The Urban Dictionary defines washed as no longer being able to keep up with others who are more hip, experienced, or cooler than you; being past your prime.
Kind of harsh, right? That’s exactly what Josh Thomas, 36 thought when the term was thrown around one night while out with his friends who, like him, are all proud family men.
As a Regional Director for nine of Amazon’s faster than same day fulfillment centers across six states, he shared that he takes time with friends and family very seriously since he travels often. Realizing his friends were in the same boat, the round-robin chat prompted a larger conversation around what young Black fatherhood looks like.
“We’ve got to make it cool because it actually is,” he said. “We’re successful, we’re healthy —we’re driving S 550 Benzes with baby seats in the back. We’re actual superheroes here.”
Thus the idea for his clothing line was born.
WASHED Dads, an acronym for We Are Super Heroes Every Day, was launched in 2019. Thomas said the apparel company’s mission is to reimagine what great fathers look like in an authentic way.
“Part of why we decided to get into the apparel space is because it generates that conversation,” he shared. “When I’m wearing my Washed gear, every single time I’m complimented or asked where I got it from.”
He says that once he shares the premise behind the brand, people would buy something immediately, which speaks to the need the brand is filling. For generations, the narrative attached to Black fatherhood has been riddled with ugliness: namely absenteeism.
Terris Todd, Program Manager, Civil Society and the American Dialogue pointed out that in 1990, about 3.4 million US Black families were led by single mothers. By 2020, that number jumped to 4.25 million, according to a recent article published by Statista Research Department.
Thomas said his hope with the brand is to highlight the fathers that are present in their children’s lives and encourage others to do the same.
“It’s not just a #1 dad coffee mug,” he begins. “It’s like something that you will be proud to wear with some fresh stuff,” he said, pointing that his followers often pair the Washed shirts with exclusive sneakers.
“There’s never been anything wrong with being a family man, and we’re here to prove that.”