“Corteiz Rules the World”, The Rise of Protest Clothing – Ethan Langley, Wilson’s School

The “Corteiz” brand and many others have had meteoric rises to success with such brutally unconventional methods of spreading the word that the brands seem to anchor urban culture, but to the uneducated eye they seem to be throwaway brands that in a few years will be lost to the ever-changing beast that is pop culture.

Clint, the mastermind behind the bedroom brand, started it out in 2017 using crew necks and screen-printed t-shirts. At first glance, this doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, anyone could order the right gear and launch their own “brand” with custom logos appearing in random places on common streetwear items such as cargo. That is to say that it has been done and that it will continue to be done. The defining factor that separates the wheat from the chaff is public engagement. This is where Clint’s so-called brilliance becomes fluorescent.

In the fall of 2021, huge groups of people rushed to the streets of Soho in a desperate attempt to get their hands on the latest “Corteiz” articles. Unusual for the streets of Soho, to say the least. The carnage was entirely due to marketing. Clint holds those few clothing drops at random intervals, has limited stock on the day, and generally has a competitive element. In this case, after slashing his last shirts, Clint and his friends decide to take the shirts and run through the streets of Soho, with hungry shoppers chasing them – obviously the reason the police intervened.

It's local London: Clint and his friend dressed in Corteiz clothes handing out shirts in September 2021.Clint and his friend dressed in Corteiz clothing handing out shirts in September 2021. (Image: Corteiz)

“But why?” Perhaps the first question. The feeling of scarcity creates demand and manipulates the way pop culture expresses itself. The desire to break away from the “norm” is arguably the reason for pop culture’s growing relevance. So if someone owns a piece of Cortiez, or a similar brand, they even differ from the pop culture norm, you own a piece that the next man might not have and that’s where the appeal lies .

But the brand’s mission statement might be its most admirable part, and the way it acted on it is even better. “A GREAT BOLO EXCHANGE”. The concept was simple, rush to another strange place and exchange a puffer jacket from a mainstream clothing brand such as North Face and receive a Corteiz brand in exchange. This was another groundbreaking move causing huge spikes in traction and further promoting the anti-establishment part of the brand.

Throughout urban culture, there is a deep-rooted desire for sustainability and the best way to express it is through a disdain for fast fashion (clothing stores that produce low-cost manufactured goods with little or no creative process, then raise prices to cash in on profit), stores such as ASOS have seen huge drops in share price (the share price has fallen £1,759 year-to-date, a drop of 74%) due to the sharp reduction in the customer base that was clawed back by Clint and his ingenious marketing.

Arguably the best way to promote your brand is to get in front of the public and this is another area where Clint fails. The brand has been photographed by Stormzy, Dave, Slowthai and Jorja Smith, all highly influential in and out of the pop culture scene. This almost glorified the brand to divine status and coupled with its near impossibility to achieve, Corteiz rules the world.

About Oscar L. Smith

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