There’s no doubt that black people have heavily influenced the sporting, filming and fashion industry. We’re slowly making our way to the top in every facet of the art world. With the recent disrespect coming from powerhouse fashion brands such as Gucci, Dior and Burberry to name a few; we thought it would be the perfect time to get the community more aquatinted with black owned businesses that you should be spending your money with instead.
Anwar Carrots could be considered a favorite of CF. His work in the streetwear community is second to none to say the least. With collaborations with Verdy, Adam Lister, Mark McNairy, Glo Gang and many more; Carrots has made himself a staple in the game. He is bridging the gap between Japanese and western streetwear. There is no telling where he will end up next, but we know wherever he does land you can expect a collaboration to come with it. Check out his web-store here.
LORD KNOWS launched back in 2014. The phrase ‘LORD KNOWS’ simply means “Lord knows your purpose in life”. The brand is intended to reflect the varied influences of the brand owner Chris’s lifestyles & upbringing. The company’s objective is to make a statement and reach out to those who are misunderstood in general society. We felt this is a brand many of us could relate too. The system isn’t set up for us to succeed. So seeing a brand that knows that knows the odds are stacked against them and continues to overcome is inspiring. They’ve just released the lookbook for their JUVENILE HELL collection. Take a look at it here.
If you are a young skater Utmost Co. is the brand for you. Their quirky charm and clean graphics carry the brand. Coming out of Virginia with a location in LA, they’ve made it known that they are a skateboard first and foremost. Utmost makes sure that they cater to their audience first and everyone else falls in line after. Their recent drop with reimagined Snoopy designs has just dropped you can grab one for yourself here.
The futuristic LA based brand H33M, founded by Kahim in 2014, is a brand you’ll want to keep a close eye on in the upcoming years. Originally starting in New York, H33M focuses on innovative graphics followed with quality material and attention to detail. Their motto “We created the future yesterday” is a statement they stand by whole heartedly. Look forward to their pop up in NYC March 9th-10th where they will be releasing their Spring collection, exclusive items and unveil their cooperate HQ.
Bricks and Wood
Another Los Angeles brand on our list is Bricks and Wood. I like to think of them as a streetwear brand that’s serves as a lifestyle brand. You might have seen some of their pieces on black figures and didn’t realize such as Tyler the Creator, Anderson Paak, J.Scott and of course everyone’s homie Joe Freshgoods. This brand strives on organic and long lasting drops. Their recent collaboration with URLA ,entitled Support The Homies, stresses the value of the black dollar and how important it is to spend money with the people who support you the most. You can take a look at all of their pieces here.
Fat Tiger Workshop
We should all be familiar with Chicago’s rising designer Joe Freshgoods (Don’t Be Mad). You should also know about his friends/business partners Rello (Vita/Lost Paradise), Vic Lloyd (Sensei) and Des Money (Squad), who make up Fat Tiger Workshop. I’ve personally had the blessing of seeing these guys build an empire within the city. Coming from a small shop where you would see either Vic or Des waiting to greet you as you entered the store; to a shop where you are more than likely to see the same familiar faces except now the youth is handling hand to hand transactions, there is a sectioned off area for installations, and more product than ever before. We can assure you that the quality of each brand is at the highest it’s ever been. Head over to their site to see what the gang has been up to here.
Hypland Worldwide is an LA based brand led by Jordan Bentley, who started operations in 2010 with the mission to touch the world; with their international flag designs being a staple to their branding. They are one of the most polished underground brands that you will come across. Having figures such as Demetrius Harmon to model for their lookbook; Hypland uses the power of social media to connect with a wider audience. Their most recent release features a collaboration with the Japanese anime series, Bleach. You can check out more from Hypland here.
The next brand on our list is a personal favorite of mine. Not only because of their designs but the execution of their roll outs. Wckdthghts is a brand based out of South Central, California and they show that proudly. They use their street roots to create pieces that the common consumer will love and even the most out of touch consumers will find something to connect with. Their messages may seem in your face sometimes but the message is always clear. Take a look at their new Black History Month capsule here.
Straight out of Baltimore we have YG Addie’s (better known as A$AP Ant) brand Marino Infantry. This is another black skate brand. The rise of black skateboarders was heavily influenced by a non person of color, Tony Hawk. He had many of us at a young age trying to do a kick-flips no matter the background. Marino Infantry however is a combination of hip-hop and skating which could be more influenced by people such as Lil Wayne, Tyler the Creator, and even A$AP Mob. You can check out how they get down here.
