Winston-Salem native’s clothing line gaining traction

Quentin Jackson (right), founder and owner of Q Jackson Apparel Company.

Winston-Salem native’s clothing line gaining traction
July 07
11:38 2021

In 2016 Winston-Salem native Quentin Jackson set out on a journey to create his own clothing line. Although the journey hasn’t been easy, today Q Jackson Apparel Company (QJAC) is a licensed apparel provider with partnerships with several HBCUs, and he says that it’s just the beginning. 

Fresh out of high school, Jackson attended Norfolk State University (NSU) where he majored in graphic design. He only stayed at NSU for a year; but Jackson said that’s where he found the motivation to become an entrepreneur. 

“After my first year I had to come home because I did absolutely nothing,” Jackson laughed. “But it also broadened my horizons and introduced me to a lot of things. I always say Norfolk State was the first time I saw young Black kids who wanted to really be something and actually doing the work.”

After leaving NSU, Jackson spent some time at WSSU where he majored in art, before he eventually decided to follow his dream.

When he first launched his apparel company, Jackson sold merchandise that featured his artwork, but it wasn’t long before he decided to focus on HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). “The art work only lasted about six months. It didn’t last long because I immediately saw the need for HBCU apparel,” Jackson said. 

“At that point, I left Winston-Salem State because I believed it had served its purpose for me and I’m happy I did.”

Although he decided to leave WSSU, Jackson said he continued to learn. He had to learn how to get licensed, where to get the apparel, where to get labels from and a host of other things before he could officially launch. After working through that, Jackson officially launched 105 Clothing, to represent the 105 HBCUs across the country at the time. But when he tried to trademark the name, he faced his first real obstacle. Levi Jeans submitted paperwork to Jackson saying if the trademark was approved, they would file for copyright infringement. Levi argued that the name caused issues with their Levi 501 brand of jeans. 

Jackson said initially he was going to fight for the name but his lawyers advised him to change the name, and he decided to go with 105 HBCU. “My lawyer explained that Levi has the money to keep the case going and I could end up not having a name,” Jackson explained. He said after working under the moniker 105 HBCU for a while, he decided to go with QJAC because he didn’t just want to limit the brand to HBCUs.

“I changed from 105 HBCU because I felt like it limited me,” he said. 

Since changing the name, Jackson said things have really taken off. Q Jackson Apparel Company now has trademark partnerships with WSSU, NSU, N.C. A&T, N.C. Central University, Johnson C. Smith University, Clark Atlanta and he is currently working on partnerships with Elon and Wake Forest. Because QJAC is a collegiate licensed brand, royalties from sales go back to the schools.

Other popular items on the website include “The Winston Tee,” which has a large “WS” in the center of the shirt and names of well-known places and people inside the letters and the QJAC Signature shirts and hats. 

Jackson said he is always trying to find ways to improve the brand. He said 10 years from now QJAC will be home to the largest manufacturing facility on the East Coast and have the ability to give thousands of people jobs. He said his goal is to be able to cut out the middleman and make his own hats, shirts and other apparel.

“I’m not working as fast as I would like to, but each brick is being laid,” Jackson said. “I’m going to compete and I’m going up there with Adidas, Nike … I’m going with the big boys.”

For more information on Q Jackson Apparel Company visit or visit “Q. Jackson Apparel Company LLC” on Facebook. 

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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