We had the good fortune of connecting with Derrel Hall and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Derrel, what principle do you value most?
Acceptance is an underrated practice. We’ve heard it a million times: love always wins. But love is scientifically broken down to a biological chemical with the mission to protect and further the survival of the human genome. Spiritually, it saves and enhances lives. Both perspectives point to the same goal: improving life. However, acceptance is a crucial component in love. Acceptance means reviewing failures, both career and romantic, to better oneself. Acceptance is the courage to acknowledge the horrifying moment I asked a friend if he had shaved his head when he was actually balding. Acceptance is knowing that everyone has dirt in their backstory that can be used to soil their growth. I started Softie Mag after accepting all parts of myself, even the soft ones. Never having been what society deems as manly, I discovered strength in embodying masculine and feminine characteristics. The result is loving myself and understanding the difference between self-care and self-love. Softie Mag artwork and products are my way of encouraging self-acceptance and love in others.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Softie Mag is something that I have been brewing on for years. I’ve always been a creative. I graduated with a fashion merchandising degree from the University of North Texas. I moved to Dallas and landed a job for a year at a luxury boutique where I styled people of many walks of life. Surrounded by clothing that blurs the line between art and fashion, I felt inspiration to continue working towards my goal of creating my own apparel. However, COVID arrived. Turning something beautiful out of a tragic moment, after being laid off due to the pandemic, I began expressing myself again through illustration. In doing so, I developed a style that expresses my true self. My use of pastels, round shapes, and color blocking all reference the Softie mission to spread self-acceptance and soften masculine expression. All of this will translate into the apparel and other products I am working on. As far as the things I’m most proud of: I sell prints that are printed at MakeShift Photography in Deep Ellum on local gallery grade sustainable paper. I’m excited about dropping apparel in the future as well. On the other side, there are challenges. I find myself learning how to separate my personal feelings from my business. It’s an ongoing progress to find consistency and structure for releasing content for the brand. And when setbacks occur, I’m learning to keep my feelings at bay and simply search for an alternate route for my goals. A big part of this is holding myself accountable to stay inspired. I am moved by fashion, music, anime, sexuality, and new experiences. Regardless, it’s a big win for me to overcome fear and release Softie artwork during a pandemic. The biggest challenge is maintaining this relationship with myself. I easily get in my own way. As in any relationship, there are ups and downs. Some days I’m teetering on mania with productivity. Other days, I’m bingeing an entire series of anime that I’ve already seen. Twice. But by becoming close to myself, I’ve found my creative voice. And what I have to say is this: there is a quiet strength in vulnerability and honesty. Softer characteristics are not weakness. The world is better off because we have HSPs, empaths, and emotional people. So keep it Softie!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
While we are all not traveling as freely as we’d like to this year, I feel it is best to limit my list to a few of my favorite food spots to support during these times. However, I’d love to share a full post about all of my favorite local spots to visit after the pandemic!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, I’d love to shoutout Dallas locals, Taylor Springett and Nash Bayoud of Turning Tides. Their designs, thoughtfully curated products and focus on sustainability are aspirational! Please check them out! They did a collaboration with Softie Mag for custom frames and prints that are locally sourced and sustainable. Website: www.turningtidesusa.com Instagram: @turningtidesusa I love to support Dallas-based artist Molly Margaret Sydnor! Seeing her dedication to her art and designs inspires me every day. Instagram: @mollymargaretdesigner
Personal Image: Lou Kier Edit: Derrel Hall