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Who is Rhuigi? How a Filipino immigrant took over the fashion industry

Rhuigi Villaseñor went from making fashion faux pas to running RHUDE, his very own fashion house, with many fans clamoring for his next collection.

At age 11, Rhuigi and his family moved from Manila to Los Angeles, where they stayed in a one-bedroom apartment.

Rhuigi was a fish out of water. He had to learn the language and everything else that came with living in America.

On his first day of school, he wore Skechers and a Spalding vest, which earned him a lot of teasing. But he persevered and arrived one day wearing Air Jordans.

“I looked at it like a game. And I play to win. For me to be one of the cool guys, I needed to understand what the style language was.”

– Rhuigi, Forbes Interview (2019)

Rhuigi had to hustle hard

Photo by Wallace Chuck

Rhuigi’s father wanted him to be a doctor, but he was drawn to art and fashion. After graduating high school, he took it upon himself to pursue a career in that industry.

He took pattern-making classes with his mom, who was a tailor, guiding him.

Rhuigi also took an internship with Cal-Brit designer Shaun Samson, taking the bus from The Valley to downtown Los Angeles daily.

Rhuigi relied on his entrepreneurial skills to support himself, reselling signature finds from Goodwill.

Sometimes I’d find Versace or Marc Jacobs, and then I’d sell it. And the $7 that I spent would turn into $200. I couldn’t rely on my parents. I had to go get it.”

– Rhuigi, Forbes Interview (2019)

The T-Shirt That Started It All

Kendrick Lamar wearing Rhude Black Bandana T-shirt. (Image via Getty)

The Manila-born designer founded his brand, RHUDE, in 2013. At first, the label did not see a lot of profit. However, he never doubted himself.

His efforts paid off when one of his designs catapulted him to fashion superstardom. This design was a cotton t-shirt printed with a black and white paisley bandana pattern, a nod to West Coast culture.

Initially, Rhuigi had no intention of selling the t-shirt. “I didn’t want anyone else to have my look,” he said.

But he eventually gave it to Kendrick Lamar, who wore black and red versions of the design to the BET Awards in 2012.

“It was beautiful,” he said. “It changed my life.”

The demand for his designs surged. And at the encouragement of his peers, Rhuigi made the bandana t-shirt available to the public. This move opened many doors for his career in fashion.

The RHUDE Awakening

In 2015, Rhuigi formally established RHUDE.

The name is a tribute to his grandfather who wanted all their names to start with “Rh”. The designer saw his craft as a means of providing for his family.

RHUDE, which has expanded from tees to a full line, is now one of the best men’s labels around.

Big Sean, A$AP Rocky, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Offset, Future, and Bella Hadid are just some of the celebrities who have worn the brand.

Now, it’s also sold at dozens of the best retailers, such as Barneys, SSENSE, Patron of the New, 424, and Union.

“Family’s all set now,” he boasted in a recent interview with GQ. “The brand made $30 million in the last year.”

“Life is about earnership. If you feel that there are supernatural forces guiding life, then you’re not fully in control of yours. Everything is a choice, he says. There’s no fate controlling our destinies on this planet”.

– Rhuigi, GQ Interview (2022)

Ecdysis with Bally

For Rhuigi, hard work is essential.

The young designer further cemented his place in the fashion industry when he was appointed as the new creative director of Swiss luxury fashion house, Bally, in 2022.

Presented during the September 2022 Milan Fashion Week, Rhuigi’s debut collection for the 171-year-old brand, dubbed “Ecdysis,” redefines luxury European dressing through American eyes.

He credits his upbringing with providing a foundation and understanding of how to build each piece and the subsequent stories told with each collection.

In his exploration of the Bally archive, he took inspiration from the brand’s codes around art, graphic design, architecture and nature.

Rhuigi also shared that he’s learning from Bally on how to improve his own brand.

“I’m learning how to create a house that will last for a long time, how to scale up and make sure Rhude can weather the storms.”

– Rhuigi, GQ Interview (2022)

What is Rhuigi up to now?

Currently, he is also the creative strategist of the Meruelo Group, and is designing collections with brands such as Zara, Puma, Starter. 

Rhuigi Villaseñor is showing the world that he’s got a lot more to offer.

With his earnership-mindset and determination, RHUDE is definitely set to become a household name.


New fashion designers and looks that have us THIRSTY AF

Experienced and new fashion designers have their eyes on NYFW Spring and Summer 2023. It is right around the corner.

A week jam-packed with fashion creatives from all over the world. The aspiring come to NYC to see what will be the next fashion trend or ingenious looks and styles.

Stay up to date with fashion events here.

Still, the fashion industry is arguably one of the hardest to break into, with competition and over-saturation, it is difficult for new designers to infiltrate. Nonetheless NYFW Spring 2022.

