You could say Darius “PaPaRooster” Danner is man who wears many hats, but that would be an understatement.

Throughout the week, he’s an industrial engineering major at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he’s expected to graduate in May. On weekends, he’s an award-winning disc jockey. On any other day, he’s selling hats. And lots of them.

The Tuscaloosa native is the brains behind “P.A.P.A. Clothing”, a diverse ensemble comprised of dad hats, windbreakers, t-shirts, and possibly socks in the Fall. His multi-colored apparel is easily recognizable for its signature feathered “P” logo.

P.A.P.A., which stands for Pushing Ancestors’ Purposes Afar, is more than a brand. It’s a message. As his website states, the clothing line was created to “encourage the creation of formation for new beginnings based on the past.” Despite being an entrepreneur, selling his line was never about the money.

“…My biggest motto for the clothing line is that I care less about the purchase, it’s more about the purpose,” Danner said in phone interview. “If I can at least touch somebody and let them know what I’m doing, I actually made my goal that day. It’s not about the money. I’m more concerned with fashion, clothes and actually touching someone to go out and do the same things people have done for me.”

Danner said he owes his success to longtime mentor Jeremy Donald, who he met while participating at ABC, an after-school mentoring program. Donald, a then college student, was only required dedicate ten hours a week, but always went the extra mile. Being the youngest sibling in his family, he knew the importance of having an older role model to look up to.

When budgets cuts axed the bonding initiative, Danner asked if he would continue the mentorship. Of course, he acquiesced. Donald went on to coach him in Football and Baseball. As a collaborative effort, the two also formed a swimming team, which earned them a trip to the White House with 2008 Olympic Gold medalist Cullen Jones.

“He is a great individual,” said the Co-owner of Band of Brothers Brewing Co. “He puts lot of persistence in whatever he puts his mind to. I just saw that me being there kind of encouraged him, or put a little nutrient in the soil to help it grow.”

Launched in April 2013, P.A.P.A. Clothing began with a mere 24 shirts and tank tops combined. As a new entrepreneur trying to build his brand, it took Danner about three months to clear his initial inventory because his peers didn’t take his new venture seriously. They saw the line as a phase, not a growing brand. It left a lot of room for self-doubt, but also self-improvement.



“With anything you do, as far as taking a test or doing some homework, or building something, you’re always going to have self-doubt in yourself but I had that initial drive in myself to go and do it,” Danner said.

Starting with winter gear, Danner slowly added more products to his arsenal, eventually opting for the popular dad hat in 2016. Nowadays, the clothing sells like hots cakes, with purchases being made nationwide and overseas.

Ultimately, Danner said his goal is to have P.A.P.A products in every household, but he understands that his brand isn’t for everyone. Selects hats are available at the Shoe Clinic in Birmingham, but most of his sells are made online or in person. For the entrepreneur, all clients aren’t the best clients. If they don’t understand the message behind the gear, Danner said it’s a wasted purchase.

“A lot of times, I get people that say ‘I’ll buy to support’ and I really don’t want that,” the 25-year-old explained. “I’ve turned someone down that wanted to buy out of support, because I don’t want them to sit there and have the clothing item sitting in their closet, collecting dust. I want them to actually wear it.”

As a soon-to-be graduate, Danner said he wouldn’t be where he is without the help of others, especially that of his mentor, so he plans on giving back anyway that he can.

On March 9, Danner will award a student from his alma mater, Collins Riverside Middle School a $250 scholarship to go toward books and other education-related needs. Applicants were tasked with writing an essay about who inspired them.

“The scholarship is to show the importance of giving back just as Jeremy gave back to me,” Danner said. “I just want to touch someone’s heart by doing what is right.”



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