Former Bucks star Brandon Jennings has always been one to stay true to his morals and this mindset has helped him cultivate a larger than life persona. The L.A. native has never been one to follow tradition instead trusting his instincts that have traversed a path of success all his life but, has never come easy. This same can be said about his rise in the world of streetwear with his unique and edgy brand. Defined by the trials and tribulations of life itself, TUFF CROWD isn’t for the light hearted and it’s rise in the world of high end street wear is far from traditional.
That mindset of breaking tradition started young for the Compton Native and former number one prospect of his 2008 class, as his choice to become the first American to forgo college to play professionally in the Euroleague was seen by many as an ameatur athlete going rogue. Brandon was ahead of his time breaking a flawed system that allowed him to gain experience overseas all while chasing a cheque. Truly ahead of his time, the confident young man set the tone for players to find an alternative to the NCAA as athletes of the sport were bringing in revenue but never compensated for their time spent in college. Earning a contract reported to be worth $2 million with Under Armour introduced Jennings into the world of paid sponsorships at the young age of 18. Jennings would later be drafted into the NBA 10th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks cementing his status as a trailblazer for young people wanting to do it their own way.
Jennings had a 9 year career enjoying some good stints with the Bucks and Pistons but, eventually injuries derailed his career as he bounced around the league eventually playing in China and making his way back to Europe for his final years. His stints overseas definitely paid dividends as his attention to detail when it comes to the pieces he sells with Tuff Crowd comes from his roots tied to Europe, especially Italy. The quality of Tuff Crowd’s garments and simple aesthetic are definitely something that was influenced during his stays in Europe. We can’t forget how China has influenced his pieces as Tuff Crowd incorporates one of the oldest forms of embroidery called chain stitching when designing prints onto the Dickies jackets the brand sells. Now the L.A and American influence comes from the artistic designs of his pieces. Using simple fonts, having that baggy fit with t-shirts, American culturally influenced artwork and the Dickies work jackets scream California inspired. Jennings beautifully mixes his walks of life onto the clothes and every piece tells a story, which is why I stand for what Tuff Crowd brings to the table. Quality, a baggy fit, simplicity and details is what I really love about clothing brands but, when you mix it in with passion for the product and a story behind the pieces it makes it much sweeter copping a jawn from a brand like Tuff Crowd.
Jennings’ unconventional path to success has been something to admire and this hasn’t stopped with his post hoops career. With much of Tuff Crowd’s audience coming from instagram his page is a small course of how effective social media is for marketing a brand. Posting everyone who tags him in his clothing from your everyday common man to the pro hooper, a wide variety of people are seen wearing Tuff Crowd. And sticking to instagram all while never following the fashion calendar is another way Jennings has stuck to his beliefs over what anyone else thinks. Through his guerilla marketing tactics, he has cultivated a loyal following.
Now you could easily mistake this brand for a former basketball player's attempt at a secondary revenue stream but, it is so much more than that. Jennings’ love for his brand and clothing is something that cannot be said for many who attempt to put their brand out to the global market. Albeit he has his ties to celebrities and hoopers that are fashion icons like Chris Brown, Brent Faiyaz, Jordan Clarkson and Kelly Oubre, that allow more exposure to the brand. The people rocking Tuff Crowd don’t do it just because the brand is raw, unique and thoughtful but because Jennings is someone who we can relate to. His struggles and vulnerability leak through the clothing exposing struggles with self love, positivity and mental health. All these being some topics that hit home and that everyone goes through at one point in their life. Tuff Crowd speaks about the struggle that go on in our minds as we try to please ourselves and those we love around us. Jennings is that embodiment of the alpha we try to mimic and wearing those struggles on our sleeve is what I’m all for.
Brandon Jennings continues to thrive through the game of life, defying all existing paths for it. Tuff Crowd isn’t a brand, it’s a lifestyle and this unique way of living has proved a road well taken. For anyone trying to be a boss, Brandon Jennings' story is one to follow closely.
“I just feel like life is a Tuff Crowd, we’re always trying to prove ourselves and with social media we got people always trying to live a life they don’t live. Tuff Crowd is about having morals, being an alpha and standing up for what you believe in” - Brandon Jennings.
Written by Hector Nilo