Harlem Duru launched HELMH in 2018 and plans to establish the company as the premier destination for high quality African inspired hats, head-wraps, shirts, blankets and other accessories that are suitable for various occasions. As the son of Nigerian immigrants who was raised by a single mother in Cobb County outside of Atlanta, Duru recollects growing up with a lack of knowledge about his roots.
“I always wanted to know more about my culture and I was into African prints, but growing up it was like, if you don’t speak the language, you are not Nigerian,” he said. “I felt like I was missing a piece of me, so I started to research my culture and I was like, man we’re dope! So, starting HELMH was like me coming back to my culture, making it a part of my life and accepting who I am.”
Duru also acknowledged that many black people in America feel disconnected from their African roots as a result of not truly knowing their origins. He intends for HELMH to be a bridge that helps them to establish a tighter bond with the continent and its culture.
“I want black Americans to know that Africa is home no matter what,” he said. “The Asian community knows they can always go back. Mexicans can go back. I want black Americans to feel that same sense of pride.”
Still, Duru makes a point to emphasize that the brand is all-inclusive, because he believes that African style and culture is something that should be enjoyed by and exposed to everyone – it is inclusive, not exclusive.
New customers will notice that HELMH places a major focus on producing durable, quality products as well as providing diverse options for both women and men. Many companies in the industry that use African fabrics are typically very limited selections for men.
As the brand continues to gain traction, Duru is seeking to become what he refers to as the “Supreme of African clothing,” sitting at the helm of the industry in a niche market. After all, that is what inspired the name of the company. The “H” at the end was added for character and to mark the first letter of his name. 2019 is expected to be a major year of growth and expansion, with a presence at festivals and pop-ups events across the nation.
“HELMH is much more than a name,” Duru said. “It is a bold form of expression and identity.”
For more information on HELMH and to see the selection of products, visit www.helmh.com.