Daniel Spellman

This Pirate inspires through
his passion for fashion.

Daniel Spellman plans to be the future face of the fashion industry

Daniel Spellman began at East Carolina University with hopes of becoming a dentist, but it didn’t take him long to realize his true passion is fashion.

“My interest in fashion comes from my mother, who died when I was seven,” said Spellman, a senior in the fashion merchandising program. “She loved fashion and always dressed me in very fashionable clothes.”

Spellman, also known by his brand name, “Dan P. Lee,” released his first line of hats, which he calls his “P17” collection, on Feb. 17. The “P” is for his mother, Pamela, and “17” represents May 17, the day she died.

The baseball caps, which come in black, white or tan, all have Spellman’s motto, “Inspire Others to Inspire Others,” embroidered on them.

“As I think back to how I saw my mother reach out and help a lot of people in just the seven years of my life, I am inspired by her,” said Spellman. “She was there to encourage anyone to be who they wanted to be. As her son, I believe that I will be able to touch lives just like she did and inspire others to inspire others.”

Spellman serves on the modeling and wardrobe committee for ECU’s Apparel and Interior Merchandising Organization. “We volunteer with Greenville’s Habitat for Humanity and are an all-student organization that puts together a big fashion show every spring,” said Spellman.

This year Spellman will help choose many of the styles to be featured in the fashion show, which will be held April 24.

One of Spellman’s most notable projects has been assembling style sets for the Michael Bastian NYC menswear brand’s official Tumblr page. “It was a great opportunity because I was able to promote my brand, and it was humbling because big eyes in the fashion industry were looking at me,” he said.

Applying the techniques he learned in class, Spellman completed a visual merchandising internship at University Book Exchange in Greenville last semester. “I served as the assistant to the campus book store visual merchandiser, where I learned everything about the field,” he said. “I’m thankful for the manager who gave me total creative control and allowed me to redesign store layouts as I saw fit.”

Spellman will graduate in December with a degree in merchandising. The degree includes a concentration on fashion merchandising and a minor in business administration. He will have a second line of hats available for purchase at http://danplee.bigcartel.com/ in April, and his styles can be followed on Instagram at @stylesbydanplee.

Why did you decide to come to ECU?
I decided to attend ECU because I was always interested in attending a college that exemplified a full range of diverse students that would be a great model environment for the real world. Being that the real world is so full of many different types of people I wanted to attend a college that could give me that experience.

What are your plans after graduation?
I will be moving to New York to further market myself as a wardrobe stylist. My goal is to become a celebrity fashion stylist or creative director, and I'm planning on taking my business message to the world to "Inspire others to inspire others.” As a fashion stylist, I plan on styling for celebrities’ press events, award shows and tours. As a creative director, I will design theatrical layouts for artists to help further elevate their entertainment delivery to their audience.

Tell us more about assembling style sets for Michael Bastian’s Tumblr page:
Last summer, I got an email from an intern for the Michael Bastian brand, and he asked me to help with the launch of Michael Bastian’s official Tumblr page after he saw my style sets on Instagram. He asked me to put a few sets together using all Michael Bastian’s apparel so that he could use it for the company’s social media.

Give us a piece of fashion advice:
I’m forecasting the trend of stripes in this season’s apparel over prints. Although printed garments will be relevant, fashion trends are turning toward a minimalistic style, which exemplifies being fashionable with less flamboyant and attention-grabbing garments. We will likely see a lot of grays, nudes, black and white styles, as fashion is becoming more about the details of the garment construction than the color. A more simplistic and intricate construction using geometric shapes of garments is where I see fashion going.

Photography by: Cliff Hollis
Written by: Grace Haskin


College:  College of Human Ecology

Major: Merchandising, Concentration in fashion merchandising and a minor in business administration

Age: 21

Class:  Senior

Hometown: Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Hobbies & Interests: Playing drums and basketball

Clubs & Organizations: Apparel Interiors and Merchandising Organization


Place on Campus: The photography studio lab in Leo Jenkins Fine Arts Center

Place to Eat: Red Lobster

Class:  MRCH 2034 – Textiles, taught by Dr. Runying Chen, where we learned about all the fabrics in the industry.

Website: GQ.com

TV Show: Anything on ESPN

Musician/band: Aaron Spears, the drummer who
tours with Usher

Movie: Gridiron Gang


Most Influential Professor: Dr. Runying Chen

Dream Job:  Celebrity wardrobe stylist/designer
and creative director

You Can’t Live Without: God and my family

Role Model: Fonzworth Bentley and Pharrell Williams

Words to Live By: “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

Advice for Fellow Students: I challenge every student to seek what it is that they really want out of life and whatever you are passionate about find ways to make that your career. Dream big and embrace the fear of the unknown. Have faith in what you believe in so that you can achieve whatever you want to in life.

Something cool about ECU you wish you knew during your first year:  I wish I knew about the photography studio and all the things ECU has to offer in the world of arts and entertainment.

Words of Wisdom

“Dream big and embrace the fear of the unknown. Have faith in what you believe in so that you can achieve whatever you want to in life."

– Daniel Spellman