On The SCENE With Ina Ruxandra Bochian
DIVINE APPOINTMENT: CONNECTING WITH FASHION DESIGNER DARRYL BORDENAVE THROUGH DEVON FRANKLIN’S LIVE
On Tuesday, April 21st, during this ongoing quarantine, I tuned in to DeVon Franklin’s live Instagram.
DeVon Franklin is a Hollywood producer, best-selling author, renowned preacher and motivational speaker. His latest movie, Breakthrough, was nominated for an Academy Award and a Critics Choice Award for the song, “I’m Standing with You” written by Diane Warren and performed by Chrissy Metz.
In a time such as this, if you close your eyes for a few minutes and put on that song, you can almost feel a majestic presence “standing with you.” Even if you don’t have faith or struggle with religion, there’s something significant about our need for “togetherness.” Now, more than ever, people turn to online communities, Zoom group therapies, virtual churches, and live prayer to feed their soul. This pandemic has revealed a longing to stand next to someone, literally or figuratively.
Prior to tuning in, my heart was heavy. Looking around my workspace, in my condo, I felt accomplished because I had been up since 6 am working on my philanthropy project. However, a heavy sorrow lingered. I wondered when my house would feel full, when my partner and I would have our wedding, when I’d hear the laughter of a child. Quarantine, among other uncontrollable circumstances, kept us 2028 miles between us geographically speaking. I counted the miles and the days apart, but this only brought me anguish. A message of hope, accompanied with gratitude, is what DeVon Franklin gifts the world during this uncertain time.
On Tuesday nights, live on Instagram, DeVon hosts live prayer, where he brings in viewers to share their prayer requests, or praises for answered prayers. When Darryl Bordenave came on, the first thing I noticed was his hospital gear. “Are you a doctor?” DeVon asked.
“I’m a procedure support technician (who assists during surgery),” Darryl replied. He went on to share his first hand experience as a healthcare worker on the front lines and encouraged people to “please stay home.”
He went on to say, “Take this time to get to know who you are, pray, learn yourself, learn your spouse… but just don’t go out unless you have to because it’s really serious… [Corvid-19] is killing us and affecting our communities.” That resonated with me because my family members work on the front lines as nurses, doctors and caretakers.
When DeVon asked Darryl what his prayer request was, I appreciated his genuine response. Darryl mentioned he is a fashion designer, but still working his day job because he wants to be financially prepared for his wife, although he’s not married yet. He asked for God’s clarity about what to do with his fashion line to progress in his career. “As a man,” Darryl said, “I want to be all the way right for my wife.” The request he made seemed like a problem he wanted urgently resolved because he seemed to have already thought of its gravity as though he already had his wife in mind. To witness this dialogue was beautiful. The conversation between Darryl and DeVon exemplifies that men still desire to work hard to build a family and create a legacy.
Darryl wanted clarity about his future life and career so that he could provide. In response, DeVon said, “The thing your wife needs is not money…. The thing your wife needs is you working on becoming the best YOU you can be… God may have the best woman for you that will help you build it.”
DeVon went on to say, “If you focus on building your fashion line and making a certain amount of money and that’s your focus… there will be some women that will be attracted to what you built, but they won’t be attracted to you. You want to make sure that you, as a man, know that you are enough.”
With all the sound advice DeVon shared, Darryl still had his doubts about “the world we live in,” “social media,” and certain women who already expect men to be millionaires and at a certain level of success in their careers. Then, he agreed with DeVon saying that he and his friend Brandon both “want women who we can give something to and they multiply it.” As a woman, I really loved that part because it shows confidence that women have talents and gifts to be considered someone to build a life with, not just someone to look after.
DeVon brought the conversation back to the idea that Darryl is already successful if he is living a life of purpose and integrity. “You are successful right now. You’re at work. You’re responsible, you have a vision, you’re creative, you’re not lazy, you’re not resting… you have a plan.” Once again DeVon emphasized, “You are a success.” When DeVon said this, he seemed so passionate about speaking truth over Darryl’s life. These affirmations were full of light and hope, a source of encouragement for all watching.
After seeing this exchange (primarily because of Darryl’s humility and DeVon’s enthusiasm), I decided to reach out to Darryl and put him in contact with some people I know who may want to collaborate with him in the future. I told him about Bricklayers, the Facebook community started by Jaymie Jordan, and Eric Thomas’s free Facebook “Breathe” community. Then, I told him about the volunteer project some of us are collaborating on to help HFC, Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia non for profit movement. I asked Darryl if he wants to get involved and he put me in touch with his brand manager, Brandon Hicks, so that we can collaborate.
As a result of the connection made through Devon Franklin’s Live Instagram prayer, we are all working on a new project, part of our ongoing campaign for Creatives Counter Corona for Alzheimer’s and Dementia to benefit HFC. Darryl will be providing some apparel from his line “Ruckage,” for a raffle. The raffle is part of a 21 Day Transformation Challenge called “Will To Fight Alzheimer’s and Dementia,” led by Willie Sanders, a motivational speaker who is also an apparel designer of a line called “Willsdom,” Elvis Matos, a US Army vet, personal trainer and fashion designer. Elvis will be donating items from his “Peace & Love,” brand. As part of one of the raffle packs, I will include a Greatness Is Upon You Journal by Eric Thomas and Produced by Faith, a book by DeVon Franklin, along with a tote by Nordstrom and other exciting goodies.
