Under The Radar

CELEBRATING THE BEST UPCOMING BRANDS OF 2018

Abasi Rosborough

BLACKMERLE

YOU AS

DOMESTIK

NASASEASONS

HAMCUS

Online Ceramics

LIBERAIDERS

Advisory Board Crystals

DANIEL W. FLETCHER

BODE

MISTER GREEN

Brownstone

SOME WARE

NOUNION

Rowing Blazers

L’HOMME ROUGE

FTP

UNITED STANDARD

JUNGLESJUNGLES

Abasi Rosborough

Founded

2013

Location

New York

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All images provided by Abasi Rosborough.

Not every new designer is a young up-and-comer. Some of the most promising lines come from industry veterans who’ve honed their talents elsewhere and decided to strike it out on their own, taking their skillset and applying a perspective closer to their original vision.

Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough met in fashion school, and each spent time learning the ropes of the fashion industry at some of menswear’s most reputable names.

Abasi interned at Coogi and ended up at NEPENTHES, the parent company of Engineered Garments and Needles. Starting as an assistant designer to Daiki Suzuki, he got up close and personal with fabrics and gained a firsthand appreciation of domestic manufacturing. Rosborough, meanwhile, cut his teeth designing denim at Ralph Lauren, moving on to work for Simon Spurr and independent label Bespoken. With Abasi Rosborough, the two craft a menswear vision that paves a path for the future while acknowledging the past.

Ergonomics is key, with garments designed to promote freedom of movement, including jeans with a flexible gusset and minimal Arc sport coats with knit panels at the shoulders to maximize flexibility. Pants feature details such as on-seam pockets that aren’t just for show — they promote a better posture while sitting, so your wallet doesn’t damage your lumbar.

That futurism caught the eye of Nike, which provided Abasi Rosborough with footwear for its Fall/Winter 2018 and Spring/Summer 2019 shows. Hopefully that partnership continues as the brand’s star continues to rise.

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BLACKMERLE

Founded

2016

Location

Seoul, South Korea

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All images provided by BLACKMERLE.

BLACKMERLE founder and designer Terry Shin is based in both Seoul, South Korea and his hometown of Vancouver, Canada. “Merle” is a genetic trait found in dogs that makes their fur appear speckled, streaked, and random. It’s also a hint at Shin’s design ethos, which prioritizes changeable elements and unusual, irregular textures.

The brand’s silhouettes are inspired by futuristic fashion concepts, but its designs are informed by practicality and convenience. Harnesses with connective clasps can be found extending down the body, pant legs can be hemmed in or widened via various drawstrings, and there are transparent windows on detachable sleeves for watches and elements of wearable tech, so pieces can function with touchscreen devices.

To date, Shin’s oddball creations can be found at high-fashion institutions H.Lorenzo in Los Angeles and INK in Hong Kong, as well as BLACKMERLE’s own webstore. Shin describes BLACKMERLE’s products as a form of “neo-maximalism” and for those “who feel the frustration of formulaic dressing.” Or to be more direct, for BLACKMERLE, more equals more.

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YOU AS

Founded

2016

Location

New York, USA

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All images provided by YOU AS.

Founded in New York by Tony Liu, one of the brains behind Instagram fashion provocateurs Diet Prada, YOU AS makes ’70s-tinged casual wear — think louche tracksuits, spread-collar shirts, and vintage-feel tees.

The label was thrust into the spotlight this year when Justin Bieber wore one of Liu’s tropical two-pieces at music festival Coachella (while, weirdly, meeting Lil Hank Williams, aka the Walmart yodelling kid). YOU AS gained further traction when Kendrick Lamar wore one of its Hawaiian shirts in his video for “All the Stars” with SZA.

The brand will now be doubling down on its warm-weather garms, echoing the trend for cruise and resort collections, which have proven lucrative for many retailers. YOU AS has also picked up a prestigious account at one-stop luxury menswear e-tailer MR PORTER.

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DOMESTIK

Founded

2016

Location

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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All images provided by DOMESTIK.

Indonesia isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you think of fire threads, but maybe that’s about to change. Hailing from Jakarta, Domestik is making waves in the streetwear scene internationally and is now stocked at GOAT fashion retailer Dover Street Market.

