Brand: French Deal
Backstory: Steeven Kodjia, a former professional hip-hop dancer, used to shop the vintage shops of New York searching out the most unique streetwear pieces he could find and resell them when he returned home to France. He soon attracted a following who appreciated his taste and eye for the unusual. And so in 2010, Kodjia decided it was time for him to create his own brand, one that would speak to a couture hip-hop customer — a market he didn’t feel was being addressed. He teamed up with Ian Mahinmi of the Washington Wizards, and Ousmane Dabo, a former soccer champion, to create French Deal that next year. The three share not only an affinity for high-end streetwear, but a common heritage: they’re all originally from West Africa and grew up in France, giving them a similar sensibility and purpose. The brand, which is custom only, soon gained a foothold with celebrities such as Khalid, Maejor, Quincy Brown, Evan Ross, and Ne-Yo, as well as several NBA athletes, including Mahinmi’s teammates Otto Porter, Tomas Satoransky and John Wall, and NFL player Victor Cruz. “From the beginning, I wanted a brand that told our story and that I could wear myself,” said Mahinmi. “And French Deal looks like us.”
Aesthetic: Although Kodjia had no official fashion training, he immersed himself in the fashion industry to learn the ins and outs of sourcing, production and design. The result is a luxe assortment of suits, shirts, trousers, jackets, hoodies that are created from the highest-quality fabrics and manufactured in France. While the core silhouettes are familiar, Kodjia includes twists that make each piece special such as hoodies with asymmetrical zipper details, cashmere car coats with mink collars, military-inspired jackets in cashmere with silk linings, and T-shirts with his signature fish skin-inspired lacing panel. His most recent collection speaks to his Ivory Coast heritage and includes colorful ancestral fabrics that he’s used on everything from biker jackets to print bombers.
Price points: The brand sells direct-to-consumer on its e-commerce site and has a showroom/studio in Paris. Jackets retail for 1,600 euros to 9,000 euros; shirts start at 300 euros for classic solids to 1,958 euros for allover graphic prints; hoodies are 300 euros for cotton and 2,000 euros to 3,000 euros for leather, while trousers retail in the 600-euro range.