Founded in 1992 by Daymond John, J. Alexander Martin, Keith Perrin, and Carlton Brown as a hat company FUBU ( “For Us By Us”) became a fashion staple during the 1990s street-wear scene. By the early 2000s, it was known globally as the “IT” brand for many black teens. So where did the idea come from? During the 80s, wool hats with cut tops were very popular amongst rappers. Huge companies sold these hats at an average price of around $20 which you can imagine at the time for a wool hat was a little ?. This is where John spotted an opportunity. He went home and shared the idea with his friend Carlton Brown. They both made around 80 hats and went out in New York the next day selling each hat for $10. They managed to sell out the same day ending up with $800 in revenue. That same day John went home and persuaded his mother to take out a loan, mortgaging their apartment. They borrowed $100, 000 in start-up cash and invested the money into the business. And that is how FUBU was born.
In the beginning, they were sewing the FUBU logo on t-shirts, jackets and other clothes trying to make the brand popular. However, they didn’t see the same success as they had had with their hats. Things were tough. The clothing line was not an instant success. In an interview with Hot97 in 2017, John explained that for three years— from 1989-1992— FUBU didn’t make any money. In fact, the company was closed down three times before it began to generate income. However, In 1994, things began to pick up, John exposed his clothing on the popular trade show Magic, held in Las Vegas. Despite FUBU couldn’t even afford to rent a booth, they got orders for around $300 000. They were about to become really popular. In the next years, FUBU signed some decent contracts with big names like NBA, JC Penny, and some others. By the year 1998, the company declared around $350 million in sales. Today, FUBU’s sales are around $6 billion, Daymond John’s net worth has reached $250 million in 2015.
In 1995, a few years after John mortgaged his house for $100,000 to invest into FUBU with his business partners (and run the company out of that same house), Samsung became investors of the company after seeing John’s ad in the NY Times which read”A million dollars in orders, need financing.” By 1998, FUBU was totalling $350 million in yearly sales.
Then by luck, John managed to convince LL Cool J (who lived in the same neighbourhood as him and was a good friend of his) to wear a promotional t-shirt with the FUBU brand on it on some of his videos (around 40). Later, LL Cool J wore a FUBU hat while shooting a short video clip for The Gap which gave the company there exposure they needed!
“He was wearing a pair of Gap jeans and a Gap shirt, but he was somehow able to sport one of our hats during the commercial. Then during his thirty-second freestyle rap, he looks directly into the camera and says, ‘For Us, By Us, on the low.’ No one at Gap nor any of their ad execs thought anything of it. It wasn’t until a month later that someone at the Gap found out, pulled the commercial, and fired a whole bunch of people after they had spent about $30 million running this campaign.”
But the damage was already done.
However, just like the other brands in this series, their reign didn’t last after a few missteps and investing $5 million into a compilation album titled ‘the good life’, FUBU left the U.S. market completely in 2003. In a book he co-authored, The Brand Within, John explained that one of the major factors that led to the company’s demise is that they had too much product. “Once you hit mark-down bins, it’s tough to climb out, because you’ve lost the sense that your clothes are fresh and vibrant,” he writes.
Having said that, FUBU did make a comeback and last year they paired with Sorella Boutique for a collaboration, releasing a new 90s inspired women’s collection. They also came out with a Black lives matter capsule collection in late 2019 and patent suits under their name too. So hopefully FUBU can be the brand that it once was “for us by us”
We need to take into consideration that Kanye West, he had made several attempts in the fashion industry before Yeezy became a household name, most notably 9 years ago with the debut of Dw by Kanye West named after his late mother, Donda West. However, the critics did not give ’Ye an easy out. “Kanye West’s collection was so Givenchy-esque that it’s embarrassing that Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci was an expected guest,” wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Christina Binkley in her review.
Naturally, West hit back with a signature rant at the show’s afterparty. “This is my first collection. Please be easy. Please give me a chance to grow. This is not some celebrity shit. I don’t fuck with celebrities. I fuck with the creatives in this room, the amazing people who spend every day of their life trying to make the world a more beautiful place. The number of people that tried to get me a celebrity fucking deal. They said, ‘You need to do boot-cut jeans, or you won’t sell.’ Shut the fuck up!”
Despite this, his fashion show came to be the most hyped of the entire spring 2012 season, creating expectations that are often impossible to live up to, even for trained, established designers but it, unfortunately, lasted for just two seasons, funded solely by the rapper-turned-designer, and was ultimately shuttered without the backing of a larger brand.
