By: Nick Samuel
What does it mean to be deeply rooted within one’s self? Monique Atkins, Chicago native and creator of Deeply Rooted 07 clothing line, defines it as a direct representation of people preserving through hardships and letting them know they can come out of whatever obstacle they’re facing.
“I feel as though everyone has a struggle; everybody goes through pain,” said Atkins, who is a senior graphic design major at Jackson State University. “You gotta dig deep sometimes within your own culture and within yourself; we all are rooted in some kind of way.”
Atkins, 23, initially had the idea for the clothing line back when she was in high school, painting on shoes and shirts. She said didn’t have the driven force to make her idea a reality until after her mom’s death in 2010.
“One day when I was painting, she told me I would have my own t-shirt line one day,” said Atkins.
In early 2011, when the line first took off, Atkins had 72 t-shirts with two different designs selling for $35 and $30. All the shirts sold out in the middle of the year. An even bigger accomplishment, Atkins later sold 144 shirts with three different designs at $30.
She added 10 leather bands engraved “Deeply Rooted” to her collection, selling at $10 each.
She talked about what each color in her t-shirt designs represents.
“Green represents growth, red represents pain, brown represents struggle and white represents rebirth,” said Atkins.
She said one of her first designs, which is a tree with many branches, has its symbolism too- “The branches represent us as individuals and the leaves represent growth,” said Atkins.
Atkins has been featured on Fox 40 News “Family and Friends” in Jackson, Miss., last year and also on 97.7 FM radio station “The Soul Cafe” earlier this year to promote her t-shirt designs.
The clothing line targets teens and young adults.
“Students at Jackson State University are my main supporters,” said Atkins. “They’ve supported me since day one when we started with only two t-shirts.”
Atkins said she did a promotional video for the clothing line at JSU, which earned her much needed publicity. Earlier this year, Atkins launched her first website-DeeplyRooted07clothing.com
Her marketing director and secretary are also her sisters-Monica, 23 and Regina, 24. Atkins said her sister’s are a huge component to Deeply Rooted and that they’ve supported her since day one.
Atkins also said Deeply Rooted has recently come out with a design endorsing President Barack Obama. The shirt reads, “How would your vote impact the struggle?”
Deeply Rooted has presented t-shirts to artists David Banner and Stacks on Deck Entertainment rapper Arab as well as legendary film director Spike Lee.
Atkins said the clothing line is not just for African Americans, but for all races.
“Everybody is deeply rooted because we all face the same issues,” said Atkins. “We are a representation of life’s struggles.”
Check out the Deeply Rooted Collection, here
Nick Samuel is a journalism grad student at Columbia College Chicago. His writing passion includes music- whether it be concerts, album reviews, or artist spotlights.