Fashion Beyond The Yard | Essence


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It’s 9 a.m. at a historically Black university, Florida A&M University. Of course, you can’t go to class without putting on the best fit in your closet for the one class you have to go on campus for. For some, the clothes students wear on campus are a temporary moment; for others, it’s a moment to showcase your individuality on campus day-to-day. While some students partake in the tradition of dressing up, some dive full fledge into expressing themselves through their attire.

From making specific pieces to having full-blown clothing lines, students lead an innovative charge of new and emerging faces in the fashion industry. Even showcasing them in various shows, like the HBCU Substantial Fashion Showcase in 2023, collaborating with major retailers like Urban Outfitters or gracing the runways of Fashion Week, their influence has no bounds. As most expect students to create brands based on the college they attend, students are now looking to imprint themselves fully in the larger pantheon of brands. By looking at three companies here, we can see students are taking their sartorial choices beyond the scope of their campus and reaching further into the industry at large.

Moni Fagbamiye of Aworan 

Fashion Beyond The Yard
Moni Fagbamiye, creator of Aworan (Photo Credit: @moninuolaoluwa_ on Instagram)

Moni Fagbamiye, a third-year student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, is the creator and CEO of the brand Aworan. The brand, which works under the meaning of fashion being art, mixes high fashion custom offerings and accessible streetwear. The brand has become known on its campus but seeks to expand beyond its roots.

“I want my brand to exist worldwide. The idea is not just to be a campus or HBCU student brand; I want it to be way bigger than me and just clothes,” Fagbamiye said. She continues to discuss how the company can help to build a platform for various forms of art through the brand, which has already started through her cultivation of runway shows and events thrown in the surrounding campus area.

Brands like Aworan hope to exist outside of the confines of most HBCU clothing brands. Breaking down the wall of only being available for students and alumni, students want to grow their businesses to take on a more extensive customer base.

Donovan Okyre of Young Cash Makers

Fashion Beyond The Yard
Donovan Okyere, creator of Young Cash Makers (Photo Credit: @yungcashmakers on Instagram)

Donovan Okyere, a first-year student at Howard University, owns Young Cash Makers. The brand is made to empower the next generation and allow for an expressive outlet through their releases. Though relatively new, Okyere hopes to grow and create a more prominent mark on the fashion world.

“Beyond campus, Young Cash Makers hopes to be a global movement, he said.”  Extending our reach through online platforms, collaborations, and events that connect like-minded individuals passionate about entrepreneurship and personal growth.”

Leonard Grant of Fan Of Me 

Fashion Beyond The Yard
Leonard Grant, creator of Fan Of Me (Photo Credit:

Leonard Grant, a third-year student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, created the brand Fan Of Me (known as FOM). The brand serves as a personal affirmation, informed by experiences before college that helped form the groundwork of the brand identity. “I knew self-confidence was a thing people my age struggle with, and I saw an opportunity to make a difference. I had to learn that you must love yourself before anyone can truly love you.” Grant said. Fan Of Me, which affirms his personal life, blends streetwear aesthetics with athleisure staples to create unique pieces. 

After graduating, Leonard hopes to have his brand grow with new clothing drops and establish a Fan Of Me basketball program for middle and high school students to play the game at a higher level so they don’t have to suffer a similar fate. While being focused on basketball, it focuses on the mental health of these young men, establishing a solid connection. 

This is a strong example of how these brands want to impact the fashion world with their clothing releases and give back and pour into the communities and consumers that purchase from them. 

These HBCU campuses, while having their eclectic fashion subcultures, have students reaching out past the playground the environment presents to push into the mainstream fashion consciousness. Becoming more than just a time capsule of a student’s time on campus but more prominent brands that have their lane within the ever-growing fashion world.


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