Elevate Fashion Blurbs

Telfar Clemens Pioneering The Future of Fashion

The infamous Telfeezy aka the Bushwick Birkin aka Telfar to non-extra people, was created by Telfar Clemens when he was 15 years old, officially incorporating in 2005. Many may believe the brand came up overnight, but as you'll see, it required patience and dedication from Telfar to get to this point. The fashion trailblazer was born in 1985 in Lefrak City, Queens to Liberian parents. His career starts like most fashion designers, hustling selling reworked clothes to friends in his vicinity. This desire to rework clothing turned into the driving force behind Telfar’s designs as a majority of clothing that already existed in the market was extremely gender specific and not to TC’s liking. Clemens decided that he’d create clothing and accessories that would have no boundaries in terms of gender, shape, race, size, etc… his creations are “NOT FOR YOU— FOR EVERYONE.” Clemens has received recognition for his innovative designs and has won numerous awards such as the 2020 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Critics describe him as one of the most exciting and influential young designers of this generation.  

In addition to his fashion work, Clemens is also known for his commitment to social justice and activism using his platform to raise awareness and funds for a range of social and political causes, including LGBTQ+ rights and anti-racism initiatives. The social unrest and ensuing global protests that occurred in 2020 helped to stimulate growth of the brand as the people looked to reallocate their funds to support and buy from black owned companies. Telfar Clemens continues to serve as an influential figure in the fashion industry and is widely regarded as one of the most exciting and innovative designers of this generation. Customers aren’t just shoppers but rather community, and he shows passion for the community by remaining accessible through social media platforms and a newer outlet called Telfar TV (a user-generated free platform where you may see a video of you stunting your new Telfar bag if you submit your content to the company). For these reasons, the brand has amassed a strong following of loyal fans and has become well known for its inclusive, innovative, and empowering approach to fashion.

Telfar's bag designs focus on simplicity and practicality, with a strong emphasis on sustainability and ethics, for example, sourcing vegan leather for the bags. The brand is committed to using high-quality materials and sustainable production processes which earned them the B Corporation Certification, awarded to companies that meet high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Telfar has become known for its "Bushwick Birkin" bag, a popular and highly sought-after accessory that has become an icon of the brand. The brand's collections also include clothing, footwear, and accessories that allow customers to mix and match products to create a range of different looks. In 2019, the brand decided to “exit the fashion system” meaning they would no longer ascribe to fashion seasons and collections but rather create their own lane by focusing on customers, moving production in-house to NYC, and ultimately taking the unconventional route in the fashion industry.

For years now, Telfar has experienced great success with bags selling out instantly and the brand expanding to new collaborations, new products such as earrings, and so much more. They have grown to the point where the brand advertises itself when millions of people walk around with their shopping bag embossed with that notable TC logo. It’s no doubt Telfar has come a long way from hosting fashion shows at his friend’s apartments in the early 2000’s to now contributing as one of the most popular designers in New York Fashion Week. 

Fun fact: The monogram you see on Telfar products comes from Clemen’s high school teacher who wrote monograms for all their students. This same logo is what Telfar still uses today. 

Another Fun Fact: Telfar brought on Babak Radboy as a creative director who helped push the brand through a collaboration with K-Mart using a marketing technique called down-market collaboration, when a higher status brand collabs with a lower status brand like a discount store K-Mart to increase brand exposure.

Another Other Fun Fact: Telfar collaborated with White Castle to create their uniforms and separately created a clothing collection that distributed proceeds to a bail fund for minors at Rikers Island.

Redefining Fashion through Innovation and Self-Identity

It’s no secret that freedom to express is at the center of every creative’s innate beliefs. Selehe Bembury too resonates with this as he firmly claimed in his Idea Generation video, “having success is freedom.” In 1986, Bembury was born and raised in Tribeca, New York where he attended school in Manhattan and later went on to graduate from Syracuse University with a degree in industrial design. This fueled his ambitions and creativity leading the way for countless designs with Cole Haan, Yeezy, Versace, Crocs, and more. Read along to find out more!

