Hustling is more than just making money, but a lifestyle to abide by. There are many different ways to hustle, and one of them is by creating a brand. Hell, I even tried to do it for this blog by selling shirts, but my efforts pale in comparison to what Jon Vella has built up. His brand, Dipitus, is a line of clothing with intention that inspires the untapped reservoir of awareness people have within themselves. Here is what he has to say about it.
Tell people about yourself, who is Jon Vella? How did you get involved in the clothing game?
I wonder who I am every day, and I think that’s how I got involved in the clothing game. I’m the youngest of the family, and I always used to try and chill with my brother and his friends as a youngin, so I always followed them around trying to be cool. As I grew up, I had a revelation at one point that I was following, and I didn’t like that. As I grew up more I became more conscious of the environment, and the system as we know it and I couldn’t find any apparel I was into that represented my beliefs, so I figured I wasn’t the only one and decided I’d fill the void. I wanted a brand that had the “hippie” message but the urban edge, so I went to work. Started developing ideas, talking to people, ended up getting linked to that boi Kooz who brought the designs to life with a style way beyond what I had imagined, went to a local screen printer in Amherst and got that ball rolling, had a friend get a basic website up n going and I played around with that for many many hours until I felt it was presentable,, and then I dropped the whole thing. Does this mean I’m in the clothing game?
I guess so! How did you come up with Dipitus? What message are you trying to spread?
Dipitus was derived from another project I had started, called Serendipitousnug. I thought it’d be dope if there was an Instagram that connected people who received random acts of kindness and allowed them to show love to those who actually had the intrinsic desire, the intention to make this place a better place. So I dropped a few letters and turned it into Dipitus, which stands for creating our own unexpected fortune. Serendipitous is coming across unexpected fortunes, and I believe by setting the intention, by believing in the law of attraction, we can manifest a better world. That’s where the Ecological Restoration aspect comes into it. This system is ultimately an ecosystem that we’re a part of just like every other organism is in every ecosystem. As humans, we separate ourselves from the ecosystem but I think part of the inevitable shift in consciousness that we see happen is realizing everything is one. So by having the intention to play a better role in the ecosystem, the system balances out, and the system becomes healthier, and everything synergizes to become greater than they would as individuals.
Are there any particular people or ideas that inspire your brand?
Foof, so many. Mainly ideas in economics, science, and consciousness. Everything’s just so interconnected it’s crazy. I read this book called deep economics, and I’m sitting there making connections to quantum energy and the universe. Those three topics (economics, science, and consciousness) and their interconnectedness are what the entire brand is based on, now that I think about it.
Where do you see Dipitus in a few years? How will Dipitus stand apart from other brands?
Right now I see Dipitus being sort of esoteric, something that only a small group of people will truly feel and I think that that will be what makes those people proud to rock it. One of the main things I stressed while developing the brand was not being “branded”. I find it strange that people wear clothes that are just a brand name across the chest. Generally, I think people wear brands because that brand is at the forefront of a certain sport they’re into, or a certain “wave” if you will, but at what point does it get deeper than that? When will humans mature to stand for more than that which they are entertained by? That’s a little harsh since sports are absolutely a legitimate thing to be into, but deep down I think that when you’ve grown to accept everything that’s wrong with this current system it’s because you justify the rat race with those small moments of magic, you know? Those moments where you’re like, “Yes, this is what we do it for.” I agree with that to a point, I’m about it, I strive to create those moments, but deep down I believe the magic should be happening all the time.
The only way that is going to happen is if we go through a serious maturation of mankind and most likely a series of serious revolutions. It all comes down to who’s going to stand up and put the team on their back, because it’s not easy seeing the darkness day in and day out and trying to fight it, and I think that’s why the older “hippie” generation tends to laugh at the happy go lucky spirits of modern day “hippies” that think we’re actually going to be the ones to fix this shit. I go back n forth all the time, whether I want to have fun in this life and ignore all that’s wrong, or buckle down and live a more meaningful life that I can only assume would be far less amusing. Anyway, I digress huh? To answer your question… the images, the deeper meaning behind the designs, the higher level of consciousness is what I hope separates Dipitus from other brands.
What do you think are the keys to having a successful brand?
