To say that black and white have never been bigger in menswear is fairly obvious. Seemingly every streetwear imprint has been rushing to offer their own take on the aesthetic and capture what has been come the official color scheme of the tastemaker. But there’s one West Coast label that’s been doing the black-and-white thing from the beginning.
That label is Stampd LA.
This fact is immediately obvious with a single visit to the label’s website. Unlike the eclectic chaos of other labels’ webstores, Stampd’s is as perfectly curated as a tumblr page, and visiting it is like walking through a film noir flick; it’s a sprawling collection of monochrome gear that runs from athletic staples like tees, sweatpants and shorts to accessories like caps, bags and dice, to out-of-the-box objects like bodega bags, surf boards and American flags. No other company’s clothing looks so good when displayed together. “Unity” is one way to describe it, “elegance” is another. But marveling over the “avantstreet” company’s webstore blushes over the important fact that everything that Stampd makes is of a quality all but unmatched in the world of streetwear.
Here’s how Stampd LA came to be.
Stampd’s story begins in 2009, when Aspen-born, San Diego-raised then-Cal Poly student Chris Stamp was finishing his senior thesis. His eponymous label was the subject of that project and after a glittering response to his designs, he relocated to Los Angeles and began running the label, which originally focused on footwear, out of his apartment. From there, he linked with an investor and expanded his vision to include apparel and et. all. And, though it’s cliché to say, the rest seems to be history.
Stampd’ x Ampal Creative “Dope” Cap
Chris’ big break came with the collaborative hat that he did with The Ampal Creative. The 50-piece 3-D front panel cap came with the simple “Dope” text splashed across the front and was such an instant hit that it not only sold out immediately but transformed Stampd form a footwear company into an in-demand apparel imprint. In the same way that Ronnie Fieg’s ASICS Gel Lyte III collaboration with David Z or Nick Diamond’s “Tiffany” Dunk collaboration with Nike SB established those designers as the top of the heap, Chris’ “Dope” cap marked his arrival as a premier name in the streetwear game.
Stampd Oyster Perpetual Datejust Rolex
Today, Stampd is as much a staple of streetwear as can be found, but Chris’ approach to his designs and releases remain as exceptional as his original concept: rather than seasons, each new Stampd release arrives as a capsule. There have been nine:
And the list continues to grow with collections like Stampd Surf, Stampd Trunks and more.
Stampd X Daniel Arsham
Many of these capsules are collaborations and Stampd continues to work with artists like Daniel Arsham, jewelers like Guillermo Andrade’s FourTwoFour On Fairfax, his fellow up-and-coming labels like En Noir and more. With each new project, Stampd gives its customers another, new way to get what they seemingly can’t get enough of. As GQ put it in its profile of Stampd in “5 New Designers Breaking the Mold of American Menswear”,
“While the clothes take plenty of inspiration from sports staples, it’d be remiss to simply call Stampd a fashion line. It seems to really be more about selling every possible thing their guy could need—whether it’s an all-black brogue creeper shoe, a folding knife with snakeskin details, surf wax, or just a cool hat.”
What’s next for Chris Stamp and Stampd? Probably anything they want, frankly, and there’s no limited to what the label can accomplish as it continues to build relationships with “its guy”, to be worn by celebrities like Usher, will.i.am, Meek Mill, Miley Cyrus, and Khloe Kardashian, collaborate with a who’s who of big streetwear names and to do best what every other streetwear label is trying to do, bring a refined elegance to a world overcrowded by chaotic noise.