Rebellion, creativity, and stealth. These are the brands flying under the mainstream radar, boasting less than 100,000 followers on Instagram, but making undeniable waves in the fashion landscape. In 2023, each of these names dropped at least one collection that made heads turn. Despite their underground status, they are no strangers to the spotlight; they’re well-known enough to be worn by celebrities and some even have a presence on Grailed. Dive in as we explore these hidden gems of streetwear.
Criteria for this list:
- Less than 100,000 Instagram Followers
- Dropped at least 1 collection during 2023
BAD SON, the spirited Utah-based streetwear brand, has been making waves since its inception in 2020. Founded by the young visionaries Hieu Tran and Conner Lobato, BAD SON quickly captivated the streetwear community with their creative, colorful spins on wardrobe staples like puffer jackets, hoodies, and cargo pants. Notable pieces from their range include boxy t-shirts with an oversized cropped fit, a distinctive cotton knit full zip hoodie with cable knit accents that hint at nostalgia while still looking to the future, and innovative gradient-dyed hoodies with unique paneled accents and oversized sleeves. With a mission to create pieces that strike the perfect balance between trendy and timeless, BAD SON is a brand that consistently delivers quality, style, and a fresh perspective in the ever-evolving world of streetwear.
Launched in 2018 by the visionary Parker Jeppsen, Absent USA has become a staple in the streetwear scene, attracting a dedicated cult following on social media and capturing the attention of style icons like Billie Eilish, Tyga, and Quavo. Absent began its journey with a simple yet stylish offering of hoodies and sandals but quickly grew to embrace an eclectic mix of accessories. Today, their collection spans from distinctive mohair knit hoodies featuring a prominent logo pattern, to cozy sherpa vests and full zip sweatshirts. Their fun accessories, including quirky matchbooks, keychains, and air fresheners, highlight the brand’s playful spirit. Partnered with designers from renowned labels like Half Evil, Ransom, and Sukamii, Absent USA stands as a vibrant testament to innovative design and effortless cool, proving that streetwear can be as diverse and multi-faceted as the people who wear it.
Known for their unique take on streetwear staples, Sinclair has garnered a celebrity following that includes the likes of Lil Baby, James Harden, and Offset. Their product range is as diverse as it is stylish, boasting everything from graphic t-shirts adorned with unique screen prints similar to Supreme’s iconic designs, to Hardwood Classics-styled basketball jerseys in Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic color schemes. The brand’s offerings also extend to other streetwear must-haves such as sweatsuits, varsity jackets, and snapback hats. Sinclair’s ability to elevate streetwear classics with a twist, as seen in their ‘Bigger Than Before’ collection, showcases their commitment to innovation. With a nod to the 90s and Aughts aesthetic, their cargo pants with knee-high zippers, a fleece set featuring the Sinclair box logo, and a puffer jacket adorned with gold embroidery all embody Sinclair’s innovative spirit and dedication to impeccable style.
b.Eautiful, hailing from Los Angeles since 2018, is redefining streetwear with its unique spin on Japanese culture. Collaborations with overlooked artists and unexpected partners like Panasonic make each piece an exploration of Japan’s rich yet often unappreciated cultural tapestry. This isn’t just a brand—it’s a conversation starter, using clothing to introduce Westerners to a broader perspective of Japanese culture. With every b.Eautiful tee, fashion becomes a key to learning and discovery.
Bene Culture has amassed a dedicated following with its signature graphic tees and 90s-style soccer jerseys. The brand offers more than just clothing—it’s a culture hub that fosters connection, dropping accessories like posters, stickers, and even packing tape.
Orée, the brainchild of Queens-based designer and content creator Ray Miah, is a brand that truly encapsulates the essence of simplicity and effortlessness with a distinct streetwear sensibility. Since its inception in 2016, Orée has been serving up an array of understated yet stylish pieces, all designed with a nod to elegance and functionality. Noteworthy items from their collection include a text-printed knit sweater reminiscent of Aime Leon Dore, a uniquely thrashed/deconstructed sweater, and the quintessential black dad hat with an embroidered logo. Each piece is thoughtfully crafted in the USA using materials sourced globally, underscoring Orée’s commitment to both style and quality. For those seeking a brand that embodies streetwear’s minimalist and refined side, Orée is a clear front-runner.
AFB is a vibrant streetwear label that is making waves with its Y2K-inspired aesthetics and captivating range of products. From their colorful striped rugby and polo shirts to the dazzling flared denim with rhinestone accents, AFB expertly fuses retro appeal with contemporary streetwear sensibilities, ensuring the brand consistently strikes a chord with fashion-forward enthusiasts.
Streetwear brand Marino Morwood, founded in 2016, encapsulates the spirit of ’90s hip-hop culture with a modern, trend-conscious approach. Inspired by the personal style of A$AP Mob, designer Marino Morwood has reinvigorated the iconic “”rap tee”” style, which saw a significant revival in the late-2010s. With an impressive clientele that includes rappers like Quavo and Playboi Carti, the brand delivers a unique fusion of music, sports, and pop culture through its designs. Signature pieces include soccer-inspired rap T-shirts featuring global icons like Messi and Ronaldinho, and a variety of graphic tees highlighting figures as diverse as LeBron James, Travis Scott, 50 Cent, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Marino Morwood is a definitive brand for enthusiasts seeking a nostalgic yet contemporary spin on streetwear.
KOZY mixes urban cool with unexpected charm in their designs, offering statement pieces like oversized hoodies emblazoned with their logo and glitter-accented Y2K-style trucker hats. Embodying fearless creativity, this brand pushes streetwear boundaries, seamlessly merging comfort with audacious style.
Billionaire Studios unapologetically pushes the boundaries of modern fashion. Their trademark pieces include graphic t-shirts featuring large, airbrushed, graffiti-style designs that bring a punch of visual interest to any outfit. For a more relaxed vibe, they offer cropped hoodies with a boxy fit, making a statement in both comfort and style. But where Billionaire Studios truly distinguishes itself is in the unconventional: ski masks. Taking inspiration from the likes of Pooh Shiesty, their version adds a unique twist with added distressing and whimsical elements such as ears. Billionaire Studios is an authentic representation of streetwear – bold, nonconformist, and creative.
As we wrap up our journey through 2023’s remarkable underground streetwear brands, it’s evident that these labels, each echoing the spirit of rebellion, creativity, and innovation, are not just shaping the fringes of fashion, but are on the cusp of mainstream recognition. Indeed, some of these brands won’t remain ‘underground’ for long, poised as they are for mainstream hype. Despite currently having less than 100,000 Instagram followers, their influence is undeniable and their momentum is unstoppable. Here’s to discovering your next style inspiration and unearthing the soon-to-be icons of the streetwear world.