Style

Clothes line Assist Black Schools celebrates HBCUs in type

Support Black Colleges clothing brand aims to empower historically black colleges and universities, and strives to encourage people to support and participate in HBCUs. The brand was co-founded in 2012 by Howard University students Corey Arvinger and Justin Phillips and has grown in popularity over the past year. The apparel line recently partnered with the NBA to create NBA All-Star merchandise that celebrates HBCUs.

After discovering a lack of representation among black clothing designers, particularly those highlighting black colleges, Philips and Arvinger wanted to create a space for people who look like that and “are able to capitalize on it because it is necessary, ”Arvinger told CBS News.

Arvinger and Phillips’ experience at Howard University influenced the two to spread information about the importance of HBCUs “without them becoming cheesy or force-fed”. The duo immediately thought of clothes.

Inspired by black sitcoms like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Arvinger said he wanted to convey a “90s feel” to her clothes. “A lot of black sitcoms used to wear HBCU paraphernalia. I think paying homage to that while looking forward to the future and keeping it up to date has been a great way to bring the two together and make something of it. Everyone loves the 90s, ”added Arvinger.

According to the American Council On Education, more than 70% of HBCU students have limited finances. Support Black Colleges was able to provide scholarships for HBCU students in need and to donate 7% of all sales of clothing with an HBCU school logo to that particular school.

The clothing line quickly took off when it was publicly attracted by a number of celebrities including singer Brandy, model Eva Marcille and NBA star Chris Paul.

Support Black college clothing was also widely seen at demonstrations for racial justice held this summer. The clothing line raised $ 100,000 after the release of their Support Black Lives t-shirts and donated all of the proceeds to the Black lives count Organization. “Lots of people started wearing them to protest, which added to sales. It was a snowball effect they were prepared for, ”said Arvinger.

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With renewed support for Black Lives Matter, several companies have made statements and pledged donations, as well as internal initiatives to ensure that black businesses and voices are empowered. Support Black Colleges has partnered with Billboard, BET, MTV, Google, Shopify, and the NBA to support this effort.

For this year’s NBA All-Star Game, the NBA has partnered with Support Black Colleges to develop NBA All-Star merchandise to celebrate HBCUs. The clothing line will sell an official 2021 NBA All-Star T-shirt, to which all proceeds will be donated The Fund for Social Change, an organization founded by NBA superstars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade to invest in and support organizations that focus on empowering color communities and advocating the human rights of all black lives.

“A lot of people don’t talk about HBCUs because they don’t know, especially large companies,” Arvinger told CBS News. “They don’t want to talk about something or highlight something they don’t know about and they don’t usually have a person on their staff who articulates properly and that’s where we come in,” said Arvinger.

Support Black Colleges has also worked with Paul Highlight HBCUs. The basketball star organized a sneaker tour in collaboration with the clothing line, during which Paul had a different HBCU school on his feet at every game in the 2020 NBA playoffs. Support Black Colleges created graphics for Paul’s Instagram that were published after the games and provided additional information about the HBCU presented that day.

“I just want to make sure everyone understands that HBCUs are nothing less than, they are very capable and important to our history, to our culture, to everything,” said Paul.

Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee and Vice President Kamala Harris are some well-known names who have studied at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The majority of HBCUs were founded after the Civil War to provide African Americans with higher education when most schools in the country prohibited blacks from attending.