In 2017, Clint419, the founder of Corteiz, created and started printing t-shirts with the famous Alcatraz logo (a maximum security prison, located on a lonely island in the middle of San Francisco) in his room. The meaning of the logo would be to represent the conflict against what is the norm in society. Corteiz was actually Clint's second brand, the first was founded with his friend Ade Senusi in 2015 called Cade on the map.
From day one, Corteiz was always about being given to people and essentially being a private group for those in the know. Clint did not use any type of paid advertisement and relied exclusively on social media and word of mouth marketing. To access the drops you needed a password to access the site and this treatment was for everyone, it did not offer products to celebrities like David Guetta and never paid for collaborations. Which means that big names, rappers like Stormzy, Dave and Central Cee wore it purely because they believed in the brand's vision. The brand relied on scarcity to promote exclusivity rather than the high prices common to luxury brands.
In August 2019 they held their first giveaway to the public, making people run through the streets of Soho to win one of the Rule The World t-shirts. The brand was growing quickly at that time and started to grow even faster when Virgil Abloh started to notice the brand.
Increased Popularity and Virgil
The second Corteiz public event in London consisted of fans bringing a tube ticket which they could then exchange for a Corteiz t-shirt. The brand continued to operate in a style of high demand with a low product offering in which a password was still required to purchase on the website. Virgil Abloh noticed and wore some of the Rule The World socks at the Met Gala in 2021, and posted a photo wearing them on his Instagram, which made the brand explode even more. From what is said, Clint never offered anything to celebrities so that means Virgil had to buy them himself.
From Great Bolo Exchange
Fast forward to 2022, Clint prepared another publicity stunt to create fan engagement, 'Da Great Bolo Exchange' where fans would receive location coordinates on the day to meet him and his team and exchange a puffer jacket from some designer brand for an unreleased puffer from Corteiz. Clint then took all the coats he received in exchange and donated them to a charity.
Another famous publicity stunt was when Corteiz sold black positions for 99 cents at a fair, the number of people on the streets of London looking for the positions was unbelievable.
The collaboration with Nike
Corteiz is now one of the most popular streetwear brands of the moment, growing with each passing moment.