777 Views |  Like

Could FUBU be the Next ’90s Brand to Make a Comeback?

With collaborations with Urban Outfitters, Puma, and Mitchell & Ness all on deck, all signs point to yes.

BY 

Any streetwear fan born in the ’80s or ’90s has a special place in their heart for FUBU (short for For Us By Us). Founded in 1992 by Daymond John, J. Alexander Martin, Keith Perrin, and Carlton Brown, the brand started small with a line of hats made in John’s house in Hollis, Queens, New York, but grew into a cultural phenomenon. In the 25 years since launching, over 5,000 stores have carried the FUBU collection and more than $6 billion in merchandise has been sold at retail. Over the years, the hype faded.

But with the recent resurgence of ’90s brands like FILA, Champion, and Guess, could it be FUBU’s turn for a comeback? We touched based with the founders of the brand to get their thoughts on their recent collaboration with Urban Outfitters, the current state of “streetwear,” and what they think For Us By Us means given our current political climate.

The FUBU founders in the 90s COURTESY OF FUBU

How’d your recent collaboration with Urban Outfitters come to be?

Keith Perrin: Our creative director Willie Escobar reached out to Urban Outfitters and they showed some interest and we put it together. Willie’s been pressuring us for years to restart the brand, but you know Daymond is obviously extremely busy and he didn’t have time, so he handed it to Willie and I to work hand-in-hand to get the collaborations going.

Daymond John: For those who don’t know, Willie has his own brand and he’s been the force behind our FUBU brand, our Coogie brand, and all of our other brands. He’s the one who helped curate this. Willie is behind all of our collaborations because he’s out there in those streets and he’s always been that voice whenever we needed him and he’s the guy we go to. Willie is how the collaboration with UO came about and our future collaborations to come with PumaEbbets Field Flannels, and Mitchell & Ness for 2018.

A piece from the FUBU x Urban Outfitters collaboration COURTESY OF FUBU 

What do you think of the current state of streetwear brands?

DJ: My theory is that streetwear right now is returning back to its origin. Back in the day, kids would see whatever brand they liked and interpret it however they wanted to on the street. At that time everyone called it “Urban”, but it really didn’t start being called urban until Karl Kani and Cross Colors started doing it. Prior to that, the brands we wore in hip-hop were Kangol and Adidas. And if you didn’t have a Run-DMC sweatshirt or t-shirt you weren’t hip-hop. Now, I think streetwear’s going back to the independent aspect of it.

KP: I kind of agree. Streetwear, as a form of expression, is to wear what you want. We’re living in a time where everyone can wear whatever they want and feel good about it as opposed to back in the day where everyone was following trends and if you didn’t have a certain something, you weren’t cool. Fortunately, the ’90s are back and FUBU was a huge brand back in the day.

J. Alexander Martin: Personally I don’t think streetwear exists anymore—not in a traditional sense. Streetwear had taken over at one time—and no disrespect to the brands who are deemed streetwear today—but those brands are only selling four or five T-shirts. The term “streetwear” was actually kind of shunned back in the day. If you look at traditional streetwear brands that were able to break out of the realm of having people look down upon it we have Karl Kani and Sean John. Their clothing was sold in a certain store that came with a different clientele. At that time, they were called high-end stores, but today we know them as Macy’s and JCPenny’s. For me, streetwear is no longer what it initially started off as.

COURTESY OF FUBU