Joseph School graduate Darnell Williams recently fulfilled a dream both of his own and of Winston’s with the Nov. 18 opening of David Samuel, a new high-end clothing store at the Forest Park Mall.
“It’s always been a passion and vision of our pastor and his wife to have a clothing store in the mall,” said Williams, who previously managed Kelly’s Shoes in Oak Park.
Williams said the store provides an opportunity for local residents to purchase anything from designer weekend wear to business suits to shoes and handbags without having to venture to Michigan Avenue or Oak Brook. The store also features a special occasion department including tuxedo rental.
The store’s merchandise, which Williams said is divided into three price categories, is influenced by Winston’s emphasis on modesty. “The whole fashion industry is driven by sex and a kind of over-the-top, show-some-skin kind of lifestyle. We really wanted to show people they can be just as stylish, just as current as anyone else on the block but not have to expose themselves,” Williams said.
In addition to several nationally known designers, he said, the store carries merchandise by upstart designers including Chicagoan Kent Nielson.
Winston said that, like all the businesses he hopes to bring to the mall, David Samuel is intended to develop an interest among customers in the Living Word congregation.
“All of this is pointing to getting a person what we call ‘churched,'” he said.
“What we’re doing with David Samuel is lifting people’s self esteem through dress. When you take people away from broken environments and take them into environments that are nice, you change their way of thinking,” he said.
The store, which celebrated its grand opening by hosting a fashion show, complete with catwalk, inside the Living Word chapel, is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tues. through Thurs., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.