Who He Is: Co-Founder, Black Scale
Founded in 2007, Black Scale really came into its own in the past year. Alfred De Tagle and MEGA started the brand as a side hustle from their gigs at HUF. In fact, Hufnagel was MEGA’s industry mentor in many ways. Embracing dark colors and occult imagery from the start, the brand found itself a part of the currently popular street goth aesthetic—as their snapbacks and T-shirts easily paired with designers like Rick Owens. Black Scale’s fan base grew exponentially in the past year, due in part to the endorsement from their most famous customer to date, A$AP Rocky. As the story has it, Rocky began to wear Black Scale after the label opened a store in New York City in 2011. And while not exactly parallel in their trajectories towards stardom, MEGA and Black Scale have certainly benefited from the Harlem MC’s success.
Who He Is: Designer, En Noir
Rob Garcia came up with Mega as a designer for Black Scale, yet it’s his new venture, En Noir, that got him noticed. Launched in 2012, capitalizing on the baroque themes that were ubiquitous in streetwear and high-fashion during the past year, it found instant fans in celebrities and style addicts alike. En Noir is unique because it sits in that grey area between high-fashion and streetwear—especially since some of the garments are prohibitively expensive to people used to buying graphic tees ($1,000 leather shorts, anyone?). That in mind, Rob’s reputable background in streetwear and En Noir’s current popularity means he definitely knows what he’s doing.
Who He Is: CEO, Karmaloop
Love him or hate him, Greg Selkoe is the king of mass-distributed streetwear. While some accuse Karmaloop for “killing streetwear” by taking it mainstream, others say he democratized the industry. Beyond graphic tees and small brands, Selkoe knows how to turn a dime into diversified dollars—just look at his newer ventures like PLNDR, Boylston Trading Co, and Brick Harbor. He even lets smaller brands get a piece of his pie, thanks to Karmaloop’s Kazbah consignment program. Whether he’s hailed as a shrewd businessman or the game’s biggest sellout, it’s clear that as long Selkoe is the one steering the ship, Karmaloop will continue to reel in boatloads of money.
By Jake Woolf