From Skepta-approved Know Wave to cult hip hop mag-slash-brand Places+Faces, we round up ten t-shirt labels and streetwear brands you need to know
You know your Stoneys and your Supremes, your BBCs and your BAPEs – but there are loads more exciting, emerging streetwear brands out there. While they might not have the instantly-recognisable logos or hyped drops that those previously mentioned labels do, they’re creating well-designed gear with interesting graphics and sometimes an even more interesting backstory. From super Zen Satta Skates’ starting out with handmade skateboards to hip hop brand-slash-mag Places+Faces’ making one of music’s most agenda-setting zines, these labels have more to them than a cool logo. Here, we round-up ten such brands that you need know.
Joe Lauder’s brand Satta Skates started with him making skateboards, by hand, out of recycled wood from his studio in Brixton. But as well as these beautifully-crafted boards, Lauden sells clothes (hats and caps, hoodies, jackets, shorts and tees) and incense. Lauder has spent time at Zen gardens in Asia, Hindu and Buddhist retreats in Tibet and Nepal, (as well as a month living with a shaman in the Amazon rainforest) and this translates in the simple designs and earthy colours of these garments – many of which are emblazoned with the words “Peace,” “Love,” and “Soul.”
NO VACANCY INN
Founded by Tremaine Emory aka Denim Tears and Acyde, London-based collective No Vacancy Inn started off as a radio station. Its guests included some pretty big names from world of streetwear, like Kanye West creative director and Off-White designer Virgil Abloh, Pigalle designer Stéphane Ashpool and the man behind Stüssy Japan, Shin Okishima. However No Vacancy is a label too, and recently took up residency at Dover Street Market London’s Basement where they’re selling a range of tees.
Cali Thornhill Dewitt is a busy man. The LA-based artist used to be Frances Bean Cobain's nanny, founded Hope Gallery in Echo Park and art collective WSSF, runs radio show/record label Teenage Teardrops and most recently designed Kanye West’s sell-out ‘Pablo’ tour merch. Some Ware is another of his projects, set up in collaboration with fellow multi-hyphenate, artist and musician Brendan Fowler. The brand’s range features long-sleeved tees, some of which have the lyrics of “Ha” by rapper Juvenile scrawled across them, while others simply bear the word “Latex”,.
Grind London aims to create “road-ready” clothes by drawing on the city’s various youth subcultures past and present – one collection, for example, was inspired by the capital’s pirate radio era of the 90s/ early 2000s. Set-up in 2008 by Youssef Metwali, the brand’s latest range features cartoonish graphics of cars and a guy smoking pot, as well as tongue-in-cheek slogans like “Céline on the streets / Versace on the sheets.”
Places+Faces is London’s most exciting new hip hop brand-slash-zine. Its founders Ciesay and Soulz have photographed pretty much every big name from the worlds of hip hop and grime – from Rejjie Snow, Skepta and Young Thug to Future, Joey Bada$$ and Ty Dolla $ign. They’ve got a range of caps, tees, bumbags and totes too and, on top of that, have just launched a capsule collection at Selfridges, which was kicked off with a performance from aforementioned Irish rapper Rejjie Snow earlier this month.
While you may not have heard of GIMME FIVE, the distribution agency’s influence has been profound and wide-reaching. It’s founder Michael Kopelman played a pivotal role in bringing Stüssy, BAPE, Visvim and Neighborhood to the UK, opening Supreme’s London store, giving Louis Vuitton’s artistic director of men’s collections Kim Jones his first job and orchestrating Kiko Kostadinov’s sell-out Stüssy collab. But as well as laying the foundations for British streetwear and representing other brands, GIMME FIVE has its own label (see here modelled by Dash Snow) which it has recently re-launched.
Formed in 2014 by Kyle Ng and Ed Davis, Brain Dead is a group of creatives made up of artists and designers from around the world. They have a record label, but also a brand that’s known for its caps and tees. When it comes to their designs, the collective draw inspiration from a variety of places including post punk music, comics and skateboarding. But that’s not all, the label, which has also done zines, home goods, toys, is hoping to launch its own comics and some films.
Another brand that’s proving the enduring codependency of music and fashion is Know Wave. It’s a radio station created by Aaron Bondaroff aka A-Ron, which broadcasts out of the OHWOW Book Club in New York’s West Village. Having worked as one of Supreme’s first employees and having launched his own brand aNYthing in 2001, Bondaroff is a fairly seasoned figure in the world of streetwear – but his influence isn’t limited to this field, in 2008 he opened influential LA-based gallery OHWOW. Launched four years ago, Know Wave is another cult streetwear brand to be stocked by Dover Street Market. Oh yeah, and Skepta’s a fan – head here for proof.
For anyone remotely into streetwear, the Basement will be part of your everyday vernacular. The Facebook discussion group, which now boasts over 50k members and has a waiting list to join, has spawned an online magazine and e-shop where they sell their products. As experts in the field, it’s unsurprising that their tees and hoodies have already gained cult status.
Here’s one for the Gosha fans. The designer’s muse and protege, skater-slash-artist Valentin Fufaev has started up his own label, DOUBLECHEESEBURGERvf. Sharing the skate sensibility of his mentor’s, the brand has strong graphics, off-kilter typefaces and a slight heavy metal vibe. Fufaev’s inaugural collection launched at Dover Street Market London earlier this year with an accompanying exhibition inside the store.