polo company Former DC gang sells clothes
“We already had a sense of fashion because we were known for wearing the craziest colors,” said Frye. “Check It was known for wearing, how they said it, ‘gay colors.'”
They called themselves the ‘Check It’ gang, a group of women and gay youth, many of them homeless. They initially formed in high school as a way to protect themselves from bullies.
“We took care of each other,” said Frye.
And after years of violence, something changed within Check It.
“That’s the good part,” said Tray Warren, another founding member. “We turned our gang name, which was Check It, into an LLC, now it’s a business.”
On Martin Luther King Jr Avenue in Anacostia, now sits It’s new store front.
“We all had a sense of fashion, so we just took it from the negative to positive frame,” said Frye.
From t shirts, to a full clothing line, everything is done here. But the space will be so much more than just a clothing store, the group wants to really make a difference in the community.
“We want to open it up to be mostly a place where people can come for healing,” said Frye.
It will be a place to help kids just like them.
“We were them at one point, we needed that exact same help,” said Frye, who was in the foster care system and then homeless for years. “It’s time for us to help them.”
They’ve got the space, the passion and the ideas, but starting a business is expensive. So now they’re turning to the same community they once wreaked havoc on, and asking them for help. The irony is not lost on the members of Check It.
“We know we have done a lot to hurt the community in our times of doing violent things, now we want to give back,” said Frye. “We just ask that if they can help us, we can help others.”