Everything About Corteiz: The UK Streetwear Brand Co-Signed by Nike, Drake, Central Cee, and More

Everyone from Drake to Central Cee is wearing the UK streetwear brand Corteiz today. Here's how the brand started and why it quickly gained popularity

What is Corteiz, the British streetwear label taking over the world.
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

What is Corteiz, the British streetwear label taking over the world.

Today, it’s rarer to see hordes of shoppers mob city streets to buy a limited edition drop from any streetwear label. Drops are usually more organized thanks to raffles or scheduled online releases. The scarcity factor has also diminished as more brands vie to be sold in department stores or other retailers outside of their own. Today, it feels that many streetwear brands follow the same playbook. Design a seasonal collection, slot an online release date, hold physical pop-ups to promote the collection, and then continue selling items via stockists or other retail partners. 

Then there’re brands like the bubbling British streetwear label Corteiz, which has employed unconventional guerilla marketing tactics to capture hype and allure unseen within streetwear in sometime. 

Originally launched in 2017, Corteiz RTW (Rules The World) was founded by a once-mysterious 26-year-old British-Nigerian entrepreneur who goes by the name Clint 419. Within the past five years, the brand’s logo of Alcatraz Island has blown up and is now spotted everywhere. Naturally, their garments have been frequently sighted on UK rap stars such as Central Cee, slowthai, Stormzy, and Dave. But recently, some of the biggest celebs have given Corteiz their seal of approval. Earlier this month, Drake wore a leather jacket that the brand released this winter, and Pharrell invited Clint to a private Friendsgiving dinner held at Selfridges in the fall. 

This month, Corteiz unveiled its biggest move yet by revealing an upcoming partnership with Nike that includes a pair of Air Max 95s arriving in March.

So what is Corteiz and how did it become one of the most popular streetwear brands to come out of London since Palace? Keep reading to learn everything we know about Corteiz.

Corteiz Had Humble Beginnings

Corteiz Founder Clint with Central Cee and Pharrell

Surprisingly, Corteiz’s social media pages were originally private—as of now they’re not—but for a while, new customers could only learn about the brand’s latest releases if their “follow” requests were accepted by Clint. The brand basically grew off just supporters being in the know. 

Corteiz’s first Instagram post was in September 2017 and was a picture of three screen-printed hoodies with the brand’s now-iconic logo of Alcatraz Island. As screenshotted in a TikTok video, Clint said Corteiz’s logo represents how living in society feels like a prison and Corteiz is about “escaping from the societal restraints that we’ve grown up with to pursue what you really want to do.” The brand’s offerings since have mostly consisted of T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, beanies, cargo pants, cargo shorts, and socks with their logos. Their prices range from £12 for a pair of socks and up to £300 for their puffer “Bolo” jackets. 

Clint said the brand’s first drop only sold 16 hoodies. Nearly two years after he launched Corteiz, he made a post on his personal Instagram detailing how his brand grew from 50 followers to 10,000 in just 18 months. 

“Account was on private 95% of the time for the last 18 months. Only way to find it was via someone you knew. No explore page. No seeding. No paid for ads. No Pumplex Article, No Nothing. Just Us. Followers ain’t everything either, its just 1 indicator of progress. But if you fill a room with 50 and fill a room with 10,000 you’ll feel the difference.” 

Today, the brand currently has 137,600 followers on Twitter and 538,000 followers on Instagram. 


99p cargo dont die for corteiz #corteiz #99p #cargo @corteizburner

♬ Corteiz - Zak

While many successful streetwear labels became infamous for sudden drops with quick sell-out times, Corteiz’s approach to releasing hyped garments was distinctively different.

Streetwear brands usually carve out a specific day of the week or time for their drops. Instead, Corteiz moves spontaneously. Their drops are cryptically revealed, times are unveiled randomly, and the only way to access the drop is by entering a password shared via email, Twitter, or Instagram. This online drop model has made Corteiz notoriously difficult to purchase, but it has built a digital streetwear cult that closely follows all the brand’s moves.

What’s made Corteiz even more captivating than traditional streetwear labels is their ability to build actual crowds for in-person releases. These aren’t just shoppers lining up in front of a formally announced pop-up shop in London. Corteiz’s real life drops are more like hypebeast scavenger hunts where the prize is cheap or free Corteiz. Like their online drops, the location and time of these limited releases is vaguely unveiled before the release. On drop day, Corteiz will share GPS coordinates to point out exactly where the drop is. What ensues are essentially flash mobs for the chance to score a rare Corteiz piece for little to no cost. 

One of Corteiz’s biggest drops recently gave followers a chance to purchase a pair of their all-black cargo pants for just 99p (99 cents). Once Corteiz dropped the coordinates, hundreds of Corteiz supporters mobbed Shepherd’s Bush Park in West London in the hopes of securing a ticket that would grant them access to the 99p store selling the cargos nearby. Footage shared on YouTube vlogs and TikToks show fans nearly trampling each other for the chance to buy these pants with an Alcatraz logo. 

View this video on YouTube


One of Corteiz’s most notable drops was something Clint dubbed “The Great Bolo Exchange.” The rules were simple: Corteiz would give one of their 50 “Bolo” puffer jackets to anyone willing to trade-in a jacket by The North Face, Arc’teryx, Stussy, Moncler, Supreme, or other established clothing brands. Like every Corteiz release, hundreds of fans showed up and they were excited to trade-in whatever winter coat they had for a Corteiz puffer. Naturally, one may have assumed that Clint was going to flip the puffers that were traded in. Instead, he donated £16,000 worth of jackets to Laurence’s Larder, a local food bank in Britain. Corteiz also donated pencils, pens, paper, reading books, and over 60 T-shirts and tracksuit bottoms to Fruitful Rescue Centre last year, an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. 