Founder Ryan Ady Putra draws inspiration from his country’s hyper-tropical climate, burgeoning youth culture, and even the vintage look of a few ’80s Indonesian adult films to create visuals that are truly distinct — a feat that can’t be overlooked in today’s oversaturated market for graphic tees.

Earlier this year, Domestik debuted “AKTIV,” a capsule of graphic tees inspired by the way dance and its accompanying culture have evolved into an intrinsic part of Indonesian life. The brand’s consistently impressive drops show streetwear at its most pure (i.e. sick graphics slapped on T-shirts) and demonstrate how street culture’s influence has reverberated around the world.

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NASASEASONS

Founded

2015

Location

Paris

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All images provided by NASASEASONS.

NASASEASONS is a product of senior year boredom. Parisian Alexandre Daillance — better known by his nom de Instagram, Millinsky — started the brand after the name came to him at random.

Daillance’s magnetic personality and willingness to try to meet as many people as possible helps explain the label’s relatively quick rise. He met Theophilus London at a 2014 listening party, for example, and then sent him a hat in June 2015 when the label launched. A few months later, in November 2015, his “I CAME TO BREAK HEARTS” cap was doffed by none other than Rihanna, bringing the label even more attention.

In the age of social media, it’s easy to see why NASASEASONS’ cheeky, slogan-heavy products are a hit: they’re Instagram captions for your head. Sayings like “SINGLE FOR THE NIGHT,” “YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US,” “NO PICTURES,” and “ALMOST FAMOUS” have a pithy, universal appeal to celebrities and aspiring social media influencers alike.

If clothing is a way to communicate something to the world without actually having to say anything, NASASEASONS’ garments do that in the most straightforward way possible. Daillance has ridden this wave to gigs like designing merch for The Rolling Stones’ “No Filter” tour this year, an opportunity that came about through Mick Jagger’s son Lucas, himself a fan of NASASEASONS.

Lucas Jagger isn’t the only notable progeny who’s a fan of Daillance. Earlier this year, Daillance was tapped by Alexandre Arnault for an improbable RIMOWA collaboration that features the phrase “I NEED SPACE” prominently.

With all this attention, NASASEASONS is ready to dip its toe into a full lifestyle line. Its Fall/Winter 2018 collection expanded its offerings to apparel and jacquard knitwear, including a sweater that features an image of LA hotspot Chateau Marmont in flames.

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HAMCUS

Founded

2013

Location

Hong Kong

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All images provided by HAMCUS.

HAMCUS is a Chinese brand designing elevated, military-inspired pieces with futuristic tech wear elements woven in. If it appears the label’s clothes are designed for another kind of reality, that’s because they kind of are — HAMCUS’ pieces conjure visuals from Blade Runner 2049 and other dystopian futures, and are designed within the conceptual framework of a fictional universe called “PRIMUS.”

The label began as a manufacturer for high-end fashion labels until it developed into its own brand in 2013. Tuff Leung, who heads HAMCUS’ design and manufacturing in Guangzhou, Southern China, points to science fiction movies, industrial conceptual design, technology, and the exploration of the unknown as key influences.

A theme of metamorphosis is stands out on HAMCUS’ products. Key pieces have been reworked into altered silhouettes, smaller pieces such as shorts feature detachable straps, and jackets sport arm openings for increased ventilation.

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Online Ceramics

Founded

2016

Location

Los Angeles, USA

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All images provided by Online Ceramics.

Online Ceramics started out as a joke between friends Elijah Funk and Alix Ross. If you pull it up on Google, online-ceramics.com takes you to a peculiarly rudimentary-looking website, almost comical by today’s standards, but it has nothing to do with pottery.

Instead, you’ll find the happy-go-lucky story of a drug trip gone wrong, a cross-stitched serpent, and an online store selling otherworldly T-shirts and sweatshirts. Some have elaborate, chaotic, psychedelic designs of spirituality and self-discovery. Others allude to a love and admiration for the Grateful Dead and classic Deadhead imagery.

All of this was thought up, designed, and hand-printed by two dudes who never thought they’d end up making shirts. This year, the duo even tie-dyed a pair of OFF-WHITE x Nike Air Prestos for longtime fan John Mayer.

