Urban Outfitters Celebrates Black Influence, History and Culture With Exclusive Collections and Initiatives in Honor of Black History Month
This Black History Month, join Urban Outfitters in honoring Black influence, culture, and history with a month-long celebration featuring Black artists and advocates who move us and who move our culture forward. To kick off the month, Urban Outfitters will release seven limited edition UO-exclusive capsule collections designed by prominent artists Kehinde Wiley, Ron Bass, and Mía Lee, in addition to fashion brands PISHPOSH, Riveriswild, Electric Circus, and musician Oswin Benjamin. The collections will launch in select retail locations and online on February 1st, with a first look at the assortment available during a special pop-up presentation at The Brooklyn Museum on Saturday, February 4th. Later this month on February 23rd, UO will release a commemorative collegiate merch collection in collaboration with Cheyney University, the first Historically Black University, and sportswear brand Mitchell & Ness, with proceeds from the sales of the collection being donated to the university, continuing UO’s support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The collections and initiatives launching in February speak to Urban Outfitters’ ongoing commitment to nurturing long-term connections within our community by celebrating diverse talent and inspiring the next generations of creative youth.
To continue its support of Black creative talent, URBN Inc, Urban Outfitters’ parent company, has partnered with nonprofit Creatives Want Change to support the (CWC) Fellows Scholarship Program for Black high school students that provides access to pre-college fashion design programs, helping create effective opportunities for Black students into the fashion industry. URBN Inc. has committed over $150,000 to CWC and will encourage its community to support through checkout donations in-store at Urban Outfitters locations. In addition, URBN employees can participate in CWC’s mentorship program. Each semester, current and former CWC Fellows are matched with URBN employees, who help guide them through college exploration and applications and provide insights into different career paths within the fashion industry. This year’s application for CWC Fellows is now open through the end of February.
Designs for the seven Black History Month Capsule Collections will be a reflection of each creative’s individual style and artistic medium.
A curated selection of pieces from the capsule will be on display during First Saturday, a monthly event at The Brooklyn Museum featuring educational programming, a pop-up market, and premiere access to its collections. On February 4th from 5pm-10pm, UO will activate at First Saturday with a table at the market featuring exclusive collections from Ron Bass, Riveriswild, Oswin Benjamin, and Electric Circus. Select styles will also be available through The Brooklyn Museum Shop on site. A special behind-the-scenes look of the collections will be available on the UO Community Page and feature the collection designers, their unique capsules, and what inspired their designs.
Meet the creatives behind the UO-exclusive collections below:
- Kehinde Wiley is a world-renowned visual artist whose colorful and naturalistic paintings of African-American individuals challenge the conventional notions of European and American portraiture. The 3-piece Kehinde Wiley capsule includes a graphic tee, hoodie, and basketball with vibrant imagery pulled directly from Wiley’s previous works. Proceeds from Kehinde Wiley designs benefit Black Rock Senegal, a multidisciplinary artist-in-residence program founded by Wiley in Dakar, Senegal, whose mission is to support new artistic creation through collaborative exchange and to incite change in the global discourse about what Africa means today.
- Ron Bass creates art and apparel that draw inspiration from his upbringing in Brooklyn, the legendary Jean-Michel Basquiat, spirituality, African culture and textile. The 4-piece collection includes two short-sleeved tees, a crewneck sweatshirt, and canvas tote bag. Bass’ use of bright color and cartoonish graphics speak to his ultimate purpose for his work: leaving a profound mark on art culture by creating pieces that inspire and uplift the masses while reflecting a love for oneself and others.
- Mía Lee is a contemporary painter and textile designer whose cartoonish graphics and playful use of color and texture showcase an honest depiction of her internal world. The 8-piece collection, released ahead of Black History Month, includes a cardigan, colorful crewnecks, printed satin shirts, trouser pants and a sherpa-lined trucker jacket featuring vibrant colors and shapes alongside Mía’s signature designed characters she calls The Lady, The Gentlemen and A Demon.
- PISHPOSH is a Philadelphia, PA, based brand founded by artist, designer, and creative director Imani Harris. Harris hand-paints all her designs, creating statement pieces that are wearable forms of art. The PISHPOSH collection will feature 30 unique styles designed by Harris and created for Urban Renewal, UO’s division of repurposed, remade, and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.
- Riveriswild is a Nigerian concept brand dedicated to the exploration of esoteric blackness. The Riveriswild for UO capsule consists of a long and short sleeve tee and matching jacket and short set with printed geometric graphics in bold colors reminiscent of Nigerian culture.
- Electric Circus is a social experiment from the design and narrative focused minds at Cool Calm Studios, a creative studio based in Los Angeles. Electric Circus creates tangible goods with a playful aesthetic that utilize the stories of the past to help us better understand our present. The limited edition three-piece graphic tee collection highlights influential Black artists from various genres depicted through psychedelic screenprints and nostalgic designs.
- Oswin Benjamin, an Emmy and Grammy nominated emcee, has been working his way up the musical ladder with appearances on BET Hip Hop Awards Live Cypher, MTV TRL, Soundset Festival, Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, Rolling Loud Festival, and Essence Festival. His 2019 debut album, GODFREY, received national notoriety with over 1 million streams and landed in the top 10 on the iTunes charts. The Oswin Benjamin merch collection includes a hoodie and UO-exclusive short and long-sleeved tee featuring graphics from his 2022 single “Don’t F*ck Up My Day” and nods to his 2017 mixtape, Hueman.
The Black History Month festivities expand with the release of the Cheyney University x Mitchell & Ness UO-exclusive merch collection celebrating the legacy of the nation’s first Historically Black College. The 7-piece collection includes graphic t-shirts, loungewear, and accessories honoring the universities’ history as being the “First Of Its Kind.” Styles will be available online on February 23rd and during a special pop-up on campus at the Cheyney University Student Union on Friday, February 24th. At the pop-up, students will be able to shop the collection, grab unique giveaways, and meet with URBN Inc. talent team representatives providing insights into the industry. A portion of sales from the collection will be donated to Cheyney University, furthering Urban Outfitters’ commitment to supporting Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as seen through the UO Summer Class Program, a 10-week internship and mentorship opportunity for students at HBCUs recognized for their academic excellence and creative prowess that culminated with special capsule collections representing each students school.
URBN Inc. is on a journey to cultivate an environment that provides inspiration, unity, and value to our diverse community. URBN’s efforts to build a talented, inclusive, and united culture will continue throughout the year with additional partnerships and programming spearheaded by the URBN Diversity & Inclusion Committee. URBN Inc. will also expand on its initiatives to support marginalized groups through community engagement and additional charitable donations. For more information, visit https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/celebrate-black-history-month