Selehe didn’t have the sexiest launch into fashion. After graduating, he spent countless months applying to jobs to no avail. After receiving rejection letter after rejection letter, he finally got a gig with Payless Shoe Source working in the design field for the shoe company. Years later, the Syracuse Alum started hanging around Damon Dash’s media collective gallery, DD172, that Dash opened down the street from Bembury’s job in Tribeca, Lower Manhattan. You may know the name popular for producing digital media content or hosting Under 100— concerts that hosted acts like Mos Def but were limited to 99 people due to the fire code. Seeing people who looked like him and gaining inspiration, Bembury decided to impose his will and literally set up a table in Dame’s studio telling the team “I’m gonna work here now guys.” This opportunity led to countless connections and exposure to the in-scene which played an instrumental role for what was to come for the burgeoning footwear designer.

Bembury’s work career continued in 2011 at Cole Haan where he began working closely with Jeff Henderson, a former Nike design veteran who set up Selehe for his fashion breakout. The introduction came when Bembury again created his luck by going out of his way to show Henderson some of the sketches he had been working on which landed him on the innovative lunar initiative spearheaded by Jeff. The objective of the project was to push the barriers of the dress shoe “standard” thus using Nike technology to make a more comfortable and stylish professional sneaker. This new experience with Henderson paved a new path for Bembury as he was again tapped by Henderson and Yeezy in Autumn 2015 to work on Season 3 and Season 4, collaborating on some of Kanye’s most iconic designs such as the Military Boots.

After moving on from Yeezy and facing a time period of poverty, Bembury decided to reach out to Versace’s design director, Donatella Versace. Bembury pitched to Donatella via Linkedin asking the simple question “What if the Italian fashion house got into sneakers?” The brand hadn’t done much in this area of fashion which really resonated with the director who hired Bembury as Head Designer of Sneakers upon their first meeting in Milan. Empowered by Dontella’s trust in his sneaker design expertise, he created the label's Chain Reaction silhouette with the infamous chain wrap on the soles of the shoes that rapper 2 Chainz immediately embraced as a brand ambassador. This sequence of events set up the foundation for Selehe as he continued on to do amazing work with Pyer Moss, Crocs, New Balance, etc. His shoe designs are now highly sought after and typically sell out within minutes.

Today, Bembury works on his own brand, Spunge which has grown to great success and shown just how much he’s amassed a major following and truly created a name for himself. He even shows this love and appreciation for identity in his Crog Crocs which have finger-print inspired uppers that represent each individual’s unique identity in the creative world.

From Philippines to Mainstream Fashion Scene: The Story of Rhuigi Villaseñor

In today’s Fashion Blurb, we are covering Rhuigi Villaseñor, the founder of Rhude, a design venture born out of Los Angeles in 2015 balancing luxury techniques with streetwear elements. With roots tied to the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong, it’s no surprise the entrepreneur had numerous cultures and inspirations that fueled his creations that have become a staple in today’s fashion scene. It was cultural practices such as communal based eating styles and the religious attendance of the mosque that helped to inform Rhuigi’s approach when he came to America. It was then the 808’s and the hustle n flow of Jay-Z on Reasonable Doubt that inspired Rhuigi’s own drive and became what he saw as his business plan (just a side note to point out yet again African American’s insurmountable influence on almost everything in this world, go us).
In tenth grade with the burning desire to survive, Rhuigi Villaseñor tapped into fashion for the first time by thrifting a jacket then attaching a Saint Laurent label on it and selling it for a premium. After seeing the success of this type of hustle, he decided he could make his way into fashion. Rhuigi perfected his knowledge and expertise by spending countless days as an apprentice to those further in the game learning photo transferring, squeegee cleaning, pattern making, etc. In 2012, he created the bandana tee, with his first brand Primitive, which he showed to Kendrick Lamar’s manager leading to the eloquent rap icon rocking the design at the 2012 Bet Music Awards. This experience alone completely changed Rhuigi’s life as upwards of $150,000 worth of new orders rolled in after viewers saw K.Dot in the west coast influenced t-shirt. After ups and downs with figuring out his lane in the fashion world, Villaseñor decided to double down on a concept that showed signs of promise.

