Established in 1992 in Hollis, Queens, FUBU was the outbreak line representing African Americans- or so we thought.
Remember those t-shirts with the “FB” logo were the must-have item in the ’90’s? Rap phenom L.L. Cool J was a spokesperson and there was even an LP released for the label sake. So one must ask after a company grosses over $350 million, known throughout the hip-hop industry; what the hell happened?
An acronym meaning For Us By Us, the label was established to be on the level of NIKE- a company that was mandatory in the the inner streets of (any city) New York. The founders, including Daymond John, believed that Nike was a great company but didn’t do much to give back to the African American community. Controversy surrounding its name became known that the label was discriminate to non-African Americans, but aren’t the majority of the successful fashion labels created today by Caucasians and very rarely fit the body-types of non-African Americans?
For Spring 2010, the label is adding suits and tuxedos to its already established, casual t-shirt and jeans designs. My question would be (and is), will the public and demographic they are trying to reach respond the way they did in the 90’s? If my memory serves me right, there was a rumor saying the name of the label did not fit it’s original plans and was not fully owned by African Americans- which made many not respect the label. Not to mention evolving past Fat Albert and Harlem Globetrotters inspired clothing.
None the less, we’re talking about a company that did have the means of expansion, earning an investment from Samsung in the 90’s. Will their suits make the cut? With ready-to-wear evolving past jerseys, John says he wishes to aim to a younger crowd with price points around $65, “Carhartt-meets-Abercrombie & Fitch”.
hmmmm… I’ll be idle-by watching with a sharp eye and having my hand out to feel these fabrics in the Spring. Hey, Phat Farm‘s trying it, at what point do we support our own? But really the public has to decide: has the label “died out”? Time will tell. ~ C.M.