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Akron native John Dean finds fashion industry success

26-year-old John Dean is the CEO clothing brand Renowned LA.

AKRON, Ohio — What’s in a name?

Akron native John Dean has been working to create one for himself since 2011.

What began as a quick trip to the screen-printing shop during his lunch break in high school, has transformed into a notable clothing line.

Dean, 26, is the CEO of Renowned LA, a casual, street-wear line that caters to some of the entertainment and fashion industry’s finest.

To be renowned, means to be widely acclaimed and highly honored, according to Merriam Webster.

“I used to walk around my high school telling people I was famous, it was just a big joke,” said Dean.

Since graduating from St. Vincent-St. Mary, Dean has found viable success-- having worked with the likes of Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Bryson Tiller and countless others.

In 2013, while operating his business as a full-time student at Ohio University, Dean got his big break.   

“I had a really big break when Chris Brown wore one of my T-shirts on the cover of a magazine," said Dean. “That T-shirt kind of blew my brand up. In a sense it became an international thing, instead of just an Ohio local thing.”

So far, Dean has released two collections - Paradise and Shadows - but he has plans to expand the brand.

“I’m doing two times a year at this point, but I want to pick it up, I want to do four collections a year," said Dean. " And I also want to do things in between my collections, such as little collaborations with maybe like a local store in between my big collections."

With an ever-changing industry like fashion, Dean cites Pharrell Williams as one of his greatest influences. 

"From the start, I think he's kind of my gateway into fashion," said Dean. "So when he started his brand, it's kinda of when I wanted to get into fashion hard core."

Dean’s creativity, unique designs and successful collaborations have been rewarded with nods from major publications including Elle, GQ, Complex and Forbes, just to name a few.

“The focus is on kind of duality...My brand kind of talks about whatever your dream may be, the ups and downs of achieving that dream,” said Dean. "I can show you cool things that I've done, but I think also showing you my failures is more relatable because a lot of people hear a lot more no's than you hear yeses." 

Dean says he perfected his craft though trial and error and even got lucky with some things, but when asked why he creates, his answer was simple.

“I want to give people that feeling of, 'Yes, I can do it, yes I can make it.' I’m from this part of town, and you know, being from this part of town, a lot of people don’t get to do these kinds of things. So, I just want to be like that light at the end of the tunnel.”

Renowned LA is available in nearly 50 stores around the world and online. 

Dean’s third collection, “Against All Odds,” is set to be released January 15, 2020.

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