We had the good fortune of connecting with Daniel Grier and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Daniel, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I chose a creative career after many attempts to make the corporate world work for me. My college career and professional background is mostly in the healthcare field. I have worked from hospitals and emergency rooms to non profits. But nothing made me come alive like being creative. During my 9-5 days, after starting my brand almost 7yrs ago, my days became full of anxiety and I was depressed unknowingly for years. My creativity was literally the only thing I had to look forward to. I had to start laying the groundwork for myself to make my dreams a reality. That took a lot of time and work but it was very worth it. It means more to me to be living as my highest and greatest self than to be safe on a job working someone else’s dream knowing I was called to something much greater.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I launched Splashed by DKG in 2013 after receiving a HIV positive diagnosis July of that same year. I was in a really dark place surrounding that, that I became very depressed. It was my first love of fashion that ultimately brought me out of that place and it has grown into the brand that it is today. I started in my mom’s garage tie-dying my own clothes and realized I had a natural nack for turning something plain into an eye catching statement piece. I literally just dove into it and didn’t look back. I started posting my designs on social media, showcasing in local showcases, and anything that would bring exposure to my brand. In 2016, one of my dear friends and model was murdered tragically. In that moment I felt the importance of using my platform to speak out about things I am passionate about. I began to use my art as activism. Organizing community panel discussions, incorporating intentional themes and messaging at fashion shows, and incorporating messaging into my garments, to raise awareness for Domestic Violence, HIV Awareness, LGBTQ rights etc. Art has a powerful way of bringing people from all different walks of life together. Bridging my love of fashion, art, and activism, I C0-Founded Magic City Fashion Week in 2017. MCFW is a platform for marginalized communities to have a professional platform to showcase their talents, to increase collaboration, education, awareness, and push culture. What I want the world to know about my brand and story is that no matter what you go through in life, know that it is meant to make you better. That story should be shared with others so they too can overcome and gain strength from hearing your story of resilience. I aspire to share my story and talent with the world. Through my brand I am able to connect and inspire many that cross my path. I would have never experienced any of this had I stayed in that dark place. No matter what you can bounce back, you just have to make that your decision to come back better than ever! I refuse to quit and I hope that is what is conveyed through my work and life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have only lived in Atlanta for a year and half now and the last 6mos of that was during a pandemic lol. But I love this city, there’s alot to do. Piedmont Park is always a great place to go for relaxation, socializing, or just people watching. I love the diversity here so their’s literally everything in the world here to eat. Quick shopping Lenox mall, we’d definitely swing through Phipps and Shops at Buckhead. I love Slimm and Husky’s pizza also, its Black owned! For a drink the battery is cool or there’s always Hudson Grille, which I use to frequent often for wings and a nice drink. I love the High Museum and Trap museum. Get you a cool pic on the Jackson Street bridge also while your in town. Idk alot again but that’s my answer for now lol.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The person, other than God, my son, supporters, and my amazing family, that I could recognize for playing such a pivotal role in my journey, would be the very person who recommended me for this article. Derek Matthews, AKA Sizzy Galore & Derek DeAndre, started working for my brand in its very early stages. Before the fancy pictures, celebrities, and other amazing opportunities, literally before it was even a business. He was there for this crazy ride and I can’t thank him for that enough. Not many people would have made it in that position, working under someone else’s brand, with no pay for the longest lol, that believed in my dream and our talents collectively. We went through a lot to produce on the level we did, both with full-time jobs, no formal fashion training, and not many knew but we were also in a new relationship together which added its own set of complications to things, but somehow we made that work for over 4years as business partners. We experienced a lot together and it was great to have someone so dedicated by my side through the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.
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