The brand name Rhude comes from familial ties as everyone’s first name in the Villaseñor family starts with the letters ‘Rh’ at the beginning of their name. In 2015, Rhuigi landed on Rhude— “something short and easy that can’t be defined.” The buddening streetwear pioneer launched his brand recreating the bandana tee and embracing recognizable terms and imagery to help boost the brand’s notoriety. You may recognize some of these popular logos on OG creations by Rhuigi: the Marlboro triangle, Malibu Racing, Sugarland, etc. The idea behind the Sugarland concept revolves around an individual “who wants to do more for themselves but is stuck within the means of their socio-economic [status and circumstances.]” One of the most pivotal moments for Villaseñor occurred when he struck a deal with Barney’s to merchandise his clothing. Despite this great accomplishment, disaster soon followed as the production company he sourced in Turkey completely missed on the quality and aesthetic that Rhuigi promised to Barney’s. This resulted in approximately $250,000 down the drain and required a complete 360 on this particular production. Rhuigi wisely delegated roles to build out a productive team that would handle the increasing success of his company while also ensuring proper quality control for future orders.

In 2017 after much business/product development, Rhude topped their first Million dollars in sales, following $30 Million in 2021. His approach to design and achievement is centered around the belief that there is no limit on anything you do besides for the one you put on yourself. “If you tell yourself you’re only gonna make 30 designs today then you’re gonna feel fulfilled once you hit 30.” Currently, Rhuigi focuses his designs around sustainability and on concepts that will outlive themselves, tying back to his roots as Rhude is now cemented in the fashion world as a go to for a harmonious intersection of both streetwear and high fashion.

Faith & Fashion: The Revolution Behind Fear of God

On October 5, 1977, Jerry Lorenzo was born in Sacramento, California as a member of the nomadic lifestyle as he and his family traveled frequently following his father who coached, played, and managed in the MLB. Lorenzo followed in his dad’s footsteps and played college baseball at Florida A&M University where he graduated with his bachelors and later pursued a business degree at Loyola Marymount. After moving to Los Angeles, Jerry got more involved in the world of fashion picking up a sales role at Italian retail clothing company, Diesel. His success at Diesel showed promising signs that he could thrive in the fashion industry. 

Jerry stayed pretty active in the sports scene becoming Matt Kemp’s manager and working at a sports marketing agency. Years later, he started throwing popular LA parties called ‘JL Nights’ which grew a huge following bringing in the likes of Virgil Abloh, Pusha-T, and Kid Cudi. This helped establish a robust network for Lorenzo and would pave the way for important partnerships to follow. The name Jerry Lorenzo is actually his first and middle name which he decided to go by because he didn’t want to defame his family name by using his last name when throwing these parties. This same moniker has stuck years later as he is now most commonly known as Jerry Lorenzo. In 2013, JL founded Fear of God after going on a breakthrough journey back to his faith. He came up with the name ‘Fear of God’ after reading a prayer coming to the epiphany that “when you’re at peace with God, there’s a Fear of God that’s a reverence. But on the flip side, when you don’t know God, there’s a literal fear.” Jerry’s faith played a major role in his upbringing, so he used the creation of Fear of God as a way to rekindle his relationship with God. 

With $14,000 and his faith, Lorenzo officially started the brand experimenting with new materials and designs. After showing Virgil some of his new work and sending him home with some of the collection, Kanye caught drift of this upcoming designer via Virgil’s introduction and Ye asked Jerry to partner with him on his A.P.C. capsule. After proving himself on this project, Kanye again tapped Jerry to work on his Yeezus concert merchandise. Virgil again used his firepower, as he often did with those around him (Rest in Paradise), to throw an alley-oop to Lorenzo and land him a meeting with Barney’s New York. This earned FoG a new retailer deal and popularized the brand as customers now had easier access to the luxury goods. He later formed a partnership with Pacsun to make his products even more accessible, inspired by the motivation that customers and his “family members [were] more likely to shop at Pacsun than Barney’s.” Using all the expertise and fashion knowledge he garnered, Jerry Lorenzo styled Justin Bieber for his 2016 Purpose Tour. By this time, people could easily notice his work and influence on clothing as the style centered around extended tees, drop crotch pants, vintage rock band sleeveless tees, and elongated sleeves. Plenty of Fear of God and Essentials products still adhere to this look today and customers have grown accustomed to ordering a size down just to get the right fit. 

