A Fashion Show in Prison, "Location Doesn't Determine Destination"
After a prison fashion show goes viral on social media, the man behind the designs is punished for his creativity.
Rashod Stanley, whose video first went viral April of 2019, is the creative mind behind the prison fashion show that circled social media platforms for weeks.
Going by the handle @2500shod on Instagram, Stanley’s brand, The Trenches, is currently being run by his mother, Renita Mitchell. His videos were posted by her as well.
Rashod’s motto is “location doesn’t determine destination.”
His mother further explained the meaning behind this phrase, “He is physically incarcerated, but his mind is not incarcerated. You can still do things that you want to do.”
According to Stanley’s mother, Rashod began to express his interest in fashion probably around middle school. "He was into trends and staying on top of his style game throughout high school as well."
His appreciation and gift for fashion began to shine through when Rashod created his own logo and started his brand, The Trenches, while still in high school. The phrase “trenches” refers to an upbringing, or area, that usually consists of financial difficulties, crime, and violence.
Rashod proved to be an entrepreneur from a young age. His mother said, “he started his own landscaping business at the age of 12… he just wanted to be independent and have his own thing, and not have to ask me for anything.” Stanley’s determination and drive were what kept him on the right path to following his dreams.
At the age of 19, Stanley opened his own store in, “a high-crime, low-income area of Atlanta, Georgia,” said Renita. In this store he sold clothing such as t-shirts, but didn’t get the chance to begin designing on his own yet.
Rashod’s dream was put on hold as he, “got involved with the wrong crowd” and was arrested for unarmed robbery. Stanley’s mother shared, “he was on the right path, you know. I never had an issue with him in school. He was an A/B student. He signed up for college on his own. He finished school in automotives, that was something he liked to do as well.”
Stanley is an innovative person. In a situation that might not seem ideal, he has gotten crafty with his designing and creating clothing. The video that went viral on social media last spring is a prime example of the young man's creativity. Showcased in the video are Stanley’s clothing designs and creations he had made all while incarcerated.
Some of the designed clothing featured in the video are t-shirts, sweatpants, masks, shirt-jackets, and vests. Each of these items were hand-crafted by Stanley himself with limited resources given his current situation. The models in the video were his fellow inmates, and they proudly showed off Rashod’s creations.
As a result of the video having gone viral, Stanley received a 30-day punishment in solitary confinement. The designs and clothing were an alleged threat because they supposedly “allowed prisoners to blend in with anybody else.” This was deemed dangerous and Stanley was given a punishment that is usually given to much more severe acts of danger.
Stanley’s mother shared that he is, “very big on giving back to the community... [he would like to] mentor at risk kids so they don’t follow down the wrong path.”
Stanley has given away over one hundred backpacks and school supplies in the past year to kids in the community who struggle financially. He hopes to become a public speaker and talk to juveniles that are at-risk in hopes that his story will inspire them to see that “there is a better way.”
Stanley’s mother said she hopes the brand keeps him motivated and, “gives him something to look to when he gets out.” She has started a GoFundMe page to help The Trenches brand further its progress while Rashod Stanley is in prison. There is also an online petition to remove the "attempt to aid and escape" charge given to Stanley that resulted in a 9-month solitary confinement punishment he is now serving.