Building a Streetwear Brand Through Social Media
It really makes you wonder what makes a person spend $100 something essentially printed on Gildan or AAA quality shirts. Mind you this isn’t Egyptian cotton or anything, these are the exact same shirts I used to get at my local Target for 3 for $20. Without any hesitation, I opened up www.beentrillbeentrill.com and mindlessly copped two of their shirts. After the transaction, I realized how powerful social media is when it comes to marketing for start-up brands now. Let’s take a look back, LRG featured Kanye West in its hey-day. A Bathing Ape was a pioneer in bringing the hip-hop culture to Asia with its introduction of Pharrell and his fashion-forward designs. However, more and more brands nowadays are taking their branding and guerrilla tactics to the Internet.
Have you heard of Joel Fuller? The ex-Banana Republic employee took to the Internet about a year back and set off his guerrilla tactical Instagram/Tumblr campaign. The majority of the streetwear world knows Joel by another name: 40oz Van. The man is a genius. He shows up to VIP events, rubs shoulders with elite fashionistas, throws his signature hat on their head and bang – he makes $20,000+ on a single design. Are the designs he pumps out revolutionary? Are they the best quality? From personal experience both are simply answered, no. I waited two months to get the hats I ordered off his website and I am still waiting for my order to be fulfilled till this day. Aside from the some lackluster quality hats and questionable customer service, the man knows how to get money. He has the entire streetwear community buzzing over these designer font hats, but why? The tactics that he has adopted is the future of marketing. If you have an idea, don’t be shy. Share the idea with community and who knows, you might become the next 40oz Van.
“Pyrex stirs turned into Cavali furs” – Pusha T. I remember listening to “Mr. Me Too” by the Clipse in middle school and wondering what were they talking about? The Neptunes’ revolutionary sound drew me in, but Pusha T threw me a curve ball with that line. “What the hell was that?” I’ll always remember asking my teacher what Pyrex was. Growing up in a private school, no one knew what I was talking about. Fast forward to 2013. The most controversial line that has come to fruition in 2013 is Pyrex Vision by Virgil Abloh. One of Kanye West’s style advisers, Virgil has gone about creating a cult following in social media outlets. Similar to 40oz Van, Virgil makes an effort to push his product by interacting with his followers. Whether it’s commenting on your Instagram with a “100” emoji or featuring your image on his Tumblr, one feels as though they have a connection with the Chicago-based Abloh. In reality, he doesn’t know you and you just bought an item that is 700% initial. However, social media has made the intimacy of getting in touch with your favorite “designer” way easier. I can’t image contacting James Jebbia five years ago on Facebook and having him respond (he wouldn’t respond today either). I really enjoy seeing the hate on this topic though. Pyrex is the most ironic brand that I remember to date. Its drug reference to cocaine is noticeable with the correlation to Pyrex Tupperware; however, suburban consumers are eating it up. Kids that have never been exposed to that environment are now living vicariously through Virgil’s clothing line. The motto of Pyrex’s 2013 line is “The Youth Will Always Win.” This is true, but I think the real winner here is Mr. Abloh.
Whether you’re an aspiring designer, blogger, musician, etc., today’s day and age is making it easier for one to share their ideas with the masses. One can easily interact with the community they follow and push their products/ideas easier than any era. My bank account still hurts from copping items from these pseudo designers; however, I like what they have done. They are pioneers to the new age of marketing. They capitalized on using the tool of social media and in return have seen their brand and bank accounts grow. So… how many of you reading this owns a Pyrex shirt or Balmain-inspired snapback hat?