In 2018, FoG partnered with Nike to create the Nike Air Fear of God 1 which became an instant hit. Nike took a leap on the designer and allowed him to completely create the shoe from scratch, trusting him to come up with an attractive design and an entirely new silhouette that took 2-3 years to produce. Some time later, FoG branched off to make Essentials which centers around the need for each individual to have basic closet essentials such as sweaters, sweatpants, and t-shirts. The simplistic but yet intriguing style has grown to extreme popularity as new releases typically sell out in seconds. Lorenzo later transitioned from Nike to Adidas in 2020 earning the title as Global Head of Basketball giving him the freedom and control to steer this ship for the global sports company. 

Jerry Lorenzo Manuel has grown to an exceptional level in the fashion industry while staying true to himself as opposed to following trends or what’s in style. Even to the extent that FoG doesn’t participate in fashion shows as Lorenzo decided not to follow the typical fashion calendar to avoid constricting his brand with seasons. The importance of creating Fear of God stems back to an innate desire for Lorenzo to tell his story and decide what truly matters to him. In his interview with Barney’s, he made it clear that his spirituality is a piece of who he is, and just like he may be influenced by rock bands or sports figures, he’s also influenced by his Lord and Savior and wanted to make that known. 

Shop our FoG X Essentials Collection HERE!

Deconstructing Rei: Dissecting the Legacy of Rei Kawakubo

Rei Kawakubo- the infamous designer hailing from Tokyo, Japan crept into the fashion industry in the late 60’s where she started designing and making her own clothes under the label Comme des Garçons (CDG), French for “like the boys.” She later incorporated the business in 1973 then opened her first boutique in Tokyo in 1975 starting off with women’s clothing and later adding a men’s line in 1978 called Homme Comme des Garçons.  

Despite her insurmountable success in the fashion world, Rei Kawakubo never trained to be a fashion designer, but instead studied The History of Aesthetics at the prestigious Keio University. She had a strongly independent and ambitious female role model in her mother, who left Kawakubo’s father when he would not allow her to work outside the home. After graduating from college, Rei too followed suit in independence and went on to work for an acrylic-fibre textile manufacturer, Asahi Kasei, with whom she was given creative freedom for photo shoots which led to her creating her own designs and working as a freelance stylist. By 1980 after creating and flourishing with the brand CDG, the company had opened 150 shops across Japan and was earning $30 Million annually ($280 M+ annually as of 2017). Kawakubo prioritized comfort and mobility with her designs, going against the norms of the typical women’s brands by doing away with stilettos and even making sure none of her models wore them on the runway. She designed clothes for the audaciously independent woman who did not conform to society’s beauty standards. Her ideal customer quite frankly did not dress to seduce, or for man’s approval, but rather for herself. 

This dogged approach to avant-garde design is extremely evident throughout the CDG brand as many of the garments boast concepts of anti-fashion (an umbrella term for different styles of fashion that explicitly contradict what’s in style… representing an attitude of indifference to trends and what’s socially acceptable). In an interview with the New Yorker, the designer stated she “never intended to start a revolution” — she merely intended to show “what [she] thought was strong and beautiful.”

If Rei Kawakubo’s story tells us anything, it’s that we should fully follow our passions and pursue our inner convictions despite what the world deems as normal. There’s no debate that Kawakubo has paved the way for upcoming fashion designers such as Junya Watanabe, Martin Margiela, Helmut Lang, and many more who she has influenced in many ways with her relentless focus on going against the grain and fully embracing her own innate fashion interests and styles. 

Fun Fact- Rei Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe (her husband, translator, and CDG’s CEO) established Dover Street Market, a multi-brand retailer specializing in high fashion and streetwear brands, in 2004 which is now located in three countries around the world. 

Shop our CDG Collection Here!

Tinker Hatfield

If someone asked you who was behind the design of perhaps the most iconic shoes in the world, Air Jordan Retros 3-15, what would your answer be? Tinker Hatfield was born in Hillsboro, Oregon and rose to prominence as the “Legend of Design” due to his extensive contributions to numerous Nike athletic shoe designs. So just how did this random guy become so essential to a global brand that his design was credited as the reason why Michael Jordan stayed with Nike? Read ahead to find out!

