Determining the Top 10 Breakthrough Streetwear Labels of 2006 was not an easy task. With new T-Shirt companies and start up urban clothing lines emerging at even faster rates all over the globe, finding those labels that really made an impact this year became a much harder thing to do. So what constitutes a â€œbreakthroughâ€ year for a brand? Itâ€™s really tough to pinpoint, but the requirements for making the list have been narrowed down to this; quality of products, design, overall aesthetic or theme, and exposure.
Since â€œbreakthroughâ€ is the keyword in this collective roster, the labels chosen for this Top 10 feature were brands that are fairly new to the game. A solid growing following, as well as specific breakthrough moments in the year were also considered in further solidifying the brandâ€™s place on the list. So donâ€™t fret when you donâ€™t see your favorite label with this group of names. Theyâ€™re probably either already well established brands, or names that are still young and under the radar in industry standards. With that said, Format Mag presents to you its Top 10 List of Streetwear Brands in 2006.
This label from Fountain Valley, California deserves a spot on this list because of their growth this year alone. What stands out about Orisue is that they promote positivity through their label. With shirt designs that include images of Malcolm X, J. Dilla, Ghandi, Barry White, John Lennon, and even Bill Clinton, Orisue mixes both fun and enlightenment in their products. Plus in a scene where egos run rampant and humility is rare, Orisue is a breath of fresh air to those seeking something more positive in the streetwear community.
Breakthrough Moment: Nas rocks Orisue at an on-stage performance.
More Info: http://www.orisue.com
Sometimes a label doesnâ€™t need a theme to make their presence in street fashion relevant. For Schwipe creators Misa Glisovic and Tim Everist, creating â€œfun stupid stuffâ€ is just enough. The beauty behind the brand is that it connects with kids without having to feed them whatâ€™s cool. Schwipe is not about corporate rebellion, politics, hip-hop, or skateboarding like most street labels are today. Scwhipe defines their own â€œcoolâ€ by being mysterious and fun, and thatâ€™s really all it takes to make this emerging Aussie brand work.
Breakthrough Moment: None. They donâ€™t need one.
More Info: http://www.schwipe.com.au
New York based label Reason has seen much growth and expansion this year. With their designs and aesthetics deeply rooted in downtown New York culture, Reason came out with a slew of products that mixed flashy street style and high fashion. The label also ventured beyond the T-Shirt game by releasing hoodies, caps, and even their very own line of laser engraved stainless steel flasks. Another fine accomplishment this year was Reasonâ€™s collaborative project with artist No Pattern (Chuck Anderson) that included a collection of tees, sweaters, and bandanas.
Breakthrough Moment: Monster Plaid hoodies, tees, and caps.
More Info: http://www.reasonclothing.com
Across the seas and into the little island country of Malaysia is an independent label known as False. Le Messie, the mastermind behind the brand is one of streetwearâ€™s most innovative and hardest working individuals. To give you an insight of the quality of False products, each garment produced is hand-screened/hand-finished by Le Messie along with the help of his wife. So every piece made is given careful attention to detail to ensure quality. False shirts sell out pretty fast, so act quickly if you plan on owning one.
Breakthrough Moment: False collaborative tees with Lupe Fiasco and Blacksmith.
More Info: http://www.wearefalse.com
6. Lemar and Dauley
Lemar and Dauley hit it off big this year with their line of colorful 80â€™s and 90â€™s retro inspired collections. What started off as one of New Yorkâ€™s most sought after T-Shirt lines soon grew to add hoodies and sweaters in their repertoire. With designs that convey nostalgia in sports, music, and videogames, Lemar and Dauley soon became the â€œitâ€ brand in New York amongst the retro fashion crowd. Images such as Biggie, Jordan, Agassi, and Patrick Ewing in colorful prints and graphics soon became the signature style L&D is known for.
Breakthrough Moment: Phenomenon x Lemar & Dauley hoodie.
More Info: http://www.lemaranddauley.com
5. Greedy Genius
What a year itâ€™s been for the only footwear company in this Top 10 list. Through new designs in color and material combinations, Greedy Genius made their presence known as one of the freshest sneaker brands in â€™06. They also recently expanded their line late this year through a collection of shirts and hoodies that bear the same colorful signature styles as their shoes. And if that wasnâ€™t enough, Greedy Genius was chosen by Burrell Communications to appear in a Toyota Avalon commercial paying tribute to young entrepreneurs.
Breakthrough Moment: Greedy Genius in Toyota Avalon Ad.
More Info: http://www.greedygenius.com
4. Crooks and Castles
Crime does pay, or at least making a clothing line themed around thievery and villainy will. With shirts containing slogans such as, â€œHonor Amongst Thieves,â€ â€œCanâ€™t Stop the Crooks,â€ and â€œGod, Guns & Money,â€ Crooks & Castles rose to popularity in the hip-hop community as a clothing label for the criminal minded artist. Rappers such as Jay-Z and Rick Ross have been spotted reppinâ€™ C&C. With their recent success, the label just released a new collection of hoodies and jackets. A magnum air pistol release is also in the works.
Breakthrough Moment: Jay-Z rocks Crooks & Castles at awards event.
More Info: http://www.crooksncastles.com
The brainchild of brothers Donwan and Emmet Harrell (Akademiks), PRPS has become one of the premier denim brands of the year. The Harrell brothers are more than just denim aficionados. They are masters in the art of producing high end quality denim. If you look at a PRPS jean, you can tell that each piece is made with careful attention to detail. They are all put through different treatments, washes and hand-done details, giving
It a finish like no other. Also, PRPS denim comes in a variety of styles, from boot-cut, straight, to relaxed fit.
Breakthrough Moment: Jhung Yuro/PRPS Denim Sneaker
More Info: http://www.prpsgoods.com
Swagger and Phenomenon are two labels just as equally fresh as each other. Created by two Japanese rap artists, Big-O and Iggy, Swagger and Phenomenon is Japanâ€™s answer to whatâ€™s been missing in American hip-hop fashion. Phenomenon brings the cool Japanese twist to hip-hop wear, mixing loud colorful prints with flashy designs and images. Swagger on the other hand is the toned down version of Phenomenon, bringing a style that showcases the quality of the pieces without having to put too much emphasis on flash.
Breakthrough Moment: Everyone from Fat Joe, to Kanye West, to Lupe Fiasco rocking Swagger/Phenomenon.
1. BBC/Ice Cream
Sitting atop this list is Pharrell Williamsâ€™ very own BBC/Ice Cream line. Playing off the success of BAPE, Pharrell garnered the assistance of Nigo to create a clothing brand that would appeal to those looking for a more colorful form of hip-hop wear. Anything from bright flamingo pink varsity jackets to yellow all-over print tees became part of the labelâ€™s playful attitude and style. It was a big year for BBC/Ice Cream as the whole hip-hop community went bonkers for the newest collections.
Breakthrough Moment: The drop of their fall collection with Jadakiss as the main face for their ad campaign.
More Info: http://www.bbcicecream.com