Words by Shatay Speights
Anyone who has experienced the energy of an HBCU, whether at a tailgate, halftime show, an event or simply walking around campus, can attest to vibe being one that is unmatched.
The one undeniable quality that is present at the HBCUs in the U.S. is the amount of style and fashion sense displayed on-campus is like no other. When walking onto an HBCU campus, be ready for a fashionable spectacle of grand proportions. One is sure to see styles and fashions that are reminiscent of the places that tell students’ life stories and are the looks that influence global fashion trends.
Southern University and A&M College alumni Amechi Ugwu understood the importance of paying homage to the fashion contributions that come out of these institutions. His solution to preserving the legacy of HBCU fashion influences led to the birth of Torch Sportswear, an apparel brand whose “vintage collection of HBCU apparel and memorabilia that represents the diverse group of institutions across the country that have educated African American students for over 100 years.”
Torch Sportswear is the first e-commerce store to exclusively sell vintage HBCU apparel and accessories. The inventory includes colorful unisex sweatshirts, bomber jackets, graphic t-shirts, baseball hats, jerseys and pullovers that proudly display the logos of illustrious institutions like Alabama State, Southern University, Spelman, North Carolina A&T, Grambling, Howard, Florida A&M and more. The product pricing ranges from $50 to $400.
Ugwu decided to launch Torch Sportswear in 2012, during his junior year at Southern University. He felt such an immense amount of pride as an HBCU student who was carrying on the legacy of black scholars who were intellectually and sartorially gifted. He was also inspired by the style of his fellow classmates strutting across campus in dope looks, especially seeing how they would rock fashion pieces with vintage finds and school paraphernalia.
Looking good and stepping out in style is something that is engrained in the DNA of African Americans. An HBCU campus definitely boasts an aura of “When you step out, you better come correct!” Shoutout to Amechi Ugwu and Torch Sportswear on such a dope movement to keep the legacy of HBCU style going!