Alumnus starts clothing line with positive message

Alumnus starts clothing line with positive message

By Jennifer Ruggiero

Former Northeastern football star Desmond Bellot has traded in his cleats for needle and thread and is hoping to create a streetwear alternative with a positive message.

The ’97 alumnus is designer of the hip-hop inspired, ready-to-wear clothing line Dolo Clothing Co., which he founded in 2002. He creates stylish clothes without resorting to themes based on guns, sex and drugs, instead offering encouraging slogans like “failure is not an option.”

“It’s not only that the clothes are appealing because of the design, but the meaning behind it,” he said. “Parents want their kids to wear something positive. That’s why I kept a positive twist behind it.”

But socially-conscious entrepreneurship wasn’t always on Bellot’s radar. He was awarded a full athletic scholarship to Northeastern in 1992 and made his mark on the football team as a wide-receiver. He was a star player and was seventh in receptions, tied for second for most receptions per game and fifth in career kick returns.

Bellot left school his junior year to try out for the Detroit Lions. After a pulled hamstring forced him to leave football, he returned to Northeastern and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications.

However, Bellot said he had no interest in pursuing a career in communications. Although unsure of his future, he knew he had some untapped talents.

“I like wearing clothes that I like to wear, but I don’t like wearing the brand that everyone else has, so I wanted something different,” he said. “And then the meaning behind the clothing – there was no meaning behind any of the clothes. The only thing out there was the brand itself. If you see Polo, if you see Sean John, if you see Nautica – you can’t tell me what the meaning behind any one of their clothes are.”

After taking an interest in fashion, he enrolled in a New England fashion school to sharpen his skills. In 2001, Bellot founded Dolo Creations, a salon, and the following year opened his flagship Dolo Clothing Co. store, both in Quincy. He said his clothing line is appealing because it offers a message to consumers not found in other stores.

“When people first see my line they say what captures them is the slogans – the slogans and the positive connotation,” Bellot said.

After his unsuccessful foray in the NFL, Bellot said he resolved to never accept defeat.

Although many refer to his collection as urban clothing, he said that is just one aspect of it. Raised in Roxbury and later in the Quincy suburbs, Bellot has experienced both sides of the track.

“My clothing line is not an urban line, it’s not a suburban line, it’s a brand with a message,” he said. “So if you can relate with the message and the positivity behind my brand, then it’s for everyone.”

Bellot said he expects to open a store in Boston next year. More retail stores around the country may follow and his long-term goal is to gain an international market, he said.

With the success of his business, Bellot is now able to give back. This September will mark the second year of the Dolo Clothing Scholarship Fund – a scholarship given to three Boston-area high school students interested in furthering their education in entrepreneurship or a business-related field.

Bellot said he also wants to use his alma mater and offer co-op positions in the near future.

Students should keep their minds open when choosing a career path, Bellot said.

“Don’t think that you failed in school because you’re doing something different [than your major],” he said. “As long as you’re doing what you want to do in life and you’re happy

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