Updated: Jul 24, 2020
IAMAWEAR hat and comic launched during a much-needed time. Jon Hall, a dear friend of mine, has been working hard on spreading spiritual awareness both within himself, and to those around him. Since I’ve met Jon he’s been grinding. Making this idea evolve into the physical world while also battle the demons we all have. His brand is more than just a brand. It’s become a manifestation of what it means to be human. These ‘negative’ or ‘unfortunate’ associations we have in our lives, is really what spun the idea of IAMAWEAR.
“I went down a rabbit hole of self-help and spirituality when I read ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne. I was always intrigued with self-help before even realizing I needed it . It’s funny because initially I thought I was the right person for the brand because I never struggled with mental health; and therefore I could help people. When I first approached the idea, I didn’t have a deep understanding for my own mental health and other’s… it was definitely all ego based.”
The realization of where the brand originally flourished from has become Jon’s fuel and confidence for relaunching IAMAWEAR. In the beginning of it all the floor was shakier. Like anyone when you're initially driven by ego, Jon's confidence felt foggy and incredibly inconsistent .
“The ego gets in the way… the confidence was fake I was finding the confidence from external things and when those things are taken away you are left with ‘Self’…and that’s the part you have to deal with. I’m just at ‘Self’ now. It’s not any of these things, the money...so being at this place, no matter how big or how small the success of the brand is, I’ll still be able to come back to myself at the end of the day”.
No matter what the outcome is for IAMAWEAR success was ultimately found and is still being found in Jon's self discovery through his brand's journey. And, the encouragement that others will also go through their own self discovery.We live in a world where the quantity of your audience and the exposure of your creation is the determination of your success. Whether you come up with a brand or put anything out there, the true success is in what people take from your creativity.
I’m a lover of all the hardships and I wanted this interview to be as raw and authentic to Jon as possible. Personally battling aniexty myself, I've slowly began to discover that alot of my triggers were demons I kept ignoring and we all have these fuckers, let be real. So writing this piece was liberating for me. Okay so we talked about how the brand flourished to be what it is today, but what about the seed?
“The hat idea came from my insecurities. I used to be insecure about my hair specifically my hairline. Growing up as a kid my family used to call me ‘Big Head Boi’; so I always liked to wear hats. Part of the reason I created the brand is because I wanted to make a really cool hat that I could wear all the time. But I’m past that now.”
We typically see our insecurities as negative aspects of ourselves, but Jon’s insecurity birthed the idea of a hat brand. Not only do these hats look elegantly sleek but they are a reminder that our insecurities come with a smooth finish.
The turning point for the brand changing from ego based was when Jon lost IAMAWEAR.
“I couldn’t fund it anymore. I was trying to get the product quality right, orders weren’t coming in, I had written over 400 small business application grants and got nothing in return. Everything was stressing me out.”
Jon realized that if he was going to sell a hat that represented self-awareness, he needed to embody what the brand symbolized. This propelled Jon to start meditating daily. He got in the mindset that he didn’t want to talk to anyone, interact with the world; he just wanted to figure himself out.
“I stayed with the same attitude for a while, the awareness became so intense, like intense that I wouldn’t even pay attention to the street lights. People probably thought this kid had no idea what’s going on in the world. When the intensity of my awareness to ‘Self’ became overwhelming that is when the episodes began. I was in my own world and I had to face all my demons. It got so real I was so lost with myself. It was like a psychological warfare. The episodes were always a battle between me and this world trying to take me down. That’s what my world turned into and the episodes kept coming.”
Jon’s demons became a physical expression taking him to the very edge as each episode intensified.
“This is what I mean when I say I have a different interpretation of the experience, versus my Manic Bi-polar diagnoses.”
Withdrawing from the world through draining meditation and only strictly looking within, generated a level of dark episodes for Jon which were heightened experiences living as a black man in today’s society. Jon grew up with a firm belief of the undeniable, unresolved treatment for the black community and when he added his own personal experiences, it created a demon within Jon that he discovered needed healing. By sitting with himself and unloading the heavy backpack of experiences that were no longer beneficial; being highlighted by his skin colour would no longer box the intensity of light Jon is willing to share with the world.
Embracing the grind, the journey and all the extra steps he had to take to relaunch IAMAWEAR has become his success.
Mental health is often an overlooked topic that is hardly ever conversed within many families and cultures. As we continue to take care of our physical bodies, don’t forget that these demons camping in our heads continue to live within us; until you learn to love them. Finding a balance in meditation has helped Jon move forward. He's experienced no further episodes. For Jon, telling his story through IAMAWEAR hat and comic has become the last accessory to compliment the outfit of the year.
Jon knows his hairline is "beautiful now".
To wrap things up I asked Jon for his top five favourite books because you all know that I had to ask!
1. As A Man Thinketh- James Allen
2. A Course of Miracles - Alan Cohen
3. Steven Spiritual Laws of Success – Deepak Chopra
4. The Power of Now- Eckhart Tolle
5. Four Agreements- Don Miguel Ruiz