Born in Cameroon, Daniel Mofor has made quite the impression on the fashion industry since moving to the U.S roughly twenty years ago. CEO and founder of Don Morphy, a custom and ready-to-wear menswear label, Mofor has quickly emerged as one of the most premier fashion designers around.
Upon arriving in the U.S, Mofor worked as a security analyst at Walmart for a decade before deciding to leave to pursue a full-time career in fashion.
"Fashion is something I've always been passionate about," Mofor said in an in-person interview with NewsBreak. "Back home in Cameroon, I always wanted to be the best dressed..at every event. So fashion is something that I loved all of my life."
Mofor went on to explain how moving to the U.S and away from his parents' limited scope of career goals afforded him the opportunity to express his authentic self.
"Our [Cameroon natives] parents are different than those in the states," Mofor said. "Here (in the U.S), if a child wakes up and says 'I want to be a rapper' or 'I want to be a football player' their parents encourage them."
This unconditional form of encouragement was foreign to Mofor and was not the common train of thought amongst those in his native country.
"In Cameroon, your parents tell you that you have to go to school to become a doctor or engineer," Mofor said. "If I told my dad I wanted to be a fashion designer he would think I'm crazy. So there was a lot of hidden talent that I was forced to suppress."
After getting a degree in computer engineering and working as a security analyst at Walmart for ten years, Mofor decided he would no longer censor his gifts and would instead work towards making his dreams of being a fashion designer a reality.
Just three years after leaving his position at Walmart, Mofor was awarded the prestigious "Rising Star" award in menswear on January 24, 2019, by Fashion Group International ("FGI") at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Mofor was presented the award by former Rising Star menswear winner Kerby Jean-Raymond, in a venue filled with the top fashion designers, editors, and influencers.
Don Morphy's win marked the first time that a Dallas-based label won the Rising Star Award in the menswear category at the annual awards show.
"Tommy Hilfiger said earlier to always follow your passion and dreams," Mofor said in his acceptance speech. "Almost two years ago on January 31, 2017, I was a full-time computer engineer at Walmart – so I quit my job to focus on this full-time."
The FGI Rising Star awards are an annual event celebrating the "extraordinary accomplishments of emerging talents whose creativity and vision" are realized in the categories of accessories, beauty/fragrance entrepreneur, fine jewelry, home furnishings/product innovation, menswear, retail, and womenswear.
In Mofor, there is perhaps no finer example of a visionary fueled by creativity.
"It is a great honor and a dream come true to win the Rising Star Award," Mofor said. "It's great to see that the passion and hard work is paying off. I hope that it will not only boost the morale of my business, but also make Don Morphy a household name."
Now, a couple of years later, Don Morphy has blossomed into the household name Mofor believed it could be.
En route to becoming one of the most notorious labels in fashion, Don Morphy also compiled quite the celebrity clientele. Tyra Banks, Sean Combs (Diddy), Dwight Howard, and Bishop T.D Jakes have all worn suits made by the illustrious brand.
Having celebrities such as superstar model Tyra Banks and NBA champion Dwight Howard rock your brand would be impressive for any label, but the achievement is even more impressive for Mofor, given that his brand was founded without the help of fashion school.
"I never went to fashion school," Mofor said while chuckling at the irony of the stament. "Actually, one of my friends who went to fashion school told me that the reason I am so successful right now is because I did not go to fashion school. If I went to fashion school, I would have been taught to follow some sort of routine."
Despite most people looking at his lack of fashion school as a disadvantage, Mofor thinks a lack of enrollment is what allowed his originality to flourish into the Don Morphy brand he so proudly reps today- a brand that recently earned him a spot on the Forbes Next 1000 Entrepeneurs list.
Still, even with all the glitz and glamour that has come with his success, Mofor is extremely humble and believes staying grounded is an essential part of life.
"I have so many customers that come into my store to get fitted and after we are done they ask me 'So when are we going to meet Daniel?'" Mofor said through laughter. "I just like to be myself. I try not to do too much or be too arrogant."
Aside from fashion, Mofor considers his kids to be his greatest joy. Mofor is a father of three- two sons and a daughter- and said that he loves that his sons share in his passion for fashion.
"My two boys love fashion," Mofor said. "Some people try to get their kids to do what they are doing but I never had to do that. They have always loved it."
Mofor said his sons also like to travel and model his suits.
"I've had a lot of fashion shows that they have walked down," Mofor said. "They always ask me 'Daddy, when is the next show?' and I love that. So this business is for them more than anything."
When asked if there are any remaining goals he's currently pursuing, Mofor said that he doesn't have a specific item, but is incredibly grateful for everything he's accomplished thus far.
"I have had so many achievements that I cannot even believe," Mofor said. "To have been in this business less than five years and come this far, it's a blessing. I've been featured in the Forbes, all the top Dallas magazines, and won the FGI in 2019 which was presented by Tommy Hilifiger. So now I am just taking it all in."