Kanye outlines his frustrations with the fashion industry during an interview On BBC Radio 1 With Zane Lowe
In this extensive and endlessly talked-about interview with Zane Lowe, West expanded at length on the ideas from “Black Skinhead,” articulating his frustrations and gripes with the fashion industry in great detail. Over the course of an hour, he made the case for why he deserved the chance to design a full collection, not simply collaborate on one-offs. He explained to Zane Lowe that in traditional celebrity endorsement deals, the celeb’s input on the products themselves usually amounts to nothing more than “patina,” and took shots at the empty “creative director” titles celebrities are often given. By contrast, he said he has so more to offer to brands, and to the world, as an actual designer of products, from high school basketball uniforms to film.
“I want a joint venture the way Stella McCartney has,” he told Lowe. This was the first time West expressed his feeling that he couldn’t impact culture with fashion without the support of a mega-corporation like Adidas to back his mega aspirations. (He told Lowe he hopes to eventually be “the anchor of the first trillion-dollar company.”) He said that without a large corporation’s infrastructure, the most he would be able to design would be T-shirts, likening his limitations to the time before Rocafella gave him a record deal. “Me doing the Yeezys and not having a joint venture with Nike the next day would have been like if I made ‘Jesus Walks’ and then wasn’t allowed to make an album,” West said. “There’s a reason I was the only rapper allowed to design a shoe with Nike,” he stated, “which means there has to be another step. It has to keep going. People didn’t love the Yeezys the way they did for no reason.”
Kanye Reveals He Previously Designed Sneakers for Giuseppe Zanotti and Balmain
In an interview with Los Angeles-based 97.1 Amp Radio, Ye revealed that he had worked on sneakers for high-end fashion labels without previously taking any credit.
“I designed the [Giuseppe] Zanotti sneakers and people don’t know that. I designed Balmain sneakers and people don’t know that,” he said to demonstrate his authenticity and to be taken seriously as a legitimate voice in the fashion industry.
West Leaves Nike For Adidas
2013 was the year Kanye began his battle to be recognized in the corporate world. His album Yeezus was him at his most anti-establishment with songs like “New Slaves,” but the drive really can be pinpointed to his frustration with Nike for only being interested in his name, not his ideas. By the end of the year, West had moved over to Adidas who have allowed him to be one step closer to creating a trillion-dollar fashion business!
A.P.C. X KANYE WEST
Before West presented us with Yeezy season 1, he already had two collaborations with French brand A.P.C. underway. Released in 2013 and 2014, his first ready-to-wear collection with the line included rugged denim pieces, pants, shirts, sweaters, coats, and even accessories.
YEEZY SEASON 1
In early 2015, after a couple of years attending rather shows, the rapper returned to the fashion week scene, this time in New York launching his Yeezy line. With this came a few now-signature aspects, as it was a striking stagnant presentation which used relatively unknown models and mixed neutral basics with athleisure. And it was from this moment that athleisure wear became one of the biggest trends of the decade, all thanks to MR West!
To date, no shoe has been more successful or (in)famous than the Yeezy Boost. Especially in 2015 and 2016. They retail for between $200 and $350, but because they are so limited, people often resell them for ridiculous prices and make an enormous profit.
PABLO POP-UP SHOPS
The rapper’s 2016 album, The Life of Pablo, came when interest in his fashion endeavours were at it’s highest, so he capitalized on this through limited-edition merchandise, which sold at his tour stops as well as 21 temporary stores.
Kanye West, you either love him or you hate him, there is no in-between. Personally I fucking adore this man. When it comes to fashion he is so ahead of his time, he is a visionary, a creative and one of the best that this generation has ever seen, he took simplicity to another level with his brand Yeezy. Think about all of the fast-fashion brands that he influenced to copy the Yeezy style and think about all of the sneakers and trainers that resemble every single Yeezy he has ever created and then come back to me and tell me this man isn’t influential.
As I am sure you are all aware, Thursday last week Forbes announced that Ye is officially a billionaire, they estimated that he is worth $1.3 billion, however, Mr Wests states that he is worth more than that and that his net with is actually $3.3 billion. Either way, he’s now a billionaire and I thought what better way to celebrate his new status than to dedicate an entire blog post to this incredibly innovative man! Today I am taking you through the years of Kanye’s fashion history, this man is more than Yeezy and has clearly always aspired for a career in fashion! Despite his critics and haters – West has wedged his way into the archives of high fashion building himself an empire and definitely a brand that will go down in streetwear history!
West Collaborates with A Bathing Ape on a “Dropout Bear” Bapesta
In 2007, Bape was by far one of the most popular streetwear brands on the planet and to this day still remains to be iconic. The Bapesta sneaker was their crown jewel, and Kanye designed a version that featured his mascot, the “Dropout Bear.” This marked the first time West collaborated with a brand on an original sneaker. Around this time West was freely name-dropping his label in songs like “Stronger”, despite its non-existence.
