What a time to be a new brand? There’s something exciting about the early stages of starting anything new, but it can also be terrifying—with or without a global pandemic happening.

“The first week I literally cried all week. I'm like, ‘What the fuck?’ says designer Priya Ahluwalia when asked about how she's dealing with what's happening across the globe. “Now I've got my head around it. I've got to terms with it. I'm trying to just look after myself, listen to good music, eat good food, go do exercise. I'm trying to not give myself the pressure of keep asking when this will all be cleared up. Because I don't know when it's all going to be cleared up. No one knows.”

But this story isn’t about how new brands are coping with COVID-19. We do touch on it a little and hope these designers can provide some inspiration for our new normal. But this story is mainly about identifying cool people who are making cool things. There’s NONAME’s James Gregory, a 22-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, who is turning your grandmother’s tapestries into fresh hoodies and pants that are worn by celebs like Lil Yachty or NBA player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Then there’s Japanese designer Hideaki Shikama, whose Children of Discordance brand is known for its bandana jackets and shirts that have been worn by rappers like Offset. And there’s also industry mainstays like Freshjive’s Rick Kotz and Insomniac’s Pasquale Rotella who are working together on a new venture: a streetwear line heavily influenced by the ‘90s rave scene.

Read on to see how these designers launched their lines, and what they hope to achieve. And oh, support them if you can. If the pandemic has taught us anything, we hope it’s that we are all more thoughtful about what we purchase and who we support. The fashion and streetwear industry has always been built on smaller, independent labels and we don’t want to see them go away.

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