ECKO UNLIMITED - Why Was It Important To STREETWEAR? – Y.A.H. Apparel


Clothing Fashion Graffiti

              Marc Ecko Logo

Once a graffiti artist with no connection or fashion experience, Marc Ecko left the safety net of pharmacy school to start his own company armed with hustle, sweat, equity and creativity. He flipped a $ 5,000 bag of cash into a global corporation, not worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Mark is an American fashion, designer entrepreneur, investor and artist. He is the founder of Marc Ecko Enterprises, a global fashion and lifestyle company.

He is also the founder and chairman of complex media, the world's leading provider of fashion entertainment, lifestyle and product trends to young male taste makers. But we will discuss a little bit more about that later. When we think about Marc Ecko we think about the apparel and the famous Rhino. It either operates under the name, Ecko Unlimited or under brands, including Ecko Red, which is the line for women. Although you probably won't see anyone wearing Ecko today, in the 1990s and early 2008, It was definitely was one of the fastest growing brands, along with Rocawear fat farm and a couple others echo was originally associated with hip, hop and skating culture and moved into mainstream urban culture.

In the early 2000s, Marc Ecko started out making T-shirts for himself because he was into graffiti. He later was known as the guy on campus that made t-shirts in his school and was sometimes making upwards of six to seven hundred dollars a week. Then later realizing there was money in this industry, so he kept it going. Marc said that he usually gets the question of why Ecko has the Rhino. The simple story is this: during the time of selling his T-shirts, he made a couple with the Rhino logo on it and those seem to sell out immediately. Since those t-shirts did so well. He thought to himself that it might be a good  icon for the brand, since most animals are already taken. Polo has the pony. Lacoste has the crocodile, but no one had the Rhino and the rest, as we know it is history. 

But why Ecko held an interesting spot in the time line as streetwear is because Marc evidently laid the groundwork as marketing and business and street wear as we know it. The reason why Eckos timing was so crucial to the success is because the early 2000s had a couple main outlets that grabbed the youth's attention. The combination of the first ipod from Apple dropping in 2001 had every kid listening to their own music and slowly turning away from the traditional sounds on the radio second, is that the average household having television access to channels like MTV, music videos, rap music at this point, was on fire at a national level and kids won in every piece of the pie. Rappers, like Jay-z and 50 Cent topping the charts becoming rap icons but, most importantly, influencers of their time. The audience wanted to talk, walk act and even dress like the rappers did, and during this era, if rappers weren't promoting their own brands, we'd easily catch them wearing a brand like Ecko as their weapon of choice. Some can say that Marc unknowingly started  at a perfect time when people really didn't know much about the definition of what street wear was. But what they did know is what they wanted.

It marks understanding the demand and had garments readily available in many retailers, but the most notable was Macy's. Of course, we all know what hype beast think of Macy's but keep in mind, this is before anyone knew what a hype beast even was. Ecko’s Garments were fairly priced since they weren't too expensive, but they also weren't too cheap. They consistently had enough graphic t-shirts and hoodies with iconic Rhino logos, which was either screen printed, embossed or even embroidered on the front area of the chest. Safe to say, if you grew up during the early or mid-2000s, you were guaranteed to see someone rocking a T-Shirt or zip up hoodie with a rhino on it, and if I can recall correctly, Ecko held its status as a well-known and popular brand to rock all the way up into the mid-2000s.

Of course, it had its loyal customers much like any brand that grows to that caliber, but my speculation of the three noteworthy sequences that might have detriment,  Ecko from being considered a popular or hype brand moving forward was this one was the accessibility. Basically, the band ended up in a majority of high traffic retailers which in turn had every kid wearing it and as we know it, if every kid wears the same thing and no longer feels as cool as it used to. The second would be that rappers stopped wearing it. Many of the rappers themselves started their own brands and were no longer promoting for others and, of course, the kids follow it along. And third in the mid-2000s, who had many brands coming up during those times, Ecko was no longer the only brand on the block you Had brands like The Hundreds, LRG, obey, Bape, Stussy, and many more, which gave the youth more options to be a part of a community that felt closer to their particular interests. Now, even though at this point most consumers were not wearing Ecko with the same confidence they used to, the brand still remain consistent with the generalized demographic they were targeting.

So if you're wondering the answer, is yes, Ecko lost his spot for status in the early days of street fashion, but that's not to say you still can't go to Macy's website and a couple others select retailers to find their products in 2021. In fact, by 2009 Ecko unlimited had over a billion dollars in global revenue. In that same year, on October 27, 2009, the Iconix Brand Group paid 109 million dollars for a 51 % stake in Ecko Unlimited, and by May 2013 it acquired full ownership. With the funds that Marc sold the company with he later started to put more focus into Complex magazine, which started in 2002. 

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