Written by Tyler Wichmann
September 20, 2012
“All out in the bay but you know I’m reppin’ Sac shit / Shouts to LA but I gotta’ handle Cap Biz / Cause they’ve been sleepin’ on us like a mothafuckin’ mattress.”
– C Plus – “West Coast OG” – “L.O.C.A.L.”
When it comes to a geographical lineup of the streetwear industry, the City of Sacramento is truly an underdog.
If you ask someone from outside The Golden State what its capitol city is, 75% of the time you will NOT hear Sacramento. Oh yea, for those of you who didn’t know; that’s us! Sacramento is indeed the capitol city of California, but why would you know that? There is that beautiful city by the bay, not to mention that town with the Hollywood lights where people go to get famous. No wonder the Capitol City gets overlooked, right? Wrong.
Sacramento is a resiliant city with an established and emerging group of streetwear brands, all offering quality clothing and products. Like Sacramento based rap artist, C Plus says; “It’s time to wake up!” Sacramento is home to a convincing assemblage of brands that are putting on for their city, making themselves an integral part of its growth in the streetwear industry. It is these brands that will compel Cali outsiders to recognize who the capitol city actually is. Like the Bay Area and Los Angeles, it is time for Sacramento to be taken serious. I will tell you why.
This is the Top 10 Sacramento Streetwear Brands.
Before we start, readers must understand the criteria we used to compile this list. I will note; This list was extremely difficult to put together! Being born and raised in the City of Trees, plus having a great passion for clothing, I felt a lot of pressure to make sure this was done right. With that being said, here are the criteria in which this list formed.
Longevity/Consistency: The life of the brand and how consistent they have been during that time.
Product Quality & Originality: The quality and attention to detail in products and design and how original, creative, innovative, and awesome those products and designs are.
City Involvement/Representation/Impact: The involvement with, representation of, and impact on the city of Sacramento.
Web & Retail Presence: Website, online shop, and social media presence. Retail presence within the Greater Sacramento Area.
Through these four levels of criteria, I still had a tough time coming up with a top 10. There must have been 30+ brands I started with. I am confident I chose 10 whom I believe are doing things right and helping Sacramento become a mainstay in the streetwear industry. Let’s get right into it.
A younger brand than most on this list, American Gypsy Apparel has made a notable presence in Sacramento’s streetwear scene with its eye opening art for all people creative. Every piece is custom made and one of a kind to its owner, JM Knudsen. His traditional looking tattoo pieces flash bright and beautiful on t-shirts. Knudsen’s “Obey-ish” approach of displaying art through fashion proves his prolific skill is real. American Gypsy’s photographer does an amazing job displaying the city of Sacramento in and throughout their colorful photos (just check out their instagram). Along with pretty, tattooed women wearing original designs, they make it well known they are from “The City of Gold.” I hope to see American Gypsy Apparel continue putting on for Sac in a significant way.
With five different parallel brand owners, all childhood friends from the Natomas area, 5ifth View has been putting out contemporary, clever designs for the last couple years now. They use “5V” imagery in their designs several ways, all tying in the conceptual meaning to what the brand represents. In the last couple years have you been to an Ace of Spades show for a BIG NAME hip-hop act? 5V was most likely in the building, and you probably bought one of their tees. Their brand does a remarkable job at linking with the community through small pop-up-shops at clubs and lounges throughout the Sacramento area. Along with their relationship with Sacramento rap artist C Plus, they are sold in Getta Clue Store, one of Sacramento streetwear brand’s top honors. They do an elequant job keeping their fans and customers up to date on events and new releases through their social media. I presume 5ifth View will continue blossoming and showing Sacramento what they have to offer in a wide variety of ways. Enjoy the view!
Rooted in Guam, grown in California, and based in Sacramento, Calibis represents their community, as one. They started what they refer to as the “Calibis Movement” and their following is exceptional. Many may label them a “Weed Brand,” but they are clearly much more than that. Calibis releases an assortment of product at a rapid rate, for both men and women. They constantly hold a wide variety of products in their online shop. While their product & marketing is unmistakably aimed toward Californians, they do their state justice, indeed. Their well-defined graphics and theatrical play on the Cali/Pot relationship help their clothes stand out bright and green (pun intended). Calibis does an awesome job linking with the community on local and out-of-state events. Whether it’s a Reggae Festival, Hemp Fest, or Street Fair, Calibis is present selling their product and spreading the movement. Outside of these events, you can find them in local shops like Zuhg Life in the Downtown Plaza, or even their own showroom in Roseville. I don’t see Calibis putting out their light anytime soon, and Sacramento can be happy about that. Stay high!