I think the biggest key to having a successful brand is the social networking marketing presence. Creating content can be hard as fuck if it’s not your bag. I’m out here preaching look up and not down at your phone, but I’m supposed to be pumping out material for people to look down at on their phone. Everything’s a duality, a paradox, but understanding that is part of growing one’s consciousness. Now that I’ve spent some time with Dipitus, I’ve realized it’s all about having fun with it. I think that ultimately is the key to having success in anything.
A few weeks ago I wrote about attending a music festival and how powerful the experience was. What is your take on music festivals?
Music festivals are huge, man. In every way. They’re literally huge in size and popularity and quantity now, but those things just prove how huge music festivals are to the individual and to spreading awareness, consciousness, ideas, love, art… the spreading is endless. I suppose I’m umbrella-ing all festivals under this question, as I’ve been to festivals like Envision and Unifier that have music, but the primary attractions are wellness, workshops, lectures, growth… creating the new paradigm. Sometimes I think that music festivals can be a perfect example of those small moments in time that enable us to continue on all sheepishly, you know? Say you spent a thousand dollars at a festival, that’s a good month’s worth of traveling internationally and that shit is a lot more life-changing than being constrained by a festivals fences. You roll into a festival, and it’s all curated for three days of magic, and you walk away like damn, why can’t that happen all the time? Well, it could.
What do you think are the most pressing issues the world is facing right now?
I will always believe the most pressing issue the world is facing is the individual. No one is going to come in with some solve all solution to all of our bullshit. No one, no thing. The biggest problem is that people don’t want to change, and that will forever be the most pressing issue in this world as we know it. The environment, hunger, poverty, international relations, Donald Trump, corrupt governments and politics, all that shit, is so dumb to me. All of the problems we face are a result of us, and nothing is going to change until we change ourselves. As Mac Miller once said, “Tryna make it complicated when this shit is simple.”
What do you think of the U.S. Presidential election right now? Would you support a third party candidate given the options?
I think it’s all fucked, and I think we’re all fucked as we know it, but I also think it’s kind of dope. We need this. We need this tomfoolery. We need either one of these two clowns to become president for us to be like yo what the fuck are we doing. Am I proud to be an American right now? I think for the majority of people it’s going to take a disaster to cause a revolution. We’re all gonna take the path of least resistance until we reach the threshold, and we’re forced to actually wake up unless we’re conscious of what’s happening and put in the work, so we don’t have to go through all of that. It’s all so crazy.
When I asked you if you’d be into doing a little Q&A about Dipitus, you mentioned you were doing a little rebranding. Want to tell us about that?
Yes for sure. When I first started Dipitus I got it all ready and dropped it for what I wanted it to be and not for what it actually was, and that brought a lot of stress into my life. I was trying so hard to make it this thing, and eventually I realized what it was doing to me, and so I took a break from it. Recently, I was re-inspired by the whole project, but for what I realized I developed it for in the first place. I developed the whole thing to fill a void that I saw and felt. I’ve got an urban city side to me and an earthy crunchy side to me, and I couldn’t find any clothes that fulfilled my desires. I wanted something that actually meant something, looked dope, and wasn’t having a negative effect on earth or mankind (the ecosystem). I figured I wasn’t the only one and that someone should make it, so it might as well be me.
Now I’ve redefined the brand as “Conscious streetwear for the Conscious Gangster”, and I think that’s exactly what it is. “Hustle with Intention.” It’s a brand that has the Beast Coast hustle with the Best Coast intention. Eventually if this thing ever did pop off, I really would like to have Dipitus be what I originally sought it out to be – an apparel brand that is spreading and growing this consciousness and is using its funds to sprout up urban farms in struggling areas and getting everyone stoked on it by having everyone rock these dope conscious t-shirts that make everyone come together to embody everything that Dipitus strives to inspire. That shit would be so unreal, but for now, it is what it is, and I’m hype on it again.
Any last words? Anyone you want to call out or shout out?
This would have been a dope live interview full of digression and ranting; maybe it’s best it didn’t happen. Shout out to everybody that made Dipitus’ existence possible – Blake, my family, Kooz… I could do shout outs all day, homies that listened as I talked their ears off and inspired me to go through with everything, homies that invited all their friends on Facebook to like the page, Brian Giggey for working with me through my first time ever running t-shirts, homies that wanted to support and cop a t-shirt rather than get one for free (is that a call out?). Shout out to you for reaching out to me and for doing your thing out here. I love seeing homies doing their thing, we really out here!!
You can buy Dipitus t-shirts and support the conscio(us) gangster movement by visiting dipitus.co