The year of 2020 has definitely been a challenging one on many fronts. But, one thing that’s really stood out, especially since COVID-19 reared its ugly head earlier this year, is how art and creativity have helped carry us through it all. It’s helped us raise money for those in need, keep local businesses afloat, spread powerful messages, celebrate graduations in unique ways, and given us much needed distractions from the seriousness of the times.
Streetwear and decorated apparel, in general, has absolutely been a huge source of this creativity and support. Many in the streetwear community are among those, who, even while struggling, have used their popularity and creativity to put a smile on people’s faces, while trying to stay in business at the same time.
The Social Distancing Club
Take, for example, a new streetwear company “The Social Distancing Club,” out of Los Angeles, CA. They spawned from a desire to turn social distancing into something that felt cool and positive vs something negative, in an effort to encourage people to do it. The two founders also started the line out as a way to help the World Central Kitchen, a group working across the country on safely distributing individually packaged fresh meals to communities in need. For every piece of apparel (which consists of t-shirts, crop tops, hoodies and of course, face masks) that is sold, five dollars will go to the WCK.
Being a musician these days may be tougher than it’s ever been. The evolution of how we consume our favorite tunes has taken some money out of musicians’ pockets and forced them to get creative with how they make some of it back.
Gone are the days when fans would rush to the stores to buy that new CD, or visit iTunes to download their album. Today, most of us simply stream our music and the rise of these services has made tour and merch revenue much more important to artists worldwide. Business Insider found that the highest paid act in 2017, U2, made $54 million in total revenue. About 94% of that came from touring and less than 4% came from streaming or album sales. Imagine what that means for a local band or an artist without the cache of U2.
Streaming Is Sucking Artists Dry
According to Billboard.com, by November 2019 album sales fell 19% compared to the same point in 2018. “And, for the full year of 2018, album sales dropped by 17.7% to 141 million — the lowest number of albums sold in a year since Nielsen Music began electronically tracking sales in 1991.” This is largely due to streaming.
NPR interviewed independent musician, Erin McKeown, and found that her accountant mentioned she was only making $0.004 per play on Spotify. At that rate, it would take 250 streams to earn $1 in royalties and 2,500 to earn a typical album download cost of $10. Keep in mind that is because McKeown is an independent artist, she gets 100% of her streaming royalties, but if she had a label, she’d be splitting even that small amount of earnings with them too.
The coronavirus has recently made things even more dire for musicians. With the pandemic effectively shutting down their #1 revenue stream, most acts have been forced to cancel or reschedule their tours. So how are musicians surviving these days?
Iconic sports brand adidas has made a huge sustainable splash—and the world has taken notice. That’s why it’s so exciting for S&S to be the exclusive distributor of premium adidas products to the wholesale market. We’ve now introduced the wholesale market to more than 30 adidas styles that contain recycled polyester, or are made from 100% recycled polyester, and more are on the way.
The prestige of this brand, coupled with its compelling recycled-product story and sustainable message, speaks to Gen X and Millennial end-users in a whole new way.
This year, and into 2021, distributors and decorators should start embracing the opportunity to present clients with adidas’ sustainable story and styles, as people are looking for more responsible brands to buy from. Here’s a few reasons why.
Celebrity Love for Adidas Is Blowing Up
When you take adidas’ sustainable efforts and then add in major star power, you get an unbeatable formula for brand success. Collaborations with artists like Pharrell Williams and Kanye West have led to the creation of highly sought after sneaker collections. Beyoncé’s “Ivy Park” athletic apparel line, just launched—capturing more of the urban and streetwear markets. Their newest brand ambassador, NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes, is the inspiration behind their recently launched collection, Pat’s Closet, and the talent keeps on flocking to adidas.
Off-White founder Virgil Abloh was born in Chicago in 1980 to Ghanian immigrant parents. After earning an undergraduate degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology, he established a Chicago art gallery and streetwear boutique called RSVP Gallery.
Around this time, Abloh interned at high-fashion label, Fendi, in Rome, where he connected with rap superstar Kanye West. West made Abloh the creative director of his agency Donda, where he designed sets for West’s concert tours and created the artwork for West and Jay-Z’s album Watch the Throne.
