by John Russel Jones

Tones of Melanin is a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) focused clothing company that speaks to the HBCU culture through philanthropic endeavors, one-of-a-kind designs, and long-lasting quality. The brand is currently available in over 18 HBCU Follett Bookstores across the country and is the only Black and Women-Owned, HBCU brand created by an HBCU graduate that is sold at Fanatics, Belk Stores, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Tones of Melanin’s mission is to provide job possibilities for HBCU students and alumni. The entire team has either attended or graduated from an HBCU. To date, Tones of Melanin has given over $50,000 to HBCU educational endeavors. 

Ashley Jones’s goal when creating Tones of Melanin was to push for diversity representation in the fashion industry, particularly when it comes to HBCU clothing and branding. All designs are trendy and innovative, with long-lasting product quality. Tones of Melanin’s goal is to keep infiltrating a collegiate fashion market that concentrates on much larger institutions, such as Duke, Harvard, Yale, and others, bringing representation to markets that don’t generally recognize HBCUs. Jones’s recurring objective is for Tones of Melanin to be the home of all HBCU fashion, collegiate relationships through university athletics, and individual college pursuits, thanks to her continuing partnerships with not only retailers but also organizations with HBCUs such as the Virginia State University band.

Jones, the brand’s creative director and CEO, is a graduate of Norfolk State University, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She personally develops all of Tones of Melanin designs, printing, production, and distribution.