What new fashion designer could be next up or at the next NYFW, tho?

However, these 10 new NYC and LA-based fashion designers have been able to make their dramatic and well-deserved entrance, slowly rising up the ranks through their unique stories, inspirations, and styles.


Sparklebabygem was created Alice Seju Kim, a Korean-American, New York City (NYC) based young fashion designer.

Kim has described her work as a fantastical vision of the dream-like future, inspired by her cultural identity. Kim explores her experience as a Korean-American woman and its relationship with sex and gender.

Additionally, the difficulties and truths of multi-generational interactions of Korean-Americans through her garments. Kim uses color, sparkles, print design, and textiles to recognize specific experiences of the Korean-American diaspora.

new fashion designer doja cat
Doja Cat wears SparkleBabyGem for Superbowl Commercial Spot

Maisie Wilen

The first collection of fashion label Maisie Wilen was launched by designer Maisie Schloss in pre-spring 2020, and now has celebrities like Jorja Smith, Kendall Jenner, and Alexa Demi wearing its pieces.

Schloss is a Chicago native based in Los Angeles (LA) who started off her career as a lead designer for Yeezy by Kanye West.

Schloss says color is one of the most important aspects of her designs, with psychedelic and attention-drawing patterns displayed across her work. Schloss is most proud of her dresses, which showcase her use of fluid lining and dynamic coloring. 

Hopefully, we’ll catch a glimpse of her designs at NYFW Spring 2023.

Marshall Columbia 

Marshall Columbia, based in Brooklyn, NY, is meant to represent self-expression in its most innocent form.

The aspiring fashion designer, Marshall Columbia, uses his childhood as inspiration for his playful and lively designs, referencing his love for arts and crafts, as well as bright colors.

Columbia’s use of bold colors and patterns reflects his nostalgic approach to self-expression and has caught the eyes of celebs like Miley Cyrus and Bad Bunny.


ZHUO is a sustainable clothing and accessories fashion brand based in NYC. The founder of the brand is Zhuolin Liu, a young Chinese, NY-based fashion designer. She hopes to fulfill her hope of bettering the future through her pieces.

Only using environmentally-friendly production methods, Liu creates avant-garde womenswear pieces with holographic material, natural dye and organic shapes, juxtaposing traditional designs and materials.

The name of the brand, ZHUO is a Chinese character meaning polish, refine and think, used to represent the opposite of fast fashion.

House of Aama

House of Aama is a LA-based brand, co-designed and owned by mother-daughter duo, Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka. We caught a glimpse of them the first time at NYFW earlier this year.

House Aama went hard at the IN THE BLK NYFW in Febraury.

The clothing brand was born in 2015, with the purpose of representing the Black experience through raw clothing based on historical research, analysis and storytelling.

House of Aama creates garments with the hopes of inspiring dialogue and commentary on Black history and heritage. 


She’s more than a new fashion designer, she’s Sabrina Aguirre. Sabrina is an Argentinian native who moved to New York to pursue a career in fashion and founded the brand AGUIRRRRE.

Inspired by her Argentinien province’s renowned eclectic and colorful carnival, her first collection centering around a magenta and neon orange color palette, as well as colorful rose decals.

Aguirre paid homage to her home province as a testament to her appreciation and adoration of Argentina. She had to relocate during the coronavirus pandemic, but has since moved back to New York City, where her brand is based.

Saint Sintra 

Parsons educated Sintra Martins is a womenswear designer whose independent NYC-based brand centers on principles of size inclusivity and body positivity.

The new, up-and-coming fashion designer is an LA native who moved to NYC in 2014, Martins’ designs are heavily inspired by era based themes of nostalgia, as is evident by her 1980’s themed freshman collection and her 2000’s inspired sophomore collection.

Saint Sintra’s second collection centered around mohair plaids, english tweeds and oxfords, while the silhouettes are bold and include various embellishments like large bows, frilly tiers and oversized puffy sleeves, all incorporating an orange, tan and periwinkle color palette. 

Taylor Goldenberg 

When it comes to new fashion designers on the rise, Taylor Goldenberg is making some noise. She is a NYC-based designer who creates pieces based on her love and fascination with the human body.

A Rhode Island School of Design ‘17 graduate, Goldenberg’s first and only line (currently) is called Pink Champagne, which has been publicized by celebrities and magazines alike.

Her pastel color palette and victorian-inspired silhouettes with puffer sleeves and skirts has drawn the attention of Amandla Stenberg modeling for Fenty Beauty, Lady Gaga and others in the industry.  


Born and raised in Chicago, Jameel Mohammed founded the brand KHIRY in 2016 as a response to being told luxury brands could only be born in fashion capitals like Milan and Paris.

new fashion designers
Self portrait of Jameel with Jug Drop, 2022

He founded KHIRY to challenge the precepts of luxury, utilizing the industry’s focus on esoteric design, fine craftsmanship, fabrics and alluring narratives to uplift and speak out on the value of black culture and life.