In 2009, Abloh and West launched Pyrex Vision, an innovative streetwear design company. According to Highsnobiety, Pyrex Vision’s first garments consisted of Ralph Lauren flannel shirts purchased for $40, screen printed with the word “Pyrex” and the number 23 (a nod to the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan), and resold for $550.
In 2013, Pyrex Vision relaunched as Off-White ℅ Virgil Abloh. The name is a reference to “the gray area between black and white.”
Off-White often uses quotation marks in its designs, with Highsnobiety saying that, “By presenting words as citations, Abloh is taking them out of context, and questioning their seriousness. When he puts “Sculpture” on the side of a handbag, he’s provoking the viewer. What’s the difference between a handbag and a piece of art, really?“
Off-White’s Fashion Aesthetic
A quick look at Off-White’s spring/summer 2020 collection shows how much they’ve expanded their offering over the years. Their line covers everything (Tracksuits; bombers; puffer jackets; sweatshirts for men; jackets, crop tops; dresses and activewear for women). All of these styles use a mixture of both muted and bright hues, so there’s something for everyone. Brand lovers can even extend the style to their living space, with home goods like blankets, towels, pillows and more.
A Rise In Popularity
According to an interview conducted by Business Of Fashion, Federica Levato, a partner at Bain & Company, says:
“Customers are becoming younger, and that is very good for the mid- and longer-term survival of this industry. There is a big market of €2.5 million for luxury T-shirts, for example, that is growing very fast.”
Off-White has merged the worlds of contemporary art, high-fashion and hip hop culture in a way that’s appealed to consumers of all ages, from teenagers on up. With 10.3 million followers on Instagram, the brand has definitely used social media to grab the attention of that young generation of buyers and keep their image fresh. That influence has also demanded the attention of major brands and fashion designers around the world, allowing them to keep creating more collaborative collections that people are continuously lining up for.
In 2014, Abloh debuted collections at Paris Fashion Week and has shown no signs of slowing down, establishing the brand’s first concept store in Tokyo and followed that up by launching a furniture collection called Grey Area in 2016. One year later, he was awarded the British Fashion Award for Urban Luxe Brand. Following a steady rise in popularity, in 2018, Abloh was named artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s menswear division.
One thing is for sure: Off-White isn’t going anywhere. According to HYPEBEAST, during Q3 2019, it beat luxury brand Gucci as “Hottest Brand.” It held on to the top spot for Q4 2019, with Gucci and Balenciaga taking the second and third spots, respectively.
Throughout his career, Abloh has also formed partnerships with a variety of brands, including Nike, Levis, Jimmy Choo, Warby Parker, Sunglass Hut, Converse, Dr. Martens, Timberland and more. He’s even gone as far as collaborating with IKEA, and creating exhibits like the one at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, which launched in 2019.
So, what’s next for Abloh and Off-White? Footwear News reports that Off-White and the Jordan brand will release new Off-White x Air Jordan 5 sneakers later this year. Virgil Abloh and Off-White are certainly here to stay.
Streetwear has gone in many different directions that have, at times, seemed a little overboard. With companies like Supreme going as far as putting their logo on an Oreo cookie, there seems to be no limit on what a streetwear company may do next.
Enter face masks. Although wearing them has been fairly common in a few countries, here in the states, fashionable masks are generally an unnecessary luxury that just seemed like another over-the-top reach for more sales.
However, times have changed and masks have suddenly become one of the hottest pieces of streetwear on the market. How hot are they?
Garment-dyed apparel is hot in fashion right now, but not as hot as sustainability is becoming. Awareness of the fashion industry’s effect on our environment and human rights is at an all-time high, and no one is more conscious of this than today’s college students. How seriously are they taking it?
Forever 21 failed to address the growing concerns of its main audience in Gen Z, and is now filing for bankruptcy. College campuses like the University of Massachusetts, are dedicating whole sections of their stores, specifically to highlight sustainable spiritwear. Fashion schools are starting to implement courses that educate students on the impact of the industry’s practices, and some institutions may even go as far as making understanding these concerns arequirement that affects your overall grade. All of this is signaling that a shift is happening in the expectations of young consumers throughout the world.
