There is a bit of irony in starting a streetwear brand in a city on one coast and opening up retail space on the opposite coast. But the Brooklyn-based line Tier has done just that, in the midst of becoming a New York City stand-out streetwear line. On April 15, 2022, Tier opened its first brick-and-mortar pop-up not in The Big Apple but in the Beverly Center, located in Los Angeles, after seven years of growing its presence in the New York City streetwear scene.
Founded in 2014 by Brooklyn Natives, creative director Nigeria Ealey, finance director Esaie Jean Simon, and art director Victor James, Tier represents a city of art lovers and creatives that see fashion as a vehicle of expression and for building self-esteem. Tier creates staples like embroidered plush crews and hoodies with matching sweatpants and shorts, made from French Terry cotton. They also craft custom camo design, utility, and workwear styles, all streetwear favorites but with refined attention to detail.
From its eCommerce platform and Brooklyn studio, Tier and its founders doubled down on their second-highest and most sought-after market in their customer base, Los Angeles, bridging a gap between the coast. Tier opened a 975 sq ft. venue designed with creativity in mind, displaying a collection of art and art literature, a reflection of the things that brought the three founders together, each completing undergraduate degrees with backgrounds in the arts. For the Tier brand, it’s an “overwhelmingly heartwarming moment is all a brand-owner can dream for,” Ealey, one of the three co-founders of TIER, describes.
Tier has made a name for itself in New York with ‘Project’ drops. Each capsule holds a common theme and builds solid colorways or designs for simple style pairing. The Los Angeles pop-up would unveil Tier’s capsule collection that fused its design aesthetic with LA-inspired graphics and embroidered logos on hoodies, crewnecks, sweatpants, tees, and hats. Normally referred to as “Tier NYC,” the name out west includes phrases like “TLA” logos on hats and “Tier Hills” prints on merchandise, paying homage to a city that recognizably inspires the brand and its founders.
“We created a capsule reimagining some of our favorite brand staples and brought our New York flare to a new location. We’re excited to finally connect with our California family on a larger scale,” Ealey explains. Included at the launch of the LA pop-up is exclusive in-store merchandise of the limited-edition TIER Black Capsule which features a signature Space Pant, Tactical Vest, and Puffer Jacket, all in leather. Aside from the organic drops, they have also worked with some of New York’s most notable figures in street culture.
Tier has previously collaborated with Carmelo Anthony and his Propel collection, part of his STAYME7O Propel Program, back in September of 2020. A reimagining of the creative spaces and cultural landscape for diversity and the underserved, STAYME7O and Anthony would coincide with the motto that Tier exists on; “Art Never Dies.”
An opportunity to align with a former Knick opened doors. Following up with the NBA all-star, in February 2022, Tier collaborated with the Brooklyn Nets, solidifying its place in the city that never sleeps, with phrases like “Thorough Borough” printed onto tees in the collection. Its move to Los Angeles would be a delayed process with the pandemic, but on April 15, 2022, Tier would open its doors on Level 7 at the Beverly Center, among notable fashion brands.
Celebrities often wear Tier, like former NFL receiver Brandon Marshall, Usher, model Winnie Harlow, Diddy, Rick Ross, Issa Rae, Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler, and rapper Young Thug, to name a few. Opening its doors in LA wasn’t about the celebrity cache. For Tier, it seemingly is about their customer base and how they connect with them. The west coast pop-up is a home for creativity, including panel conversations and events, and with its current success, the three-month plan to occupy Los Angeles has extended its presence to August 15. “Opening a temporary store in LA provided a lot of impactful, brand insight. Seeing people interact not only with the space we created but with our garments — trying them on, experiencing the quality in real time and receiving feedback was amazing.” concludes Ealey.
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