Determination, optimism and research. These were the building blocks to manifesting the passion driven streetwear brand, Saint Avenue. Brand owner and East Chicago native LaStar Jackson has been developing the Saint Avenue image since 2016. Doing his homework on fashion merchandising and curating a team of professionals to execute his creative vision are just two of the many measures taken to get Saint Avenue where it is today.
Although LaStar was interested in fashion at an early age, his journey to entrepreneurship did not take off until college, studying fashion merchandising at Vincennes University and business at IUPUI. Prior to developing Saint Avenue, LaStar pursued two other brands: Leonardo & Royce, and Sovereign Concept. Struggling with school, personal strife and doubt, LaStar was on the verge of leaving his aspiration of fashion entrepreneurship in the rear view, but it was fate that brought him to Saint Avenue.
During Kanye’s 2016 Saint Pablo tour, LaStar felt compelled to create some merch suited for the occasion. Visiting New York shortly after, LaStar took a leap of faith and dropped off his merch at the doors of The Breakfast Club, a New York based radio show hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne tha God. Although he was confident in his product, he had no idea if his clothes would ever make it to the shows producers or hosts.
To his surprise and just a week later, DJ Envy wore a Saint Avenue hat during a live segment of the Breakfast Club, sparking ambition in LaStar and sales for Saint Avenue.
“That was the big leap for Saint Avenue,” LaStar says. “I started getting orders from all over. I was even sending stuff overseas and I didn’t even have a website set up yet. I just made a PayPal, and worked from there. A month later my best friend calls me and sends me a picture of Angela Yee wearing a Saint Avenue hoodie on tv and from there more sales started coming in. I did a documentary interview with Hoosier Hoosier and a month after that Chelsea Handler is wearing my hat on The Breakfast Club. The first run of Saint Avenue was very successful.”
Passion and putting it all on the line had become the heart of Saint Avenue after that promising visit to New York. Everything down to the logo also was met with intention. Strongly believing in the concept of what goes around, comes around, LaStar wanted the logo design of Saint Avenue in a circular format.
“Losing sleep, really putting your money where your mouth is, and working on something without knowing what the outcome may be is more than just saying you love to do it,” LaStar says. “For me, I put it all on the line and lost it all. I completely lost myself and had to find myself to get to where I’m at right now. I think that process plays a part in what you all see now with Saint Avenue.”
Saint Avenue’s most recent launch, debuting just last month, required an extensive six month planning process of trial and error. Building a strong team of graphic designers, seamstresses and finding the right manufacturer was key. LaStar describes finding a quality manufacturer as strenuous, yet necessary. Currently, he works with three Indy based graphic designers: Lori the Designer, Elise Hensley and Shon Rosewood to maintain the aesthetic of Saint Avenue.
Once products are received from the manufacturer the process of cutting and sewing begins, making the role of the seamstress crucial. For LaStar and his team, the process requires a lot of piecing things together and taking things away. Due to the expenses, time consumption and environmental effects of product production, all of Saint Avenues products are made to order.
Currently LaStar is focused on expanding Saint Avenue’s brand visibility and reach while also working towards building more business partnerships and relationships that align with Saint Avenue’s core ideology of, “people progressing towards purpose.”
“There’s a virtuous meaning behind the brand,” LaStar says. “I believe that I’m a virtuous person. I do believe in the Lord, but I’m not holier than thou. I don’t judge people and I don’t think I’m better than others. I do, however, have core values that I stick too. I think this brand is really for people who aren’t into soul selling. We’re not soul selling to be accepted or just to be a part of something. I’d rather stand alone than compromise my values just to get to where I want to be.”