Rare Panther was founded in 2013 and quickly became a fan favorite brand. They are a lifestyle brand that “lives to empower all people”. They use a more militant approach with their branding. The decision to use a panther & lightning bolt was made because the symbols reflect empowerment, strength, and mobility. Releases tend to be very exclusive so head over to their web-store now to see what pieces are left here.
Last Year Being Broke(n)*
A$AP Mob is filled with creatives. A$AP Twelvyy is more than just a lyricist but he is also a brand owner himself. His LYBB brand is a streetwear brand that motivates its people to always strive and prosper. His purpose of the brand is for it to be easy accessible, and used to help elevate the community. There are big things on the horizon for Jamel Philips and LYBB. You can check out some of the things they have going on here.
Chicago creative Ron Louis has made a name for himself quickly within the cities recent renaissance. Phera is one of the more detailed streetwear brands and Ron has made sure he has taken his time with each drop. The patent “DESIGNER” stamp has been replicated but never duplicated. He has the attention of fellow designers in the city such as Joe Freshgoods who we mentioned earlier and has even infiltrated the music industry getting his pieces on artist such as G.O.O.D. Music’s Valee, or even new found artist (and girlfriend of Young Thug) Jerrika Karlae. You can grab one of his new balaclava’s and look at his newest lookbook here.
Another example of a very well thought out and executed brand is Theo Martins‘s Good Posture. I personally love how he has used his art space Office and Gallery to sell Good Posture pieces as well as books, furniture, film, and its the home of his cereal bar, Cereal & Such. Theo has created an environment that will display his pieces exactly how they are supposed to be taken in. It is a fairly simple brand with pieces that will hold value the longer you possess them such as good art. If you are in the LA area you should definitely see what Theo has goin on, but if you aren’t you can check everything out here.
Sweats by Stew
Black women have been some of the hardest workers in history so it would only make sense that we got one of the hardest workers I know on the list. Stew has been building Sweats by Stew for a few years now and she has now reached the point where she has her own retail space. Her designs are fueled by the hustle. Being the daughter of Diego Ross ,the Creative Director Leaders 1354, she has been shown what it takes to run a successful brand and she’s done it all on her own. If you are a female streetwear lover this is the brand for you. Men don’t fear. She has gear for the guys as well. Check out Stew’s online store here.
If you are a risk taker and are looking for out of this world designs Unknown Studios is the brand for you. You might have seen Migos’s Takeoff wearing some pieces from the brand. They strive in creating out of the norm pieces for both men and women. Based out of Providence, RI Unknown is certainly making a name for themselves coming out of the city. There is no telling what direction they will take next but be assure all eyes are on them. Check out some of their recent pieces here.
CF recently ran a story of the empire that is FTP. A black owned business that is loved and related to by all races. Of all the brands listed they are defiantly have the most potential to become the next best thing to happen to streetwear. Their prices are never too bad, and they try to get it in as many hands as possible unlike a certain streetwear brand we won’t name. We really don’t have to tell you to support FTP because the force that is behind them is already making sure no one forgets their name. Check out our article on FTP here.
If you are looking to fuel your craving for nostalgia Greg Cates‘s GAC will become your Bestfriend. They specialize in creating new renditions on classic sports memorabilia or old 90s imagery. Their art direction is always on point and never seems like they are trying to hard to reach an audience. More like they are tapping into an audience that already knows what it wants. If you don’t want to break the bank purchasing vintage pieces you can look to GAC for the next best thing. Check out GAC’s web-store here.
Riveriswild is a lifestyle brand with a humanitarian core. A portion of all profits are donated to charities helping provide clean water to Africa. The African inspiration can clearly be seen. Patterns only seen from the motherland are used for pieces seen more in America. We love the direction the brand is heading and we wish for everyone to do more research on all of the positive things Riveriswild represents. Head over to their site to learn more about them here.
When you hear rappers such as Young Thug, Gunna, or Lil Baby talk about “the drip”, it is safe to throw Ricchezza in that category. Taking a luxury approach to streetwear; Ropa has been lacing some of the most stylish rappers for awhile now. Make no mistake you have to have some count to grab some of his pieces, but the price tag is well worth it seeing how most pieces are hand made. Take a look at his newest drop “Lovers Retreat” here.
Last but not least is URLA. Another LA brand that uses its roots to create pieces that tell stories. They’re not so PG when it comes to their messages either but we wouldn’t have it any other way. For instance they display their displeasure for the law and police brutality often. As we stated earlier they had a collaboration with Bricks and Wood which got a very good response. URLA’s new tee commemorates the victims of the LA Riots of 1992. You will be able to get your hands on a tee March 1st here.