Criminal Damage Clothing: The OG’s of the UK streetwear scene

Criminal Damage Clothing Brand Review and History

Started: 1991

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Who owns Criminal Damage Clothing?

CD was started by Sunny Aytan back in 1991 who still owns the company 30 years later with his brothers. The pioneering streetwear brand was heavily influenced by its East London melting pot of culture and identity. Taking inspiration from styles of retro fashions of the past, mixing them up with the best in modern, urban trends, and created something brand new.

The collection he served up was an instant hit, successful and popular with were picked up by alternatives like goths, hipsters, punks, skaters and hip hop fans in the capital and beyond. The exciting new designs, bold colour palette and edgy style made the label an overnight success with fans of street style everywhere.

One of the signatures of the Criminal Damage label was that each garment within the range was different from the last. The brand identity is always there, through a signature style and the now iconic ‘CD’ monogramming. Each piece is quirky, original, unique and undoubtedly stylish.

criminal damage clothing in 2013
Criminal Damage clothing in 2013

Since its beginning in the early nineties, Criminal Damage clothing has continued to tap into trends as they happen, adding their own touches, re-designing them in their own flavour with a stylish flair for detail. The brand likes to use a huge colour and fabric variety, using cuts and textures to style its collections. This all helps to keep the brand ahead of the game and on the cutting edge.

criminal damage brandon myersOften their clothing has social commentary, tapping into the feelings of their fanbase about being let down by the UK Government. Not afraid to push boundaries and challenge the establishment, that means they stand out from the bland crowd, as do their customers. 

Of course, you don’t stay current for 3 decades in fashion without adapting and changing, and the forerunners of London Streetwear stayed close to their local fanbase to be fashion-forward with their UK Street Style. The key to success has always been their connection to their fanbase.

History favours the winners, and the brand’s collections have been seen on the likes of Rihanna, KSI, Zedd and Cara Delavigne.

The evolution of CD Clothing

They were first known for their jeans. In 2000’s they were on-trend with their varsity jackets, and in 2010 it was long-line t-shirts and plaid shirts (often styled with Chino’s and Vans).

In more recent times, the brand moved into sustainable fashion with their Eco Essentials collection made with organic and recycled materials. CD also did a collab collection with the World Land Trust with proceeds going to build nature reserves. Sustainable denim was process uses less water consumption, and all fabric is blue sign approved.
criminal damage x pokemon
Criminal damage x Pokemon collab range
The Spring 2021 range standout is their limited edition Pokémon Collection celebrating the upcoming 25-year anniversary, with Criminal Damage clothing celebrating its 30th year trading. The 12-piece collection is graphic t-shirts, hoodies, and tops.
It’s a great collab for the fashion brand. Pokémon released its first video game in February 1996 in Japan and evolved into one of the world’s most iconic video games and a vast entertainment franchise that influenced popular culture.
For a label looking for designs to make their clothing stand out, it definitely works.

Why are they called Criminal Damage?

Criminal damage is when someone unlawful destroys or damages property that does not belong to them, with intent or by being reckless.

For a new brand in East London taking on the high-end fashion labels, they tapped into the alternative scene. The Criminal Damage jeans in the 90s were wide-leg flared high-waisted and worn with a baggy hoodie and baseball cap. Perfect getup for the graffiti artists tagging the streets and decorating the urban landscape.

So you could say that the brand was destroying the fashion world dominated by Gap, Kappa, Kickers, Fila, Tommy Hilfiger, Von Dutch, Kangol and Juicy Couture. The branding was intentionally targeted towards being edgy and standout. They certainly preferred the association with football hooligans more than Stone Island.

With the name, it was often associated with being a chav brand in later years but was always more adopted by the ravers, goths and hip-hop lovers, although with the graffiti trend of the times could easily be worn by people committing common law criminal damage.

Is Criminal Damage a good brand?

Again, you don’t last 30 years in fashion without a solid customer base with repeat business and attracting new customers. You can only do that with high-quality fabrics and designs and great service.

Customer reviews for the brand are very positive, citing they are legit with the fits and products to be of great quality. The labels real strength is on-trend designs to stay popular and cool, with a long-time commitment to ethical production and the use of sustainable fabrics.

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What next for Criminal Damage?

criminal damage footwearStreetwear fashion brand Criminal Damage has released a brand-new footwear collection, showcasing the crossover between athleisure and streetwear with a range of chic and versatile designs.

The first drop includes five designs of sneakers and sliders and will be followed by two further consecutive drops which are expected to launch over the next two months. The collection will total 13 pieces with prices starting at £25, so there is no doubt it is worth it with fair pricing and good quality.

Having previously launched a range of footwear back in 2013, Criminal Damage are excited to reintroduce the category to its offering following customer and retailer demand.

Executive at Criminal Damage, Monty Aytan says, “We decided it was time to begin planning a relaunch of our footwear, which took two years to finalise due to the meticulous details of sourcing the best possible materials, but we also felt that the footwear market had been stagnant, with big sportswear companies dominating the market. We wanted to showcase premium, considered design that would still be affordable for our customers as we look to bridge the gap between athleisure and streetwear. This makes our footwear a versatile choice, as the athleisure market continues to be popular after lockdown.”

Whilst the initial collection focuses on a menswear line, Criminal Damage aspires to develop further into women’s footwear in the near future.

The collection will be available to buy from Very in the UK, and Snipes and Zalando for European customers as well as the Criminal Damage website from today, Friday 21st May.

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Chloé Safilo
Chloé Saffio is our resident Fast Fashion Expert for the UK Urban and Streetwear scene. Her eyes have been constantly glued to social media for the last 10 years giving her an unrivalled insight. In her spare time, she used to like shopping and lying in the sunshine and making the pilgrimage to Ibiza. Now, she is a tired and grumpy new mother and back from maternity leave as the full time FFN writer. Chloe lives in London where she completed her journalism degree at the University of Roehampton. She lives in a small flat Putney with her fiancée Christian, daughter Sofia, and their French Bulldog Coco. And she's on the look out for a nice house and garden at a bargain price,