It’s hard to imagine what modern fashion would look like without the influence of streetwear and, by proxy, hip-hop. These days, sneakers, hoodies, sweatsuits, and graphic t-shirts are must-have wardrobe essentials, whether you’re shopping in the casual or luxury markets. Hip-hop’s influence on modern culture (fashion and beyond) cannot be understated.
And yet… if you take a cursory scan of the big fashion houses of Europe leaning into streetwear or the fast-fashion brands most often associated with the style, you’ll find that they are overwhelmingly white-owned. A discouraging sign for a fashion world leaning so heavily into hip-hop culture.
Point being, a shift in ownership in streetwear is long overdue and the best way to support that change is with your wallet. So the next time you move to stock your wardrobe with some fresh looks, make sure to also support some Black-owned streetwear brands. With that aim, here are 15 companies we love, with styles that are sure to level up your whole vibe.
Founded by Scott Sasso in 1995, 10 Deep is a brand that has been around for a minute, but they’ve never lost their edge. The brand cut its teeth alongside legends like Futura2000, Russ Karabalin, Rick Klotz, Camila Elhke, and the PNB Crew and served as a chief architect of early ‘90s streetwear.
Many of these brands wouldn’t exist without the influence of 10 Deep.
Founded in 2015 by British designer Samuel Ross, A-Cold-Wall first started as an art project before evolving into a fully-fledged men’s apparel brand. The aesthetic here leans on the luxury end of things and takes a significant influence from modern architecture and industrial design.
Scanning the brand’s Instagram will reveal an almost fine-art-like approach to streetwear. This year the brand launched some exciting sneaker collaborations with Dr. Martens that combined A-Cold-Wall’s minimalist design with classic silhouettes.
Started by Philadelphian designer Saeed Ferguson, ALLCAPS Studio, perhaps unsurprisingly, plays with a lot of different font styles and typography in their designs. Generally, the text appears over simple solid color streetwear basics, allowing the kerning on its unisex stylings to be enjoyed in all their wavy glory.
This London-based label is the brainchild of Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh and prioritizes artistic expression and cultural craftsmanship for what the brand describes as a “redefined global style.” Ultimately, the brand sees itself as an arts collective with several different enterprises.
The fashion aesthetic of the brand lands somewhere between punk rock fashion and vibrant bespoke tailoring.
Founded and operating in Los Angeles’ South Central, Bricks & Woods prides itself in being a brand that delivers fits that are equal parts functional and high quality. Primarily, the brand focuses on streetwear staples and basics in unisex sizing.
If you’re all about cozy fits that still have you looking like the best dressed in the room, Bricks & Wood is the move.
Prep style might be the antithesis of streetwear, but The Brooklyn Circus attempts to fuse the two looks and they do so to exceptional results. The brand has a special skill for taking the iconic silhouettes of iconic college-inspired silhouettes and infusing them with the modern sensibilities and eternal cool of streetwear.
From the mind of Esper Knows, Come Back As A Flower is a Los Angeles-based fashion label that puts ethical production and sustainability at the forefront, utilizing recycled cotton on 100% of the brand’s offerings. The drops that come out of Come Back As A Flower might be few and far between, but each one features hand-dyed production and attention to detail and craft that is able to instill a sense of pride in you just for owning a piece.
The aesthetic here leans on the heavily psychedelic side, so if you like a little tie-dye with your streetwear, you can’t go wrong with this brand.
Denim Tears specializes in… well, denim, but it goes much deeper than that. Started by former Kanye West consultant Tremaine Emory, Denim Tears is both a denim brand and a company that tasks itself with highlighting cotton as a symbol forever intertwined with America’s history of slavery.
The clothing is as thought-provoking as it is fresh. Since the brand’s inception, they’ve moved past simple denim pieces, offering a growing list of dope streetwear basics and essentials.
If you follow streetwear closely you’re probably already aware of Jerry Lorenzo’s massively popular Los Angeles-based label Fear of God, but on the off-chance you don’t, you need this brand on your radar ASAP.
Fear of God has an undeniable futuristic and luxurious quality to it. They’re the only brand that can make sweats look like something fit for royalty. Whether it’s the brand’s luxury apparel or their high-profile sneaker collaborations, no wardrobe is complete without at least one Fear of God branded piece.
Heron Preston comes from the mind of the designer of the same name. A Parsons School of Design alumnus, Preston’s brand borrows the look and color palette of modern workwear and gives it a luxury-brand style presentation.
From functional puffer jackets and faded denim staples to psychedelic high-fashion prints and sheer fabrics, Heron Preston is a brand that seems to get more exciting with each new drop.
Officially launched in 2017 by Selema Masekela, Peet Pienaar, Nick Dutton, and Andy Davis, Mami Wata is a celebration of all things Black surf culture. The brand is heavily inspired by the vibrant surf scene of South Africa, and delivers beach-friendly essentials like board shorts, tees, hoodies, and button-ups that look equal parts fly and comfortable.
If Jimi Hendrix was a young musician in his prime today, he would without a doubt be dressed head to toe in Nicholas Daley. The designer combines tie-dye and heavily saturated color palettes with streetwear staples that will have you looking like you just walked off the set of a new Erykah Badu music video.
Founded back in 2011 by the young designer John Dean III, Renowned first began as a creative outlet for Dean’s projects when he was a high school student in Akron Ohio. The brand tasks itself with designing streetwear that speaks to and for the past, present, and future of Black designers by paying tribute to the sportswear stylings of early hip hop, retranslated through a modern lens.
Founded in 2005 by Telfar Clemens, Telfar has gone on to become one of the most sought-after brands in all of streetwear. The label primarily focuses on unisex stylings, with its key piece being a variety of Telfar branded bags, which routinely sell out minutes after being restocked. Walk down the streetwear rocking a Telfar and you’ll easily be the most stylish on the block.
Owned by Chris Gibbs and Beth Birkett, Union is a favorite amongst hardcore streetwear aficionados. The brand routinely drops some of the best sneaker collaborations of all time, whether we’re talking Nike, Jordan, or Adidas collaborations as well as streetwear essentials like cozy and colorful outerwear, graphic t-shirts, and more.
If you’re all about streetwear, it rarely gets better than Union.