5 Los Angeles Streetwear Brands That Should Be On Your Radar
The City of Angels is a melting pot of pop culture, arts and fashion. In this feature we take a look at 5 Los Angeles streetwear brands that should be on your radar.
Over the past few years, Los Angeles has managed to carve out it’s own reputation and put it’s name on the map. However it’s not just full of YouTube stars and celebrities. Some of streetwears’ most sought after brands started their journey there. Here’s 5 Los Angeles born streetwear brands that you should know about.
Fear of God founder, Jerry Lorenzo, created the minimal, high-end, streetwear brand in 2013. The pieces that the brand produce are inspired by the ‘non secular material’ that Lorenzo would consume during his childhood with figures such as Kurt Kobain and Allen Iverson. The name ‘Fear of God’ came from a time in Jerry Lorenzo’s life where he was realigning and rethinking his life and faith with the name ‘Fear of God’ holding quite a literal meaning. Before the brand was launched, the designer was working for high-end fashion brands including Dolce & Gabbana during his earlier career in retail. Following this, he decided to move onto managing athletes. These two backgrounds can be seen in the pieces that Fear of God release.
Using an athleisure approach with some of the garments going into grungy silhouettes as seen in the Essential lines. While Lorenzo has always had a cult like following, 2016 saw a surge in popularity for the brand. After designing Justin Bieber’s Purpose Tour merch, Jerry Lorenzo and the Fear of God label was pushed further into the mainstream. Following this, Fear of God has had a number of collaborations with brands including Pacsun, Converse and most recently, Nike. Always keeping a contemporary, toned down colour palette, Fear of God is for those streetwear enthusiasts looking for quality over big, brash labels.
Created in 2014, Braindead is a post-punk, sci-fi mashup of art and design. The owners, Kyle Ng and Ed Davis, describe Brain Dead as an art collective before they would call themselves a brand. “The fashion side came second”, Kyle describes in an interview with JOURNEYMEN; discussing how when he first moved to LA he would constantly visit the local comic book store where they sold weird and interesting Japanese toys that was part of the early inspiration behind the brand’s roots.
There’s no limits to where the brand will go. From handmade coffee tables to incense holders all the way through to sneaker collaborations with some of the biggest brands in the game including Converse and Reebok, Ng and Davis really bring a fresh, forward thinking look on the streetwear scene. When looking at the eclectic designs that Brain Dead use within their work, you can see how much art and culture inspires them. Jump over to their website to get a small insight into the variety of work the collective has produced.
If you’re even remotely into sneakers, you’ll know about Jason Markk. Known as the man with the best sneaker cleaning products in the industry, Jason Markk now has his products sold in over 2000 stores within 30 countries worldwide. Coming from humble beginnings, Markk started his career in his parents garage. From the offset, the idea behind the brand was to be the best, most trustworthy sneaker cleaner on the market. In 2007, the brand was started up and quickly managed to gain traction within the streetwear and sneaker community from sneakerheads to publications alike taking notice.
From the garage, came the pop up shops where Jason would clean up sneakers making sure to only use the best products, avoiding harsh chemicals and basic household items that could further damage the precious creps. Fast forward to 2014, the Jason Markk name became a household name. Opening up his first brick and mortar store in the Little Tokyo Historic District of Los Angeles, customers are able to drop off their sneakers to be collected later, looking closer to box fresh. Coming a bit closer to home, Jason Markk has also got a store on Carnaby Street, London. Opened up on the 8th March 2018, the store is a perfect place to get anything from a deep clean to a light freshen up. With over 50,000 sneakers having gone through their doors, Jason Markk is a must visit if you love your sneakers.
Similar to Brain Dead, Know Wave is a collective before a streetwear brand. The clothing that the brand produces is one of many of its fascists within the streetwear culture that spans across art, radio, events and more. A brand founded more recently in 2012 by Aaron Bondaroff, Know Wave is now operating in 5 of the biggest cities across the globe. Members or fans of skate culture will already know the Bondaroff name. In fact, he was one of the cofounders of Supreme in 1994 and went on to start a separate brand, aNYthing in 2001.
When it comes to the Know Wave base…there isn’t one. This isn’t through lack of trying however; seemingly every time the collective has an event it gets shut down by the police due to the sheer number of people that attend just to catch a vibe. The collective is now co-owned/run by Aaron Bondaroff, alongside Al and Mills Moran the owners of the contemporary art gallery Morán Morán, bringing a strong art element to Know Wave. Whether you’re listening, wearing or watching Know Wave, there is a real feeling of collaboration and community within the brand beyond the clothing. This is something that a lot of streetwear brands struggle to do at times with consumerism taking charge.
After moving to San Diego from the quiet suburbs of New York, head designer and founder of Chinatown Market, Mike Cherman, has had the community side of streetwear at his roots from the start. Once he moved into the eclectic California area, Cherman was inspired by the streetwear scene that was around him. His venture to get into the scene was how a lot of grassroots brands have started, by creating print tees from the back of his car. After dropping out of Parsons School of Design in NYC, Mike was working at Goodhood when he got himself a job with Nike. He was able to teach himself how to use a laser machine producing customs on clothing. After some trial and error with other brand ideas, Cherman finally broke through with Chinatown Market.
The ethos behind Chinatown Market is to be accessible for a wider audience. Instead of keeping the products limited to a niche audience like brands such as Supreme. The brand’s most iconic feature is the big smiley face that has become the logo everyone knows in the streetwear community. “Our smiley face stands for positivity” Cherman told The Hundreds in an interview. Mike is the perfect example of how keeping your head down and thinking outside the box is a massive catalyst for success. He took a new approach to streetwear at the time of the brand’s inception and it paid off heavily, leading Chinatown Market to be one of the most ubiquitous brands in streetwear.