Iowa City West senior Dasia Taylor launches apparel shop

West High student Dasia Taylor is selling tie-dyed T-shirts and masks in the school colors of Iowa City high schools.


Grace Smith

Photo of Dasia Taylor and friends, wearing her Vibe Tribe custom apparel. Contributed by Caroline Barker.

Natalie Dunlap, News Reporter

Dasia Taylor has always been an involved student at West High school and her school spirit hasn’t been hampered by classes taking place in online or hybrid formats. The senior recently launched a small business online, where she sells tie-dyed masks and T-shirts in school colors.

“I’m super into school, like I actually love my school … I rep West very frequently. It’s literally like every week I’m wearing something, almost every day now, that I’m wearing something green and gold,” Taylor said while wearing one of her green and gold dyed shirts.

Taylor’s original idea for a business was screen printing T-shirts. When she got the equipment however, she realized it wasn’t for her. After watching some TikToks about tie-dye, she decided to pivot. Last week she launched her Etsy shop, Vibe Tribe Custom Apparel, which sells masks and shirts in the school colors of Iowa City high schools.

“Uplifting people’s spirits, that was a huge part of it, just getting together and being able to have this little community of tie-dye,” she said. “So, having that like across school lines, it’s just a super cool idea to me, so I started doing West, Liberty, and City, and then whoever else wants their school colors.”

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Taylor was taking in-person class at West High, but now all her classes are online because the district moved classes 100 percent off site for two weeks. Since some of her extracurriculars have been put on hold, she’s had time to work on her business.

She was president Black History Game Show club her junior and sophomore year, where participants study trivia about Black history in preparation for a contest between the schools. Through that leadership role she met Andre Wright, the CEO and co-founder of Humanize My Hoodie, a campaign that advocates for racial equity, who helped Taylor with her initial idea of screen printing T-shirts.

“I always [tell] young people when they’re starting lines and stuff like that, tell the story first and not to worry about the clothes as much,” Wright said.

The story Taylor wants to tell with her business is that people don’t have to fit into one box.

“I am involved in so much, and every single thing that I’m involved in has a purpose,” she said. “It gives me a lens that I can look through, like science fair, like entrepreneurship … like social advocacy. All these different things give me the lens that I’m going to need to like to get through life.”

Dasia Taylor said she is a business-oriented person, and that comes from being raised around entrepreneurs. She recalled counting receipts at her granddad’s car wash when she was five years old. Dasia Taylor’s mother, LaDonna Taylor, is an insurance agent and teaches financial literacy.

Dasia Taylor said her mom has been her biggest supporter and influence. When LaDonna Taylor, wearing a shirt dyed with Liberty High colors, described Dasia as a courageous risk taker who is always trying to take herself to the next level, Dasia Taylor said she is that way because of her mom.

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“I’m telling you everything in my life, whether consciously or unconsciously, has led back to the phrase, ‘You can do whatever you put your mind to.’ I vividly remember times where she would just tell me that, like, even out the blue like, ‘You can do anything you put your mind to.’ And that phrase has gotten me where I am today, no doubt,” Dasia Taylor said.

Though she has grown up around business savvy people, when looking towards her future Dasia wants to focus on another passion, social advocacy, by pursuing the law track in college, hopefully at Howard or Northwestern University.

LaDonna Taylor said business will be with her daughter in some form no matter what path she takes.

“I think business is something that you either have or you don’t and every aspect of life will consist of some sort of business,” LaDonna Taylor said. “So, no matter if she becomes an attorney, a doctor, a teacher, whatever field or career path she decides to take, I will hope that what we’ve taught her about business will help her maximize her ability to perform her task.”

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