Welcome to Brand To Watch, a new bi-weekly style column from COMPLEX UK. Here, we’ll be spotlighting the best emerging brands out of the UK, asking them what makes them stand out from the crowd, how they’ve navigated through unprecedented times and determining their vision of fashion and the future.
In 2016, London-based creatives Dajan Bleau and Marvin Armstrong launched their own label. Aged just 17 and equipped with a mindset geared towards levelling up, the duo were determined to create something fresh in the UK streetwear game, having found themselves questioning the quality of the clothes they were wearing on their own day-to-day grind.
Both big fans of designer clothing while growing up, with the likes of UK rappers Nines and Blade Brown flowing through their headphones on a daily rotation, Bleau and Armstrong invested the money they’d earned trying to live, eat and breathe into an idea that represented their desire to live an aspirational life.
This thought process would birth GRAFT3R, a streetwear brand celebrating the grind towards greatness and the luxury lifestyle they were both striving towards as hungry teenagers with the world at their feet, with the pair at a consensus that working hard—or ‘grafting’—would be the route to reaching their goals.
Since launching in 2016, GRAFT3R has gone from strength to strength to develop a position as one of the most steady names on the UK streetwear scene. The brand’s recognisable pieces are now used as go-to fits for the best rising names in two of the UK’s finest exports: music and football. With rappers such as Double Lz and Bandokay, Loski and Morrisson through to ballers such as Phil Foden, Rhian Brewster and Conor Gallagher all regularly repping the brand, the label is being fronted by this generation’s next wave of game-changers who aptly personify what the brand is all about.
We caught up with Dajan and Marvin from GRAFT3R to find out more about how their own sense of graft allowed them to work their way up the ranks in the clothing game and how they honed their personalities into a likeminded community and movement on the come up.