Online Ceramics’ continued success has relieved Funk and Ross of having to print every order themselves, although they’ll be the first to tell you they’re not anywhere close to being rich. But with its apparel now being sold by Union Los Angeles, Dover Street Market, and GR8, and with a new studio on the horizon, Online Ceramics looks set to continue its growth and expand its founders’ community.

Funk and Ross might venture beyond T-shirts at some point, but the name won’t ever change — because it’s still a funny joke.

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LIBERAIDERS

Founded

2017

Location

Tokyo, Japan

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All images provided by LIBERAIDERS.

Liberaiders founder Mei Yong is originally from Beijing, but his label takes a distinctly Japanese view of streetwear. Liberaiders’ mix of straightforward branding, classic styling, army surplus references, and unusual name (a combination of “liberate” and “raiders”) puts it among Japanese legends like WTAPS, but Yong’s work differs from his Tokyo peers due to his globetrotting worldview.

Whereas most Japanese streetwear is inward-looking, Yong looks out. Liberaiders’ motto is “Search for the truth through a trip” and Yong has shot lookbooks in Cuba, Nepal, and the Tibetan steppes. He has also celebrated the launch of new collections by showing his lookbooks as photo exhibitions.

In 2018, Yong expanded from the brand’s core streetwear look with a heavy-duty outerwear program that took dadcore fleeces and three-layer anoraks and beefed them up with oversized pockets and boxy cuts. It’s no surprise, then, that Liberaiders has found itself stocked alongside Japanese contemporaries at grail-level retailers including Union LA, END. and Firmament.

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Advisory Board Crystals

Founded

2015

Location

Los Angeles

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All images provided by Advisory Board Crystals.

The story goes that Remington Guest and Heather Haber first met during an uberPOOL ride in Los Angeles, ended up at the same party, and then had a first date that included a trip to a crystal shop. And their relationship isn’t the only thing that, uh, crystallized. Soon, they started a conceptual label called Advisory Board Crystals — or the simpler “Abc.” for short.

And the brand does in fact sell crystals. From simple calcites to more complicated things like opal aura citrines or the phallic-looking orange cactus spirit quartz, Abc. offers its crystals alongside limited-edition gear that has some element of crystals tied to it. It’s a trippy approach that has earned Advisory Board Crystals a steady following, with the brand’s intermittent capsule collections selling out pretty much instantly.

In addition to dropping things on its website, Abc. is known for its out-of-leftfield collaborations, teaming up with retailer Barneys, resale platform Grailed, and even the Wikimedia Foundation on quirky garms.

With its strong following, robust online presence, and self-aware brand narrative, Abc. has found itself on some very high-profile radars. The brand was tapped by Lil Wayne to make a few merch items for Tha Carter V and even designed NASCAR-inspired sweatsuits for Migos.

There’s also a charitable aspect to some of Abc.’s partnerships. The aforementioned Wikimedia Foundation collab donated 100 percent of proceeds to the organization, and the brand recently teamed up with boutique Union LA on a camo tee to raise funds for the brave souls fighting California’s wildfires.

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DANIEL W. FLETCHER

Founded

2015

Location

London, UK

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Designer Daniel W. Fletcher’s eponymous label has worked its way up the ranks of the fashion world since debuting in 2015. A standout graduate collection at Central Saint Martins in London led to an LVMH Prize nomination in 2017, and now the label has joined the London Fashion Week circuit.

Rewind to Daniel W. Fletcher’s inaugural SS16 collection. “Peckham Pony Club” was a comment on the gentrification of South East London using silk shirts, literal “RENT” caps, and shearling jackets. It laid bare the brand’s DNA: personal, political, wearable, and informed by British heritage and tradition.

The growth of Fletcher’s brand since then has led to it being stocked internationally at Opening Ceremony in New York and BEAMS in Tokyo, with his upcoming SS19 collection a meta-comment on the stresses of running a successful business.

Titled “In Search of Sunrise” (think of a CEO who has been out all night and is now stumbling home with bloodshot eyes), the new collection is probably the label’s most personal and subversive yet. “There’s an American Psycho vibe about it,” Fletcher told us in October. “I feel like I’ve become this crazy businessman.”

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BODE

Founded

2016

Location

New York, USA

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All images provided by BODE.

