From Prison to Neiman Marcus: Philadelphia-based Designer Transforms His Life to Become Luxury Brand CEO

From Prison to Neiman Marcus: Philadelphia-based Designer Transforms His Life to Become Luxury Brand CEO

Philadelphia-based entrepreneur Darrell Alston is a success story that highlights it is never too late to turn your life around for the better.

Alston, who once pursued a career in music as a rapper, was arrested three times, serving more than 11 years in prison. The last time he was arrested, he served six years on drug-related charges. But that is where his vision was eventually born.

During his time in prison, Alston, who always dreamed of owning his own fashion brand, sketched hundreds of shoe designs and made a business plan from books his mother sent him while in prison.

After being released and working multiple jobs for two years, Alston eventually saved up to get a sample shoe made in 2014.

That sample shoe, inspired by those sketches in prison, eventually led to the creation of Bungee Oblečení, a brand of luxury sneakers and upscale athleisure wear based on sketches he created while incarcerated.

(Image: Fashion model / Bungee Oblečení)

The name Bungee Oblečení was inspired by Alston viewing his life as a ‘bungee cord’ and finding a unique way to stand out by spelling apparel in Czechoslovakian (oblečení.)

After establishing his storefront in Philadelphia, the CEO of Foot Locker, Richard A. Johnson, reached out to Alston in the summer of 2021. Soon after, his sneaker collection was added to Foot Locker’s website and retail stores for sale.

“Just launching my brand was a dream. Being recognized and making my first sales was really special,” Alston told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “When Mr. Johnson of Foot Locker called, that changed everything.”

(Image: Hall of Fame boxer Bernard Hopkins / Bungee Oblečení)

Alston has reached even bigger heights as he is set to unveil his fall 2022 Bungee Oblečení collection of sneakers and apparel to the public on October 15 at Neiman Marcus at King of Prussia in Pa.

(Image: Ventura sneaker / Bungee Oblečení)
(Image: OC Ascender / Bungee Oblečení)

“To have one of the foremost luxury retailers in the world reach out to not only sell my products but to dedicate an entire window to me — that leaves me absolutely speechless,” he said.

Alston says he is excited to share this moment with his family and community of supporters.

“This accomplishment is proof that, with hard work, people can change their lives and achieve their goals, no matter how lofty those goals are,” he added.