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Tinchy Stryder

The British rap star tells Marie Davies why he wanted to grow his streetwear brand Star In The Hood via UK indies

Where did the idea for Star In The Hood come from?

The label began in late 2007 when I brought out my first album entitled Star In The Hood. As part of the tour we were selling a few T-shirts with the album name on and people started picking up on them. We had a great reaction from the public and I became known for the Star In The Hood logo in addition to my music.

It was in 2009 when we signed a deal with Elusive Distribution to handle the sales that we realised we had a brand that could be successful.

You began to wholesale the label through indie retailers and now you’ve rolled out into multiples. So what is your distribution strategy?

I want the brand to feel special and growing in independents makes the brand [feel] more unique. People have to know where to shop for the brand and have to go somewhere specifically to buy it.

But you’re now also stocked in sportswear chain JD… It’s something we had to think about but ultimately we thought it through and it seemed like a good move in terms of the next stage for the brand. I think it’s a cool place with a good team. It’s where I used to save up and buy all my trainers from when I was younger, and it’s hugely influential to the streetwear market.

Are there any other stockists you’d like to target?

I’d like to get into stores like Selfridges. I want to push the brand to be as big as it can without making it too big, too soon.

We’ll take our time to place it right.

In your opinion, what other high-profile celebrities have built brands successfully?

A lot of people I admire in music I look to in terms of how to build the range. Two of my inspirations are Jay-Z with Rocawear and P Diddy with Sean John. I admire how they’ve built their fashion brands alongside their music careers.

Star In The Hood’s range currently comprises T-shirts, sweatshirts and varsity jackets. Do you plan to broaden the offer this year? Yes, for autumn 11 we want to introduce more accessories and more technical garments by developing further the cut and sew on heavyweight jackets, gilets and more coloured marl jerseys. I want to offer more womenswear and would eventually also like to go into denim.

Do you have any international ambitions?

If the right opportunity comes along, then definitely. It’s something I’ve spoken about on a general level with people associated with Jay-Z’s brand, with them offering me advice, but nothing has officially been set out for international distribution.

You have 65 wholesale accounts in the UK. Are there any plans for a standalone store? I’d like to get into retail sooner rather than later, although I don’t know how quickly that will be. I imagine the first store will be in London and it’s somewhere I’d like to preview exclusive product.

Which are your favourite designers/brands?

Armani Jeans and Stone Island (pictured).

What was your last purchase?

Sunglasses from D&G.

Where do you like to shop?

I buy a lot in [designer indie mini-chain] Choice (pictured) and Selfridges.

Which is your favourite item from the Stars In The Hood collection?

The varsity jacket.

Tinchy Stryder is a rap star and owner of streetwear brand Star In The Hood

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