Dauan Jacari Shakes NYC with ‘Paradise’ Debut During Earthquake

In the aftermath of the 4.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled New York on April 5th, DJ Chappel emerged with a bold claim: his inaugural collection, “Paradise,” was the seismic force behind the event. This debut spectacle offered a tantalizing glimpse into a world where sartorial elegance meets seismic energy. Against a backdrop of an electrifying playlist spanning Playboi Carti to Brazilian house beats, models sauntered down the runway, each imbuing the show with their unique flair – from flashing gold grills to audacious backward strides. Yet, it was the 20-piece collection itself that stole the spotlight, unveiling avant-garde silhouettes tailored to embrace and empower all, particularly those embracing a more masculine aesthetic.

Ketia Jeune: When you felt the earthquake  did you think you would have to cancel the show? 

DJ Chappel: We had just kind of all set up our spot at the center and I was in the middle of hand sewing some buttons along with the rest of the styling team. The models were walking around and there were 25 men so honestly, I looked over and I saw the six foot men walking around and thought it’s just them, you know what I mean? And then somebody was like, “My god. Did you feel the earthquake?” and I realized that there was really an earthquake in New York and instantly I was like that was because of us! I don’t remember what song it is, but I will send it to you.  if I can find it real quick. But if I look for an i’ll get distracted, but it’s like “pull up, we makin it shake, (uh-huh), pull up we makin it shake, (uh-huh)” and I have been singing that song for the past 4 months.

Song: DO IT AGAIN by Cochise

I knew that it was literally because of us I’m from the East Village. So when we were when we were picking locations for the show, there were places in Brooklyn but I chose where I grew up. The earthquake was like the earth responding to us. So Important! 

Ketia Jeune: Why did you name the collection Paradise? 

DJ Chappel:  It is the perfect suitcase for a man to go on vacation. The garments in said suitcase is a full collection with an outfit suitable for every occasion whether it is  a business meeting, a night on the town, brunch or even a day at the beach. The goal was to create new silhouettes of what is considered men’s basic. 

The collection imagines the “African American Paradise” – a utopian vision where individuals seamlessly navigate their lives, chasing their dream careers while enjoying the freedom to express themselves through fashion. Whether working remotely from the comfort of home, jet-setting for business abroad, or thriving in their own companies, our pieces empower wearers to exude confidence and style in any scenario and to transcend these worlds.

Ketia Jeune: Is the idea here to take a vacation from work? 

DJ Chappel: This show is essentially the idea of work vacation and paradise is essentially a feeling of the perfect and ideal World that we created for ourselves.  I feel like even right now we’re in Paradise,  being able to work  from the comfort of our home, do jobs that actually fulfill us. You know what I mean? It’s beautiful outside. I’m sure the both of us will probably go outside afterwards and just continue to be in this idealistic world. So I feel like the clothes also had to feel that way. The garments weren’t made with any materials that are restricting.

Ketia Jeune: Why L.E.S? 

DJ Chappel: Yeah, so I was born in Brooklyn and then my mom instantly moved to the Lower East Side. So all my memories are from being in Manhattan and specifically the downtown area, but then I remember early on in my life, I would go to church with my family in Brooklyn and I just remember feeling different in Brooklyn than I would feel in the L.E.S. I think it was just more me being aware that where the L.E.S. is very diverse and anything can happen, and in Brooklyn, I love being in Brooklyn. I feel like it does have a major influence on my work as well. But, I do feel like the demographic and expectations are specific. 

Ketia Jeune: Social politics? 

DJ Chappel: Yes, so as much as it is beautiful being in neighborhoods that are predominantly black people. I feel like I do find comfort in neighborhoods where there is diversity. I feel like I might not know much about each of those cultures but feel like being around them definitely influenced my design process. I went to school in midtown so it felt like a musical everyday, waking up at 8 o’clock in the morning to go to 42nd street and walk through Times Square to get to class, it was very theatrical all the time. 

Ketia Jeune: As soon as I walked in,  I saw the little doors to a southern looking house. A violinist playing in the corner. It felt  like I went to the countryside and was no longer in New York.. tell me a little bit about the set design? 

DJ Chappel: Devin Morris did the doors. He’s a friend and artist here in NYC. He just did the studio museum residency. We spoke for a while about this idea of mobile paradise and this idea of  trying to find ways to bring elements of home outside with you. That is also why some of the models were carrying picture frames, things that would make them feel nostalgic and remind them of home. Devins uses found objects in his work so he already had a collection of doors. The doors offered the idea of new beginnings and almost like opening new doors for ourselves, new opportunities. 

As for the violinist, Sean Bennett came to the casting and he had his violin on him and we were just like can you play violin? You know what I mean? And it just happened so naturally and it made so much sense to have him also do that for the show. And truly, I haven’t been to many fashion shows before but I do know that six o’clock normally means eight o’clock, you know what I mean? So I feel like I wanted to find ways that the audience members could be slowly transported and how we could activate the space into the show. 

Ketia Jeune: The playlist kept us all at the edge of our seats. It was such a vibe. Why did you decide to have such a lively playlist? 

DJ Chappel: Kerry Burnett is a DJ and  producer out here in New York. Honestly, she’s so fab any time I get to catch her sets. I’m just like always dancing and I feel like I even have seen her helping people when they’re on cdjs and it’s not doing what they wanted it to do. So, I just felt like we were really able to trust her and it was really important for us to get everybody who we felt were the best in their field. 

I wanted everybody to feel that it was their own project. Not that they were doing something for me and it quickly turned into that everybody felt that it was their own fashion show. It was their time to present. 

Ketia Jeune: Why did you allow each model to have a distinctive walk? Tell me about the casting process? 

