Reflecting the world we want to see.
By Tonia Trotter - Price
I grew up in Birmingham. After high school, I never imagined coming back. The Birmingham, Alabama of my childhood was full of division. Some of that was my own day-dreaminess I’ve always been a little lost in, and some of it was feeling desperate for a place in a black and white world and never quite finding where I fit.
I leaned into fashion magazines to escape and imagine a future where I could curate and control an exciting and glamorous life where I not only belonged, but was at the center of everything.
I put a lot of effort into building a reality from those childhood wishes. And nearly three decades later, I’ve learned — mostly the hard way — that it isn’t material things or jetting around doing “glamorous” things that will make you ever feel like you belong. It’s the people you invite into your world… and how you can belong to each other.
Now, don’t misunderstand, I am still a lover of fashion and fabulousness and all things sparkly to my core. That shit is in my soul. But I’ve redefined what luxury means to me. I’ve had the privilege to find belonging with some pretty amazing artists who are making beautiful things, have big things to say, and are changing the world one stitch at a time.
One of those creative makers is Daniel Grier whose brand, Splashed by DKG has made a major splash (sorry, not sorry) in Birmingham and Atlanta and has had a ripple effect across the country. His scope of work over the years has been part streetwear, part statement, and all about bringing people, influences, and ideas together.
Daniel’s most recent collection, Reflections 2021, reaches a crescendo of feeling, fight, and faith — indicative of where we are after two years of a pandemic, societal trauma from inequitable violence, as well as the personal experiences, lessons, and desire to find that same belonging we all innately long for.
Mixing sustainability and resourcefulness, emotion and theatrics, Daniel wears his art on his sleeve — literally. Emblazoned with affirmations like “Be True to Yourself,” “You Can’t Dim My Light,” and “Haters are Motivators,” Splashed by DKG offers both grit and hopefulness — along with beautifully constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed outfitting that feels young, powerful, and so now. The pieces, mostly created from repurposed denim, are quilted together in a way that nods to Daniel’s southern heritage and embraces a modern American aesthetic.
Sustainability is having a moment right now, but what does it really mean? Daniel makes it accessible and also aspirational and true to Splashed style, makes a statement by forcing us to look inward and ask what we consider disposable — Fashion? People? Culture? How do we “repurpose” the best parts of our history and create something even better?
I’m excited to watch Daniel grow as an artist, and I love the bold but sensitive approach he brings to his work and a focus on designing the world he wants to see. Maybe that’s what drives all of us daydreamers — carving out a place where we belong and crafting the future we want for ourselves.
Or maybe I’m overthinking the room. And maybe I just want that “Haters are Motivators” jacket in my closet.
Photography: Ambre Amari