Clothing with a conscious and a hint of Black magic is one way to describe Buch America, a fashion brand featured in Black Student Forum’s AFROPunk Fashion Show during Black Family Weekend last week. Founded in 2016, it was created with the mindset of fashion for others. From sweatshirts to hats to basic tees, it’s style is trendy and inspiring. With its powerful messages in minimalist print and crafted in an array of colors, Buch America is a hidden gem that’s made its way into my personal favorite clothing collection. I got a chance to talk with Arthur, its founder, about his come up in the small business world and get words of wisdom for other young entrepreneurs of color:
To start, what IS Buch America? How did it start? What does it mean?
Buch America is an online clothing brand that focuses on spreading positive messages through our designs and marketing. The brand style is influenced by American modern prep and streetwear. I’ve always been into imagery and history. I would collect images and old fashion advertisements from Google and Tumblr just as a random hobby. I began to visualize and map out how I would execute my own “hypothetical” clothing brand. All of this I was doing was essentially me doing my homework on fashion, which gave me context and confidence in myself that I could actually do this. I’m a fan of the modern prep style, but in the past I never felt fully embraced by many of the traditional brands out there. I wanted to create a brand that anyone, no matter their background, could feel accepted in. It’s personal.
What do you think of the idea of “rags to riches” for the Black community? Why do you think those moments of “starting from the bottom” are the moments where people discover their greatest potential?
I am a firm believer of rags to riches for the black community. We are going to see more wealth in the black community. Education and opportunity have become more accessible to common man due to the advent of social media and the power of the smartphone. Starting from the bottom are moments where people discover their greatest potential, because when you have less you are forced to become more creative with what you do have.
What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur for you?
Being honest with myself. All success and failures within my business stem from me. I can’t use school or work as excuses for why something didn’t get done.
What’s been the most rewarding part about building your brand?
I own it. When I get working on something regarding the brand, it’s personal because it’s my company. It doesn’t even feel like work, because each task I mark off is like I’m moving forward towards my goal.
I’ve noticed on your Instagram that aesthetics of hidden gems around Boston and your models that come from different backgrounds. How do you think that, along with your brand as a whole, speaks to the idea of diversity and intersectionality?
I think it is important. Media tells us what is ‘normal’. I am trying to push that it’s ‘normal’ for people of different backgrounds to wear Buch America. America doesn’t look one way, and I am just showcasing that.
How do you think your brand speaks to the issues surrounding the Black community? I think your Hope sweatshirt is a great example of doing just that.
It’s funny, because I made that sweatshirt for me as a way to reassure myself that everything will be alright. I hope when people look at my brand they feel empowered in some way.
What words of advice would give to other entrepreneurs trying to make it big in their own way?
I haven’t made it big myself, but what I’ve learned in the past year is that if your intentions are good and you keep working at it, you’ll achieve some sort of success in whichever field you’re in. It’s like going to gym. No matter who you are, if you workout everyday for a month, you will get stronger.
Cover Photo from @christani_ . Photo One from @btsdesignstudio . Photos Two and Three from @13jray