As a three-sport standout, Tinker Hatfield developed a strong interest in sports from an early age before earning a track scholarship to the University of Oregon where he went as far as setting the school’s pole vault record. Ironically enough, his track coach at Oregon was Bill Bowerman, who later co-founded Nike. Tinker graduated with a degree in Architecture in 1981 and later joined Nike where he first started designing corporate spaces like offices, showrooms, and stores. He then started working on shoe designs in 1985 where his creative and seamless approach changed the intersection of fashion and sports forever. He designed the Air Max 1 in 1987 which became the first Nike sneaker to have a translucent bubble sole displaying the air bag unit. A year later, he designed the Air Jordan 3 embossing the infamous Jordan logo on the tongue for the first time ever. This iconic design came just in time from Tinker Hatfield as Michael Jordan had grown disgruntled with Nike and considered switching over to Adidas alongside the original Air Jordan Sneaker designer, Peter Moore. However, Hatfield’s innovative mind and promise for a brighter future helped Jordan remain checks over stripes and led to many years of stylish yet functional sneaker designs for the Jordan Brand. 

Tinker’s designs were typically inspired by his own creative process that was intertwined with whoever he was designing with. He always approached his work with this mindset because it was always about blending his ideas with someone else’s as opposed to merely doing a job for someone. With Jordan shoes, he carried his own influences and creativity into the shoes of a basketball player by prioritizing building a high quality, high performing, sophisticated basketball sneaker. 

Beyond the sneaker world, Tinker still finds himself designing cool things such as Camp Hatfield, a gift to his wife who always dreamed of being a camp director. He also designed more unique shoes such as the custom Nike Air Trainer Bat Boots worn by Michael Keaton in the 1989 Batman movie. Tinker helped to create this shoe while making Batman’s costume more muscular and athletic than previous costumes. Tinker still works at Nike today as the Vice President for Design and Special Projects and has no doubt cemented his role in the world of sneakers, sports, fashion, and pop culture. What is your favorite design from the creative? 

Shop our Air Jordan Collection Here!

Aleali May

In this week’s fashion blurb, we’re featuring Aleali (uh-lay-lee) May the iconic fashion designer, blogger, image consultant, and all around trailblazer. Born of Black and Filipina descent, May has stayed true to her roots, often paying homage to her heritage through unique designs such as the jade emblems on her Jordan 14’s which represents her first piece of jewelry from her two different worlds. Aleali May grew up in South Central LA in the 90’s quickly obsessing over the sneaker culture that was widely prominent during this time period due to the likes of the global figure, Michael Jordan. Who would have guessed that Colorado High School’s best dressed would end up designing for this very brand years later. 

May’s career in fashion started when she picked up a part-time job at a Louis Vuitton store in Chicago while studying marketing at Columbia College. This led to her gig at Virgil Abloh (RIP) and Don C’s trendy designer clothing & footwear store, RSVP Gallery. She then pioneered styling engagements for Kendrick Lamar, Lil Yacthy, Jaden Smith, Kali Uchis and more. Aleali went on to sign with top modeling/creative agency “The Society Management” and served as a consultant to renowned brands all over the world.

Her journey with Jordan Brand started officially in 2017 when she designed the Air Jordan 1 Aleali May and became the second woman ever to collaborate with the brand. Her next collaboration was then launched in cahoots with WNBA star Maya Moore bringing about the Jordan 1 Court Lux and Jordan 10 as the brand’s first ever Women’s Pack. Her next creation was launched in March 2019, the Jordan 6 Millennial Pink, which sold out in less than five minutes on the Nike Snkrs app (we all know how that goes). This rust pink silhouette with a splash of bright crimson are now worth 268% more than their original retail price, according to StockX. 

With a pristine and instinctive approach to design, it goes without saying that Aleali May has done wonders to pave the way for up and coming fashion designers, especially women. Blending fashion with sports, music, lifestyle, and foreign roots has guided her to a pretty significant position within the fashion industry and there’s no telling where she’ll take it next! 

Check out some more of Aleali’s work HERE  on her website showcasing her styling projects, outfits, and more!


Fashion designer, DJ, creator of Human Made, record producer, member of Teriyaki Boyz, and entrepreneur – can you guess who is being featured in today’s fashion blurb? It’s no doubt that Nigo has worn many many hats in his lifetime and influenced the fashion and music worlds in various ways. Nigo, born Tomoaki Nagao was the son of a metal fabricator and a nurse and grew up in the Japanese Province of Gunma. He had a strong interest in hip-hop, spending most of his teenage days in record shops and eventually saw himself starting to dress and emulate the cultures of his musical icons Public Enemy, LL Cool J, and The Beastie Boys. As hip-hop and fashion are so closely intertwined, it’s no surprise that Nigo’s interest in this music genre led him to eventually create his own brand in 1993. 

