ASBURY PARK – Darryl Harvin is the first to admit his life hasn’t been easy or error-free. But by launching his Asbury Park-based company, Crooked Crown Apparel, two years ago, he is able to share his love of urban streetwear, his positive approach to life and his gratitude for second chances and new opportunities.
Adopted at a young age, “my adoptive mother passed away when I was 13 and I went to live with her family, including her daughter/my ‘sister’, in Neptune,” recalls Harvin, 25, who is quickly found on the street committing crimes.
“I stole a lot of cars when I was underage and by the time I turned 18 it turned into thefts where friends and I would take cars and rob people or buildings,” a- he declared.
Evicted from his home after stealing his own sister’s car and racking up numerous fines, warrants and arrests for various criminal activities – including an incident in which he led police in a car chase through Neptune – “J ended up spending about three years in Monmouth County Correctional Facility before I turned 21,” he said.
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Harvin’s incarceration proved to be a turning point for him, however.
“Once I got out of prison, I was done with the criminal life and I wanted to succeed,” he said of his release several years ago. “I wanted to do something with my life and be responsible and able to help my family.”
He’s had a succession of jobs in the restaurant and product realization industries, but while he had no trouble landing one of those positions, “I soon realized that working 9 to 5 for someone else’s business wasn’t for me,” he said.
He eventually turned to a lifelong hobby – fashion – as his source of entrepreneurial inspiration.
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“People don’t need a lot of money to feel like royalty”
“Even though money was tight when I was growing up and we didn’t wear big brands, I still loved the clothes,” Harvin said. “I wear sweatshirts all year round – that’s my style – and I’ve always had a good sense of design and I’ve always been able to draw.”
In 2020, Harvin launched Grove King Apparel (named after the Green Grove section of Neptune, where he grew up), “but I changed the name to Crooked Crown Apparel in mid-2021 because I have the impression that everyone is a king or queen in their own right,” he said. “Life presents us with certain situations that can make us feel less than who we really are, but even if your crown may be askew, you’re still royalty at the end of the day.”
Harvin registered to manufacture clothing in New Jersey and obtained a dealer license. Then, finding a basic crown insignia online, “I reversed it, did a number of other artistic edits, and rotated it on its axis,” he said of of the logo he designed. “My clothes are high quality but very affordable. When you see someone wearing my clothes, it reflects what they stand for – that people don’t need a lot of money to feel like royalty, because they have that in them. The clothes look good, make you feel good and are extremely accessible.
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Among the current pieces in the Crooked Crown line, “we have two basic cotton tracksuit collections – a navy blue line with white accents and a black line with different color designs, some of which incorporate an anime-inspired character from ‘a king with a crown and my ‘loyalty.royalty.love’ slogan – plus sets of t-shirts and shorts with his logo for the summer,” Harvin said. Basic shirts start at $10 and you won’t pay more than $40 for a set.”
“We’re categorized as a streetwear line, but Crooked Crown is more of a movement,” Harvin explained. “It’s about the clothes, but more importantly it’s about the larger message I’m giving by sharing my story. I want to offer hope, inspire others who may be struggling to change their lives and give back to the community.While my audience may consist of people like me who have faced adversity and/or been out on the streets, anyone can find my line appealing.
“It’s exciting to invest in me”
Among streetwear design trends, “men’s shorts are a bit shorter than they used to be,” Harvin said, “and people prefer lighter, softer sweatshirts to heavier, thicker ones.” – all the features he incorporated into Crooked Crown Apparel pieces. .
While Harvin hasn’t experienced the pandemic-era shipping snafus or product delays experienced by some other companies, getting the word out about his line has proven difficult.
“I have a small team that helps me with sales and marketing, but I designed my website, grabbed the images and did all the coding, which was very difficult and time-consuming,” he said. declared.
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These efforts, however, were not in vain. “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback on our apparel,” said Harvin, who sells items through her variety of pop-up shops, personal sales efforts and website orders.
Looking ahead, Harvin is incorporating blown vinyl accents to upcoming lines, updating their short set collection, and currently has designs for a cannabis-inspired apparel collection “Your Highness.” “People will see the quality and style of my pieces and like what they get at my prices,” he said.
“I would like to ultimately be one of the top five apparel distributors in New Jersey and have people know what the Crooked Crown Collective is,” said Harvin, a musician whose parent company also includes his music label. Crooked Crown. “I want to provide people with the guidance, resources and opportunities that I didn’t have coming and also help them learn how to be successful in something they love, whether it’s clothes, music, games or other area of interest.”
“Until a few years ago I was doing nothing with my life and felt like nobody else, but the feeling of trying my best to do something positive has been amazing,” Harvin said of the most rewarding part of his business.
“It took every spare penny to launch Crooked Crown Apparel, but it’s exciting to invest in myself and build something for my family and my eight-month-old daughter, Ny’lah,” he said. he declares. “I love the fact that I’m doing what I’m supposed to do as the standing man in my family.”
Clothes of the Twisted Crown
Location: Asbury Park
Owner: Darryl Harvin
Social media:www.facebook.com/CrookedCrownApparel (Facebook) and CrookedCrownApparel (Instagram)