View this video on YouTube


Early on, the brand threw parties headlined by rising rappers like Sam Wise. Today, nearly every British rapper, from slowthai to Stormzy, has been spotted wearing Corteiz’s garments. Dave wears a head-to-toe Corteiz outfit in the music video of his UK chart-topping track “Starlight.” Clint actually makes a cameo at the end of the video. Even British artists like Jorja Smith and Skepta have been seen rocking a Corteiz piece here and there. Arguably, the brand’s most prolific link-up with a UK rapper was Central Cee. Before Corteiz blew up, Cench gave the brand a huge look by wearing both a Corteiz vest and a pair of belted shorts in the music video for his 2020 breakout single “Loading.” Corteiz eventually teamed up with Central Cee to release a limited edition T-shirt to commemorate the release of his 23 mixtape last year. The T-shirt was only sold for 23 hours and it’s nearly impossible to find a legitimate one today. The brand also collaborated with the rapper Meekz in November.

Although it may seem like Corteiz is another brand just juiced up by what one may assume to be celebrity gifting or nepotistic connections, Clint has always been adamant about never seeding his product. When Corteiz grew to 20,000 followers in 2020, he tweeted, “No sponsored ads, no free clothes, no ass lickin celebs, and most of all, no bullshit blogs.” A year later, he shouted out Dave on his Twitter and said he was “one of the few that ain’t ask me for no discount, no freebies, no nothin, went on the store n copped shit. I’ll always support his ting for that.”

Naturally, because of all these British rappers rocking Corteiz, Drake’s anglophile tendencies got the best of him this year. In January, Drizzy posted a pic of himself wearing a leather Corteiz jacket that the brand released this Christmas. It’s not surprising that Drake was drawn to this buttery leather because the cinematic campaign video Clint made was out of this world to say the least. Directed by Walid Labri of Division—the production company behind Drake and 21 Savage’s Her Loss parody Vogue cover—the Micheal Bay-esque visuals captured a model in a Corteiz leather jacket falling like a meteorite into a London taxi. Who wouldn’t want to own this piece after watching that? 

One of Clint’s most notable supporters within the fashion industry was none other than the late Virgil Abloh. Abloh posted himself wearing one of the brand’s Alcatraz logo hoodies and even shared a pic of him sitting next to Clint on his Instagram. One of the biggest co-signs he gave to the brand was at the last Met Gala he attended in 2021, where he revealed on Instagram that he wore Corteiz socks to the event. Beyond Corteiz, Abloh was always tapped into what’s been occurring in the United Kingdom culturally. He spotlighted the drum & bass icon Goldie in his Spring/Summer 2022 collection, made the British skateboarder Lucien Clarke LV’s first sponsored skater, and highlighted classic grime songs within his DJ sets. The beat for Skepta’s legendary 2014 Grime anthem “That’s Not Me” was actually titled “Virgil” and inspired by Skepta visiting one of Abloh’s DJ sets. So it’s not surprising that Abloh was also in-tune with what was occurring within London’s streetwear scene.

Naturally, like any hyped streetwear brand sold in limited quantities, resellers have poached Corteiz’s drops or flipped bootleg replicas. But unlike other streetwear brands that usually act oblivious to rampant hypebeast capitalism, Clint has taken direct action to quell resellers from flipping Corteiz’s garments. On his Instagram stories, he has posted himself going on Depop to hunt for anyone reselling Corteiz post-release so that he could swiftly cancel their orders himself. Other times, he’s called out resellers on his stories and made claims that all the Corteiz product on resale platforms are fake. When he noticed that one reseller on Depop was selling a Corteiz piece acquired through one of his in-person drops, he lampooned the flipper on Twitter writing: “If ur gonna resell a free tee do it properly, man chargin normal retail price for a tee that signifies a moment in time, ur gnna try shot it for 30 nug u may aswell keep the shirt, I’ll buy that shit back and sell it for 100 just to spite you.” The biggest statement Corteiz has made on this came in the form of a cheeky campaign video where a Corteiz reseller is filmed getting robbed and beaten for flipping their merch. 

On Jan. 17, Corteiz unveiled a surprising teaser that captured their Alcatraz Island logo being projected alongside Nike’s swoosh on the facade of Niketown London. It was the most mainstream endorsement the once-underground streetwear label had ever received. Ironically, Corteiz was sued by Nike in 2021 because of how similar the brand’s name was to one of Nike’s most popular sneaker silhouettes: the Cortez. The result of that lawsuit was that Nike asked Clint to pay up £1,850 ($2,295). Clearly, the lawsuit just became water under the bridge and didn’t damage any future talks of a major link-up. 

However, some of Corteiz’s hardcore supporters have become dissatisfied by the brand’s ever-growing popularity. On the r/Corteiz subreddit last year, a thread on a drop celebrating the brand’s four-year anniversary was filled with redittors voicing that the brand’s garments were dipping in quality, designs were getting more generic, and that Corteiz was putting out too much product. Many commenters were worried that Corteiz could turn into a brand like Trapstar—another British streetwear label that has found massive mainstream success. 

Eventually one r/Corteiz member sent Clint the aforementioned thread and shared the founder’s responses about supporters concerned with Corteiz’s growth. Clint replied saying that Corteiz has not been “compromised” since growing in popularity and shared a 2021 tweet panning supporters of the brand who were upset about Corteiz going mainstream. When the Reddit user said, “You can’t just pump out Alcatraz logos for the next five years,” Clint replied with “What has Nike been doing for 58 years g.” 

While only time could tell if Corteiz’s hype will last, it’s clear that Clint is now ready to bring his brand to a bigger platform so that it can truly rule the world. 

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