‘A Bathing Ape in Lukewarm Water’ is a Japanese phrase which depicted the sheltered lives of Japan’s complacent youth living in a post-war consumption frenzy. The use of an Ape pays homage to Nigo’s love of science fiction drawing inspiration from the media franchise, Planet of The Apes. Nigo’s rendezvous with fashion started in a small store where he sold Bape T-Shirts and his infamous camouflage print hoodies which went viral among teenagers in his area. Following this grind, Nigo released the Bapesta sneaker in 2002 which was inspired by the Nike Air Force 1 design. Exclusive releases fueled the early success of Bape as it became highly sought after as supply was only able to fulfill 10% of customer demand. Bape continued to grow as popular figures such as Notorious B.I.G. and Kanye cosigned the brand either by sporting the noticeable camo or mentioning the brand in lyrics. Nigo later went on to explore other ventures such as streetwear brands Billionaire Boy’s Club and Ice Cream which were launched alongside long-time friend, Pharrell Williams in 2005. Following years of popular collaborations and a struggling business, Nigo cut ties with Bape in 2013 and found himself engaging in other endeavors such as Human Made, Uniqlo, Kenzo, and music. 

It’s no doubt that Nigo has had an extensive career in the fashion industry and the creative space in general, and we can’t wait to see how his innovative ideas continue to shape the fashion world.

Shop our Bape Collection Here!

Kanye West

This week we will be highlighting the infamous and oftentimes enigmatic, Kanye West. While his extensive career and accomplishments can't be told in a short blurb, we will try our best to highlight some key moments. Kanye's interest in fashion can be traced all the way back to an interview he did in 2003 where he "decided that [he's] gonna be the best, the best-dressed rapper in the game.” Since then, Kanye has ventured into many endeavors starting with a few less-spoken projects such as Macotte by K West, Pastelle, and Dw named in memory of his late mother, Donda West.

Following these pursuits, Kanye interned at Fendi in 2009 where he helped contribute to their men's collection. This was an extremely pivotal year for him as he was also able to become the first non-athlete to sign a deal with the sportswear company, Nike, where he released his own shoes, the Air Yeezy. At this point Kanye had become well-versed not only in the music industry but also the fashion industry. This opened up several opportunities and collaborations with brands such as Louis Vuitton, Bape/A.P.C., and Adidas to name a few. Kanye later transitioned from Nike over to Adidas in 2013 where he launched his Adidas Yeezy Boost Empire which by 2019, had allegedly generated $1.3 billion in annual revenue. Through West's move to Adidas, he was able to gain more control and financial gain through royalties that Nike apparently was not willing to give. It's clear that this business move was crucial in giving Kanye creative freedom and extreme wealth as Yeezy is now valued at $4-$5 billion further reiterating the fact that ownership is key.

Nowadays you can find Kanye further developing his fashion empire with the likes of Gap/Balenciaga/etc., spamming on Instagram, or creating beautiful music. What are your thoughts on Kanye's fashion career and would you ever pay $200 for a Stem Player? 👀

 Shop our Yeezy Collection Here


Tremaine Emory

Does the name Tremaine Emory ring a bell? The figure behind Denim Tears was born in Atlanta, GA and raised in Queens, NY and later contributed heavily to a number of brands including Off-White, Stussy, Asics, New Balance and many more. Perhaps one of his most notable claims to fame is his jeans embellished with the Gossypium Cotton Flower which resembles African-American history in America. These jeans and the brand Denim Teams have become extremely popular within Streetwear through numerous collaborations and widespread adoption among fashion heads. 

Emory's creativity and commitment to excellence has not gone unnoticed and even landed him a new role as the Creative Director of Supreme. This story embodies the sentiments of Black History Month as an individual who comes from years of oppression was able to overcome and be honored with a highly esteemed role within one of the world's biggest fashion brands. One may see this as motivation that no matter where your roots lie, there is always room for the narrative to be re-written.

Shop Our Denim Tears Collection Here!