By Ameera Steward
For the Birmingham Times
Asked whether he was into fashion when he was younger, Archie Clay III said he thinks fashion was in him.
“My dad was a model [when he was in college], and my mom was always into fashion,” said Clay, who has four siblings, is not married, and has no children. “I wasn’t into fashion, but I was [taught to be] confident in my ability to be who I am.”
Clay and his business partner, Tajh Crutch, have gained nationwide recognition for their successful luxury hat company WEAR BRIMS, which has a broad and growing clientele that includes actor Lance Gross, model Eva Marcille, NBA player Chris Paul, and comedian Cedric the Entertainer, among others. The company, based in Atlanta, Georgia, has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and O, The Oprah Magazine, in addition to being highlighted on Black Parade Route, a directory of Black-owned business on the website of megastar Beyoncé.
In addition to being available via the Nordstrom website, WEAR BRIMS hats are sold at three brick-and-mortar locations: Perimeter Mall in Atlanta; Garden State Plaza in Garden State, New Jersey; and New York Men’s Store in Manhattan, New York.
Clay was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His parents eventually moved to the Atlanta, Georgia, metro area, and he attended Stone Mountain High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia, where he played basketball, tennis, and soccer and participated in band.
He also was a black belt in Tae Kwon Do: “Throughout high school, until I was 16 or 17, I competed in national championships and almost went to the Junior Olympics when I was in high school,” he said.
When it comes to style, Clay has always been unique and was never a follower.
“Of course, when you’re younger, you’re trying to fit in. But when it came to my own fashion, it was just me,” he said, adding that his grandparents wore fedoras.
“That’s kind of how we got the energy [to build] the brand,” said Clay, who shared that his favorite hat is the WEAR BRIMS “Own Your Cool,” which is mint green with a burlap band and a white-leather-and-burlap bow.
Will WEAR BRIMS go beyond hats?
“Most definitely,” said Clay, who is co-CEO of the company. “I think it’s important to continue to scale and continue to innovate. … So, for us, we want to be a luxury house of accessories, and that can consist of jackets, belts, bags, [and more].”
When it comes to wearing hats, Clay said it’s all about confidence.
“Hats are the same as a pair of shoes, … a pair of sneakers, or a belt. … If [a hat] is your aesthetic and how you want to be different, that’s your way. … When you have a hat on, I think it makes you look debonair and cool at the same time. It gives you the best of both worlds.”
All WEAR BRIMS items are unisex. Fedoras are all the same style with different colors and different bands, and sizes range from small (S) to extra-extra large (XXL); T-shirts and hoodies come in sizes S to XXL; and baseball caps are adjustable one-size-fits-all. To see the WEAR BRIMS collections, place an order, and learn more about the company, visit wearbrims.com or follow on Instagram: WearBrims, Facebook: WEAR BRIMS, and Twitter: wearbrims.