Don’t die for Corteiz, be like them

Corteiz is shaping the way for future underground brands and why you should take some notes if you’re looking to start one. From the beginning to where we are now.

The Beginning

We’ve all heard about Corteiz rules the world (RTW), but who are they and why are they always the topic of conversation. Let’s first start with the owner Clint also known as @Clint419 on Instagram. He is a 26-year-old Nigerian British entrepreneur from west London, who never reveals his surname. To many, Clint is a standoffish boy with a problem. According to @poetscorner on the Halfcast Podcast, “He’s a bit of a bastard at times, he’s just cocky, he’s always been like this, he’s very much himself and doesn’t like to infringe on anyone else.”

Corteiz supporter, content creator and podcaster Michael Ake, says: “He knows what he’s doing, yeah his a bit up himself but that’s why we like him, he’s the definition on what Gen Z is as a person, we don’t care about the opinion society has about us and neither does he unless it’s about his brand. Don’t mess with his brand.”

Clint first started his clothing line at the age of 19 with his best friend Ade Sanusi to launch streetwear label Cade. But it was unfortunately short lived, though it gained traction through the likes of British street style influencer @GullyGuyLeo and was also featured in a short film by Asap Rocky.

Corteiz RTW likes its privacy

If you have been here since the beginning, then you would know that Corteiz’s social media pages were once private. If your follow request was accepted by Clint, you were able to learn about the brand’s latest releases. The brand blew up by teasing consumers’ interest. If you have seen any Corteiz clothing pieces you would know that most feature the Alcatraz Island as their logo. This has now become an iconic logo and has even had other brands attempting to replicate it, but Clint has his ways around replication.

On many occasions Clint has retaliated by having shock drops that call out the replicators. Clint has clapped backed at Boohoo and streetwear competition Manière De Voir.


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A post shared by @crtz.rtw

But what sets this logo apart is Clint’s meaning behind it. In a TikTok video, he said that the logo represents how living in society feels like a prison and Corteiz is about “escaping from societal restraints we’ve grown up with to pursue what you really want to do”.

The brand’s offerings have centred on T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, beanies, cargo pants and socks with its logo, but occasionally the brand offers up its popular puffer “bolo” jackets. Clint said that during the first launch, the brand only sold 16 hoodies. In a detailed personal Instagram post Clint revealed to his followers how his brand grew from 50 followers to 10,000 in 18 months. Corteiz followers to date are now sitting at 704,000 followers.

In an Instagram post (see below), Clint said: “Account was private 95% of the time for the last 18 months. Only way to find it was via someone you knew. No explore page. No seeding. No paid ads. No pumplex articles. No nothing just us. Followers ain’t everything either, it’s just 1 indicator of progress but if you fill a room with 50 and fill a room with 10,000, you’ll feel a difference.”


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A post shared by LUNDUN. (@clint419)

Corteiz RTW loves the art of surprise

Corteiz’s approach to releasing hyped garments is and probably will continue to be distinctively different to that of many other labels. Streetwear brands usually set a specific day or time for their drops. Corteiz moves differently.

Ake says: “The reason why this whole unpredictable drop system works is every drop is completely different to the others, you never know how it’s going to go.”

The drops are cryptically revealed through random co-ordinates to times revealed randomly. The only way to access the drop is by entering a password shared via email, Twitter, or Instagram. Try, and go on the website and you’re met with a blank screen.

Ake says: “The amount of tweets you see in regards to the password ordeal is insane, I mean you can ask Clint for it that doesn’t mean he’s  gonna give it to you its Clint were talking about, I thinks that’s why we like  him so much, he communicates with his supporters no matter what, I could DM him now I would probably get a reply its crazy.” This online drop model has been built a strategically planned digital streetwear cult that closely follows all the brand’s move.