This 21 day transformation is a MIND, BODY, SOUL, challenge anyone who wants to donate $5 to HFC can join.
For more updates, to sign up and donate check Instagram account:
The link to donate is:
To get to know Darryl a little more, we had a short interview. Here’s what he had to say:
Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
I’m originally from New Orleans. However, I spent part of my childhood in Kansas City Kansas, Birmingham Alabama, Kansas City Missouri, and Atlanta, GA where I now reside.”
When did you first decide to be a fashion designer?
I decided to become a fashion designer at the age of 10 after being inspired by brands such as FUBU, Sean John, Ice Berg, DaDa, Eneyce and Tommy Hilfiger.
How did you come up with the name for your brand?
As early as the age of 10, I was drawing clothes in the program paint on my grandmothers Compaq computer. I remember thinking to myself.. “I need a name for my clothing company.” I began to pray and ask God to help me come up with one. I then started saying popular names of brands at that time such as Sean John, Phat Pharm, Tommy Hilfiger and FUBU. All of a sudden “RUCKAGE” came out of my mouth. I kept repeating it out loud and I liked it! So every since the age of 10 I had the name of my brand.
Who is your biggest personal inspiration (like from your family or friends)?
My biggest personal inspirations are: Bishop Dale C Bronner, my pastor, Devon Franklin, a virtual mentor, Tyler Perry and Steve Harvey. I don’t have just one because there are many sides of me. So, I take teachings and lessons from each one of these.
Who inspires you in fashion?
My biggest inspiration in fashion is Ralph Lauren. We have so much in common even though our background and design styles are different. I admire his business savviness, attention to detail and his involvement with every aspect of his brand. I also admire Daymond John. I like him because we grew up similarly. His brand was one of the first I connected with as a child. He showed me that no matter your geographical location or ethnicity, you can make it in fashion. I admire him for his business smarts as well.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever worked with?
Most recently it would be R&B singer Ginuwine. I didn’t expect him to be so lively, personable and fun! He had a great attitude and spirit.
What’s the best opportunity you’ve ever had so far?
The best opportunity I have had thus far would be to work on the cover of Ebony Magazine issue with the cast members from Oprah’s Show Queen Sugar. The production and the Ebony Magazine team was awesome. I worked as a Wardrobe assistant on the cover.
Where do you see yourself in 2030?
In 2030 I see myself married with children also with the Ruckage Design Studios open and fully operating with my design staff. My fashion house will be fully functional creating full range fashion apparel. I will be one of the Top fashion designers in the world and my brand will be known worldwide for great quality fashion, perfumes, shoes, accessories and beauty products. My company will be a full range fashion house.
If you could give the world something, as far as a positive message or service to the world, what would it be? How are you actively pursuing this?
It would be to follow God and His plans for your life because just doing those things alone would be a blessing and a gift. I feel that the world would be a better place if everyone connected with their spirit and the Creator on their tasks while being on earth.
How long have you been following Devon Franklin and what made you get on the prayer IG that night we connected?
I have been following him since 2011 when his first book “Produced By Faith” was released. For almost 10 years, he has been a virtual mentor of mine. I got on that night not knowing it was a prayer call. I just saw that he was live and hopped on. I strongly believe it was God that brought us together. I was at work helping fight against Covid-19, and I was on my lunch break. I saw that he was speaking to people, but when I was about to log off something told me to send a request…To my surprise he answered! From then on, I just poured my heart out for prayer. Also working in healthcare, I felt at ease when he prayed for my co-workers and I during this time. Covid-19 is affecting a lot of people in and out of the hospitals. We have to keep our spirits high and allow our positive energy to be contagious to the world. Devon’s prayer helped us cope with uncertainty that night.
As someone who used to dream about being a fashion designer myself, I felt blessed that something in my Spirit told me to reach out to Darryl. I didn’t really know how to help him besides telling him about my project, but I knew someone in Bricklayers could probably help take his marketing to the next level. Furthermore, I didn’t expect him to agree to collaborate on the HFC project because it usually takes me about 100 calls, DM’s, and emails before I get ONE person to agree. Some people say they want to help, but then they complain that there are not enough celebrities involved directly and that this project is beneath them. It’s like saying, “What do you have to bring to the table?” Little do some realize that the project, built on years of persistence is “the table.”
Oftentimes, I feel like a nobody attempting such a lofty project, but people like Darryl and his Brand Manager Brandon, give me the strength I need to make one more call, write one more email, knock on one more door, ask for $5 more dollars. Together we are bringing light to Alzheimer’s and Dementia and we do it for caretakers like Rachel Eisenhower, Dondi Scumaci, Jacquelyn Joyce Revere, and others who have reached out to thank us.
The people behind the scenes who have helped me build this volunteer movement in Chicago from the ground up count just as much as those I’ve shared red carpets with. There are no little people, just little hearts. Like Darryl, I get discouraged at times, but replaying DeVon’s words to this young designer, I can accept that I am already enough and I stand by all who may have felt insignificant.
To anyone seeking faith to build a dream, find encouragement in these words. You are enough. Your voice isn’t too small. You just have to shout a little louder and make more “ruckage.” Combine the sound of “rumble” and “wreckage.” Find your voice in the noise of destruction by breaking all chains and walls of anyone who boxes you in. Destroy old perceptions and build your own pathway to success.