Amin Adjmi’s “retro-futuristic” apparel brand has found its way into the wardrobes of basketball stars and pop culture celebrities alike.
When national media features athletes and celebrities like Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum, Justin and Hailey Bieber, and Pete Davidson wearing your label, staying cool may become a challenge. But Amin Adjmi has managed to do exactly that.
The young entrepreneur launched the retro-inspired apparel brand StayCool New York City six years ago in an attempt to create a product that embodied his personal style. Described as “retro-futuristic chillwear,” a genre that Adjmi himself created, the clothing has made its way onto some of pop culture’s biggest stars. In the process, the brand’s Instagram following has grown from about 30,000 one year ago to just a hair under 100,000 today.
And this is just the beginning for an ambitious company riding a major wave of momentum.
The Birth of the Cool
The stars may be aligning now, but the journey to get StayCool to this point has been a grind.
Rewind to 2015: Having always been interested in clothing, Adjmi decided to design a hoodie for his fraternity at Boston University. Enjoying his first taste of the creative process, he used a website called CustomInk to play around and further his skills.
After designing a t-shirt for himself, he sought feedback.
“I texted 12 of my friends asking if they wanted to buy the same shirt, and they did,” he told Boardroom University. “I didn’t do it with the mindset of wanting to start a brand. I did [it] because I always liked clothing and I wanted to see what would come from it.”
After much positive feedback, Adjmi quickly realized he had creative skill. However, that sort of potential is only as good as the inspiration that drives it. Unlike so many designers, Adjmi’s inspiration ultimately came from within.
“I’d go shopping in the city and would have to go through the racks to find something that I like,” he said.” So, instead of doing that, I said why not make my own stuff and put my own spin and ideas on the product. And that’s why I started; I wanted to wear something I made myself.”
And just like that, the first StayCool product sale was completed from the trunk of Adjmi’s car on the BU campus.
The hard part, he says, was turning an activity he was doing for fun into a proper business. When he graduated from college, he didn’t go out looking for a traditional job, opting instead to evolve his hobby into a full-time gig. Adjmi now oversees all aspects of StayCool’s day-to-day operations, from production to design to marketing. He is constantly leading his team and putting out fires wherever they may be.
“There’s obviously a lot of ups and downs that you have to be ready for,” he said. “Issues that come about range from production delays, shipping delays, customer interaction, there’s a lot that can go wrong to make it difficult.”
However, his madness has a method. The business is what gets the ideas from Adjmi’s head into consumers’ hands, but the most important thing is that the public identifies with his ideas.
“It’s very enjoyable to make products that I like [and] put out the vibe I want. It’s rewarding when people resonate with the aesthetic that we put out,” he said. “The brand is an extension of me to this day, so it’s nice to put out things that I wanna wear.”
From the Trunk to the Tunnel
The grind is even more enjoyable when your customers are accomplished tastemakers. Adjmi’s aesthetic has made its way into the tunnels of NBA arenas, and a growing number of players have taken pride in showing off their pre- and post-game StayCool fits.
Having grown up an avid NBA fan, the founder was excited to see StayCool merch repped by the game’s biggest stars, from Curry to Tatum to Donovan Mitchell.
“The Stephen Curry moment was really cool because the cardigan we made had SC stitched into it, which are obviously his initials, so I wanted to see him in it,” he said. “That was a vibe. It’s fun to be linked to cool NBA players and be a part of the fashion trend going on in the league.”
Beyond the NBA, celebrities have also enjoyed the brand’s apparel. Last year, StayCool enjoyed a collaboration with rapper and actor Lil Dicky.
Adjmi plans on dropping more collabs in the near future based on its success with Lil Dicky and meme page Grapejuiceboys (which boasts 3.3 million IG followers). Don’t be surprised to see StayCool New York City in a store near you, as getting products into retailers is an upcoming milestone.
Collaborations, wholesale, and overall growth are all on the agenda for 2022. Beyond that, however, the young entrepreneur has further ambitions.
“Long-term, I wanna grow the brand into different sectors, specifically hospitality,” Adjmi said. “Putting the StayCool aesthetic in other locations; I don’t wanna limit myself to just apparel. I believe the aesthetic is strong and can be used in other ways. Examples include a StayCool diner, cafe, motel. Those are ideas that I’m already starting to tap into at the moment.”