For Oxford Circle native Malcolm Jones, being an outcast is something you should wear proudly.
Currently a sophomore at Drexel University, Jones has been designing clothes since he was a kid and he and his brother joined forces to make a fashion brand. Jones is now working on his own label Banni (the French word for outcast) and wants his clothes to be more than just clothes – he wants what they stand for to represent individuality and compassion.
“The logo is going to burn forever as long as we do what we do,” he said.
Jones has been making his own clothes since he was 5, when he sewed a ninja suit Halloween costume with his mom. A student at Girard College, he and his brother created their own brand K9, using doodles he would make in art class. His sister was a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Jones recalled window shopping and daydreaming when he went up to New York City to visit her.
The brothers were split up when Jones started attending Milton Hershey School in Hershey. The school, a cost-free co-residential school for families with low income, provided Jones with technology beyond Microsoft Paint to work on his designs, and there he started the new brand Sacred, the foundation that Banni grew from.
“My mission statement was a testament to urban youth, to staying true to being one in 7 billion,” he said.
At Sacred he released lines of short and long sleeve T-shirts and hoodies that sold more than 200 units in limited release. Jones says he still receives pictures of other people wearing his stuff.
Jones recalled being alone in his room one day as an underclassman feeling like an outcast. That’s when his brand shifted to Banni.
“This isn’t a brand about socioeconomic class or being hip or cool – it’s just supposed to be about you,” he said.
Jones takes inspiration from designers like Jeremy Scott, Virgil Abloh and Kanye West because they put out art in multiple mediums, something he aspires to do with video, music and clothing.
Jones is currently doing a co-op at Linda Gaunt, a fashion marketing agency in New York City. He’s always working on designs, which can be viewed on his Instagram @elmalco_.
“I can’t wait to see what comes next,” he said.