Mohammed makes a point of altering the public’s and the industry’s perception of what luxury fashion is, and does so by broadening his afrofuturist based jewelry to include clothing that represents his brand’s commitments.

Out of the many new fashion designers to hop on the scene. Jameel pairs his demi-fine jewelry with light pink denims and pearl accents, along with graphic tee shirts and ribboned tank tops. 

Honarable mention: Whensmokeclears @ NYFW Fall Winter


Honarable Mention: The New Blue Collar

Shop TNBC here.

The Meat Packing District during NYFW: A beautiful photographic story

Flooded with beautiful models, the Meat Packing District streets turned into a runway this year during NYFW.

meat packing district models
Left to Right: Joe Floww | Itscherokeejack | Tony Tran
| Photo cred: @mos-neammanee

As luxury designers get ready to showcase the next seasons’ collection, the streets of New York were filled with more models than usual. For photographers who couldn’t make it to the runway, this was the perfect opportunity to capture high-end fashion worn by professional models.

fashion week dj
Maison Kitsune Host their all-day pop-up festival in front of the AfterPay Quarters|Photo cred: @mos-neammanee

The beautiful Meat Packing District of Manhattan became more glamourous as luxury brands hosted pop-ups including Maison Kitsune’s all-day festival and Dior’s Miss Dior flower-themed popup.

The already photogenic cobblestone streets turned into a runway walk as professional models dressed in high-end clothes strutted down by the Starbucks Reserves.

Hit the Meat Packing District for the vibes

As a street photographer, the environment is significant when creating art and the historic architecture is a timeless beauty that can be used as an amazing backdrop for portraits.

From the cobblestone streets to the old brick walls, the aesthetic completes the wonders of fashion week.

Breath-taking models walking around the meatpacking district were generous, allowing me to photograph them and their outfits.

The process of taking fashion photographs becomes seamless because professional models knew their poses and angles. The experience of quickly shooting then moving on to the next model was exhilarating. Each model was incredibly charismatic and kept me motivated.

The outfits these models wore this year in the Meat Packing District were vibrant and creative. These models expressed themselves through the fabric and color they wore. They were moving, breathing visual art.

By their postures and pose they looked absolutely fantastic, to say the least. As fashion week came to a close these models reminded me that New York is where fashion breaths.

Japanese fashion vs. American imitation: Spot the difference

One of the first things you notice when you enter a new land is the local fashion. When I arrived in Tokyo, this was undoubtedly the case. And I learned a hard lesson: don’t mistake Japanese fashion imitation for the real thing.

Having spent around four months in the city, I gained a sense of true Japanese street fashion. One part of this is realizing some of the shirts I had there weren’t as popular as I had hoped…

Writing on shirts

The fasted way I learned my shirt wasn’t true Japanese fashion was that it was in Chinese.

Written Japanese is divided into three alphabets. Kanji, (which used in Chinese as well) represent symbols and makes up most written Japanese. Hiragana is used for individual sounds. Katakana is the same but used exclusively for foreign words.

One of my teachers told me the front and back of my shirt were in Chinese but my sleeves had katakana. Ironically, it had been marketed as a Japanese text shirt.

This goes for the reverse as well. You will often see people there with shirts that have random English phrases or words on them. It’s probably the same phenomenon of people getting tattoos in languages they don’t speak and getting “take-out” written on themselves.

Taste for high end

While most other aspects of Japan are affordable compared to America, the clothes are not. Most people like to dress as nicely as they can, and like to shop at designer stores.


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Outside of exercise, you will seldom see anyone in shorts. Jeans, as well, are quite uncommon to see on the streets. Khakis and button-ups are the norm.

Even thrift stores are usually not so cheap there. You will find Gucci and Jordans in these stores as well but priced at the Internet standard rate.

Skate fashion

The Japanese fashion we adopted for America comes from Japanese skate culture. Skate culture is strong in Japan, yet skating is illegal on the streets. This is where the baggy t-shirts and long sleeves with text on the sleeves come in. Joggers are their skater pants.

When it comes to shoes, you will see brands not widely available in America, yet are affordable. At least some are affordable.

In Japan, this style of dress is seen as trendy, but troublesome. Skating has a rebellious reputation, to begin with, and in Japan the troublemaker connotation is two-fold.

Harajuku is the hub for all things fashion in Japan. You will find street fashion and high-end supply there, often together.

Japanese fashion imitation – Careful what you wear

If you go to Japan and you’re tempted to wear something with Japanese on it, try to find out what it says first. Just like there are odd phrases in English on shirts there, you can easily wear something reprehensible.

