Before his branded hoodies took social media by storm, Jason Sole was just a visiting professor trying to educate his students at Hamline University.
So he told his students he would teach the rest of the semester in a hoodie, and he coupled that promise with a Facebook post ending with #HumanizeMyHoodie.
Two years later, the words would be featured on attire modeled during New York Fashion Week and praised by artists from singer John Legend to rappers J. Cole and 50 Cent.
“I just wanted to do something different, something bold,” Sole said.
Five years after Black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was deemed a threat, shot and killed while unarmed and wearing a hoodie Feb. 26, 2012, Sole wanted to teach his students to think differently.
He is, after all, the same father of two, husband, community leader and professor he is in a hoodie that he is in a suit.
“Just having a hoodie on doesn’t mean that I’m a criminal in any sense,” Sole said.
His longtime friend the designer Andre Wright saw the Facebook post and reached out to Sole about expanding the effort.
“Let’s make the world feel it,” he said.
Wright, an Iowa native and father of three who went on to create the fashion brand Born Leaders United, decided to wear a Humanize
“I could’ve wore it in Iowa,” he said. “I wanted something authentic.”
He ended up getting a lot of stares in New York. White guys in business suits stepped to the side, he said.
“I kept wondering if it was my good looks or not,” he joked.
Wright also got positive reactions.
Read full story at Atlanta Black Star here.