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We don’t need another streetwear label

Starting a t-shirt brand is the new black

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Since the dawn of e-commerce there’s been an abundance of business savvy entrepreneurs diving into the fiscally volatile industry of online retail—strapped with a great idea, a gap in the market, and a hefty investment plan. Somewhere between the births of social influencers, aesthetically pleasing rap merch, and the height of Aliexpress, the infamous Instagram streetwear label was born.

It’s left me wondering if one man’s trash really is another man’s treasure? Or better yet, is one man’s bootleg HBA really another man’s Off-White? If that’s the case then how did we get here?

We’re living in a time when I scroll through my feed to find yet another friend-of-a-friend has released a line of apparel. Don’t get me wrong I’m never here to knock the hustle but I’m definitely pulling up to the function to question the existence of everything.

More than 90% of all online business start-ups end in failure within the first four months. That means your ingenious idea to create ironic meme tees probably won’t fund your insatiable thirst for assorted illicits, Supreme bricks, or brunch. However, what it lacks in tangible dollars, it will make up in virtual clout and I know which one I’d prefer.

I don’t’ believe business ideas have gotten progressively worse over time, though I do believe the ease of access to cheap overseas manufacturing and one-stop ecommerce platforms have removed the perceived necessity of a business model. As we don’t need to sell-in an idea, it seems that people have dismissed the need to question the validity of their big plan. You know, basic questions like, “is there a gap in the market?” or “is there interest outside of my direct network?”

If passion trumps the get-rich-quick-scheme as motivation, then I’ve got to ask—why the immediate jump to commercialism or mass production for profit? You know what’s cuter than a run of 200 rare print tees? One of one. As in just for you and not for the timeline. Save your money for selfish indulgences and not for monthly domain subscription fees.

If the idea of selfishness isn’t striking a chord then lets get on a level right quick. Where is the community support for the fledgling labels that already exist? When there is little point of difference between your idea and the ideas that exist within your network, then aren’t you brands cannibalising the landscape?

Perhaps you don’t identify as a business savvy mogul and your true motivator is to satisfy your creative needs. Define creative. Similar to the meme that says access to a DSLR doesn’t make you a photographer, having aesthetic preferences doesn’t make you a creative director.

While I love a good roast, I’m not using this story as a medium to air out my passive aggressions toward the topic but merely interested in seeing a hefty increase in authenticity.

Whether for coin or to fulfil a grand dream, we have a timeline full of brands wanting to sell us half-cooked ideas at premium rates. Don’t buy in to the hype.

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