For example, I have a shirt parodying the Nintendo 64 logo, saying instead Hentai 69. Hentai is a term for anime and manga porn and was too funny not to buy. However, it literally translates in Japanese to “pervert.”

I only found this out when wearing it to school got some people to laugh and others to look at me weird. It was then when my friend Teru told me the meaning.

Though not many speak fluent English, most can read it. Be careful with what you wear, friends.

The hoodie and why it’s the only piece of clothing that really matters

Now and then we are compelled to wear our favorite hooded sweatshirt, or hoodie because it makes us feel comfortable. On the other hand, hoodies tend to make people – society – uncomfortable with its image.

Writer and curator Lou Stoppard, has put the hoodie and the ideas around it into question with an exhibit called “The Hoodie” at the Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, Netherlands, currently open to the public.

With over 60 hoodies on display, that are diverse in their symbolism, and mixed media, including film, photography, magazine covers, and music that will tell the story of the hoodie for attendees of the gallery.

Devan Shimoyama. February II, 2019

Lou Stoppard, who started at renowned image-maker Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio as an intern, then moving into an editor position where she would be inclined to critique fashion and question those involved about their thoughts and decisions.

She has been involved in curation before, working on the North Exhibit at Open Eye Gallery with co-curator Adam Murray. Their exhibit was an adulation of the North displaying a majority of documentary photography and fashion editorials that highlighted the northern area of England.

Photo credit: John Akehurst. Lucy + Jorge Orta – Refuge Wear Intervention, London East End 1998

The Life of a Hoodie

The Hoodie, 2019. Photo Johannes Schwartz

Hoodies are a much broader subject matter that all of us can relate to oddly. Whether you’ve been a scholar or athlete, the hoodie has been apart of your life. The hood goes as far back as medieval times, mostly worn by religious figures.

Moving to the 1930s, Champion made it specific for warehouse workers in upstate New York and then adopted by the Military as garments for training exercises and physical education classes.

Fast Fashion

Exactitudes 168. by Ari Versluis and Ellie Uyttenbroek – EUnify hoodie by Souvenir Official

Fast forward and the hoodie has come into its own from the NYC streets and early hip-hop culture in the ‘70s to the ‘90s where hip-hop flourished and skate culture cemented.

Notorious B.I.G. mentioned a liking to “[black Tims and] black Hoodies” on his “Suicidal Thoughts” record off his first album. Now we can spot our tech gurus wearing them all over Silicon Valley; Mark Zuckerberg has been keen on this.

Prem Sahib, Umbra, 2019. Photo: Plastiques. Courtesy the artist and Jhaveri Contemporary.

Sketch of the Unabomber, 1995.

If fashion is your thing, you can recognize the familiar look of the hoodie and associate it with many things we don’t necessarily see as an infringement on societal norms. Contrasting thoughts from a more conservative crowd suggest an unnecessary evil stems from wearing hoods, projecting onto all those who can see said ‘hoodie’.

This was most present when the Unabomber, a white man, was terrorizing America’s postal system and a sketch of the percieved bomber wore a hood with dark sunglasses.

High Fashion

Photo credit: Gio Staiano. Vetements Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2016.

Designers have used the hoodie as a bread and butter retail product, as merchandise, as a sublime message to the world; particularly when Vetements’ designer Demna Gvasalia chose to add text to some hooded garments, saying things, like, “May the bridges we burn light the way,” expressive of the youth culture and its innate resilience.

Or how about this past Men’s SS 2020 season when streetwear brand BsTroy shook America with when it debuted bullethole riddled hoodies to raise awareness to gun violence in schools. The hoodies displayed the names of just a few schools involved in mass shootings in recent years.

BsTroy Men’s SS 20202 Runway Show, 2019.

Athletes wear a hood as a sign of determination (Melo) or in defeat. Reflecting on Cam Newton’s hoodie moment, being called a “thug” on social media after a Super Bowl 50 post-game interview during the playoffs. Subjecting all hoodie wearers to the same scrutiny is what is to be explored at “The Hoodie” exhibit.

Fashion has taken note of this bias and has always been pioneers of breaking stereotypes. Even Nike noticed, implementing hoods onto the traditional NBA warm-up uniforms back in 2017 in reaction to the climate, making a bold fashion statement for a mostly Black league.

The Hoodie, 2019. Photo Johannes Schwartz

Haters Gonna Hate

Figures like George Zimmerman have stereotypically demonized the hoodie, especially when worn by young Black males. In 2012, Zimmerman infamously describing Trayvon Martin’s hoodie as a reason for his suspicion. This cost Trayvon his life.

Zimmerman lawyers then coin their “hoodie defense” as a legal argument that Martin is at fault for wearing a hoodie. This spawned the Black Lives Matter movement and protesters adopted the hoodie as an emblem of the cause.

