In today’s fashion market, it is essential to be innovative as trends are ever-changing. In a world where practically everything is at our fingertips, the vast majority of modern consumers are not easily wowed, and this goes for basically everything. So, for burgeoning streetwear designers, it goes without saying that to achieve mainstream fame and success you essentially have to be extraordinary.
For the brand SP Badu, however, it is by doing the opposite that they have been so successful. Founded by Spencer Badu, the Toronto-based brand produces clothes that can be worn by both sexes. Badu says that he aims to build a holistic wardrobe for the people who support his brand, and to find a grey area between menswear and womenswear, whilst still maintaining an element of style and comfort.
This is one of the reasons I found this brand quite intriguing. Of course, SP Badu is yet to achieve mainstream and commercial success, but that does not take away from the essence of a brand whose innovation is not in the clothes themselves but in
Instead of creating clothes that adhere to the rules of fast fashion, focusing primarily on being trendy and catching people’s attention, Badu has chosen instead to break societal norms and creates items of non-conformist clothing that will ultimately be able to stand the test of time.
The Canadian-based brand has been seen on the likes of A$AP Rocky and Young Thug, both of whom are arguably some of the most influential figures in popular culture today.
The designer himself has stated that he finds gender-specific clothing boring which to an extent I agree with. Ultimately, the distinction between menswear and womenswear is extremely restrictive and prevents designers to experiment to the best of their ability. I believe that it is a distinction necessary for traditional high fashion houses, however for newer brands, streetwear specifically, the lines become more and more blurred and justifiably so.
He sees fashion as a more accessible art form and like many traditional artists, believes that with experimentation comes identification. Essentially, he is trying to say that by experimenting with designs and ideas, one can find the true essence of their brand.
Badu is also inspired by brutalist architecture which informs the lines and shapes of his garment. In this sense, he can be compared to the likes of Virgil Abloh and Raf Simons who have some background in architectural studies. He also says that he is inspired by Rick Owens, suggesting that designers who can build a cult following around the clothes they make act as sources to draw from.
The designer also speaks of the lack of representation in the fashion industry today, an issue that has plagued the industry for a long time and does not seem to be disappearing anytime soon. Badu stated that despite the importance of the “Black Dollar” and how much we as black people invest in the industry, we are not represented. Instead of simply complaining about it, Badu has chosen to be the change that he so desperately seeks; the vast majority of his campaigns are full of people of all races. It will be interesting to follow SP Badu and see where the brand goes and how it evolves over the years. From what I can tell, it is evident that Badu is not after fame or recognition but instead sets out to create clothes that reflect his views and tastes and ultimately to be as authentic as possible. We must remember that, in an age where gender rules and norms are broken.