Longtime friends Jameel Saleem and Lenard Grier exist in separate industries but found commonality through the world of fashion.
The Inception: The pair lead the clothing brand No One, inspired by the idea of stripping away the ego from fashion — here, “everyone is someone.”
The idea for the brand first came into being when Saleem, who is an animation writer and executive producer, was looking to challenge himself in a new arena.
The Philadelphia native felt as if he had already checked off all the benchmarks in his career.
Therefore, he wanted to nurture an idea that had taken a backseat. It led him to team up with Grier — who works in the fintech space as a director of product — to birth a modern clothing line that elevates traditional work wear.
“For me, progressing was to start expanding and getting into other industries and investing,” Saleem said in an exclusive interview with AfroTech. “So, I mean, who better to invest in than one of my best friends? I’ve always been into fashion, and I had a little pipe dream when I was younger to start a fashion line, but Lenard is the fashion guy. He’s always been even in high school, he was the stylish dude. So, when I approached him about the clothing line, it’s because I know how talented he is and I wanted to invest in him and I wanted us to do this thing together.”
No One Clothing Line
No One is a collective vision between the longtime friends turned founders that they hope encourages customers to embrace self-expression through their high-quality gender-neutral offerings.
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“We want to keep that same construction and durability that they [Carhartt, Dickies, raw Japanese denim] have, but make the wearability a little bit more upfront instead of having to fully break it in. You’ll also look at our color palettes. They just happened to be part of the story and the narratives that we want to tell, but they kind of lean gender-neutral,” Grier told AfroTech.
While the founders share that the brand is being received well so far, it doesn’t mean it hasn’t come without challenges.
“One of the challenges has been — how do we adapt and grow? How do we actually attract the right audience and how do we get that right feedback and how we push through knowing that we’re getting this positive feedback but may not be seeing the actual monetary income that we need to continue to progress,” Grier explained.
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The founders are sounding an alarm that accessibility is a focal point as they work to expand their retail footprint over the next few years. They hope No One will become a household name and they will be working organically to meet their goal.
What’s more, the founders also hinted at another brand in the future.
“I want to be something like a Ralph Lauren, something that can set the base for what our aesthetic is when we grow from there and people know the brand for years to come. It doesn’t have to be that large, but something of that scale,” Grier said.
“I’d love to grow this upscale luxury brand that we have, but I would also in the future like to create another brand that’s more accessible, that’s not as expensive. You know, stuff that anyone could wear, anyone can purchase, but still has the quality to it,” Saleem concluded.