Business & Finance | January 13th, 2022
HBCU Students And Alum Are Changing The Apparel Game
By: Zion Lampley
Building a brand is big business for college students, but garnering support from the Black community is essential to their success. With booming sales and a distinct style, several brands created by HBCU students and alumni embrace diversity.
“I started off selling accessories like wigs and lashes for women in August of 2019, but after encouragement, supporters began telling me to branch out to selling clothes and start a website,” said Andrew Chiwara, a senior agribusiness student at Florida A&M University. Chiwara is the owner of Cozartt’s Collection, one of FAMU’s most notable student-owned brands. This premier streetwear brand offers a variety of clothing including two-piece sets, jackets, shirts, polos, and bikinis.
For Chiwara, every season is essential to branch out to students who are looking for the latest in streetwear with FAMU’s colors. “The support from FAMU students and even alumni has grown as I’ve become consistent with my brand. The progress I’ve made and began mixing up things that I’m selling.” The importance of Black consumers using their collective financial strength to support one another is important, and anytime is the perfect time to do just that. “Trust in yourself, make stuff that you like, and make sure you are truly proud of it.” Since Chiwara dropped his collection, he has been left with only a few polos as sales remain high and overflowing support never ends.
Seth McIntyre, a first-year Information Technology student at Morgan State University, used his ambitions to create a clothing brand for himself and a reflection of his environment named “Sacred Angels.” Mcintyre states that the name of his clothing brand comes from the connected prosperity of having a relationship with a higher power. This exclusive, Black-owned brand has been featured in multiple posts, reposts, and promoted by social media influencers.
“I always showcase my business, as there are a lot of opportunities for free support, love, and connections to different brands,” said McIntyre. Morgan State University, located in Baltimore, Maryland, hosts events related to Black-owned businesses to showcase the various crafts related to new clothing and self-care brands.
Isaiah Galloway, a Bethune Cookman University Alumni, understands the importance of showing pride for his HBCU. “I believe that with a successful showcase of my business anytime you have a chance too, it can bring a lot of exposure to your brand.” From hoodies to shirts, and even ski masks, Galloway and his business partner Dejon Mackin-Irving plan on branching out to other HBCUs. Building brands in support of oneself is essential for small business owners like Galloway, this year will be one to remember as he plans on his sales skyrocketing on various items.
Using his platform to broadcast his business to HBCU students has been a way to generate more support and revenue for himself. Galloway initiated “TCO Thursday’s” to improve his social media presence and to engage those who genuinely support his business.
Among HBCU student and alumni clothing designers, a need to highlight the pride of one’s school and personal style has left many inspired to create their own brands as Black purchasing power has seismically shifted the game.