While college students are searching for their “why,” Tony Harris found his.
By Jared Martinson
Sweatshirts pile up in the back of Bethel freshman Tony Harris’ car. Black, white and gray scatter the seats, but one icon is constant over all the fabric – an icon that took on a whole new meaning very quickly.
“The logo comes from a video that my roommate and I were working on,” Harris said. “I really liked it and thought we should do something useful with it.”
The meaning behind the logo stemmed from an event that stuck with Harris and his friends just three months into their college careers. One of their classmates committed suicide in his dorm room on Nov. 14. As fellow first-years at Bethel, Harris and the rest of his residence floor were impacted deeply and felt called to action.
“We wanted to prevent this from happening to anyone,” he said. “I got this idea to start a suicide prevention clothing line and I started to work on it from there. Since I had the D3 logo already made, I looked for meaningful words that stuck out to me and started with the letter D.”
Dedication. Determination. Direction. For Harris, the three words came pretty easily.
“They are three basic things that I think are very important in life and can be used in every aspect. As a Christian my dedication resides in trying to live a Christ-like life. That is my choice,” Harris said. “I am determined to try to make a difference in the world … and through it all, I am directed towards Christ.”
D3 Clothing sends 40 percent of its profits to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and 10 percent to the Crisis Text Line. The two organizations work to raise awareness for suicide and provide help to people in need of crisis intervention.
“My goal for this company is to make people talk,” Harris said. “I want people to be more open about struggles that they are facing. It is the best way to prevent suicide from happening.”
Since November, Harris has put a great deal of effort into launching D3. He stores all of his inventory in his car or his room on campus: hats, sweatshirts, bracelets and t-shirts are strewn everywhere. But even in the chaos of running a business, he’s not forgetting why he’s doing it.
“I am passionate about this company because I believe in life. I believe that life is a beautiful gift from God. Life takes dedication, determination and direction,” Harris said. “Dedication is a choice, determination is an attitude and everyone needs direction, which is the ultimate outcome.”
In a world of 18 to 22-year-olds who are figuring out what to do with their lives, Harris has found a medium to inspire. And it all started with three words and the backseat of a car.