCUs do better!” “It’s not just going to school, you have the band, it’s so many things that go into the HBCU culture. It’s like a family reunion. There are so many different parts than just going to school. It’s a network. It’s quite an experience. We really want to show this to the world!

She started her own graphic design business during her undergraduate studies at NSU. “I started doing things with the university for different organizations, and then everything just happened.”

Then she created a line of high quality streetwear, called Melanin tones. The clothing line celebrates all shades of brown. “It’s a representation of the African-American community,” Jones said.

The line includes options for all ages and incomes. Most items are embroidered to honor black colleges across the country.

“For our ancestors, these were the only institutions they could go to. Let us respect this heritage. They are here for a reason.

In just three months, her line was picked up by several big-box stores.

“We are almost at the 200 mark. Were in Dick’s Sporting Goods. Were in Belk. We are on Fanatics.com and we are in 18 HBCU bookstores.

She attributes the pandemic and the election of Vice President Kamala Harris, a proud graduate of Howard University. “It’s a resurgence, kind of a revival of that HBCU wave that we saw in the 90s. When stars wore them on TV. It’s another resurgence, but hopefully it stays.

Jones pledged to maintain funding for black colleges; a percentage of its sales goes to schools. “A lot of phenomenal people have gone through these institutions, so let’s make you the next person.”

His team has a sales license with 40 HBCUs. The group plans to partner with the 107 black schools.

Check out more from WAVY-TV 10’s interview with Tones of Melanin owner Ashley Jones in the video above.

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