There is no doubt FUBU continues to impact the culture. With an episode of Atlanta dedicated to the Black streetwear brand, and a 2016 Solange song invoking the glorious "For Us, By Us" phrase, millennials have not forgotten what FUBU meant to the 1990s and early 2000s.
In a renewed effort to reestablish the fashion brand's dominance, last week FUBU announced a collaboration with New York fashion powerhouse Century 21. The capsule collection will introduce 10 classic-inspired styles.
Founded in 1992 by Daymond John, Keith Perrin, J. Alexander Martin and Carl Brown, Fubu had its most successful years during the 1990s and early 2000s but lost some influence due to business decisions — the company decided to retreat from U.S. markets. It started small with only $40 in assets that eventually grew into a $6 billion fashion empire.
"The biggest mistake we made with the brand was buying more inventory than we needed. This was around 2001," John told Complex. "I think overseas respects and values the hip-hop culture in America, and Fubu is synonymous with hip-hop and streetwear. But today I consider Fubu American classics. I mean, there was a time when we had a really successful bedding line."
In the last few years, the brand gained popularity in countries like South Africa, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia and Korea as a skate brand.
The capsule will be the first new FUBU product featured in the campaign dubbed "Can't Resist a Classic." Century 21 Chief Merchandising Officer Michael Wolkoff believes the collaboration will reignite a love for the streetwear brand among fans of the original FUBU.
"Century 21 is so excited to be a part of this next chapter in the FUBU brand story," said Wolkoff in a press release. "It is our passion to bring our loyal shoppers access to the iconic brands they love and this capsule definitely fits the bill. We can't wait for original fans of the brand to line up as well as the next generation of shoppers to discover it in our store."
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Fans had a chance to meet the founders March 1 at Century 21's downtown Manhattan location during a meet-and-greet.
The fashion brand's impact goes well beyond clothing. When it emerged, it influenced music and TV. Speaking with Complex, Carl Brown said Century 21 would help reintroduce the brand to 18- to 34-year-olds. Perrin piggybacked on this idea to reaffirm the brand's commitment to serving Black culture at the highest level.
"FUBU was always built on hip-hop culture. When we came up with the name, we were thinking about how we spend so much money making other brands rich, but it wasn't only meant for Black people," Perrin told Complex. "We were trying to say that we are of the culture and for it."
The FUBU brand could also be expanding beyond fashion.
"We feel like we haven't touched the surface on how big it can be," said Brown. "FUBU is not just a clothing line. It's radio, television, and hotels. It's a lifestyle that can play [in] many categories."
This collection will be exclusively available online and at Century 21's brick-and-mortar stores.
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