The Hoodie, 2019. Photo Johannes Schwartz.

Geraldo Rivera then suggests that [young] Black people to stop wearing hoodies. And in 2015, three years after Trayvon, Don Barrington, Oklahoma 31st district senator at the time, suggested and pushed for a bill to criminalize the wearing of a “robe, mask or other disguise[s]” in public.

That this would “intentionally conceal the wearer’s identity”, in any case, the hoodie would-be victim to this bill.

The Hoodie, 2019. Photo Johannes Schwartz.

Hoodie Threads

The hoodie is a subject tearing society apart from the seams. What is to come from an exhibit that highlights that, is how we can come to terms with how effective fashion can be to our cultures. Stoppard is exploring the nuances that move people to emotion when wearing a hoodie.

Through nostalgia of industry, we relate to the garment; many brands if not all have designed hoodies with specific or non-specific intent. The exhibit is expected to be a tense but enlightening journey through the connotations of the ever-expressive hoodie; a “storyteller”.

John Edmonds, Untitled (Hood 13), 2018

The hoodie is a provocative piece of clothing, stirring up socio-political fears and aggression toward its existence while creating a sartorial place of comfort for the wearer. “The Hoodie” exhibit explores those ideas and the many expressions of hoodie culture.

Whether its Trayvon Martin’s style of dress, Vetements choice words to complement the rebelliousness of the hoodie, the hood is a two-way mirror of our entitled safety and our percieved insecurities.

The Hoodie, 2019. Photo Johannes Schwartz.

If you’re in Rotterdam or planning to visit the Netherlands this season go check out “The Hoodie” by Lou Stoppard.

Look for this article on PAGE magazine.

Nadir Jackson is the designer fusing fashion and environmental sustainability

With consumers becoming more conscious in their pursuits of purchasing products from companies that make conscious beneficial decisions toward social, political, and environmental issues, comes a wave of young entrepreneurs looking to combine their love for the arts, and their concern for the world.

Nadir Jackson, who is based out of South Orange, New Jersey, is one of the brilliant minds who identified an issue in the fashion industry and chose to target it through his craft. Amongst other issues, material and textile waste are a huge threat to the environment.

Nadir saw this issue and to promote a waste-less fashion industry, he combined his new found passion for creating jackets with his love for maintaining an ecological balance. His adoration for travel and embarking new cultures has pushed the theme of sustainability within his brand.

Nadir’s creation turned into Foreign Exchange Global


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I had the chance to speak with Nadir who explained how he fell into the fashion industry amongst his many talents, how traveling has groomed his designing, and his desire to promote sustainability in the cut-throat industry.

Queens-native and Jersey groomed, Nadir mostly focused on sports and music during his high school years. His love for music landed him many jobs producing whole albums for close friends and local artists.


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In the midst of completing a few projects, a friend mentioned an opportunity during Paris Fashion Week. Nadir’s eyes lit up like Charlie’s when he got his golden ticket. Without any formal training or even prior attempts, Nadir began plotting on a collection under his own brand. He said,

“I love rolling the dice and taking risks, so I was like ‘yeah, f*ck it. I’ll drop a line, I’ll drop a collection.”

He started off hand stitching his jacket designs and took control of his creativity. After his friend donated a sewing machine to him, he was able to accelerate his production line in time to have his very first collection ready for Paris Fashion Week.

Traveling between Paris, Spain, and other European countries, Nadir has accumulated quite a few stamps in his passport.

His wanderlust has become a driving influence in his clothing brand. The name of the brand — Foreign Exchange Global — alone, embodies the theme of internationality and travel.

Many of his most notable jackets are named after locations he has visited, like the Matador jacket, based on the famous running of the bulls in Spain, and the spectacular sights of tulip gardens in France are embodied in the Les Tuileries jacket.

His acquired traveler’s miles don’t serve as the lone influence within the brand; Nadir is a common advocate for sustainability.

Textile waste is a growing issue as fast fashion becomes more prominent. Nadir identifies that textile waste — amongst other wastes produced by the multi-billion dollar fashion industry — calls for an ill-fitted environment.

As a twenty-something-year-old growing up in Trump’s America and a chaotic world, Foreign Exchange Global feels that its duty is to promote sustainability through their clothing.

Nadir often reuses and repurposes old textiles and clothing, focusing on patchwork and reviving old pieces.


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His distinct design style manifests his claim that innovation plays a huge part in not only his design but his life. In talking about how his designs came to light, Jackson said,

“Innovation is really key for me, too. No matter what I’m doing, anything I put out- innovation is definitely a key component.”

The decision to design clothing, aside from a huge environmental crisis standpoint, also derives from Nadir’s disdain for the current fashion industry’s use of denim. Nadir said,

“I felt like nobody was doing it right. I was really underwhelmed and unimpressed by a lot of designer denim, so I figured ‘let me play with it, let me experiment.”

