Seriously? All of those brands I listed has brought something new to menswear, innovators if you will. For instance, did you know:
At age 16, Carl Williams started designing clothes after learning the essential handcraft at his father's company. Karl never studied tailoring or design, but he had flair for coming up with unusual, stylish concepts. He would buy material and tell a tailor exactly how he wanted his garments to look. "For a relatively small sum", as he put it, "I had a fresh outfit that nobody had."
When Karl met Carl Jones in 1990, co-founder of Threads 4 Life Corp, during a Cross Colours fashion show, Karl saw his chance. The partnership with Carl Jones lasted 2 years.
Karl's stylistic innovations were successful. In addition to working with a mainstream color selection he modified the baggy pants that became the basis of street fashion. According to Karl black people never liked tight fitting jeans. They would always buy a bigger size but then the waist would be too big, therefore Karl decided to increase the pant size.
In 1994, Karl $500,000 in profits to launch his company Karl Kani Infinity. In addition to his old partners, Kani now faced a marketing onslaught from hip-hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons' Phat Farm and a number of mainstream clothiers. Kani also had reason to worry that his involvement in Cross Colours might taint his operation in the minds of retailers. "I expected some resistance," Kani himself averred. "A major turning point for me was when retailers accepted us back into the market."
The idea for the Big & Tall line came to Kani after numerous conversations with NBA stars, who complained that they could not fit into much of his merchandise. Big and tall people are just as fashion-conscious so Karl launched his line in mid-1995 in Big & Tall stores around the country.
Staying ahead of fashion counterfeiters who aped his signature and sold cheaper versions of his clothes, Karl began fastening a metal-and-leather plate to his product. After some initial resistance from the people who made the plates, Karl Kani decided to go ahead with it and it turned out to be his best-selling jeans ever.
Karl Kani used the metal plate to spread his positive message to others.
Carl Williams was the first black man to launch a Hip Hop Fashion brand and became one of the 100 richest African-Americans in 1996 according to People Magazine.
Kani is also known as 'The Originator'. Karl was the first to set the trend of merging hip-hop with fashion.
In 1999 Karl had the honor to present his latest collection at The White House to President Bill Clinton during an informal fashion show. In 1996 Karl's company was rewarded by Black Enterprise Magazine and in 2002 he received an 'Urban Fashion Award'.
Kani is known as one of the most influential black designers of urban fashion in the United States.
Throughout the early 1990s, Karl Kani set the tone for much of urban fashion, especially in the music industry. Wearing Kani clothing became both a symbol of success and a fashion statement. Karl Kani became a well-known brand and many known hip hop and R&B artists like 2pac, Aaliyah, Baby, Cash Money, Heavy D, Kelly Clarkson, Lil' Kim, N Sync, Nas, Dr. Dre, Ice-T, P Diddy, Kool G Rap, Ed Lover, Mike Tyson, Heavy D, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock, CL Smooth, Notorious B.I.G., Next, Fatal B(boris), Rondo Goldwyn, 112, Redman, Tatyana Ali, Snoop Dogg, Three 6 Mafia, Tyson Beckford, Vybz Kartel and Will Smith have worn Karl Kani clothing. As well as Tom Kaulitz
Some girl in the twinkling of an eye / Dem ah ready fi come pull down mi Karl Kani
"You know one of the reasons why I always praise this industry is because you can be a self-taught clothing designer and still make millions or even billions of dollars! (…) Karl Kani is self-taught, but a lot of people don't know that." He paid further homage to Karl Kani, who paved the way for him. Diddy stated that he celebrated the path he carved for me, this couldn't have happened without him.
"Karl Kani's clothes speak like our music does; he combines street with bling in the same way we do. Karl wants his clothing line to be where the trends are and where things are happening and that's where Cash Money is. Where things are happening big time."
"One day I was walking by, With a Walkman on, caught a guy, Give me an awkward eye, Strangled him off in the parking lot, With his Karl Kani" from "Forgot about Dre (Dr. Dre featuring Eminem, 1999)"
"Youse the fag model for Karl Kani/Esco ads
Went from, Nasty Nas to Esco's trash"
Jay-Z - Takeover
"I had the Karl Kani shit on. If you looked at my clothes you could see I was out of there."
"Now my arm close hang up, my crew is deeper than Karl Kani pockets"
Missy Elliott – Dangerous Mouths (featuring Redman)
"I would be brief but my Karl Kani's didn't dry"
Redman - A million and One Buddha spots
"Karl Kani down, camoflouge can't hide the sounds"
Redman – Rollin
"You far behind I rock the reptiles and steal a Karl Kani's, guard your eyes"
The firm - Executive Decisions
Wears only shirts and shortpants, butt he will buy more soon.
Fatal B - Executive Decisions
"Some try to rap with that perpetrate mobster crap Karl Kani jeans, fat stomachs in the limosines Mixtapes by wack DJ's adds doo doo play I'm on the turnpike, the city drifting down the highway"
Kool Keith - Plastic world
"I'd reverse the effects of physical neglect I'd want holes in front of mirrors askin, wheres my self respect? I'd want raulph lauren to get down with karl kani no rode-o drive smack in the middle of south side"
Non Phixion – 4w's
"And I didn't have to get my whole team just to do that In a blue hat, with a black baggy Karl Kani An iced out ring just to score on your eye"
Nelly feat St. Lunatics - Steal Da Show
"So recognize the dick size in these Karl Kani jeans I'm in thirteens, know what I mean"
"Notorious B.I.G. - One More Chance"
"Karl Kani saggin', Timbo's draggin'"
MC Lyte - Ruffneck
"Some girl in the twinkling of an eye Dem ah ready fi come pull down mi Karl Kani" (Still Searching)
"She's hoping we can spend a night at Somewhere that's warm and cozy...why not She's been wanting me since my Karl Kani drop" (The Master Has Come Back)
"I got the Squad over-qualified, pullin over Karl Kani Range Rover tilted, three-wheelted hydraulic slide" How we roll
"Inna mi Karl Kani..."
New Millennium ft. Wayne Marshall