In my eyes our culture is in somewhat of a transition when it comes to “urban” brands. But when are we not in a transition to the next best thing. Dating back to 2006 when Dickies were the hottest thing on the market, meanwhile in 2007 Martha & Francois Girbaud controlled the market. Although those brands are most definitely behind us now we are now searching for the latest and the greatest.
Before I dive into today’s brands I must mention there are certain companies that will never go away. Timberland, Clark’s, Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, Sebago, and Doc Marten are all brands that have been around for decades. Somehow every so often these brands resurface like they are brand new. They all share one key and timeless component called quality. A lot of brands come and go but these companies are in it for the long haul.
Now, I would say the entry level brands in today’s hip hop culture are Obey, Diamond Supply, and LRG. You have never entered a mall if you haven’t seen these brands displayed in most all skate shops and decent urban wear shops. These brands have become too common place; in fact, you will often find 12 year old in an Obey snap back. I’m not saying Diamond Supply isn’t a quality Brand, but it’s time for a change. Those of you looking for a slight step up, you might be interested in 10 Deep, Rocksmith, maybe some of the better looking Crooks and Castles gear. These brands are most often found in some smaller boutiques and predominantly on karmaloop.com. These lines provide good quality gear but their prices may be more incentive to go all the way and support some the brands a little bit higher up on the food chain. I would say a safe bet for some quality and reputable brands for this day and age are Pink Dolphin and Stussy. There prices aren’t cheap but they are manageable. Specifically in Stussy’s case, they have been around since the 90’s, longevity goes a long way. Billionaire Boys Club and Supreme are most definitely pricey but highly regarded. It may be very difficult for entry level folks, most likely unemployed or younger, to come by some of these brands for different reasons. You might find it hard to bring yourself to buy a simple BBC tee for $50. With Supreme, you probably will miss the release of their new clothing and then you are left with the scraps, which will still cost you $50 plus. Some great brands that lack some of the notoriety that are reputable are Mishka, Entrée, BLVCK SCVLE, and SSUR. I thought about mentioning Pyrex Vision and Givenchy but I’ll just leave that alone for now.
Remember brands and clothes do not define you, and they are not everything. I found that purchasing non-name brand jeans are just a good, if not better quality than Levi and they go for a slightly cheaper price. Quality t-shirts will suffice and stand the place of pricey tees with minimum designs anyway. Jerseys are also a great alternative to pricey t-shirts. Your style is what you make it, wear what you want not what is the most hyped. If you are a big fan of Obey Propaganda by all means support it.
I hope to be adding some USD2R affiliated brands to this conversation really soon. Those of you looking to start your own brands understand that all the aforementioned brands have a specific mission, whether you agree with it or not. Allow that to inspire you to stay focused in your own efforts to spread your brand. Remember less is more, and quality is key. Stay tuned for hottest brands part 2, designer edition.
Written by: Jerron Wheeler/USD2R