The foremost thoughts that we tend to link COVID-19 with are those of rising death tolls, surging inflation, adversely effected businesses, worsening poverty and the vitality of social distancing. However, what we have turned a blind eye towards is its expediency.
Besides the conspicuous drawbacks, the COVID-19 outbreak has also provided an impetus to the growth of online trade all around the world. It has provided an uproar to the Black Lives Matter movement against gruesome racism, as it finally acquired the spotlight it longed for.
Prynce Clothing’s excursion through this detrimental time inculcates both, a bolting incline in business and massive succour to the Black Lives Matter movement.
As it goes for all businesses, the idea is always to start small and work the way up to success. The inspiration behind Prynce Clothing was to create a brand that not only highlighted African culture but also rhymed with African history. Speaking of history, this journey began in 2015, in Winnipeg, MB
My love for hip hop really influenced my taste for fashion at a young age, It was no later that I found myself surrounded by clothing brands that I could not sentimentally connect with. To me, African fashion was versatile and ethnic and the clothing brands I continually supported portrayed a completely different essence. It was in 2015 that I knew it was time to make my move and represent not only my culture and values but also my history and struggles. Prynce Clothing became the medium to promote all that I aspired to show the world, but little did I know that COVID-19 was at our doorsteps.
With its daunting fatality, COVID-19 came as a chance for Prynce Clothing not only to take precedence. If a single cough could annihilate immune systems and a single mask could prevent it, we knew it was our time to play our Role.
With a mask being the only protective layer between us and the virus, it became a necessity. To our surprise, as its demand grew, the fashion industry evolved too. Brands had started designing complimentary masks which made staying safe a lot more fashionable and the crowds were all for it. We were no exception to the change and instantly incorporated elegantly designed masks into your collections.
The pandemic served as a perk for all home-based businesses due to the imposed lockdowns and curfews. Being a home-based company, this came as an advantage to Prynce Clothing, too. We instantly looked out for trustworthy suppliers and began the production of “Hunt or Starve” masks with our logo on it. Though the sales didn’t shoot, it was notable that the engagement was pretty high. As the demand for fashionable masks grew, so did our sales but, the most significant surge was yet to come.
It was May 25th, and the world had witnessed yet another tragic event of systemic injustice with the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis. This time, the Black Lives Matter movement finally made it to our TV screens like no other oppressions we had previously witnessed. The media was undoubtedly outraged, and so were we. Being a Black-owned business, not only did it seem like a responsibility but also a vitality to play our part for the greater good of the community by taking up our ethical obligations.
As soon as the incident occurred, I knew I wanted to launch the “I can’t breathe” mask. We graciously designed and produced our first batch. Our post was stormed with likes once it made it to Instagram, and no later, everyone wanted to add one to their mask collections. Besides its sleek look, it was the bold statement that it made which had caught the eye of people all across the city.
However, things began to escalate when a group in Winnipeg decided to hold a rally amidst the pandemic. The group reached out to me and much like them, everyone else participating knew that they needed masks, too. I began producing slogan masks and T-shirts in bulk as the demand continued to soar. It had already become essential for the rally because of the loud and clear statement it made against Black oppression. Be it George Floyd or Breonna Taylor or the hundreds that have and continue to go unheard against white supremacy, the world had risen for them, and we were right there to back them up. It was now that our sales had shot upmost and only continued to double as the protest day neared.
Being a Black-owned business that is also inclined towards Black culture, we had been steadfast in taking the initiative towards the production of slogan masks prior to it reaching mainstream media. Prynce Clothing was driven by sentiments and its history and knew instantly what had to be done against the gruesome killing.
With a surge in supply and demand, we had days where I’d wake up to dozens of missed calls. We had made it to the spotlight, and the whole city and news were curious about how a small company is supplying the entire city with masks and T-shirts.
The oppression against George Floyd was only one incident, and the world continues to witness such atrocities frequently. It was amidst this Pandemic that Prynce Clothing had found the stimulus it needed to bolster its service for the more significant cause of the Black Lives Matter movement, whilst still promoting African fashion.
Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic allowed the world to raise a blaring voice against Black oppression but has also stimulated Prynce Clothing’s strength of will in playing its salient part in promoting African fashion and the undying cause of the Black Lives Matter movement.