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HBCU Grad Creates Seven-Figure Clothing Brand That Empowers

Meet Marcia Smith, a graduate of Howard University and the founder of a very successful fashion line called HGC Apparel that she launched in 2006. She describes herself as a self-proclaimed 90’s kid who is passionate about the uplifting and expansion of the Black community.

Marcia grew up in the ’90s and says that her love for the style of that time is one she uses as inspiration for HGC Apparel, which now generates seven figures in annual revenue. As a student at Howard, she found herself always at thrift stores searching for the clothes she grew up watching in all of the dope music videos. The oversized jeans, retro hoodies with strings, and the dope denim jean jackets were just a few of her favorite items. One day after thrifting, Marcia decided not only to start making clothes that reflected that style but to also create them with a message. A bold message that reflected the black culture and that would resonate with those within the black community.

Along with the spirit of the ’90s, the other inspiration for HGC was the absence of black brands with bold fashion statements. “I would always see Malcolm X shirts or MLK shirts. I never saw any Black brands create anything that was fly with a message,” says Marcia. “I saw a clear gap in the industry for our culture, and I decided to fill it.”

The journey began with the creation of custom t-shirts for the fraternities and sororities around campus. From there it grew into what we see from HGC Apparel today. T-shirts with statements like, “Educated Black Queen,” hoodies that say “Black By Popular Demand,” and sweaters that say “Stop Criminalizing Black Children.”

Currently, Marcia is working on new designs for HGC Apparel as well as the expansion. There are plans for a brick-and-mortar flagship store as well as plans to begin giving back and educating on the power of the Black dollar. “As a community, we give away a lot of our money instead of keeping it within the community. I think if people understood the power of our dollar, we could do a better job of building and uplifting our communities.”

Learn more about the company at HGCApparel.com or follow the brand on Instagram @HGCApparel

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