The success of selling vintage FAMU t-shirts

’90s Florida A&M University vintage gear thrifted by Bryce Brown.
Photo courtesy: @cruwrldwide on Instagram

Vintage clothing is defined as older material that represents trends that existed in a previous era. In the black community, vintage clothes do not have the best reputation. Things like thrifting was not seen as a “social norm,” but vintage clothing has become more popular amongst young adults in recent years.

The ‘80s and ‘90s aesthetics have played a huge part in the increasing popularity. “Rap tees” from past decades have been reprinted and sold in stores like Forever 21 and H&M. Most times it’s the face of rappers who have passed away, like the Notorious B.I.G and 2PAC. Many big brand companies with little to no connection with the original style, have claimed the design and now call them “graphic tees.”

Another popular form of vintage clothing is sports gear from the past. All over old school style t-shirts and snapback hats, are dated sports team logos and members.

If you look around campus you can spot students rocking vintage Florida A&M University shirts. They are sold at the traditional event “Set Friday,” local thrift shops, and by local entrepreneurs with a taste for the style.

FAMU student, Bryce Brown started his vintage brand, “CruWrldwide” in December 2020. Brown says vintage clothes has always been an interest of his.

“I was always into vintage clothes,” Brown said. “Going to FAMU made me begin my search for rare FAMU vintage pieces because I now had a school to search for.”

FAMU vintage tees have high price points depending on how rare the t-shirt is, which is something Brown loves about the style.

“Rarity brought me to vintage,” Brown said. “No matter how much money you have if you can’t locate an item, you can’t have it when it comes to vintage.”

Elijah Rutland, FAMU alumni, and vintage reseller, says that FAMU vintage shirts have helped represent himself and build relationships.

“I like connecting to moments in history through t-shirts,” Rutland said. “Throughout history clothing has always been a major form of self-expression and vintage pieces really speak to my personal style and my values as well. I love being able to walk around and represent FAMU with an all over print orange and green design. I also enjoy being able to connect to older generations of people as well through vintage. My shirts have started a lot of great conversations and even some friendships that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Brown thinks selling FAMU vintage is in a great place but can be so much more.

“Selling FAMU vintage tees has been pretty successful,” Brown said. “It’s still a new market, especially in the black community. I want more people to get hip to how vintage works, and why the price points are what they are. My customer base is growing daily.”

This is a part of the school’s history printed on cloth that people can represent no matter where they are located. For more information on Bryce Brown’s vintage brand, his Instagram handle is @cruwrldwide. His vintage shop, “Picked,” is just five minutes from FAMU’s campus, located at 742 W Madison St. Elijah Rutland’s collection can be found on Instagram @fixmysole.