When you think of fashion brands, what names come to mind? Do you think of designer brands like Gucci and Christian Dior, or do you think of revolutionary brands like WRLDINVSN and Fashion Nova? There is another name that should be included, a brand where “comfort meets style:” Denim Destroyer.
James Johnson III is a husband, father, designer, substitute teacher, owner and creator of Denim Destroyer LLC, a clothing brand specializing in making regular clothes stylish. Hailing from Violet, Louisiana, Johnson began his fashion journey in 2007 when he was in high school, distressing his jeans, and his classmates’, to give them a twist. “Basically I started off distressing jeans, and that’s how I became Denim Destroyer,” Johnson says. “Revamping everyone’s jeans, making them new…basically new but more stylish.”
Johnson then goes on to tell how his popularity with distressing jeans led to him wanting to go further with his talent. “Once I developed my logo for Denim Destroyer that made me want to promote a brand and build a brand as far as a clothing line.” After that, Johnson, who also goes by the name Denim Destroyer, expanded his creativity by designing shirts, hats and everything in between, all in the name of comfortability. “I gravitated towards doing comfortable gear; day to day gear.”
While coming into his own as a designer, Johnson was also pursuing an undergraduate degree. After attending Grambling University for a year and a half, Johnson attended Southern University, then worked in the dentistry field as a dentist assistant for 8 years. Though he was working in the field he went to school for, fashion and design was where his heart lay. Many people are afraid to go into business for themselves at the risk of losing or never making money, but Johnson wasn’t focused on that. “If you’re doing something you love, the money will come along.”
When asked where Johnson pulls his inspirations, he gave an answer that was unexpected but totally unique: nature. While major clothing brands are just starting to incorporate the colors of nature into their fabrics to reduce waste on the environment, Johnson is already ahead of the game.
“Nature would be the #1 inspiration. Once the leaves go away then they come, then they change colors, all of that inspires me.” He laughs, then continues, “I would see certain things and I would say “oh ok that’s cool. And of course when it comes to color patterns I would say I should do neutral colors based off of the trees.” Johnson adds that his inspiration also comes from day to day things. “You go somewhere, like a park and see a baby shower and you grab their colors. I can get inspiration from literally anywhere.”
With so many black businesses on the rise, it can be challenging to figure out what separates your business from others, while making sure your consumers know it too. However, Johnson lists consistency and originality as the top reasons why his business is known as his business. “I stay away from what the big brands do and stick to my own thing. I switch things up with the change of the seasons.”
From a promotional standpoint, Johnson relies on popular social media sites like Instagram, (with Instagram being the main source of promotion) and Tik Tok to showcase Denim Destroyer designs. Johnson also shares a piece of advice that is valuable to any business owner promoting on social media. “Instagram is free so essentially, it’s free promo. You get a following on Instagram, you expose more of your work to more people; even people who don’t follow you! You never know where it might lead, you never know who’s watching. So I don’t look at likes, I look at production.”
The value of consistency that Johnson holds in his business also applies to his role as a father of one girl and two boys. “Kids change daily, so they need that support; they need you to constantly be on top of them.” He speaks about keeping his work and role as a father equal. “I have to balance it all; being their support system. I have to be strong, a role model, and show them that I’m doing something positive.” Balancing being a husband is also important to Johnson, as he’s been married for six years. “Being there for my wife is very important to me. She just graduated with her masters, so she balances me as well and pushes me to be the strong man she knows I can be.”
Since the launch of Denim Destroyer in 2017, Johnson has done a fashion show, a pop-up shop, 2 interviews, and 6 season launches, with one coming up this Fall. And he’s only 31 years old. The brand has shipped all across the U.S., including Denver and Florida. Johnson has made it a point to have all body types represented in his fashions, of various genders, backgrounds, and personalities. “I want everyone to be comfortable in my clothes. I have no problem embracing diversity. Whatever you’re looking for I got you.” Sizing goes up to 4X with shirts, hats, hoodies, joggers, biker sets, kids clothes, and more being featured. Want to get your hands on some Denim Destroyer fashion? Follow the brand @denimdestroyer3 on Instagram, check out the website @denimdestroyer3.com, or email the brand firstname.lastname@example.org for business inquiries.