Corteiz RTW = The leaders in guerrilla marketing

Streetwear labels have used guerrilla marketing as their key tool to make sales and gain popularity. Trapstar is one of these labels to start this trend, with owners Mikey, Lee, and Will started the brand in 2008 making T-shirts for themselves and other friends. But they were threatened with bootleg designs if they didn’t start selling to a wider market. They started selling through pop-up stores but what gave them their popularity was how they packaged and delivered their items. Clothing could be purchased via a text to the brand’s ‘trap-phone’ and items would be delivered in pizza boxes. By 2010 Trapstar opened its flagship store in West London, Portobello Road.

Corteiz takes it one step further. Its real life drops are more like hype beast scavenger hunts where the prize is either cheap or free merch. Like its online drops, locations and times are vague and on drop days Corteiz will share GPS coordinates to exactly where the drop is which is essentially a flash mob.

Following the announcement of Corteiz high profile Air Max 95 collaboration after months of cryptic behaviour such as the Corteiz Alcatraz Batman logo on central London’s Nike town. For streetwear this was a change in history and a major mainstream endorsement for an underground street wear brand. Not even three years before this, Corteiz and brand owner Clint were sued by Nike following copyright claims over how similar the brand’s name was to Nike’s most popular sneaker silhouette: The Cortez. The result of this lawsuit was that Nike asked Clint to pay £1850, but it seems as if that has been long forgotten and forgiven about now that we’re  witnessing underground streetwear history.

London’s streetwear leader had given the opportunity for brand fans to win a free pair of sneakers if they could complete a successful crossbar strike from outside an 18-yard box.

Taking to Instagram the night before Cortiez posted an unexpected video featuring Real Madrid midfielder Eduardo Camavinga hitting a halfway line cross bar hit in Corteiz new Air Max 95 designs with a British voiceover explaining what fans must do to get their hands on them: “Yo mandem, gyaldem, you wanna pair of these Air Max 95s? lemme show you what you gotta do. Dun know”.


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A post shared by @crtz.rtw

But this is only a small fraction of what Corteiz has done. Other stunts have included a sale of cargo pants for 99p where the only requirement was you had to come with exactly 99p; and there was the The Bolo jacket exchange, where the rules were simple: Corteiz would give one of their 50 Bolo jackets to anyone willing to swap a jacket by The North Face, Arc’teryx, Stussy, Moncler or Supreme. With all jackets traded, Clint was able to donate £16,000 worth of jackets to Laurence’s Larder, a food bank.


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Corteiz RTW hates resellers

Most popular streetwear brands that are sold in limited quantities are bound to run into resellers and botched jobs of their work. Well Corteiz and Clint have found a way around that. Clint just cancelled the orders of anyone found reselling in Depop. Clint took to Twitter to write:

“If ur gonna resell a free tee do it properly, man chargin normal retail price for a tee that signifies a moment In time, ur guna try shot it for 30 mug u may aswell keep the shirt, I’ll buy that shit back and sell it for 100 just to spite you.”

But Clint didn’t stop there, he decided to film a cheeky campaign about a Corteiz reseller filming getting robbed beaten for reselling their merch.


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A post shared by @crtz.rtw

“We’re making it out the hood”

For an underground streetwear brand to make it “out of the hood” to some supporters this is a huge deal, but to hardcore supporters it feels like the end of authentic clothing. Many Redittors voiced their opinions on how the brand’s garments have dipped in quality and the designs have become more generic. The same situation has also happened to Trapstar which had also found mainstream success, for a brand that was known for limited quantities they had been pushing more and more drops.

Now we know that Clint, Corteiz brand owner doesn’t take anything from anyone. He took to Twitter to voice his supporters concerns to the brand saying that the brand has not been compromised since its launch. This wasn’t enough for everyone and a Reddit user said: “You can’t just pump out Alcatraz logos for the next five years.” Clint replied with “What has Nike been doing for 58 years g”.


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A post shared by LUNDUN. (@clint419)

With such an unpredictable brand, we will definitely keep our eyes on what Clint has in mind for Corteiz next. For now, it looks like he has successfully made it out of the ‘hood. And there’s no stopping him.  Be like Corteiz.

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