One of streetwear’s most iconic brands is getting new life.
More than two decades after leaving Triple 5 Soul, Camella Ehlke took to Instagram to herald the long-awaited relaunch.
“I am thrilled to announce the rebirth of 555 Soul. … The store was a hub for artists, musicians, and designers,” Ehlke wrote in a statement. “It was an era of creative energy, full of indie magazines and record labels, mix-tape DJs, and hand-made fashions. It was a lifestyle without the internet, cell phones, or Amazon.”
She continued, “It was New York City in the 90s—electric, unpolished, and bubbling with potential. The culture at 555 was vibrant, fresh, and collaborative. We now call this culture Streetwear.”
As many suspected, Ehlke has been working on the rebirth for the past year, collaborating with “a small team of creatives to design goods we feel passionate about.” She confirmed the first drop will arrive for the spring/summer 2023 season, and will celebrate Triple 5 Soul’s humble beginnings at 151 Ludlow St. in the Lower East Side. The collection will include bespoke and one-of-one pieces that Ehlke made with her sewing machine.
“I look forward to connecting with everyone,” she wrote.
Ehlke founded Triple 5 Soul in 1989, creating bold streetwear pieces that deftly fused NYC’s hip-hop aesthetic with West Coast surf style. Her designs, which she sewed and sold in her LES studio, would be donned by everyone from Mos Def and A Tribe Called Quest to De La Soul and Q-Tip. Over the next decade, Triple 5 Soul would become a heavy-hitter within the streetwear realm, and would count Urban Outfitters and Fred Segal among its stockists.
As Triple 5 Soul became more successful, Ehlke decided to join forces with Troy Morehouse—a Phat Farm alum who agreed to handle the brand’s production. Despite giving up half of her ownership, Ehlke became overwhelmed by the growing demand as well as business disagreements with Morehouse. Fast-forward to the early 2000s, when she ultimately chose to step away from the company.
“I was so fed up by where he was taking it,” she said at the time, as reported by Highsnobiety. “It was really frustrating for me as an artist and a creative person with a vision. At first he kind of saw my vision, but he always shot it down. Because I wanted it to be this full, encompassing lifestyle. Triple 5 Soul Sounds. Triple 5 Soul Café. We did this whole art collaboration series where we would get an artist to take over the whole interior of the store—one of them being Banksy. It was the first time anyone brought Banksy to New York.”
In the years after her departure, Ehlke would publicly criticize Morehouse’s reign at Triple 5 Soul, specifically blasting his decision to put profit and expansion above everything else.
“He pimped it out,” she said. “He licensed the brand out to so many people and did so many bad deals with the wrong people just because he was greedy that I think (the brand) is just kinda caught up. The brand doesn’t exist any more…I didn’t cash out to be a rich person. Toward the end, we were making decent salaries. I wanted out for peace of mind. It’s not worth the money to be miserable and in a bad environment. I did my time with it, and it played itself out. I enjoyed it.”
Stay tuned as more details about the Triple 5 Soul relaunch become available.