Entering the shop right in the heart of Reynoldsburg to sounds of beats bouncing off the inscribed walls and conversations spewing nothing but good vibes, I was welcomed by Jaleel Washington. Jaleel the owner and co-founder of Starstrukt, a streetwear brand that pushes all who encounter the brand and its apparel to find their own stardom within and let their talents drive them into endless possibilities.
While he finished a conversation with whom I would soon find out was his mother and inspiration, as well a huge part of the brand; I was able to leave my own mark in the sea of colors on the wall, “Always Leave Em’ Starstrukt”.
Q: How did Starstrukt get it’s start?
A: “You know we’re coming up on 3 years, it’s crazy. I actually went to UC (University of Cincinnati), and I stayed there for a couple years after graduation. I would’ve never come back if it wasn’t for this shop. Columbus is not really my energy, I mean it is, but it isn’t. My mom actually called one day like I seen a storefront for lease or ownership and I was like man I guess it is time. I had been saying I was going to do it after college.
For the first 5 years I was just online or I’d be on campus out the trunk like “wasssup I got this large on me in white or black”. That would keep a twenty in my pocket here and there, eating honey buns and a SunnyD for a dollar. [Laughs] You know living lavish.
I was born in Chicago, so that’s more my speed, but when you’re in Columbus you just always have that tie to the city.
But yeah I had driven past this building a million times and never really thought about it. Right in my own arena, you know I went to school right down the street so it was cool.[I mention purchasing my prom dress at shop nearby years ago and come across some cool information.]
Joan? That’s actually aunt, she’s right next door. I went to a few proms and she would get me together and have me and friends in her shows. So that’s funny you said that. But yeah those first 3 months were rough before opening and 3 months after, and I don’t even know why.”
Q: Who is a part of the Starstrukt team?
A: “My mom does alot, she actually went to UC and went through the DAAP (Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning) program which is hard to get into. She had her own business that was like cut and sew, she designed wedding dresses and all of that. She actually just left Justice, she was there for a minute.
Jordan, that’s my guy. I don’t know like the first year or two he was here pretty strong, we were just figuring a lot of stuff out. At this point though, he does a lot of off campus work, like coordinating parties and things like that. You know he DJs too, so he’s in that night life and so he promotes us just as much as we should inside of here. It’s like a push pull, he can do what I can’t. That’s my brother though, so we run like Lebron and DWade. I’ve known him since Kindergarten, but then I kind of separated from all of my friends. I went to UC and he went to Atlanta.[In the midst of the interview Jordan enters the shop and the pair have a casual conversation about food, shop logistics and weekend shenanigans. I could really see the seamless connection between the two childhood friends. Followed by a couple of customers browsing new apparel and shoes, Jaleel’s mom and Jordan debating on the last time she’s seen him, and friends stopping in to purchase and place shirt orders.]
We’re like bare on the floor right now, I have Jamaal in the basement working on some hats. I don’t even have time for on the floor work right now, but it’s kind of a good thing we’re moving product.
Q: What is your role in the brand/store?[I tried to solve the mystery of Jordan, a well-known DJ in and out of Columbus and creative direction guru.]
A: [Jordan Thomas] “I mean I do a little, I fill in. You just kind of have to catch us in our element to get to know us. Like on a weekend when there’s nothing, but vibes and energy.
Starstrukt, a power house for all of your streetwear apparel needs whether it’s hoodies, shirts, hats, and select shoe brands, events and shirts hot off the press. Stop in and shop the newest collection LOVEHATE Vol. 2, a mix up matchup of two words that go hand in hand. Catch some good vibes and energy from Jaleel, Jordan and their team and don’t forget to leave your mark on the walls and in whatever you do in life, that’s what they would want you to do.