Fashion District owner concerned about violence near Center City Mall

Fashion District owner concerned about violence near Center City Mall

Recent violence in the fashion district has stalked shopkeepers, including one that has made the task of keeping kids out of trouble.

Sometimes hundreds of young people line up in a shop inside the fashion district for events and sometimes free shows. But the owner feels that the violence makes the atmosphere unsafe.

“You have to cool off the heat of the little bulls. You will all throw in the future,” he said in an emotional plea posted on Instagram.

The owner of motivational clothing brand HMBL, which stands for stay humble stay hungry.

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Isaiah Thomas said, “Do you see this HMBL store? Anything you’d do downtown they’d come for me.” He addressed the message to his followers on Labor Day weekend after incidents involving young men and shootings near the fashion district where his shop is located.

“Gun violence and negativity, that’s not cool,” he said. “I want them to know it’s more here.” Thomas spoke to Shawnette Wilson of FOX 29, after an incident on Tuesday in which police said an 18-year-old, now in custody, was leaving the mall and shot inside.

Thomas explained, “I’m just trying to tell a lot of kids, we all come from the same circumstances. I got locked up when I was 14 for a pistol charge and was able to overcome the obstacles and circumstances I faced.” But he worries that his brand, which boasts a positive message of nonviolence, and his journey to success won’t survive in the fashion territory because of violence.

“It kind of ‘has a negative impact on what kids do, because we have a lot of other young people who if they do something negative they will be looked at like me, even though I’m trying to do something positive in the city,’” Thomas added. With over 58,000 followers Thomas is a rock star with his brand and influence on children.

“A lot of parents feel safe bringing their kids to HMBL,” he said. “A lot of parents believe in my message to the kids.” Thomas started his candy-making business in high school, sold water outside the art museum, and then got into merchandise. He sold his trademark trunk of a car and opened four stores.

“I’d love to be here in Philadelphia, because that motivates kids and things like that, but if it’s not safe, we don’t know where we’re going,” he said. Thomas says he’s meeting with Fashion District officials this week to discuss concerns and possible solutions.

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