“I have that opportunity to put my name on something and people will buy it, but I want to create something that has its own voice, and other designers can look at it and be inspired by. I wasn’t put on this earth to make money – I was put on this earth to make magic” – Kanye West
Alain Milki Shutter Shades
Who remembers these?? OMG, the nostalgia is real, I can guarantee you that my oldest brother owned a pair of these in every single colour, I’m not even over exaggerating! Although the existence of shutter shades traces back to the ’50s, it was West himself who made them mainstream during the late aughts. Premiering the distinct shade style in his music video for “Strong” back in 2007, West wore a contemporary design custom-made for him by designer Alain Mikli. Featuring bars of metal or plastic running horizontally across them, they became known as “Kanye West shades” and spawned dozens of knock-off versions after.
In the same year, he also teamed up with Australian fashion label Ksubi to produce eyewear for Pastelle. Instead of getting too DIY, West was to consult with designer George Gorrow, who previously created stage eyewear for his music videos. The designs would include limited-edition gold frames and priced at $2,000. Apart from the announcement, there is no evidence the designs ever surfaced. But above you can see some of the samples and what was expected from the collection.
Around this time, West also started expressing his desire to break into the realms of high fashion. “I’m in the same position I was in with music before I got it together and finally managed to figure out what my style was,” West told Clash magazine. “I used to have tracks that sounded like Timbaland and the next track would sound like DJ Premier… So when I’m doing designs I have one thing that looks like Venice and Ralph shit and the next thing is in the BAPE area. So it’s really about figuring out how to embody all of these things I like but have my own voice. ”
Kanye Collaborates with Louis Vuitton
West spent a lot of the late 2000s working with the French luxury house LV, being a major part of their ongoing streetwear interests through a series of sneakers. Working on styles like the Don and the Jasper, he added his personal touch with bright colours and lace and strap play. he had flashy pink soles, tassel embellishments and gold shoelace rings, this collaboration itself yielded a mean range of collectables. The Jasper sneaker is the most valuable sneaker in the world right now – with a pair going for £22,763 having increased by 2,532% in value. I did a blog post on it a few months ago, check it out here.
The Nike Air Yeezy is Launched
How can we ever forget Kanye’s first every Yeezys?? 11 years later and he’s built an empire big enough to rival Nike’s Air Jordans, all in the space of less than a decade!
After him dissing Nike in his songs it was surprising to many ‘Ye’s response to being asked how he felt about Nike retroing the Air Yeezy line. West has given Nike his blessing to re-issue the Air Yeezy 1 and Air Yeezy 2 because The People having what they want is most important.
Ye Interns at Fendi
Back in 2009, Mr West wanted to learn more about fashion before he launched his own fashion brand so he interned at Fendi alongside designer Virgil Abloh CEO of Off- White and the artistic director of menswear for LV. The rapper described his sartorial training as consisting of learning from the best, as well as typical “intern work” like “every day, going to work, walking to work, getting cappuccinos…”
Newly appointed Burberry CCO Riccardo Tisci not only designed the artwork for West and Jay-Z’s collaborative Watch the Throne album, but Tisci also created the designs for the tour merch and the Givenchy clothing that the duo wore on-stage during concert performances.
Guys, I think you should all applaud me for my consistency. The last time I posted regularly like this was 2017, a whole THREE YEARS ago.
Anyways, welcome back to my European road trip, we’re still in Italy – in Milan – the economic heart of Italy, a city known for its thriving fashion industry and some of the world’s famous artworks, such as Da Vinci’s famous painting ‘last supper’. The city offers an unusual mix of historical and modern architecture.
I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like 24 hours in Milan is enough to be quiet honest with you, this is a city break that you go to for like a weekend, nothing more. We had originally planned to stay in Milan for a total of 3 days but we were so in love with Lake Como that we only spent a day in this city so we could spend as much time as possible in Como. What I loved about this place is that fact that busses are completely free (the U.K. needs to take tips) and the trams/ train/ tube or whatever they were are super cheap – for a day trip in any zone it only cost us 2.50 euros. But whilst travelling and going from place to place I’d advise you to learn basic Italian to ask for directions or use google translate because really and truly, asking people for hotspots or where to go was a struggle. As nice as Italians are, most of them are not fluent in English so don’t leave anywhere without google translate and access to wifi/ data!
