Top 10 Breakthrough Streetwear Labels of 2006


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 “breakthrough” year for a brand? It’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 “breakthrough” 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 brand’s place on the list. So don’t fret when you don’t see your favorite label with this group of names. They’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.

10. Orisue

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.


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9. Schwipe

Sometimes a label doesn’t need a theme to make their presence in street fashion relevant. For Schwipe creators Misa Glisovic and Tim Everist, creating “fun stupid stuff” is just enough. The beauty behind the brand is that it connects with kids without having to feed them what’s cool. Schwipe is not about corporate rebellion, politics, hip-hop, or skateboarding like most street labels are today. Scwhipe defines their own “cool” by being mysterious and fun, and that’s really all it takes to make this emerging Aussie brand work.

Breakthrough Moment: None. They don’t need one.


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8. Reason

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 Reason’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.


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7. False

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 streetwear’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.


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6. Lemar and Dauley

Lemar and Dauley hit it off big this year with their line of colorful 80’s and 90’s retro inspired collections. What started off as one of New York’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 “it” 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.


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5. Greedy Genius

What a year it’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 ’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 wasn’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.


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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, “Honor Amongst Thieves,” “Can’t Stop the Crooks,” and “God, Guns & Money,” 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 reppin’ 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.


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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


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2. Swagger/Phenomenon

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 Japan’s answer to what’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.


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1. BBC/Ice Cream

Sitting atop this list is Pharrell Williams’ 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 label’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.


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Felson Sajonas

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  1. Could this have been more stupid? This was obviously written by a person who know’s NOTHING about streetwear. Stop trying to walk in unfamiliar waters because you will get LOST as is evident from this crappy excuse for an article. BBC at number one??? Is that a joke? Where is 10 deep?PRPS ???ha ha.. I’m hoping this is some kind of joke because It read’s like one.

  2. Much luv on the “breakdown”… but im more of a fan of Vzyco(veez-a-co) Vss Brand…their work iz pretty bananas’ if u ask me…its a new streetwear brand as well, i was able to view a few tees and hoodies…and all i have to say iz they have so shit for the paved runway…for real…hopefully they bless the streets in the spring like i was told…much luv to all….

  3. FORMATMAG!! 10 deep has been around for years but only “broke through ” in 06. Damn near every brand on this list has been around for a couple years. How can you say the breakthrough moment for L & D was the collabo with phenomenon?? Nuff said.

  4. False is in Singapore….. duh* OMG Orisue, you kidin me??

    Swagger, Schwipe and False should have been breakthrough contenders for top 3 placements.

  5. in all honesty. no top 10 is either right or wrong. im sure if you guys wrote your own top 10, some of your choices would get burned as well by others. just glad i’ve caused enough controversy for you to take notice. thanks for the feedback… both negative and positive.

  6. breakthrough – Kanye rocking Schwipe in Melbourne in December. where were you?

  7. prps jeans r doin it 4 me rite now, those babies r doing 2 me wut diesel did 4 me 6 yrs ago. killa denims. more grease 2 ur eblow.

  8. I’m really feelin this list…this is where it’s at for me. I been rockin Abercrombie & Fitch for too long and this i what i need to really flip the script.

  9. i agree with oh dude….prps is what’s really hot right now….but would you mind telling those still rockin evisu and feelin hot about it??

  10. Wtf fuck prps cause it was made by akademiks which is gay. Also what the fuck is vzyco never heard of that are you trying to put hype on your own brand or something. And why are you wearing abercrombie and fitch in the first place, only fags wear them.

  11. kate and becky says:

    We are from england :)
    We would like to know how to buy your merchandise ?

  12. Bananas yo…vzyco (veez-a-co) vss brand is for the extroverted gays who wear streetwear…like myself because we got so much flavor its crazy yo. Mad connections and again….much love to all

  13. Yo. check it out…VZYCO (veez-a-co) vss brand is my streetwear line alone…its hittin real big and since so many of us extroverted gays are holdin it down on the flavor front…im jumpin on dat streetwear bandwagon…much love to all
    *Pro Ballers even sport* ….peep game yo

    Miko B.

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