Thursday, June 09, 2022

Dungeon Forward Inks Multi Collection Deal with Nickelodeon and Paramount Consumer Products

Dungeon Forward Inks Multi Collection Deal with Nickelodeon and Paramount Consumer Products

The Black owned headwear company is partnering with Paramount to launch a collection of multi-generational and nostalgic releases beginning this June.

MIAMI - Dungeon Forward, a storytelling and innovative headwear brand from designer David Castro, has inked a three-year agreement with Nickelodeon and Paramount Consumer Products to produce a series of headwear collections featuring limited-edition pieces inspired by Nickelodeon's iconic animated series. The first collection, inspired by SpongeBob SquarePants, will debut at retail this spring.

Nickelodeon and Dungeon Forward first initiated their collaboration in late 2020, when they began ideating about how to bring these classic series to life in a unique way in the headwear category. They are now readying for their first collection release, launching on June 3, entitled "The Bikini Bottom Capsule," featuring an assortment of headwear inspired by SpongeBob SquarePants. Future collections will feature other classic Nickelodeon brands including Hey Arnold! and The Ren & Stimpy Show. Dungeon Forward is also working with Paramount Consumer Products to launch an adjacent children's brand featuring styles inspired by Nickelodeon's roster of beloved preschool properties.

"As a child, I had to go to my friends' homes to catch a glimpse of Nickelodeon. To be working with them directly is a full circle moment and I jumped at the chance to create a collection that captures my own childhood memories and nostalgia for the brand," said David Castro, President and Design Director for Dungeon Forward and CEO of Complex Apparel, LLC.

"David's passion for his craft and love for Nickelodeon have been inspiring to watch come to life," said Joann Acevedo, Senior Vice President, Soft Lines Licensing for Paramount Consumer Products. "This partnership embraces culture, authenticity, and nostalgia and we are thrilled with how it helps bring our brands to new audiences in an innovative and creative way."

Castro is the founder and CEO of Complex Apparel LLC, a conglomerate focused on translating authentic street culture into elevated products. Castro serves as the President & Design Director of the brand Dungeon Forward. His leading philosophy as he continues to build out the brand focuses on cultural authenticity, creativity unbound by common rules, and a resonance of intrinsic meaning that will always result in the creation of classic products. Dungeon Forward aspires to move the world through design by creating thought provoking crowns that do just that. The brand has previously secured licenses with over 30 collegiate institutions, fraternal organizations, contemporary artists, and similar brand projects like the recent collaborative launch with Airheads Candy. As an alumnus of a widely known HBCU, Florida A&M University, and an advocate for the uplift of marginalized communities, Castro hopes partnerships of this kind will inspire fellow designers to push the threshold of the impossible.".

Additional details regarding the official collection date will be released soon. For additional information, visit

About Dungeon Forward
Dungeon Forward is a purveyor of precision designed innovative headwear. Founded in 2007 by architect David Castro, their mission is to inspire, uplift, enlighten, and tell authentic cultural stories by crowning the culture. The namesake is one of movement and progress. We are always moving from the Dungeon Forward. From the darkness into the light. This ever-present path of improvement is the foundation of their ethos.

About Paramount Consumer Products
Paramount Consumer Products oversees all licensing and merchandising for Paramount, a leading global media and entertainment company that creates premium content and experiences for audiences worldwide. Driven by iconic consumer brands, Paramount Consumer Products' portfolio includes a diverse slate of brands and content from BET, CBS (including CBS Television Studios and CBS Television Distribution), Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and Showtime. With properties spanning animation, live-action, preschool, youth and adult, Paramount Consumer Products is committed to creating the highest quality product for some of the world's most beloved, iconic franchises. Additionally, Paramount Consumer Products oversees the online direct-to-consumer business for CBS and Showtime programming merchandise, as well as standalone branded ecommerce websites for Star Trek, SpongeBob, South Park, and MTV.


Stream all your favorite Nickelodeon shows old and new on Paramount+. Try it FREE at!