DJ Chappel: Jose Malave founder of JSMLV did the casting and he did an amazing job at finding men that were in a similar space as we were. We were doing some like BTS videos backstage and one of the models said “the energy here is really nice. It felt like we were all meant to be here. We’re all hungry and we’re all here for the same thing right now.” I thought that was really amazing because it was really important that people didn’t walk shows before I think it was also important that they weren’t all necessarily the typical model in terms of height, age, etc  because  we were really trying to push menswear, but it was also highlighting different types of men and their expressions.  

Ketia Jeune: Having each model walk in a way that was true to them was so fab to watch!

DJ Chappel: Yeah, we really encouraged true self expression, we all express ourselves in such different ways even if we identify as men or present ourselves to be more masculine than feminine. Even the gay men that walk the show,  it was nice for them to be able to present themselves how they prefer to present themselves because a lot of the times when they get booked for jobs, they have to walk a particular sort of way or they are the only “gay” men in the show. 


Ketia Jeune: I’ve been following the brand since it was called  Duality Junkie. Tell me about the evolution to  now Dauan Jacari? 

DJ Chappel: All of these names: Duality Junkie, Designer Jargon, Dick Jockey, Dauan Jacari, etc are all different breakdowns of DJ. Early on they felt like these were the multiple personalities that I was able to find for myself. The Duality Junkie was a little bit more on the performance art side,  and I feel like Dauan Jacari is more in love with fashion. For example, with Duality Junkie, I had limited resources and knowledge but had the urge to create so I would walk around the city to find materials, whether from the dollar store, beauty supply, etc. whatever I could get my hands on and go in the house make something for a few hours and then share it online. It was kind of very instant and not as intentional. I was building my taste. 

Two years ago, I lived in Providence Rhode Island where the creative director Ryan Cardoso of the brand  is from and I feel like that had a major impact on my design process. I felt like I had more time to just sit back and focus on just doing production for the boxer skirts and creating new things, but not having to share them so much. When I created the Bobo bags, people saw them a year after I actually made them and I feel like I was able to just take a second and just really develop my work you know what I mean and not feel pressured to perform all the time.

Ketia Jeune: I know performance is a huge part of your work, did you style each model in a particular garment based on the way they wanted to express themselves? 

DJ Chappel: We wanted people to feel refreshed and kind of reborn. We definitely found the best garment for each model that fit their look and persona. The stylist in me never wants the person to feel uncomfortable. As we are getting the models dressed, I always ask, how do you feel and what are their opinions of the look? I mean nothing totally is gonna change what I put them in, but its good to have that dialogue. 

Ketia Jeune: Right.

DJ Chappel: When I was in school for dance at Point Park, I was working at a costume shop and I felt like being in that studio, seeing how they would break down the character to figure out the time era and make clothes while tailoring it to work for performance really inspired me.  I started to make connections with certain garments and materials with characters I would see everyday.  Like the boxer skirt, the idea of men who sag their pants and connecting it to a petticoat from the Victorian era. 

Ketia Jeune: Ugh, I love the boxer skirt,  the Bobo Bag! And after seeing the collection, I feel like you are creating new silhouettes within menswear which we have not seen in a while. 

DJ Chappel: I kind of regret it a little bit because I feel like now there are men wearing skirts that don’t necessarily understand how much of a statement it is to do that freely especially as a gay man. Now it’s just trendy. But, I took it a step further, we were big on creating classic garments sort of like an elevated uniform for men. I really did want to focus on making garments that were tailored specifically for men and that also like you said, it’s like a masc presenting man who may have a softer side. 

Ketia Jeune: Yes, this one was really for the boys! 

DJ Chappel: Yes, just making identifiable men’s garments that would work for anyone. And  so we went from the boxer skirt to suits. Dropping the waist line that we often see in garments for women but I found the line in menswear as well when men sag their pants. We have versatile garments that start fully covered, but you can undo the snaps and tie around your neck like a halter and it’s a whole different look. 

Ketia Jeune: It was truly an amazing show! Thank you so much for sharing your art with us. 

DJ Chappel: Welcome to Paradise!

SHOW – Crew Credits

Designer : DJ Chappel @designer.jargon

Creative Director : Ryan Cardoso @ryanac

Creative producer: Kimberly Goedhart @kimberlygoedhart

Production: Ojeras

Stylist: Shirla Auguste @saauguste

Stylist: Charles Barbary @charles.barbary

Styling Assistant: Hilton Palmer @hiltonpalmer

Casting: Jose Malavo @jsmlv.practice

Casting Assistant: Priscilla @priscillatsagli

Casting Assistant: Jataiya Joyce @taiyajoyce

Set: Devin N. Morris @devinnmorris

PR: Radical PR

Runway Mix: Kerry Burnett @kerryburnettworld

Photographer (lookbook): Ben Taylor @benjamintayl0r

Photographer (runway): Quacey Bill @streetstylebyquay

Production Coordinator: Shawnee Escoffery @igotyoustuck

Production Assistant: Drew Cwiek @yungrafsimmons

Digital Manager: Jobanny Cabrera @jobannymusic

Glam Consultant:Yolibel Gonzalez @yolismemory

Lead Hair: Chika Nishiyama @chika_nishiyama

Hair asst: Aya Yamashita @aya_._ymst

Hair asst:Takayuki Umeda @um_takayuki

Hair asst:Kamata Akihiro 

Hair asst:ubu @ububee8

Lead Make up: Tomoyou Pattou @tomoyomakeup

Make up asst: Shoko Kodama @shoko_kodama_

Make up asst:Yuka Ito @yukaito_mua

Make up asst:Seiya Ibuchi @seiya_makeup

Nails: 10 piece nails @10piecenails

Serena Kim @serenadidem, Joelle Rodriguez , @crownjewelnails, Simon Nguyen, 

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