Black-Owned Student Apparel Brands Connect Through Shared Passion, Collaborate for Black History Month
Pushing creativity beyond the classroom, two student-owned streetwear businesses in Ohio State aim to inspire others and support other black-owned businesses.
Andre Holland, a third-year marketing student and co-owner of social introvert, said the brand was founded in 2020 during the pandemic and sells hoodies, sweatpants and shorts. Zaire Singleton, 2nd year in strategic communication and founder of streetwear brand HEFE ULVsaid he decided to pursue his interest in fashion and design by opening his own brand in June 2020.
“While I was in college, I just developed a knack for making parts and stuff like that,” Singleton said. “Being a black business owner on campus has really allowed me to meet new people and create with people like Andre and spread my brand even more to people with different perspectives, different cities, towns different.”
In addition to his clothing brand, Holland said he is known on campus for the social events he organizes for students, such as parties and rallies. Despite the social atmosphere he’s often tasked with creating, Holland said he always finds time to re-energize before heading to his next event, and his brand name resonates with him personally. .
“One of the things that stood out to me the most was the fact that it plays on the balance of a person finding balance in the social scene, as well as finding time to be alone and take time for yourself,” Holland said.
Singleton said his brand’s name stems from several different meanings: HEFE comes from “jefe” – the Spanish word for boss – and ULV comes from the old Swedish word for wolf.
“They match well together because in a wolf pack there’s an alpha or a leader, and it basically matches each other because you have to follow before you can lead,” Singleton said.
Singleton said he hopes to make HEFE ULV a brand that can be found in any major clothing store and become someone other artists and creative designers can look up to.
Holland said being a small business owner means he has to work hard to compete with premium brands and provide consumers with high-quality products that can thrive in a competitive market.
“People want to buy Gucci and all of these high-end brands, so when you’re a low-end streetwear brand, you really have to put in the work to sell your clothes because people have to want to buy your clothes over them. these other big brands,” Holland said.
Because February celebrates Black History Month and Valentine’s Day, Holland said he and Singleton are focused on combining the two themes in a collaborative BLCK LUV collection, which aims to spark conversation about what does black love mean.
“We were able to create a collection that highlights the unification and support of not only black designers, but also entrepreneurs, friends, families and romantic partners,” Holland said. “The BLCK LUV collection was a collaboration that delved into the phrase ‘Black love’ and brings out all the deeper understandings of the two words.”
Holland said the BLCK LUV collection will include shirts, hoodies and sweaters, and a BLCK LUV hoodie has been teased on Instagram Social Introvert and HEFE ULV pages. Singleton said the purpose behind the hoodie was to represent black love in its many forms, whether romantic or platonic.
“The BLCK LUV sweater is to look at black love in itself, as a representation between a romantic way, brotherhood and celebration of each person getting along with each other,” Singleton said.
Holland said the BLCK LUV collection will be available for purchase on the Social Introvert website Thursday at 7 p.m. There will also be a pop-up shop at Hale Hall in Room 101 of the Hall of Fame from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, with the collection available. for purchase.