I have always wanted to go to Milan, I mean come on, it is the city of fashion but as much as I adored the architecture, Milan was not everything that I hoped it would be, but then again that might be because whenever I see people in Milan it’s for fashion weeks. The city itself is very chill, packed as you can imagine seeing as it is a touristy place but when you make go sure you have MONEY. The cocktails and restaurants in this city are $$$ and let’s not forget about the fact that you’re surrounded by luxury fashion boutiques. As soon as I stepped foot into the city centre I just knew in my head that I was destined to be a rich woman! Everything I saw I wanted ?
As we are all aware, I am a firm believer that in this life we should collect memories, not things, hence why most of the things I blog about are my passions and most have a story behind them or have some sort of link to my life. And the other day I was on Truly Experiences when I stumbled across this amazing idea to hire a professional writer that can write your very own biography. Tell me that this isn’t the most incredible idea you have ever heard of? If anyone ever wants to know what to get me for one of my milestone birthdays, this is it. To see my journey from being in Zim to growing into this successful woman would be a gift I would cherish for my entire life!
Think about how many public figures and how many celebrities have their own autobiographies so why can’t you and I? I don’t know about you but so far in my 19 years on this planet, I’d like to say that I have lived life, I have created the most amazing memories with the most amazing people, I have learned so many life lessons at a small age and most importantly over time I have collected so many funny stories to tell my kids and grandchildren (some they probably won’t even believe) and after Ms Rona is over I will overexaggerate 2020 making it sound like I survived a zombie apocalypse! To me, nothing in this life is ever a waste of time, not friendships, not relationships, the course you regret taking, spending hours doing virtually nothing because at the end of the day those things made you the person that you are today. So imagine compiling all of that into a book from your beginnings on this earth to the present day, or even proclaiming your hopes for the future within the last chapter? To me, this sounds like the most beautiful gift that you could ever gift yourself and others around you.
For me, I know that my biographer would have it so easy because from a small age I have kept every single milestone I have hit in my life, whether that be taking pictures/videos or keeping small souvenirs I have done it and for it all be in a book, in one place, I love the idea. In fact, I am obsessed. Personally I know that I am destined for greatness and for my children to be able to see it visually with their own eyes and cherish this and eventually hand it down for generations to come sounds so amazing to me. If your children ever want to ask about your life and how you got to be where you are, you just hand them this book ?With the way I love myself, I’ll probably even read it to them as a bedtime story, a chapter a night (looool, I am not joking), just so they know how incredible their mama is and how she got to be where she is with her little munchkins.
If you think about it, this could even make an amazing wedding present to give to your favourite couple that has the sweetest love story, I’m sure it’d make them cry seeing their love in words and pictures from beginning to the wedding day. This is the perfect way to create something meaningful for you and your loved ones!
As you can see the Simmons’ dominated the 90s/ early 2000s. They were the OG mogul family. They practically paved the way for the Kardashian/ Jenner clan. Phat Farm was a fashion line founded by hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons aka the founder of Def Jam record label in 1992. The name Phat Farm to me was perfect for the times, – a hip- hop slang word that urban dictionary would describe as something “cool, pretty hot or tempting”
Before Mr Simmons founded Phat Farm in 1992, his main focus was music. With his partner Rick Rubin, he launched Def Jam Records signing huge rap musicians like The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and of course, Run-D.M.C. Rush Communications was soon created thereafter and housed Phat Farm, a clothing line Simmons sold at a small shop in New York’s Soho district. With the help of Marc Bagguta, who ran the boutique, and 22-year-old skateboarders Alyasha Jibril Owerka-Moore and Eli Morgan Gesner, who became designers for the brand, Russell Simmons managed to turn Phat Farm into one of the most iconic urban brands to ever grace the earth. You can tell that Russell’s music background had a huge influence in how he branded phat farm as well as the clothing he provided. The line was an upscale mix of sporty urban fashion with elements of the classic ivy league prep student – he was a man who paired baggy jeans with crisp white sweaters and somehow made it look good! But now if I see someone dressed like that I instantly cringe, that fashion was left in the 90s and that is where it should stay for the rest of eternity.
It needs to be taken into consideration that, Simmons once admitted that Phat Farm was not an immediate success, he lost almost $10 million during the first six years but he says that once things took off, they really took off, helping to boost his net worth up to $300 million.
This man was a pivotal player in this so-called “urban wear” fashion movement in the late 1990s as the founder of Phat Farm which over time eventually became the uniform for hip-hop fans. Urban streetwear brands were seen as an extension of hip-hop artists’ fashion influence, as musicians were not only aspirational style icons, but also educators, name-dropping luxury designers like Versace in their anthems and cultivating a new generation of label lovers.