What often constitutes a clothing “grail” is a garment that is both eminently wearable but has a distinctive enough design to make it feel special in its own way. For designer Emily Adams Bode, that feeling was first discovered through home textiles.

She inherited some vintage fabrics from her grandmother and spent time antiquing with her mother, developing a taste for 19th- and 20th-century fabrics and quilts. In July 2016, she established her menswear line BODE, melding her appreciation for time-worn fabrics with hard-wearing menswear silhouettes built to stand the test of time.

BODE’s clothes toe the line between playful, practical, and instantly covetable. Ivy League-inspired elements like regatta stripes and herringbone wools are reimagined through patchwork construction and rustic embroidery.

Her chore coats feel elegant in shades of green, a nod to a botanist friend who studied the science of plants at Harvard. At a time when plenty of menswear enthusiasts are starting to outfit the interiors of their homes as much as the exteriors of their bodies, the inspiration is decidedly on-trend.

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MISTER GREEN

Founded

2015

Location

Los Angeles, USA

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Mister Green is a lifestyle brand that caters to weed-smoking culture and the evolving cultural perspective around it. “A friendly shop for high-minded people,” as it bills itself.

Starting out as an online store, Mister Green began when founder Ariel Stark-Benz wanted to update the clichéd stoner aesthetic to something contemporary, cleaner, and more beautiful than the prevailing rastafarian-inspired offerings. It initially ran a line of streetwear staples including graphic tees, hoodies, and loose-fitting pants, but has now expanded into accessories, leather goods, homewares, and fragrances — specifically a smoky Palo Santo-inspired scent called Hippie Shit. As it turns out, Stark-Benz’s intuition to elevate the aesthetics and lifestyle attributes of marijuana tapped into something that would resonate globally. As the recreational marijuana industry goes mainstream — hello, Canada, Uruguay, and 10 US states, among others! — Mister Green is now occupying a new space between cannabis culture and fashion, both figuratively and literally.

Mister Green’s brick-and-mortar store opened in Los Angeles a year and a half ago, and has become a kind of subcultural hangout spot on a strip of East Hollywood known for its alternative offerings and distinctly un-LA LA vibe.

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Brownstone

Founded

2017

Location

Los Angeles

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All images provided by Brownstone.

Los Angeles may be in the midst of a fashion renaissance of sorts, but one of its most promising labels comes by way of Danville, Virginia. Identical twins Warner and Waverly Watkins’ Brownstone label melds easy-wearing pieces with a distinct seasonal narrative, taking the casual appeal of most street fashion lines and inserting the philosophical design intent you’d expect from a cerebral runway savant.

The brand’s first season, Fall/Winter 2017’s “The World Won’t Listen,” took cues from militaria and dystopian punk, speaking to fans of labels like UNDERCOVER and Rick Owens. The twins followed that up with Fall/Winter 2018’s “A New Warning,” partnering with Union’s Chris Gibbs as the exclusive stockist of the small but considered collection.

Taking on grandpa-style staples like chunky cardigans and plaid trousers, the Brownstone touch adds raw hems and a cropped length to otherwise dressy pants and a slouchy look and feel to substantial wool knitwear. A military fishtail parka, rendered in a bright blue fabric, is further customized with hand-drawn graphics by Matt McCormick, grounding the garment in the realm of post-punk style.

Spring/Summer 2019’s “I Like It Here, Can I Stay?” further fleshes out the Watkins brothers’ eclectic vision, taking resort wear staples and adding a dose of rockabilly and grunge. The resulting clothes speak to the subcultures of the past yet look unmistakably current.

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SOME WARE

Founded

2015

Location

Los Angeles, USA

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Well-connected Los Angeles artists Cali Thornhill-Dewitt (the man behind Kanye West’s “I Feel Like Pablo” merch) and Brendan Fowler spontaneously started Some Ware as a way to release records, but that soon evolved into a full-fledged line of clothing that bears the slogan “Wear often / wear rough.”

Some Ware produces made-in-USA pieces with recycled cotton and deadstock fabrics to minimize their environmental footprint. Mixing Fowler’s penchant for embroidery and Thornhill-Dewitt’s text-heavy aesthetic with DIY sensibilities, pieces are garment-washed for a worn-in, vintage feel, and adorned with meandering slogans and patchwork patterns.

