Where It All Began?

How It All Started?

During my last two months as a senior in college, I came up with the name 1997 Appeal Clothing. Initially, I did not have an exact meaning behind the name. But as time went on that quickly changed. As I designed my logo, I wanted to showcase humble beginnings, while also showcasing a future that is brighter than one’s reality. By growing up on the Southside, things weren't always the most beautiful. However, the idea of a better life always gave me fuel. 


The "1997" part of my logo symbolizes where one may start. If you look closely there are both holes and more grudge kind of feel. That was very intentional because it adequately represents us people, imperfect. Whereas, the "Appeal" part of my logo is more beautiful. That was very intentional as well. It conveys brighter days are ahead of us all. 

When creating my brand, I knew these two pillars would really resonate with people primarily because everyone has to start from somewhere. These two pillars were not always clear.

In fact, the first two years, I could not adequately put into words my brand’s narrative. In fact, I was not able to put them into words until the end of 2020. As I both created concepts and explained to people what my brand stood for, it became easier.

Typically when someone starts a new endeavor, they gather advice from close friends and family. However, I did not consult with anyone. To be honest, I just went for it. After designing my logo, I researched different techniques and ways to produce my own clothing.

Because I was fresh, I knew I had a lot to learn. On the contrary, I did not allow that to stop me from learning how to do things for myself. I've always been a “Do It Yourself” kind of person. Despite knowing it would cost me the most important thing, time, I still enjoy creating my clothes. 

Most streetwear brands solely focus on “selling the product”, which is very important. But not me. It is a mixture for me. I feel most fulfilled when I am constructing designs. I also feel very fulfilled when telling my brand story. 

What About The Community? 

When I came up with this idea, I instantly told my mother and two of my brothers. With the help of those three, I was able to bring this idea to life. After making sandwiches, we went downtown to pass out sandwiches, chips, and water. We met so many beautiful people, while we passed out food. It was very interesting to speak to them about their lives.

After speaking to many of them, it made me both grateful to have a roof over my head and inspired me to chase my dream even more. I knew if I worked hard enough, one day I would give people another chance at life. I, like many others, know that life could get ugly. During those ugly moments, I aspire to be the light and second chance to those who need it most. 

Because I did this during Covid, I was fortunate to be featured in the Chicago Tribune. I was encouraged by one of my favorite human beings to submit my story to the Chicago Tribune because they were accepting submissions. With the entire world being shut down, I used this as an opportunity to promote my brand. Still to this day, I am grateful I was chosen to be featured in the Chicago Tribune. After being featured that inspired me to do more work, so that I could be featured again. 

When people saw that I was featured in the Chicago Tribune, I was showered with much love and support. 

Pop-Ups ?

As time progressed, I started to get out and host pop up shops. These were great experiences for me because it allowed me to get better with speaking about my brand. Moreover, it helped me put my brand out there. 

Every Pop-Up experience would be different. There would be some Pop-Ups that would have great traffic. But there would also be Pop-Ups that would not have as much traffic. At those slower traffic Pop-Ups, I was not discouraged. I just knew that I had to maximize on the people who were there. 

Fast Forward to 2021-2022, I participated in more Pop Up Shops and continued to push my brand and really get out there. After doing a great amount, I wanted to take a different approach. 

After a few weeks of contemplation, I decided to host my own Pop-Up shop. At first, I was a bit nervous. But I took a leap of faith. On that day, I made the most I've ever made in one day. Ever since this day, I never second guessed myself again. This solo Pop-Up changed my entire mentality. Because everything is online nowadays, I forgot the power of being in person. Without taking that leap of faith, I would have never known how powerful that experience was going to be. 

The Mobile Store

After my solo Pop-Up, I started thinking of different ways I could continue to push my brand. Solo Pop-Up taught me that I could do anything I put my mind to. In Chicago, I noticed the increase in food trucks around the city and how many restaurants started with food trucks. After much hard work, many of them were able to move into restaurants and these food trucks were also in person. Then boom, I came up with mobilizing my clothing store. I knew I thrived in an in-person environment and being mobile was becoming the new norm. For that reason, I decided to start designing a mobile store. 

After coming up with this idea, I called my father and the rest was history. Myself, my father, and two of my father's friends put our heads together and constructed a mobile clothing store. It took us 3 long months to finish it. But, I must say that I am completely content with how it all turned out.

What’s Next

Now that I am solely focusing on my brand. You could expect more drops, consistency, community involvement, content, and so much more. I am more than excited for upcoming drops, events, and just the growth. If you have made it this far, I’d like to thank you for reading about my brand. You cannot even imagine how much it means to me. Continue to shower me with love and support. You don't even know how much it truly means to me. For Now, Keep Rising Above It All 

For Now, Keep Rising Above It All 

Martivias Musa