James Whitner is an American fashion entrepreneur and the owner of streetwear boutiques Social Status, A Ma Maniere, and A.P.B. A native of Pittsburgh, Whitner grew up in an impoverished area of the city, with both his parents battling addiction and many of his friends dying before adulthood. Between 1997 and 2001, Whitner attended the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration. In 2004, Whitner was involved in an incident where he was shot, spurring his decision to move away to Charlotte, North Carolina to pursue his dream of opening a streetwear store. The first retail space he opened was Flava Factory in 2005, that had two locations in Charlotte which were both closed when Whitner decided to reinvest in Social Status. Opened in 2011, Social Status originally began as a denim brand, before Whitner expanded the company into a select clothing and sneaker store. Alongside its in-house label, Social Status also carries brands such as COMMES des GARCONS, Billionaire Boys Club, Nike Sportswear, Play Cloths, and The Hundreds, and currently has five branches in Pittsburgh and North Carolina. Owing to the success of Social Status, Whitner was also able to open A Ma Maniere and A.P.B.
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