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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.

Since its launch in 2017, Leicester-based clothing/lifestyle imprint LΦUD has grown to become one of the most authentic names in the UK streetwear scene. The brainchild of creative trio Neel, Ebs and Garron, the brand has gained a reputation for its unique and thought-provoking messages designed for the people out there who challenge societal expectations and break the conventional mould. Community’s also a big thing for them: during the pandemic, the team managed to source 5,000 bottles of hand sanitiser and over 5,000 face masks for those in need. 

Inspired by the Neel’s upbringing in Kenya, the natural world and Leicester’s youth culture, LΦUD aims to bridge the gap between the crew’s passion for design, shared experiences and hardships. Citing influences such as Riccardo Tisci and Kanye West—who Neel describes as someone who “goes against the grain and challenges societal expectations successfully”—LΦUD is crafted using organic cotton and vegan-friendly ink, and their efforts have not gone unnoticed. After its pieces were worn by the likes of Jordyn Woods and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the independent studio is now more popular than ever, so much so that its official Instagram account boasts over 50,000 followers. 

To find out more about the brand and why they should be on your radar, we caught up with creative director Neel to break down its early beginnings, the team’s influences, challenges, and goals for the company moving forward.