L.A. is in the spotlight in more ways than one this week. National Football Conference (NFC) champions the Los Angeles Rams have given us another reason to be proud, adding to our city’s successful sports history, while the Sofi Stadium provides an exciting backdrop for the upcoming Super Bowl (as it did for the NFC game). Sunday’s scheduled halftime show featuring natives Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and more, will only add to the local love.
The National Football League (NFL) is recognizing and celebrating Los Angeles, too, with a just-launched fashion line in honor of this year’s Super Bowl host city. Called Origins: An NFL Collection, the line features some deserving L.A. brands that reflect our culturally diverse style and energy.
The “grassroots merchandise collaboration,” as the NFL calls it, includes four beloved Angeleno brands, each interpreting fan gear in their own way. The participants include: Bella Doña, the Latina brand fueled by Chicana sisterhood and street style; Bricks & Wood a South Central-based, Black-owned collab-oriented apparel company; Circulate, a Black-owned skate brand; and Rip N Repair, a creative collective inspired by Asian-American heritage.
Origins launched via a free pop-up shop event this past Sunday, where each designer unveiled their capsule collections. The looks – which come in a range of colors that go way beyond Rams and Chargers’ blue and gold – also can be purchased through Sun., Feb. 13, at the NFL Shop at Super Bowl presented by Visa, located at the Los Angeles Convention Center (West and South Halls) and online at NFLShop.com/Origins. Here, we take a closer look at each L.A. brand.
Corey Populus’ skate brand has been living up to its name since 2018, growing by word of mouth in the street sports community with statement-making graphic designs. Populus is an L.A. resident by way of Sacramento, who worked at Diamond Supply Co., before moving on to freelance production and graphics for popular companies like Hawkers Co and Alpina Division, and finally his own brand, Circulate.
“The way we brought our signature style and vision to our designs for the NFL Origins collections was through graphics, storytelling, and typography,” Populus says. “These are all key elements that make up our brand. We like to think of Circulate as a ‘thinking made visual’ brand. One of our most important pieces of the origins collection is a design telling the story of Kenny Washington. He was the first African-American football player to sign an NFL contract and also broke the color barrier. This design incorporates all the elements of graphic design, typography and storytelling.”
Best friends LaLa Romero and Natalia Durazo created Bella Doña to celebrate Chicana pride and culture, as well as the sisterhood that inspires Angelenas in Los Angeles. The brand also touts deep roots in nostalgia, referencing lingo and looks that any Latina female growing up in L.A. (such as yours truly) will know and love. From nail swag to name plates, homegirls to sad girls, the company captures cool vibes and old school street chic.
“Every aspect of Bella Doña draws its inspiration from Los Angeles,” Romero shares with LA Weekly. “From the sunshine, to the candy paint, our neighborhoods are the heartbeat of our brand. Our streets signs and lawns are the backdrop to everything we create and shoot. Our main goal is to always show the world the beauty of our neighborhoods from our point of view, and remind the women in our community that come from a long line of generational fly.”
“Bringing our signature style and vision to our NFL Origins collection designs was a seamless experience,” Romero adds. “Sports motifs are recurring themes that are organic to our brand’s DNA. This collection allowed us to express that even further by embossing the NFL shield and adding airbrushed art, bringing our signature touches to the Super Bowl. It’s a special collection we wanted our community to feel a part of and wear with pride.”
Storytelling through clothing design is the vision of this South Central, L.A.- based apparel company. With manufacturing and design collaborations reflecting everyday life in the city, B&W also hopes to use its platform to elevate narratives and showcase the creativity of marginalized communities.
Creative director Kacey Lynch started his career as a photographer in Hollywood, building a resume and network around the globe. His current mission is to spread the energy of South Central Los Angeles abroad, while authentically highlighting its lifestyle and pride so that, as Lynch says, “inner-city kids can see that accessibility” and be inspired by it.
“I believe Bricks & Wood reflects Los Angeles in a very detailed fashion. The goal is to dig deep into the depths of all things beautiful & inspiring within Los Angeles (South Central to be exact) and revamp those perspectives from an updated lens,” says Lynch. “For this collection we decided to take a very direct vintage sports ad approach. We took moments & previous L.A. Super Bowl ads & recreated some of our favorites with our own touch.”
Exploring the layers and eras of Asian-American heritage and identity, Jason Yi and Albert Lim’s graphics-driven brand is inspired by everything from Korean riot culture to manga. “We express the stories from our Korean heritage through the visual language of our neighborhood to create pieces that speak to our roots and experiences,” the duo, founded in Koreatown, says. “The way we brought our signature style and vision to our designs for the NFL Origins collection was through our graphics-led approach inspired by our heritage, community and culture.”
The pair even made “Koreatown” the highlight of each design for their Origins line, from their Koreatown gateway sign in traditional Korean architecture to their Football Logo tee highlighting Koreatown and Inglewood, representing, they say, “the deep history both communities share.”
“Our Origins video also takes place at Catalina Liquor, a staple Korean family owned business for over 30 years,” explains Lim who sought to represent the multi-dimensional talent of his neighborhood. “The RNR x NFL origins collaboration is a love letter to the community that raised all of us.”