7. APHORE GROUP
Founded in 2004, Aphore Group is that brand you know and clearly recognize but you may not have known it was them. Let me explain. You know that “916ers” sticker you saw posted on that Sacramento street corner that mocks the old-school Philadelphia 76ers logo? Yea, that is, and has been Aphore Group. The 916er’s logo alone has been an iconic symbol for this city. After a short absence from the industry, Aphore Group has made a strong emergence back into the streetwear scene these last few years. With the introduction of a new headwear line, they have taken production to the next level. Don’t get it twisted, Aphore produces more than just the famous 916ers design, and they have been putting out heat like this for years. Behind the scenes, Aphore does a multitude of banner, sticker, and vinyl work for local brands and businesses. You can often see respected, homegrown names like producer Chase Moore sporting the latest Aphore Group products. I will not fail to mention they are available in Getta Clue Store as well. Aphore Group puts on for Sacramento in a major way. Years from now, I would bet we still see those iconic 916ers stickers slapped on every street corner throughout the city. PERK!
Founded in November of 2011, Timeless Thrills is a young and proud Sacramento based brand priding ourselves on producing “well-made streetwear at an exclusive availability.“ While we have only been in business just short of two years, we have not missed a seasonal collection. We pay very close attention to detail and put out nothing shy of quality products. We do not ever reprint or remanufacture our items, which I feel is the key aspect to our brand’s exclusivity. Our design work is tidious, always tying back into our brand’s original concept. Each season we bring “true conceptual collections,” a step further than your basic seasonal drops. Most of our product is made domestically, and we even produce a large amount within the city of Sac. We have a concrete relationship with Getta Clue Store, and our product has sold in there since our start. We contribute to and appear at several events throughout the city including the GOOD Street Food and Design Market. We have even collaborated with local rapper C Plus on a trio of socks in relation to his latest sophomore album: “L.O.C.A.L.” One of our most sought after designs incorporated the Tower Bridge, an iconic landmark in Sacramento’s history and one of the coolest looking bridges in the damn world. Timeless Thrills does everything in its power to make sure people know we are from Sacramento, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Look forward to watching our continued growth and as always, Stay Timeless.
Kings Tribe Clothing is a collective of several people throughout a few cities in California, but the true man responsible for the brand, movement, and products is Samuel Parkinson, also known as SRP. What a lot of you probably don’t know, is SRP has worked for or with other brands on this list. He is a true craftsmen, designer, and talented as hell I might add. This is proven with one short visit to his online store. Kings Tribe’s products are all custom, hand-made, one of a kind pieces. He personally manufactures everything from a fresh button down shirt, all the way to shoelaces, duffle bags, and quarter pouches. SRP oversees production from start to finish, making him able to pay closer attention to his products than any other brand on this list. You would think he’s booked, yet behind the scenes he is helping several clothing brands with their tech packs, patterns, production, and even manufacturing. The positive movement that is King’s Tribe forces you to acknowledge what truly goes into fashion and creating an actual piece. Whether it’s perfecting Kings Tribe, creating pieces for Sacramento’s Annual Fashion Week, or undertaking work for smaller brands moving their way up, Samuel Parkinson is definitely an integral part in this Sacramento wave of streetwear we are bringing to the industry. How could he be left out? This is a multicultural movement pushing awareness and spreading positivity. It takes a tribe to build a village.
“Trust Your Hustle.” It rings a bell right? If you live in Sacramento and haven’t seen the bold Nike inspired shirt, you must live in a box, somewhere in Rio Linda. The “Trust Your Hustle” design sparked a huge craze in Sac and took over the Summer of 2012. Just like the “Hella Trees” campaign did for the ’07 founded company earlier in their strong life as a brand. At one point there were kids getting sent home from Kennedy High School here in Sacramento for wearing the shirt that read “Hella Trees.” If that’s not impact on your city, I don’t know what is. Or maybe it was the trees they planted throughout the city for every t-shirt sale during one of their projects a few years back. Let’s not forget the star lineup you have seen wearing their clothing; Sacramento King’s Center, Demarcus Cousins, well-known artist and America’s Got Talent star David Garibaldi, and dope local hip-hop artists like Chewy and Moe Green. From their marketing to their Cooney photography, Cloudnine has been bringing it for quite some time now. They stay extremely tight with the Getta Clue family and even run exclusive releases found only inside the store. I expect Cloudnine to continue putting out quality seasonal lines that bless their hefty hardcore following with reputable product.
