Not to be mistaken with Eben Badu, an innovative designer and co-founder of The New Originals, SPENCER BADU; however, is a ready-to-wear fashion brand based in Toronto, Canada worn by celebrities such as Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar and online personality JELEEL! Before its current takeover of the internet, the clothing line was seemingly non-existent for most fashion enthusiasts and suddenly burst in popularity out of nowhere. So how could one explain its coming-to-reign and what may have caused it?
On their official website, it reads that Spencer Badu takes inspiration from iconic eras such as the 90s and early 2000s; however, you would think that they’re actually taking a nudge at the future, with the use of one colour-blocking tight tank tops that reveal one’s body structure and cropped outerwear pieces made out of nylon (A material mainly provided for military garments by then). Not to mention that the designer is based in Canada, a country known for its cold weather and perhaps also, for participating in Hollywood’s good old fashion days. Some of their other claims; ‘uniform’ - maybe. ‘Luxury’? Not so much. It is safe to say that some of its references were lost in translation.
On the other hand, the designer of Ghanaian descent clearly draws inspiration from his African roots, with the colour red, green, yellow and black being a constant theme throughout collections, a known staple of the Ghanaian national flag and pan-africanism. Spencer takes it even further when utilising everyday apparels and putting his own little twist, with cropped cuts, oversized textures and again, nylon, which would fall under the same bracket of so-called ‘instagram’ brands who tend to share these overly-done aesthetics. What sets SPENCER BADU apart from the crowd is not only his heritage; however, a juxtaposition of great online marketing and community building.
When you pay close attention to the rise of SPENCER BADU, Spencer’s consumers are not necessarily buying into a name but instead, feel attached to its cultural representation and the message that lies behind the brand. Let’s look at this way; how many fashion brands can you name that are based in Toronto? Yet alone, in Canada? Due to the voice it offers to a community not known in the fashion space and as partakers of the recent Paris Fashion Week, SPENCER BADU is a safe refuge and a door into fashion relevance. Spencer’s streetwear attitude and commercial takes only amplify its international reach, outside of the bubble it resides in, similar to a young Virgil Abloh designing under the infamous project PYREX.
SPENCER BADU is a brand that heavily relies on its social media presence and therefore, caters to the showcase of its online community who drool upon the thought of being featured on one of their widely followed social media pages. One may think that the brand wouldn’t have reached new heights at this speed if it wasn’t for the co-sign of influencers and celebrities alike, and rightfully so. This does not take anything away from its commercial success and the bigger picture that remains; time after time again, the same elite brands are presented and popularised in the eyes of a million fashion consumers. It is the time for newer narratives to take the limelight and shake the ways in which we view and participate within the walls of fashion.