Wed | Sep 18, 2019

Brand DeNalli by Ali McNally

Published:Sunday | September 8, 2019 | 12:08 AMJessica Harrison - Gleaner Writer

Bringing something totally different to the Jamaican scene is usually greeted with much speculation but, meet 25-year-old creative, Ali McNally, who has a passion for the arts which led to him breaking barriers in the Jamaican fashion industry.

Raised in a single-parent household headed by his mom, McNally grew up just wanting to be a visual artist.

“I loved drawing, painting, and just using my hands in general,” he said. “I’m also very much into interior decorating. I guess you could call it my first love. Every year, I would get excited about Christmas, as that was the only time I was allowed to do whatever I wanted to spruce up my room. Of course, it came out looking like a circus, but as I got older, I noticed that I had a naturally keen eye for interior designs,” he said with a chuckle.

As the years went by, he assumed the role of becoming his mother’s handyman and helper, by getting his little sisters dressed each day for any occasion. He quickly fell in love with fashion and found great pleasure in the final looks, after pairing different pieces. Having spent two years studying fashion at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, it was cemented in his mind that perhaps fashion is his life’s calling.

Shop DeNalli

“The name DeNalli was selected for the brand based on the names of both my mother, affectionately called ‘D’ and my late father, ‘Nally’. In 2016, I idly made a fanny pack for myself and a friend of mine asked me to make one for them, and that’s how the brand really started. However, in April 2018, I was called in to do some bags for a carnival designer for road march,” McNally recounted. He soon ventured over into sling bags, but quickly realised that he was more passionate about bringing something new and cutting-edge to the local scene that could be added to an outfit for dimension. Thus, streetwear accessories came on the scene and that gave birth to the vibe of tactical streetwear.

“The harness inspiration stemmed from the category of tactical gear with the bag straps. I did my first harness for recording artiste, Jada Kingdom out of just straps and she became obsessed with it, and since then, I’ve done a few customised pieces for two of her music videos: Medicine and Banana. It just became a whole vibe for the brand,” he explained.

Despite challenges such as not being able to find certain materials to work with on the local market, McNally is jumping over hurdles. The top sellers are the yellow leg pouch, the harness, the red bulletproof vest, the red and black leg pouch, the utility pocket harness, chest rigs and fanny packs. The brand also offers custom services for all types of bags, harnesses, vests and tactical wear.

“I couldn’t possibly have done it, and continue to do it without the support of my mother and a close friend of mine. They jump in exactly when I need them to, and pick up the slack where I drop off. I’m truly grateful for them.”

To get your hands on these locally made gems to amp up your style, follow brand DeNalli on Instagram at @shopdenalli or call (876) 867-4465.

jessica.harrison@gleanerjm.com