As the new shopping generation’s demands for a renewed sense of corporate
responsibility becomes louder and louder, brands and organizations nationwide
are taking notice and taking action. So the question is, what does this mean
for your business?
He may not be from Los Angeles or New York City, but his hometown of Chicago is a booming hub for entrepreneurs, and streetwear designer, Joe Freshgoods, has certainly made a name for himself beyond the third coast. His talent for storytelling, eye for art and passion for his hometown are a big part of why the Freshgoods brand has thrived over the years.
He Started Storytelling Through Apparel
Freshgoods went to the prestigious Lane Tech High School, on the north side of Chicago, and told Black Enterprise that he’d always been into style and unique looks. “In those days, I was trying to look different so I could stand out from the crowd. I had my homegirl sew bandanas on my jeans, and everybody went crazy. I realized that people like something I had only thought of a few days before. That was my ‘aha’ moment.”
Protecting your intellectual property as a creative individual is something of great importance in today’s world of copycat infringement. Your ideas are unique, innovative, a product of your hard work, so you deserve the credit! Copyrights were created for that reason, and we’re here to explain one aspect of copywriting in particular: protecting your designs on printed merchandise.
Copyright.gov explains that the Act consists of “pictorial, graphic and sculptural works include two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of fine, graphic and applied art, photographs, prints and art reproductions, maps, globes, charts, diagrams, models and technical drawings, including architectural plans.” Paintings, sculptures, photographs and anything that satisfies visual artwork could fall into this category, as well.
5 Steps to Copyrighting
Once the creator files to protect their original creations, which must be “fixed in a tangible medium of expression,” and also exist in physical form according to Printful.com, the copyright goes into immediate effect. Authors can register their group of works on printed merchandise of no more than 10 unpublished items by the same person.
1. See If You’re Eligible
Copyright.gov has strict eligibility requirements in place in order to register a group of unpublished works. You will have to confirm that you understand and meet these requirements before registering with your application and filing fee.
Baseball is finally back, and seeing how much it’s been missed, shows the huge impact it’s had on our culture throughout the years. None of which have been more obvious than the introduction of the cornerstone accessory we know now as, “the baseball cap.”
Not only is it used as a way for fans to showcase love for their favorite team, but it’s also become a big part of making an impactful fashion statement. But how did we get to the modern cap we know today? We thought it’d be fun to find out, so let’s take a quick look.
Why the Baseball Cap?
Epic Sports points out that a big part of why the baseball cap is so dominant in American culture, is because of how versatile it can be. Caps can be worn forward, backward, or tipped to side. They show off the logos of our favorite teams and brands. They can become a billboard for a message we wanted to spread. And, with the right color combinations, they complete our fashion statements from top to bottom. But even more importantly, they also help shield your eyes from the sun, which is arguably, why it was invented for baseball players in the first place.
The Cap’s History
There was a baseball team back in 1849, out of New York City called, the Knickerbockers. During the games, they would wear straw caps on their heads to give them cover from the sun, which became the first version of the cap we now know and love. Merino wool caps, which are a closer version of today’s cap, came onto the scene shortly afterwards.
Players then started to experiment with various versions of that, eventually leading to a uniform cap that showed up on the Detroit Tigers, in the early 1900’s, sporting the team’s logo. According to Epic Sports, the stitched bill we’re used to seeing started around 1903, with the sporting goods company, Spaulding.
Fashion is an ever-changing landscape. Each year sees new colors, styles, and materials fall in and out of fashionistas graces. While this evolving aspect of fashion keeps things interesting, it’s also contributed to unsustainable practices in order to quickly turn out the next hit trend. Statistics show that the average consumer is now buying 60 percent more clothes than they did at the beginning of the century, but only keeping garments on average for half as long. Because of this, a growing concern for consumers worldwide is that unwanted and discarded apparel is ending up in landfills, or our oceans, and they’re demanding a change.
Sustainable Is In
Fashion follows the trends, and the past few years have shown the trends leaning heavily towards sustainability. One study showed that internet searches for “sustainable fashion” tripled between 2016 and 2019. This trend is led strongly by Gen Z and Millennial consumers, who together represent $350 billion in spending power in the US alone. Statistics show that nine in ten Gen Z consumers believe companies have an obligation and responsibility to address environmental issues.