Darrell Alston comes from a great family in the urban side of Paoli, a middle-class area. Growing up, he had everything he needed, including both parents. After graduating from high school, Alston could have gone to college but he chose to be a rap artist.
After realizing music wasn’t paying, he decided to look for products to sell to make money and finance his music career. This led him to the sale of drugs to make money. That got him in prison many times. After his third imprisonment for selling drugs, he decided to do something better with his life.
Fast forward to 2022, Alston has turned his life around by chasing his passion for the arts. After his release from prison, he founded Bungee Oblečení, a luxury sneaker and apparel brand that has gained acceptance in Philadelphia. Alston created the designs for his sneakers while behind bars.
“I created the company while I was incarcerated. I made a business plan after reading books my mom sent me. Other people in jail were doing business plans, and they taught me,” he told mainlinetoday.com.
“I taught myself how to draw and sketched the sneakers. But I got my barber’s license in case the sneakers didn’t become reality. I had no more jail time to give. I worked two jobs and saved money until I had enough to get a sample sneaker made. That took two years. I had the first sample in 2014.”
Alston said he chose the name “Bungee” because he looks at his life like a bungee cord. He further added that when he started doing trade shows, every independent apparel line had ‘apparel’ at the end of their name. He Google-searched ‘apparel’ in other languages and saw the word oblečení, which is Czechoslovakian, and decided to add it to Bungee, hence the name Bungee Oblečení, according to Phillymag.
Alston’s breakthrough came in 2018, the year the Eagles won the Super Bowl. According to him, that night, he designed Eagles sneakers and had them manufactured. “Before the first game of the next season, I packed up my car with sneakers and went to an official pep rally outside the stadium,” he noted.
“I sold out, which was great. But I didn’t have official licensing for the Eagles. I didn’t know what that was. My dumb ass was right at the Eagles stadium selling merchandise without licensing. But I used that money to build my brand. I also got investors to help me finance the company,” he told mainlinetoday.com.
Today, Bungee has close to 10 different kinds of sneakers and a full apparel line for men and women. According to Alston, in the spring of 2020, he designed some hoodies and T-shirts and got manufacturers to create the garments.
“I put tags on the pieces—even stitching logos. We got the shoes in January. Since then, we’ve been selling very well. It’s great to do something positive that makes my parents proud,” he said.
Last year, he got an offer from the CEO of Footlocker to have Bungee Brand sold in their stores. Seeing his sneakers being sold in the same store as brands like Adidas is all he could wish for, he noted.