Fashion in the front lines

Arianna Ruvalcaba  |  Copy Editor

Azusa Pacific University’s convenient proximity to Los Angeles—25 miles, to be exact—has always given creative students access to the resources needed to launch careers in a variety of entertainment industries. Fashion happens to be one of them. In a world where it’s just as easy for college students to advertise through Facebook and Instagram as it is for successful organizations to launch a marketing campaign, these entrepreneurial minds have taken it upon themselves to find a need in the fashion industry and fill it with their products.


In 2014, Grace Eleyae brought to life Satin-Lined Caps—SLAPS for short. Her mission? To answer the cry of women everywhere for a way to fashionably manage, maintain and protect all types of hair. It is now a family-run business. Eleyae’s sister, recent APU journalism alumna Angel Eleyae, operates everything online from blogs to photography to the company’s Facebook page.

“It’s moving so quickly. We’ve only been in business for a year, yet it’s growing exponentially,” said Angel Eleyae. “We are really excited about what’s coming next.”

The company specializes in satin-lined beanies specifically, but SLAPS satin scrunchies and satin-lined baseball caps will debut in 2016. SLAPS has sold not only across the U.S., but in the U.K. and Canada as well via wholesale buyers and the company’s website,

This past summer, SLAPS was able to display their products at the 2015 BET Experience, which is a four-day event celebrating the Black Entertainment Television Awards weekend with musical performances, comedy, seminars and parties. Their table at the gifting suite—a room dedicated to gifting celebrities with up-and-coming products—attracted the attention of stars like Erykah Badu, Soulja Boy and Eva Marcille.


Senior business management major Rueben Lindsey is the designer and owner of handcrafted jewelry line STRAIGHT CROOKED. The one-man business began when Lindsey’s house was being remodeled and he decided to make use of the spare copper lying around.

“I’ve always like creatiScreen Shot 2015-12-12 at 10.23.48 AMng things, using my hands, making things,” said Lindsey, whose jewelry-making skills are largely self-taught.

Lindsey focuses primarily on bracelets and cuffs, but the company supplies rings, earrings and brooches as well, all of which have a purely copper base. STRAIGHT CROOKED is currently sold at the MAKE Collectives boutique in Long Beach and via Lindsey’s email,

“I’m cool with where it’s at right now because I make everything myself. It gets a little harder when the demand gets high,” said Lindsey. “Eventually I’d like to expand it and even open up my own retail store with a bunch of different local clothing brands.”

The expansion has already begun, as STRAIGHT CROOKED collaborated with another APU-based brand, Perspectives, in March. The collection sold out within days.


Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 10.25.54 AMThe clothing company, co-founded by senior communications major Devon DeJardin in 2014, took the $15,000 grand prize in APU’s 2014 ZuVentures business competition, a necessary step in catapulting the brand to success. Perspectives has sold in all 50 states and in 16 countries since its inception, and the founders aim to sell in over 40 stores by the end of 2016. By 2017, Perspectives will open a flagship store in either Los Angeles or Portland.

“Perspectives was formed after many years of being personally interested in design, clothing and the opportunity to create something that would make people feel confident, comfortable,” said DeJardin, who looks to modern architecture for inspiration. DeJardin claims it’s easy to copy what other designers have already made, which is why he pulls inspiration from alternative sources.

“Every failure, obstacle and hardship is an opportunity in disguise,” said DeJardin. “It’s easy at times to get super discouraged when things don’t go according to plan or when the consumer doesn’t respond how we would have liked them to. However, with each obstacle you can gain so much knowledge that will progress your brand, company or design further down the road.”Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 10.26.10 AM

The brand will exhibit its new Artifact Collection in January at the contemporary fashion event Project Show, which is being held in New York.

Along with helping customers find a crisp, comfortable style, the company partners with global nonprofits and finds unique ways to give individuals the opportunity to use their talents and resources.

“Don’t worry if people think you’re crazy. You are crazy,” said DeJardin. “You have that kind of intoxicating insanity that lets other people dream outside of the lines and become who they’re destined to be. What I’m doing with Perspectives, while although at times can seem crazy, I know is inspiring other people to dream big and dig deep to achieve more than they ever thought possible.”

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