His unique and unconventional designs have left an everlasting impression on his peers and [flee] clients alike.

Through this young creative’s fusion of visions of design and sustainability, we gain a unique and stylistic melange of reused textiles and a loophole within the environmental crisis that the fashion industry participates in.

Toronto-based fashion house Volaré is making more than just clothes

Volaré is a Toronto-based fashion company that is paving its own lane. From day one, the fashion house has been different from most brands in the game because they aren’t just making clothes…

They are using their platform to connect with like-minded creatives in the “6.” Slowly, they’ve been forging a community that’s not only helping Volaré be at the forefront of an emerging fashion scene but many of the up and coming fashion brands in Toronto too.

While Toronto is not recognized for their contributions to style just yet, it’s up to brands like Volaré to help push that culture forward. But that all starts with a vision and dream.

After interviewing Volaré founder Mark Breiva, speaking on behalf of himself and his team, he explained their reasons for creating the brand. He told me,

“We are looking for every opportunity… We are here to create and that’s all it is. Volaré is a platform to create with no boundaries.”

Looking at the landscape in his city, Breiva and company saw a void that they could fill. Volaré’s main focus became creating artistic freedom for all people.

Designing for the company back in 2013, Breiva and his team finally put their “ideas into reality” and came out with their first Meek Mill hoodie in 2016. Little did they know this hoodie would open up a world for them to build their platform.

We all know how important influencer marketing is when it comes to building successful streetwear brands, but it still needs to be authentic. It has to fit that artist’s vibe as Breiva explained,

“[Relationships] are good for exposure… Just curating the artists we want to surround ourselves with and attach ourselves with.”

That is exactly what they did. With one Instagram DM and a few calls, Breiva and his team were able to get in touch with Tory Lanez and send him over one of their first Meek Mill hoodies, based on Meek’s DC4 album.

“A couple days later my messages were blowing up because he [Tory Lanez] wore it on stage and one of his team members got a hold of our page and was like Hey, Tory loves your shit we want to meet you guys.”

From that point, Volaré knew they would be able to grow and get their name out on social media for all to see. Unlike most companies, Volaré’s objective was not to just sell every DC4 hoodie they can but to keep making them for artists and get their style out there.

Building a strong foundation with reputable users would eventually help provide the success all clothing lines yearn for. Even if the piece that helped them gain that attention was hotboy considering it featured Meek Mill’s image on it, that didn’t stop them from creating it and putting it out there. Breiva explained,

“I wanted to make that hoodie. I’m gonna keep making, we’re not gonna be selling, if we get it to the artist, we get it to the artist, if we don’t it is for art.”

Breiva later went on to mention that building his career did not only start with online designing and selling. He had the idea of building a community that comes through interacting with other people that share the same ideas and styles.

His ideal way of doing this was by starting up an event that brought the fashion community together — enter THE NIGHTMARKET. With no major tradeshows like Agenda or Hypefest ever popping up in Toronto, Breiva took it upon himself to push the envelope in hopes of one day bringing that same major exposure to the city.

THE NIGHTMARKET is not essentially just for Volaré, but for other smaller artists all over to come together to:

“Evolve as fast and as consistent as possible to be ready for the bigger thing. We want to act as the person that we needed when we were struggling in the beginning, so we can hopefully help that someone else.”

This market invites new vendors every week for an opportunity to show off and sell their products getting 100% of the sales. This gives artists the chance to make an actual profit from their work while building personal relationships that can help them down the road.

This resembles the original vision of Mark Breiva and the Volaré team had since day one. The fashion house has motivated many to do more and has allowed others to realize that they don’t need a store to sell their clothing.

When asked about any advice he had for up and coming creatives looking in from the outside, Breiva had this solid piece to take away:

“Do what you want to do. Think about all the options and go for the best one. Really just think about the negative side of everything too and how you can make it better before you even start it.”

You don’t need anyone but yourself to do what you want to do. Word to Mark Breiva and Volaré!

How Fini Shoes creator Dami Adepoju is changing the kick game forever

Fini Shoes is one of the fashion industry’s newest contributors establishing themselves in the game. The innovative new brand comes into the game with the intention to bring comfortability and versatility in ways you have never seen before. But how so? Fini brings you one shoe with three accessories that morph it into five different pairs.

Their site describes itself as “a lifestyle shoe engineered and designed for maximum comfort and durability without forgoing the luxury the aesthetic.” After getting the chance to test out my own pair, I can tell you that they aren’t lying!

Kulture Hub was able to catch up the creator of Fini Shoes, Damilola Adepoju, about his journey so far, the vision behind the brand, and how he plans to make these a household name.