Earlier this year, Some Ware linked up with Perks and Mini on an upcycling project, where archival P.A.M pieces were given new life with the addition of typographic screen prints.

Fowler and Thornhill-Dewitt’s unique, oddball aesthetic has won them prestigious accounts at Union LA, Slam Jam, and SSENSE, and they’ve kept themselves on the tip of industry tongues via collaborations and projects with friends’ brands, including Angelo Baque’s Awake NY and Tremaine Emory’s No Vacancy Inn.

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NOUNION

Founded

2017

Location

London, UK

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NOUNION is a London-based ready-to-wear label with two seasons under its belt and a penchant for unconventional silhouettes. Ken, NOUNION’s lead designer, prefers to remain more or less anonymous.

He runs the label with his brother and references the travel experiences that inspired his designs. Perhaps due to their exploration of global subcultures as a whole, NOUNION’s designs tend to reject classification, resist trends, and as a result, allow the brand’s menswear to grow in creative and unexpected ways.

The outcome is an overarching aesthetic that can’t be summed up by a trendy buzzword, which is exactly the point. NOUNION’s FW18 season mixed fabrics in an unexpected but cohesive way to play with ideas of contrast and opposites: formal black blazers with a contrast houndstooth pattern under the pocket; graphic sweaters layered with a single green accented sleeve.

NOUNION’s unconventional ethos means it only produces one collection per year, with the brand’s 2018 lineup due to launch at London luxury boutique Browns and online via Farfetch. NOUNION’s vision is one of irreverence, adaptability, and movement, and the styles presented reflect a world in which distinctions and divides continue to blur for the better.

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Rowing Blazers

Founded

2017

Location

New York

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Jack Carlson grew up with the sport of rowing and got so good he ended up competing for the United States at three World Rowing Championships, winning bronze in 2015. The sport got him into clothing as an artifact and he became enamored with the rich history of the blazer.

Carlson documented the blazer as a trophy and symbol of rowing teams around the globe in his 2014 book Rowing Blazers. Three years later, he launched a clothing brand under the same name. It’s an offshoot of his business manufacturing official blazers for rowing institutions, ranging from elite university teams to competitions such as the Henley Royal Regatta.

As its name suggests, Rowing Blazers specializes in traditional prep silhouettes, but focuses on the “lived-in” aspect of the clothing, offering Oxford shirts and blazers with pre-distressed details and seams, as well as pristine new ones that wearers can break in for themselves. A self-described “streetwear omnivore,” Carlson and his label have a self-aware approach to prep that mixes in graphic tees and ironic capsule collections inspired by yuppie-gone-nuts movie American Psycho.

Carlson also shares a passion for rugby and has an expansive collection of vintage rugby shirts, which is why Rowing Blazers’ own rugby jerseys are manufactured by French brand Sports d’Epoque, whose thicker, on-field-inspired styles keep the details legit.

Rowing Blazers’ pop-up in SoHo, NYC isn’t just for selling gear, it’s also a community hub. Giving back to the community is important for the brand. When Rowing Blazers launched its collab with Noah in October, the partnership benefited Row New York, a nonprofit that gives underprivileged youth a chance to succeed via rowing programs and educational help.

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L’HOMME ROUGE

Founded

2013

Location

Stockholm, Sweden

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Founded by John-Ruben and Carl-Johan Holtback, Axel Trägårdh, and Jonatan Härngren, who met as students, Stockholm label L’Homme Rouge has quietly steered away from the minimalist stereotype that gets thrown at so many Scandinavian brands.

Like many of its Nordic contemporaries, L’Homme Rouge is anchored in staples, but what sets the brand apart is its quirky details and unorthodox fabrics, such as vegan leather and crease-proof wool blends.

For SS18’s “Jante’s Playhouse” collection, the brand satirized Swedish modesty by reworking conservative uniforms typical in Nordic states. The “Law of Jante” is a code of conduct in the region that depicts boasting and extravagance as in poor taste.

For its FW18 “Leaving Home” collection, L’Homme Rouge envisioned a troupe of youthful travelers wearing hiker-style clothing with motifs inspired by wallpaper patterns and flowers found in the Swedish highlands.

