Over the past few months, as COVID-19 ravaged the world, streetwear labels began harnessing the power of the drop model—highly coveted products released in highly limited quantities during highly abbreviated windows—to raise staggering sums of money for good causes in no time flat. Supreme racked up hundreds of thousands for coronavirus relief with a single Takashi Murakami-blessed tee. Across the pond, Palace Skateboards did the same with a capsule benefitting the UK’s National Health Service. Now, with protests across America stretching into their third week, a handful of brands have shifted their focus towards the Black Lives Matter movement—like the cult LA collective Brain Dead, who donated half a million dollars last week to M4BL and The Freedom Fund off the back of a Dev Hynes collaboration. This week, they’re being joined in those efforts with a trio of wild drops from some of the biggest names in the game.
First up, a major link-and-build moment from two vaunted OGs: Pharrell’s Billionaire Boys Club and LA lifers The Hundreds, both founded in the summer of 2003, have joined forces for the very first time. (Streetwear history buffs will recognize this as a capital-B big deal: for a couple years in the mid-aughts, there was no love lost between Pharrell and Bobby Hundreds, after the latter posted a tee on his blog that read “PHARRELL CAN’T SKATE.”) The resulting T-shirt is simple but effective—flipping BBC’s original logo with The Hundreds’ iconic Adam Bomb mascot—and it’s available through tonight for $75, with all proceeds going to Black Lives Matter and the Black Mental Health Alliance.
Representing the new wave—the “post-streetwear” generation, as GQ’s Sam Schube put it recently—the vibey globetrotters at 18 East are continuing their excellent run of collaborations with Philly-based (and black-owned) design house ALLCAPSTUDIO. Starting today at 11 AM EST, the striking “Silence Is Violence” graphic tees will be up for presale on both brands’ sites for 72 hours. All profits will be split evenly between the Philadelphia Community Bail Fund and COVID Bail Out NYC.
Finally: what would a week of big drops be without a hot sneaker in the mix? SNEEZE—the long-running, large-format underground skate zine—teamed with Reebok to put their art house spin on the perpetually undefeated Club C. The luxed-up low-tops feature a sharp white-and-black colorway, panels of lush nubuck and shiny patent leather on the uppers, and SNEEZE’s graffiti tag logo embossed on the side. The release is set for this Thursday, June 11, with 100% of profits from pairs sold through SNEEZE’s website benefiting Black Lives Matter.
Of course, donating directly to organizations in need remains the best and easiest way to financially support the fight against racism and police brutality. But it’s admirable of these brands to use their massive platforms and zealous audiences to keep the energy up and momentum rolling during this pivotal and gut-wrenching moment. And if you manage to snap up one of these grails along the way? Wear ‘em proudly as your own personal form of protest.