Darkside Demon Clothing is much more than just cool hats, shirts
There are demons inside all of us.
Life is about overcoming that darkness.
And Marcus Corson has created a clothing line to help.
“My company represents fighting all the inner demons we all have going through in the struggles of life, whether it be PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from serving our country, surviving an accident, health issues like fighting cancer like my wife, Parkinson’s which I’m battling right now, mental illness, substance abuse or not being accepted in life as who you are,” says Corson, co-owner of Darkside Demon Clothing. “There was a time I didn’t want to get out of bed because of my inner demons. Everybody has something they are going through and sometimes you just need someone to talk to.”
Being able to recognize those mental health challenges and discuss them is important, Corson says, because getting through tough times isn’t easy. He says he has the wonderful support of his wife Lori, and he wants to pay that support forward.
The word “darkside” on the company logo is spelled backward for a reason. When the person wearing it looks in a mirror it’s not spelled backward. It is intentionally designed that way because it’s a reminder to conquer that dark side, he says.
“It really helps to start a discussion,” says Corson of Plum. “And I want to help others, because along the way people have really helped me. It’s not just about giving them something to wear. We talk to people about how they feel and that is what sets our company apart.”
Corson and business partner Patrick Ford of Penn Hills teamed to officially start this clothing business three months ago, but have been working on it for at least a year. They sell shirts and hats and hope to add sweatshirts, sweatpants and other items later this year.
Jason Lott of Ink Division Printing in Braddock works with Corson to produce the items. Lott says they’ve been teaming on a lot of projects since 2010 and is excited to print for Darkside Demon Clothing.
Seth Osikowicz of Log Cabin Embroidery in Murrysville has know Corson for years and says after reading his message about helping others through Darkside Demon Clothing he wanted to be a part of making some of the apparel.
“Marcus is definitely passionate about what he’s doing,” Osikowicz says. “His story and his challenges hit home with me and I will do whatever I can to help him.”
Corson creates the designs. He and Ford are collaborating with schools and others who want to use the designs on apparel or other items. It’s about getting a message to young people and those who might be dealing with addiction or other challenges.
“I tell people they can call me any time,” Corson says. “I want to help everyone. I don’t want children to grow up on drugs and it’s important that they know people care about them. We need to all work together.”
Corson was born with a heart defect and needed surgery at age 3.
“I was told I would never play any contact sports,” he says. “I felt defeated at an early age. Right after my surgery, my mother put me into swim lessons because my surgeon said that swimming would strengthen my heart. By the age of 7, I was cleared to play all sports due to all the hard work, aerobic exercise and determination I had.”
He became a nationally ranked swimmer as a student at Central Catholic High School and also played football and ran track.
He went on to own a fight club, but an accident left him weak. Doctors told him he might not walk again. He spent months in the hospital.
“It took almost two years of hard work, therapy and many surgeries to be walking with a cane,” he says. “Through all of this I kept getting side tracked with issues. First I had a blood clot in my right lung, which ended up collapsing my lung, I also had a mini stroke. With all this I never gave up because I knew I had a wife and a 5-year-old depending on me. This turned my life upside down.”
“I had to fight through depression, pain and thinking my life as it was could be over,” he says. “I did whatever it took to walk.”
These days, he is getting around with a cane, but was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a chronic and progressive movement disorder, and medications aren’t helping, he says.
“I wanted to start a clothing company where people can relate and know that if I can get through what I did and I am still pushing through, everyone can,” he says. “Through the darkest times of their life, there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Ford was born in the Philippines and at age 6 his mother left him at an orphanage where he lived until he was 13.
“I have lived a hard life since I can remember,” he says. “I was beaten and tortured as a kid in the orphanage. Not a day goes by that I don’t see those days I went through as a child.”
He was adopted in 1988 and moved to Pittsburgh.
He has also lived in Greensburg and New Kensington. He is divorced and a father to three children, who are his inspiration.
Ford works as a policeman in Penn Hills after jobs at several departments such as Tarentum and Oakmont, Brackenridge, East Deer and Springdale.
He and Corson began talking about the clothing company when both were going through hard times, Ford says.
“This company we started is about people who are willing to face their dark side and face their demons themselves,” Ford says. “Marcus and I are facing our demons every day. We encourage people to do the same thing. We work on ourselves everyday by going to the gym and in our personal lives at home one day at a time. As a police officer, I have seen a lot of ugly things that people do to each other. Some of the things I see people shouldn’t see.
“This clothing company is about overtaking your demons and making out of it alive.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .