Mayhem AVE (Apparel Virtually 4 Everyone) was born in 2000 by its co-founders Kwasi Abdullah (Komma Kwasi) and Aaron Jackson (Ajax) while attending Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington DC. At Duke is where they discovered they could put their art on a different canvas -clothes. But first they had to run into some Mayhem! While in 10th grade Komma, Ajax and a couple friends got arrested for spray painting, and were facing felony charges for vandalism on the Key Bridge. They narrowly escaped those charges but had to do a lot of community service. The lesson was learned, and instead of creating designs on buildings they would start designing on their clothes. More and more people got hip and started asking for custom items and they would tag Mayhem AVE on it. By 12th grade they had already done scenes in a few fashion shows at their school and across the city. The two artists also attended Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia and majored in Fashion Design. At VCU they learned the fundamentals of how to sew, drape, pattern making, knitting, and about the fashion industry. The pair always implemented, and somehow stamped Mayhem AVE on most of their projects in class. In Ajax’s senior year at VCU he was enrolled in a denim course where he had to design jeans to be featured in the school’s fashion show at the end of the year. His denim jeans won the Critics Critique and he was awarded $2,000. Around that same time, Komma Kwasi was in NYC interning at EckoUnltd., one of the clothing brands that influenced the two artists. He was also in NYC commissioning artwork projects, sewingand designing, all the while soaking in an abundance of knowledge and information at his internship. They both tried securing jobs in the fashion industry after college, but kept getting turned down.
The pair took a few breaks on and off through the years from their brand, and you could say that they wanted to give up, maybe even lost the passion? Life takes you through some rough roads and you might have to go through some ‘Mayhem’at times to get where you need to go. That spark has been reignited and after 20 years Mayhem AVE is now an official LLC!
As deteriorating conditions spread throughout the world today – economic crisis, natural disasters, pandemics, civil injustice, terrorism, war, etc., ‘Mayhem’ may be the appropriate term to summarize our current chaotic predicament. However, when you look up the definition of ‘Avenue,’ some of its connotations include “a way of access” or “a way of approaching a problem or making progress toward a desired path.” Moreover, the philosophy of Mayhem AVE is to inspire all who have been touched by turmoil and/or experienced life’s challenges (that would be virtually everyone) to choose the right way of access and approach in order to reach higher heights and to find a better place for oneself on life’s tumultuous streets. Take the AVE where there is always a better way!