In a return to its headwear roots, FUBU has signed Concept One to produce a range of accessories and distribute the products to brick-and-mortar stores and online.
FUBU bags, backpacks, cold weather items, as well as headwear and other accessories are part of the agreement, according to executives from both companies. The plan is to distribute the merchandise to department stores, specialty, mid-tier and sporting goods stores, along with Amazon and the recently revamped FUBU.com, beginning spring 2022.
FUBU, an acronym for “For Us, By Us,” peaked in the late ’90s at $350 million in volume and 200 freestanding stores. The men’s and women’s collection has been synonymous with hip hop and was a mainstay look on the MTV, VH1 and BET music networks.
Daymond John, fashion entrepreneur and one of the judges on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” started FUBU with three friends from Hollis, Queens: Keith Perrin, J. Alexander Martin and Carl Brown. John’s home served as the original factory. The earliest collection consisted of a small line of tops and hats with the FUBU logo. By 1995, an extensive sportswear line was designed and produced by FUBU.
Next year, FUBU celebrates its 30th anniversary, and is expected to play it up.
The brand lost steam and went through a seven-year hiatus until relaunching about two years ago with a 10-piece collection of hoodies, T-shirts and other classics. Currently, there’s been renewed demand and enthusiasm for FUBU due its links to social movements including Black Lives Matter. Working with Concept One, many of the new FUBU design elements will promote social justice and equality.
“With FUBU, there’s a few touch points,” Sam Hafif, chief executive officer of Concept One,” told WWD. “It’s a retro play. FUBU has been around for so long, and there are a lot of fans who grew up with the brand. Also, the younger generation seems to be gravitating to retro brands, and streetwear is getting hot again. The FUBU hat is really iconic, like a New York Yankees cap.”
“We started FUBU as a ‘bunch of hats.’ The brand has always been synonymous with headwear,” recalled John, in a statement. He characterized Concept One as a “leading” headwear company, and added, “We have some very special things in the works for our 30th anniversary next year.”
“FUBU remains an active voice for the Black community and the culture and will continue to be a beacon for equality and human rights for all,” explained Martin, who aside from being a cofounder, serves as FUBU’s creative director and executive vice president.
The New York-based Concept One designs and produces an array of licensed cold-weather accessories, handbags, backpacks and luggage, and also has offices in Mexico and China along with a partnership in Canada and a London design studio.
Lately, Concept One has been busy signing agreements. Two months ago, the company signed a deal with Brooks Brothers for headwear, and last August, a deal was signed with Smoke Rise, a men’s streetwear brand and private label supplier that’s part of New World Creation Inc., a Korean American company owned by the Hwang family.
“I’ve been a fan of the FUBU brand since its inception in 1992,” said Hafif. “Not only is FUBU built on headwear, but the brand’s message has never been more relevant. We look forward to bringing FUBU headwear, bags and accessories to market this coming spring leading up to its 30th anniversary.”
The Brand Liaison firm served as the licensing agent for FUBU on the deal with Concept One.