In His Own Words: Rashod Stanley Tells All About How Prison Didn’t Stop His Dreams of Becoming a Fashion Designer
On Feb. 11, 2016, Rashod Stanley, better known as Shod, began his three to eight-year sentence on robbery charges in a South Georgia prison. “Prison elevated me on a mental note. My mind is sharpened, and I intensify every move I make,” Stanley said. If there’s a will, there’s a way, and he has proven just that with his creativity.
Born in Atlanta, GA, Stanley grew up in the infamous Bankhead neighborhood. He also lived in Douglasville, where he graduated from Douglas County High School in 2013. A year after high school in 2014, Stanley attended a trade school to study automotive technology. He knew his hobby working on cars would not turn into a passionate career. Stanley was efficient enough to change his oil, brakes, and oxygen sensors on his vehicle. “If all else fails I knew I could work on vehicles,” he said.
In 10th grade, Stanley began to purchase his clothes on his own, without the help of his parents. “I’m trying to drip for real,” he told CWC.
In 2013, Stanley clothing line “The Trenches” became alive. “I created my clothing line because I wanted the trenches to stand for more than a neighborhood.” Stanley vision for his brand was to create a lifestyle for others. His company mission is to deliver innovative products, experiences, and services to inspire by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, making their products more sustainably, building a creative and diverse global team, and making a positive impact in communities where he lives and works.
In the summer of 2015, at the age of 19, Stanley opened up the official “The Trenches” storefront in his Bankhead neighborhood. Before his grand opening, Stanley spent two weeks selling merchandise out of the trunk of his car. Becoming the owner of a retail store was one of Stanley’s most significant accomplishments.
His store grew tremendously with the support of his friends, family, and community. His customers turned into loyal customers who frequently purchased from him. The Trenches store sold an assortment of products, including decorated book bags, t-shirts, crop tops, hoodies, sweatshirts, bucket hats and more.
Being an inmate in prison didn’t stop Stanley’s genuine passion for becoming a fashion designer. During Rashod’s sentencing, he found the motivation to keep his brand alive. It all started in the intake dorm. With limited resources and supplies; Stanley began to design clothing out of the prison uniforms given to him with dental floss and a paper clip.
He created an outfit every day with various designs, but still keeping The Trenches logo attached. Stanley designs are far from regular clothing; they are “High Fashion” he would like to say.
Renita Mitchell, Stanley’s mother, reaction to him going to prison angered her. “I couldn’t believe a young man with so much potential would do this. I didn’t raise him this way,” she said. His mother blamed herself for his actions, “where did I go wrong as a parent?” Her anger instantly turned into a broken heart, so she asked God, “why I? And God replied, “why not you?” she said.
Mitchell is waiting on the arrival of her oldest son to return home to pursue his passion. “I’m expecting for my son to continue to use his creativity to the fullest doing what he loves, which is designing clothes for “The Trenches.”
Stanley has no regret of going to prison. He made the best of an unfortunate situation. “God had a plan for me. I took the situation and elevated myself.”
“I knew when he started his lawn care business at the age of 12; he was serious.” Mitchell misses her optimistic son. She stated that he never wanted to work for anyone else, and was determined to operate his own business.” Mitchell knows her son has a bright future, “location doesn’t determine the destination.”
Stanley doesn’t let prison get the best of him. He continuously prays each night to his Savior for better times and days. His body might be captivated, but his mind is free. He is scheduled for parole October 2019. For more information, to support Rashod Stanley please visit www.thetrenches.co and his GoFundMe page.
Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.” — Bruce Garrabrandt