In 1997 a young Brooklyn (born and raised) man had an idea. He wanted to create a clothing line that truly represented the borough he loved so dearly. Urban fashion was at its peak. There was a plethora of brands out all catering to Hip Hop and the artist who wore them. But yet the young recent college grad from the Fashion Institute of Technology saw a niche that no one was focusing on. Fashion trends change. They come and go. But the pride of a city is something that never dies. It was then in the living room of the founder Rob Norman's studio apartment the concept for Planet Brooklyn was born.
Shortly after creating the brand Rob's close friend from college Kevin Sheffield, who happened to be a designer and worked with people such as Russell Simons joined him. Rob's degree being in graphic design coupled with Kevin's fashion design background would be the foundation that would take this living room startup to streetwear stardom.
Over the time the two creators found much success with the brand. Unfortunately a self financed operation can become costly. As thing like orders and product increased so did the cost to do marketing and other things. Planet Brooklyn was still a side business and both Rob and Kevin had their own industry jobs. So in 2004 the partners decided to put the brand on hiatus so they both could focus on getting their money up and pursuing other endeavors.
Rob would go on to sign a deal with a large company to do another line of his own that he called Propaganda Apparel. The brand would essentially be templated from his previous brand but this time to appeal to a larger market. It was also at this point the industry was going through a shift. Urban was dying and the birth of Streetwear was in sight. Propaganda's debut at the Magic trade show that year open to rave reviews proving once again that the Planet Brooklyn model worked.
By 2011 Rob had accomplish a lot. In that time he had launched yet another line as well as designed for a host brands. But again he saw a void in the market. Streetwear was on a steady rise and now the ability to create a clothing line was so much easier and affordable to do. Interestingly enough since 9/11 the population of Brooklyn had increased as well as its popularity. Yet and still there was no brand since his original one representing the most globally recognized city aside from New York City itself. So in 2011 Rob decided to revamp and relaunch the brand but this time as Planet Brooklyn Academy.
The first public outing of the brand would be during the famed Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival that year. The same event which an unplanned appearance and performance by a Mr. Kanye West and Q-Tip would take place. That day PBA sold out of almost all of their product. Once again proving what was always known, that the pride of a city never dies.
June of 2013 finally the grand plan for PBA was achieved. Two years after relaunching the brand now had it's first flagship store. The hype around PBA help to draw a crowd for the grand opening that rivaled that of many Jordan sneaker releases. But one thing is for sure when you believe and stay focused on your goal, never giving up your time to shine will come
In time the shop became an icon in the downtown area. The brand was even named "Best Indy Brooklyn Brand" by Hot97. Which inevitably lead to a host of collabs. People also from all around the world made their way to see the shop and get their own special piece of the brand to take home and wear.
By 2019 PBA had relocated its shop from downtown Brooklyn to Bedstuy. Bringing the whole journey full circle. The new location is but a few blocks away from where the founder was raised. Making the brand, the creator and his vision all come back to one.
Along with the new location PBA was given the opportunity to design a collab capsule for the Brooklyn Nets and create the teams entire dance troop uniforms. They would go on to wear the PBA created outfits during the 2019/2020 NBA Allstar Weekend televised events. The Nets would also acknowledge and honor the founder for Black History Month. Saluting him for all his contribution in fashion and to Brooklyn, they paid homage to him in the area during a much anticipated game between the Nets and Golden State.
Planet Brooklyn Academy has come a long way. The road was long and hard. We've seen good times and we've bared witness to some tough ones as well. But anyone who knows nothing good ever comes easy. We have loved every moment of our journey and the best from us is still yet to come.