From WLRN:

Dungeon Forward headwear in West Palm Beach lands deal with Nickelodeon

A Dungeon Forward crown inspired by Gary the Snail, SpongeBob SquarePants's pet. AppelJax /

For several years now, you may have seen athletes and entertainers don a Dungeon Forward hat on various TV shows — a quick brand appearance, a head nod for its premium hat culture. And now, the Black-owned headwear company in West Palm Beach is using childhood memories to broaden its reach even more.

Its new licensing deal with Nickelodeon and Paramount Consumer Products will feature some of Nickelodeon’s most iconic animated comedy series: SpongeBob SquarePants, Ren & Stimpy, and who can forget Angelica Pickles from the Rugrats giving people that infamous side-eye?

David Castro is the founder and design director for the premium hat line. The West Palm Beach native said through the delicate marriage between art and fashion, his new collaboration with Nickelodeon aims to bring nostalgia to the tri-county area.

“That marriage creates an opportunity for conversation, an opportunity for storytelling, an opportunity for some commonality between people, which directly aligns with the idea of creating crowns for the culture,” Castro said. “There’s a culture within the space of fashion, and there’s a culture within the space of appreciation for art, and combining all of those creates more connectivity among people.”

Dungeon Forward will combine its popular Sunika Kuraun hat collection with its first SpongeBob SquarePants-inspired headwear collection. It debuted a few days ago.

“We chose this specific collection to also honor SpongeBob's pet, whose name is Gary. He's a snail. And when you think about it, it's kind of like the underdog of the show,” Castro said. "Writers behind Nickelodeon do a great job of creating these personalities that you can identify with and in situations you can identify with. Our brand is not a children's brand, we're not children's focus, but the projects that we're taking on are projects that you can still identify with as well.”

The former architect and alumnus of Florida A&M University usually partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The previous project produced hats that illustrated HBCU pride for 25 schools.

A Dungeon Forward crown inspired by Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants. AppelJax /

Castro said his “fully bootstrapped” small business has been able to mitigate supply chain issues, such as backlogs at shipping ports, COVID-19 variant waves and other logistical challenges. Castro said many small businesses are finding unique ways to connect with fans and contribute to pop culture.

"You say SpongeBob, you start to smile. You say Ren & Stimpy and you start to smile because those memories are moments that made you feel joyful,” Castro said. “This is really going to make people smile. Anytime you can do that, you change the trajectory of that person's day.”

Even the name of the headwear, "Dungeon Forward,” symbolizes a person escaping a metaphorical dungeon and moving forward in life, “getting it out the mud more than the average person would know,” Castro said. “They [people] often see the refined versions of us. But they don't know the molding that it took to get to this point.”

“It's about forward progress. But in the creation of crowns (top of a hat), it's also about making people feel joyful about who they are,” he said.

Castro said the partnership also includes working with other Nickelodeon characters such as Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, and Hey Arnold!

"Not every idea will come out," Castro said. It's a creative process. "But Rugrats have a very special place in my heart, because that was one of the cartoons that I would watch on Nickelodeon,” he said.

He said he appreciates how the show has since introduced more diverse characters.

“We are in discussions with them [Nickelodeon] about the launch of a sub-children's brand that will include some of their preschool properties as well, like Blue's Clues and Baby Shark but still have some of the design aesthetic of Dungeon Forward,” Castro said.

Architecture to Fashion: 

Castro found many similarities between architecture and fashion. The former architect said the transition from architecture to product creation was simple because the "knowledge base, thought process, and tools were similar." He also said, “there's a lot more scrutiny when you're designing a building in comparison to when you're designing apparel.”

He stumbled on a quote attributed to the late architect Zaha Hadid, who once said, “architecture defines a period and fashion defines now."

Castro said evoking nostalgia in fashion appeals to people focused on the present moment and people immersed in the past because the hat travels around with each individual.

“It's so simple yet so incredible because from a fashion standpoint,” Castro said. "When you wake up and you determine what you're going to wear, that is that moment, you know? And with architecture, buildings last 50 to 100 years. And so you're really thinking more on a macro scale, whereas when you're creating fashion, it's much more intimate.”


Originally published: May 20, 2022.

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