The brand’s taste for contemporary fabrics meant L’Homme Rouge was awarded the European Woolmark Prize for its contemporary use of wool. Previous Woolmark finalists have included Cottweiler and Public School, and the prize offers labels increased visibility in a crowded menswear scene.

That is evident by the way the brand has since expanded beyond its home market and is now stocked at high-fashion mega-retailer SSENSE. L’Homme Rouge also operates its own retail space on Stockholm’s Södermalm island and presents its collections in runway shows at Stockholm Fashion Week, too.

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FTP

Founded

2010

Location

Los Angeles

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All images provided by FTP.

Zac Clark’s FUCKTHEPOPULATION is a rebellious breath of fresh air in a super-saturated streetwear market. Its very name channels the heyday of the culture, when streetwear was more of a middle finger to luxury brands than a welcome collaborator. This attitude was apparent when FTP debuted a lookbook on Pornhub that consisted of people having very explicit sex in a dingy hotel room while showing off the latest FTP products.

Clark is keenly aware of the history he’s tapping into, citing Rick Klotz’s Freshjive and Erik Brunetti’s FUCT as brands that piqued his interest as a high school freshman. A few years later, he interned at Keith Hufnagel’s HUF, doing warehouse work and learning the basics of the business. His career dovetailed with the rise of hip-hop collective Odd Future, another community of Cali kids similarly unafraid to speak (and dress) their minds.

FTP’s slow and steady rise is a rarity in a world fueled by illusory Instagram clout and the idea that success only counts if it’s overnight. Instead, Clark channels the DIY spirit that got streetwear to where it is today, collaborating with the very designers and brands that inspired him, including a series of collabs with FUCT.

The brand also has a community-focused aspect. In conjunction with our feature about FTP in Highsnobiety magazine Issue 16, Clark released a limited-edition tee honoring the legacy of rapper Fredo Santana, with the proceeds supporting Santana’s child.

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UNITED STANDARD

Founded

2015

Location

Milan, Italy

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Giorgio Di Salvo, who also does art direction for Marcelo Burlon and graphic design, is an all-around fashion virtuoso with his finger on the pulse of a city undergoing a fashion renaissance: Milan.

Di Salvo’s label United Standard began in 2015, infiltrating the menswear market with car-obsessed visuals and an off-kilter selection of technical materials such as super-lightweight Mylar, the insulation material more commonly used to make space blankets.

The brand’s modus operandi is pretty different from its competitors. United Standard’s website has a beta feel, like a DIY ’90s web page with graphics and images placed haphazardly. Instead of a typical webstore, United Standard can be purchased via an authenticated eBay account, or via Bandcamp, a platform normally reserved for upcoming musicians.

But don’t let that put you off — you can also find United Standard at prestigious retailers such as Barneys, MATCHESFASHION.COM, and Antonioli.

The brand’s recent “UNITYISM” capsule brought in Some Ware and P.A.M for a logo-heavy collab of T-shirts, long-sleeve sweats, and outdoor ponchos. Meanwhile, a Virgil Abloh x United Standard collab served as the third chapter of the brand’s “Language Saga,” which places contradictory statements and meanings in the same message.

Don’t expect Di Salvo to coast on his collaborations, though. Like all Italian engineering, United Standard has something special under the hood and its engine is starting to roar.

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JUNGLESJUNGLES

Founded

2015

Location

Melbourne, Australia

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“Involved in everything but not a part of anything, too punk to be a hippy, but too hippie for punk” is how Jungles Jungles founder Jack Ferguson describes his label. The brand is notable for its anti-establishment graphics, pseudo-apathetic slogans (“Nothing Really Matters”), and psychedelic references.

The label’s slogans riff on the countercultural teachings of ’60s writers such as LSD guru Timothy Leary, whose famous “Turn on, tune in, drop out” phrase can be found on Jungles Jungles’ tees (and in its original video form on the brand’s website).

The graphics, all designed by Ferguson, range from anthropomorphized roses and scorpions giving the middle finger to a pair of cartoon handguns having sex with “Make Love Not War” printed above them. You get the idea.

Jungles Jungles’ irreverent sloganeering has seen the brand win prestigious accounts at global destination stores including Dover Street Market Ginza in Tokyo, BEAUTY & YOUTH, Bodega, and VFILES.

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