Originally from Nigeria, Adepoju came to the US in 2008 and began going to school at Clarkson University. Despite studying Mechanical Engineering, Dami always had a thing for footwear. He explained to me,

“I always was a shoe collector, but never because how popular the shoe was. I always collected shoe that I liked, no other reasons.”

The idea of Fini came about in 2013 when Adepoju went on a spring break to Jamaica and realized that clothes and shoes, in particular, were not that versatile. Leaving Upstate New York in the heart of winter, and going to Jamaica will get you thinkin’.

“When I was leaving to Jamaica I began to think, what if there was a shoe in which I would be able to wear in New York where I was leaving from, and in Jamaica where I was going.”

From there Adepoju made it his quest to create a shoe with versatility, a shoe that can be worn in the Tropics of Jamaica, and the of New York’s Winter — a shoe that is able to be worn at work, then straight to the club!

The key differentiator that sets Fini shoes apart from all market competitors is the unique, never seen before customization element. According to their site:


For all of the outfit re-wearers out there, Fini will make your life a whole lot easier.

With this new and creative product, owning a pair of Fini’s allows you to switch it up literally whenever you want. Dami credits his love for fashion and attention to detail to his mother, who constantly instilled the value in always looking presentable. He told me,

“From young age, my mother always told me you only get one shot at a first impression, so I always want to dress myself the best I can everytime I leave the house.”

The road to Fini’s 2018 release was not an easy one. Adepoju made over seven prototypes in several different factories even across the world. The manufacturing of Fini originally began in NYC but after securing the international partners is now producing his products in China.


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Available on 📍 and ships out immediately until supply last. #Finishoes #Myfinis #Finifam #finibullying

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Adepoju describes the process of working with sketch artists, to then making a three-dimensional model, and finally finding a factory to get it right as “daunting.”

“When you are working with a factory, and they tell you ‘Yeah, we can do it give us 3 weeks.’ You give them the time, and then they say they need more time. Then they send you something that is not what you envisioned.”

In addition to factories failing to manufacture the product to Adepoju’s liking initially, they’d often ask for more money to try get it right.

When they still didn’t create the shoe correctly they’d simply tell Dami that they did not want to do business with him any longer. While constantly being told that his vision is not possible to create, he was also feeling the pinch from his parents to find a job within his area of study at Clarkson.


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MTV style interviewing Fini founder @badwine during #NYFW event. #finishoes #finibullying #Myfinis #finifam

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Dami explained,

“My parents started to be very vocal letting me know I that I had to get a job, so I did. After only working at my first job for only a month I went on to find a job in which I had flexibility in my hours so that I could still work out Fini ”

Adepoju stuck through, and soon enough, Adepoju was able to able to not have a day job any longer and make Fini his sole focus.

In 2018 Fini Shoes finally debuted. Running at $129, and available in colors wheat, black, and white, he offered a shoe unlike any other product on the market. Fini even held a pop up shop this year at New York Fashion Week.

Regarding Fashion Week, Adepoju also says that something that people don’t realize is how many events are actually going on at once.

There are brands from all of the world here in New York, trying to get as many people as people possible to come to their events. So in reality, these fashion week events are not really that top secret!

Adepoju plans to follow up his 2018 New York Fashion Week appearance by bringing Fini into stores within the next year!

For now, Fini is available to be purchased on

What is Fashion Nova? The shopping brand that took over Instagram

Everyone knows the name Fashion Nova. Nowadays, it’s rarer if you haven’t heard of it. Most likely, you’ve scrolled past a curvalicious Insta-hottie rocking one of the brand’s body-hugging pop-colors on your newsfeed.

The company’s growth has been described as “explosive” by founder Richard Saghian, who said that within the past year, the site has had 75% of its user traffic return to shop again within 90 days.

Although the brand has an active social presence, the most attractive part aisthe low-cost pieces and outfits.

Over the short three years, the company has been around, Fashion Nova has become so much more than a retail brand. Today, it can be considered a statement of activism.

It’s hard enough finding decent clothing, and everyone has their own preference on what types of clothing match them best, Fashion Nova offers styles that flatter any type of body, even accommodating styles that fit pregnant women.

Spring time vibes 🌺 #novababe

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Saghian shared his thoughts on Fashion Nova’s resolve, and how its mission includes discontinuing the idea that revered fashion authorities come only from the runway.

“The concept is that the runways are dying. If you think about it, why did they have runways before? Because there was no internet. People are now looking at their feed for fashion inspiration more than they are the runways.”

And though Fashion Nova hasn’t been the first to capitalize on this market, the product line is able to offer customers something others haven’t. Known for its active social presence, what attracts costumers most is the low-cost, affordable clothing.