In the late ’90s and early ’00s, Phat Farm and Baby Phat reigned supreme alongside Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren (two brands that eventually embraced hip-hop’s appreciation) and were sold at mainstream stores like Macy’s. Their runway shows at New York Fashion Week were pop-culture happenings that helped merge the worlds of fashion and celebrity, and were attended by everyone from Lil Kim to Brittany Murphy to Vanessa Williams. However, sadly, today, Phat Farm ceases to exist, no Instagram feed, no Twitter account. The brand isn’t even listed among Kellwood Apparel’s repertoire – the company whom Simmons sold the company to for $140 million back in 2004, and an inquiry to the Kellwood Apparel office was met with, “What’s a fat fashion?” by the receptionist, who then transferred the call to voicemail.
Do you think phat fam would succeed in today’s fashion society if they were to make a comeback like baby phat?
The fact that winter is basically over and we can’t even enjoy the sun makes me so upset, so it really makes me wonder what’s the point in all these blog posts if I can’t showcase my fits? Well, I have realised that the days I spend in my pyjamas are my least productive and without a doubt my most depressing. I mean we all remember the saying that the world is your runway right? And that shouldn’t change in lockdown, add a cute bag to your quarantine outfit and take some cute pictures. Buy that bag and plan out your outfits so that when all of this is over you can show the world what they have been missing out on!
As we are all aware trouser trends tend to stick around a little longer than others. Look at the skinny jean, which has been influencing the fashion scene for over a decade and a half now. However, all of that has now changed, as the autumn/winter 2019 runways were dominated by wide-legged silhouettes, particularly flares.
If there is one trend that I hope never dies out when it comes to trousers/ jeans, it’s this one. For the last, I would say 3 years people were speculation when this trend would come back into fashion and the moment has finally arrived – flares are taking over! I kid you not, making flares mainstream again was one of the best decisions the fashion industry ever made. Flares look good on ANYONE and EVERYONE. First of all, they make your ass look peachy af, second of all they make you look like you have supermodel legs and lastly with the correct top they give the illusion of an hourglass figure. What’s not to love about these? I think with the comeback of these as well as mom jeans still dominating, we can officially say that the skinny jean is officially DEAD! When was the last time you wore skinny jeans because personally I don’t remember?? Literally ever since I did my blog post on how the skinny jean is dead back in 2017 I have only bought one pair.
The key to rocking flares in this 2020 is to give them a modern twist: I am talking Self-tie silk blouses, button-up cardigans, dramatic sleeve shirts/ blouses, anything sheer, flatforms, and really good tailoring in order to keep the look contemporary, for example; split hems are the hype rn and offer a brand-new take on a classic leg shape.
So part three of my road trip takes us to Lake Como and Milan! Lake Como by far was my favourite stop on the trip. It is so incredibly beautiful, I cannot deal. I had always seen this place all over my Tumblr and Twitter feed but never did I think that last year would be the year that I get to go! I have never seen a place this beautiful, if I ever have a destination wedding it has to be here – name me a better combination than a view to die for as well as Italian food. I kid you not, Italian food slaps x100 in Italy – Carbonara, lasagna, seafood, ice cream – everything! I can’t wait for corona to be over so I can go back and take a picture with my long island and the view behind me.
WordPress never lets me upload my video’s, it always converts it into a link which is so freaking annoying so, I found this video on youtube which almost translates the beauty of this place.
Originally Lake Como was just meant to be a pit stop before our final destination – Milan, but we fell in love with it so much that we ended up going back for a second day and we toured the small town of Varenna. I think the thing I love most about this place is the architecture, the colourful buildings and the way they’re built, with the scenes of the Lake and the mountains, it is so BREATHTAKING. One noticeable thing about Como is the fact that one, the roads are very narrow so please drive responsibly and safely, another that noticed is the fact that there are no streets, which I think makes the place that much more authentic and I truly hope that it stays like this forever. Everything here is exactly how you would envision Italy to be. Interesting fact; if a homeowner or property owner ever wishes to paint their property they have to ask for permission first.
Although places like Como are used to tourists, I was a little apprehensive when we first arrived because I have heard so many stories of Italy being a racist country and I thought that by going to a place like Como, I’d experience some level of verbal abuse in relation to my complexion, however everyone we came across was so lovely and welcoming. We did receive a couple of stares but I think that was solely due to everyone being shocked by our beauty. We were GLOWING that day. What can I say, the Italian sun just goes well with us!
This place has to be in your top 10 for places to travel after this Pandemic, everything about it is 10/10. The people – 10/10, the food – 10/10, the cocktails – 10/10 and the scenery a solid 10/10!