3. GETTA CLUE
“The mecca of streetwear in Sacramento.” What else can you say about Getta Clue that will further explain who they are and what they have done for this city? What some people don’t know is Getta Clue has been putting out quality, branded merchandise for years now. From different cut & sew products to catchy, eye-popping designed t-shirts and tanks, Getta Clue Brand brings it. Let’s not forget the store has been around in damn near the same location for over twenty years now. Even locals who are not interested in streetwear know about Getta Clue Store. As for outsiders, have it be professional athletes or celebrities, Getta Clue is where they visit to spend some money when they are in Sac. The homegrown store also looks out for its own. You can find several Sacramento based streetwear brands throughout the floor and on the racks at The Clue. No matter how successful they have become, they never forget to give the little guys a shot. If that’s not love for your city, I don’t know what is. As of the last year, Getta Clue has revamped their entire online experience. The new GC online store has an inventory filled with streetwear product from one end to the other. Their selection would make even an avid Karmaloop shopper cringe with excitement. Besides what they offer for sale, the online site looks amazing and makes it easy for customers to browse and find what they are looking for. When you mesh this new online experience with the amazing customer service and retail capability, Getta Clue is hard to top. As a brand, they continue putting out legitimate shit that Sacramento customers can not resist. It is not necessarily the “Getta Clue” name, but the product that catches the buyer’s eye. As years have passed and time continues moving forward in The City of Trees, one thing always remains the same; Getta Clue Store; “The Double Decade Society.”
2. LURK HARD
Sacramento skateboarding is Lurk Hard. Lurk Hard is Sacramento skateboarding. A deeply rooted culture throughout the city of Sac, skateboarding is a big deal here. From the skate shops to the many skate parks throughout the city, Sacramento’s skate community is very prominent. Lurk Hard has become the uniform for the skater’s who ride our streets. It’s hard to walk through midtown without seeing the “California Lurkers” cap present on someone’s head, skater or not. From their Lindsay Lohan inspired designs, to mocking fast food joints, to the upside down cross that sits proudly in their logo, Lurk Hard definitely pushes the envelope, but it works every time! Let’s face it, a Lurk Hard design is not hard to spot. In fact, they stand out as their originality is bar none. They’re also the only brand in the city (teamed with Official) who puts on “rarehouse” sales. You see these popular warehouse sales happening with brands throughout the Bay Area and LA, but not in Sac. These “rarehouse” sales are no joke either. Kids from throughout the city lineup and wait for hours, just to get inside and buy a bunch of shit for a dramatically knocked down price. Visit one of these sales and you will undoubtedly see what this brand means to Sacramento. Besides Getta Clue, you can find Lurk Hard products in several stores and/or boutiques surrounding the Sacramento area; Whether it be Elk Grove, Folsom, Roseville, or within the inner city, Lurk Hard is everywhere. As they continue to grab hold of the skate industry, I think one day Lurk Hard will be seen as one of the top skateboarding brands of all time. On that day, Sacramento will be lurking, proudly.
We have reached the bitter end of this top 10 list. I say bitter, because by now I have probably pissed you off in one way or another. When putting together a list like this, it is very tough to keep everyone happy. While it was certainly a struggle to compile this list as a whole, I think we all knew who was going to be number one. Personally, it was a no brainer. Official Crown of Laurel is Sacramento’s top streetwear brand, hands down. What gives them such a solidified top title? The more accurate question would be, what doesn’t? Official crafts their headwear in the newest, most crisp and innovative ways, all the while staying on trend and giving the people (and their hundreds of accounts) exactly what they want and need. Official regards its headwear as a crown, a statement, an exclamation. This brilliant concept has helped their youthful perspective on headwear expand further than any headwear standard has ever been set. Not only does Official murder the headwear game on all accounts, they bring us several other garments that even high-end clothing brands couldn’t match. From their design, patterns, and silhouettes, all the way to the small additions, Official’s garments are sure to keep you fly (or high) from head to toe. Beyond their products, Official has formed “Official Skate,” headed by iconic pro skater, Stefan Janowski. Official Skate has constructed a team that is deeply rooted in the skate community, in and out of Sacramento. Not only is Official available in Getta Clue Store, they have their own display column inside the shop. On it you can find their headwear, garments, and flat screen tv’s boisting Plus Money’s music video’s where his crown lights up with Official headwear. Official is also available in any big name boutique or store throughout the 916 and it’s surrounding areas. Outside of Sac, Official easily has the largest retail list of any brand in Sacramento, heaping retailers in over thirty countries. In the near future, it doesn’t seem anyone has even the slightest chance at knocking Official off their Cap City throne. Being born and raised from Sac, I am proud to label them as the number one streetwear brand in the city, and rightfully so. This title comes well deserved. If I do this list in another 5-7 years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Official Crown of Laurel back in this top spot yet again.