Working with over 500 sewing factories, 80% of Fashion Nova products are made in LA. Since it’s such a high volume of consumers, the company launches 500 new pieces a week, offering their audience a variety of garments, accessories, shoes, beauty accessories, and more. Dresses and jeans don’t cost more than $50, and shirts can be found as low as $5. A 2-day flat rate shipping only costs $6.

Fashion Nova is known for its onboarding of some of the hottest Instagram models and celebrities out there.

With over 3,000 active ambassadors, the brand has partnered with trend-setting influencers like Cardi B, Kylie Jenner, Nicki Minaj, and Amber Rose to vouch for the company and gain loyalty to their fans, increasing revenue, and has been noted for on-boarding the flyest trailblazers in the game, like Frankie Bikini’s Sophia Jamora.

lowkey shivering fit: @fashionnova

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Fashion bloggers across the internet are also rejoicing at being able to constantly change up their outfits without breaking the bank.

In some cases, Fashion Nova will even pay people to advertise their clothing for them or send them new things to try out. Bloggers can then offer their followers a discount code, instantly gaining trust and notoriety by proxy.

At this point, it feels like Fashion Nova is less about fashion and more about showing women of all kinds the options available for them.

The company has amalgamated a bigger vision into one site: No matter who you are or what you look like, no matter how small or large, no matter what stage your body is in, Fashion Nova’s clothing will have you looking very fly for very little.

Maison Margiela

How Maison Margiela became one of the most influential brands in fashion

Maison Margiela is one of the most renowned names in high-end luxury fashion with some of the most recognizable silhouettes in the fashion world.

With the ever popular replica pieces that re-imagine and break down staple designs and reimagine them for the current consumer.

“Reproduction of found garments of carrying sources and periods,” is written in a typewriter typeface on a label fastened to the garments with the type of garment being replicated, hence the name ‘Replica’ is given to these garments.

The ‘Replica’ collections take the notion of timeless pieces and rely on the principle that these pieces have already proven the test of time.

The idea was to design each garment so that they are as relevant for today as they will be tomorrow. With the popular ‘Replica Men’s Sports Shoes’ or more commonly known as the German Army Trainer, or GAT is a staple in the Maison Margiela timeline.

This sneaker has a story that is almost cooler than Martin Margiela. The German military needed trainers for their aspiring soldiers to wear during boot camp, they went to the two most popular sneaker manufacturers Adidas and Puma to see who made the better shoe for the job.

Both ended up making loads of shoes and both accused the other of stealing the design we know and love with contrasting lambskin and calf upper with a raw gum sole.

Maison Margiela planted the seed in the mind of many during his first fashion show in 1989 just after the age of color had become stagnate.

The 1980s were an age where designers had almost no limitations and created in the gluttony of color of popular brands like Versace making a name for themselves by creating amazingly intricate and loud designs on silk shirts and full-length shoulderless dresses.

The Red List

These garments reflected a world of glitz and glamor that was just not a true projection of the real world, what was happening at home was not happening on the runway and people got bored/tired of seeing a dream.

The 1990s were home to Anti-Fashion, a dystopian, dark, sinister development that sprung out of youth counter techno and grudge culture creating nihilistic cigarette kids who needed their own brands to represent themselves.

Just as the punks had Malcolm Mclaren and Vivienne Westwood, the techno kids had Raf Simons, Martin Margiela, and Yohji Yamamoto.

Clothing created using dark fabrics with asymmetrical cuts and distressed details was a reaction to the overdose of vivid colors that had taken fashion hostage.

Martin graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp a year before the ever popular Antwerp 6 and wanted to work for Jean Paul Gaultier.

He was told by Gaultier that he could design on his own and did not need to be an assistant but Margiela wanted to learn how the industry worked, how to run the business of a fashion house. According to Gaultier, Martin was the best assistant he had ever hired.


Martin’s first show spring 1990 collection sent fashion shows into the mainstream with children cast by Anna Wintour to “walk” with the models who were adorned with recycled materials and crazy silhouettes never seen before but with a level of craftsmanship that caught the eyes of industry heavyweights.

That show created ripples in the fashion world that we still feel today, with Walter Van Beirendonck taking Raf Simons to that Margiela show in turn changing the world of fashion forever, “as a student I always thought that fashion was a bit superficial all glitz and glamour but this show changed everything for me I walked out of it and I thought that’s what I’m gonna do.”

Influencing one of menswear most important designer to switch paths and reconsider his perception of fashion and start creating his own garments is already a great start with your first runway show.

For Martin Margiela this would just be the start of an incredibly influential career in fashion, he would go on to make consumers rethink what it meant to design/create a product with meaning. Margiela would separate himself from the clothing and fell into anonymity, letting his clothing speak for itself.

Martin Margiela against his own beliefs of separating the designer from the clothing has gone on to become one of the fashion greats reigning from 1988 to 2009, he stays in our heads as one of the best designers to ever influence fashion.