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Sik Silk is arguably the biggest name in the UK fast-fashion urban streetwear scene. While Palace and Supreme pre-date the creation of the Scarborough label, their true concept came from the skateboard world so can be ignored for the sake of this article. The closest comparison in the UK was Judas Sinned who started a niche range of t-shirts in 2010, and also discovered Stephen James. But worth noting that they originated out of a Bristol shop so had fashion experience and footfall to help their profile.
Sik Silk were the first of the true “bedroom brands” who came from humble beginnings running operations from a home office. Their Youtube channel hides their early videography attempts which raises eyebrows for the wrong reasons.
But it would not take long to be seen on the backs of Barcelona footballers Lionel Messi and Neymar (at the time of the original article), and Cristiano Ronaldo, and Mo Salah. Add in F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, and 50 Cent and Carl Cox and you can see how the clothing brand has been influenced by sport and music culture.
Who started Sik Silk Clothing?
You’ve heard the story multiple times, school friends, who worked normal jobs as a plumber, accountant and design engineer. They could not find what they wanted to wear, so designed it themselves, combining streetwear and luxury fashion, blah blah. It’s the bio of a multitude of copycat brands, who ripped off the backstory as well as the designs. But in this case, it’s true, and if there was a Sik Silk Wikipedia page it’s exactly what would be written.
It truly cannot be said by anyone else anyway as the path had already been blazed into retailers and the mainstream, creating a demand for the streetwear style. The boyhood friends of Barry (Baz) Gill, David Thomson and Sam Kay did genuinely go to Graham School together and remain business partners, founders and owners to this day.
You have to doff their early edition hats in appreciation of what they achieved, as it proved a difficult act to follow. In fact, they even tried again with Illusive London and found the road rocky rather than the easy highway to success. This shows how hard is it to start a clothing brand.
It’s great that the brand is still owned by the three friends even after all these years, and Baz Gill still promotes himself as the sik silk Brand owner, brand builder and designer.
There is no siksilk wiki page to tell their story, but luckily enough I interviewed them at the time so can give a correct and true account of their rise to one of the top UK brands.
The story is part fairy tale and the perfect storm, but also part entrepreneurial opportunity. Sik Silk’s breakthrough origins are actually ingrained in American Baseball culture after a stateside visit, and a self-confessed idea to bring it to the UK shores before anyone else. They sensed its potential popularity and took a gamble that paid off, covering their initial production order on credit cards in the ultimate make or break.
Their first-ever baseball jersey was a simple collarless pinstripe design with their famed siksilk logo on the chest. It quickly sold out in record numbers, creating a high demand and hype for the Sik Silk Brand.
The Siksilk logo
The original was much larger than the later years, designed to catch attention. And it worked, sort of. People did see it and did love the clothes, they just could not identify the brand from the emblem.
The Sik Silk logo is an old-style monogram, in a custom font with letters. But the typography made it hard to identify. The meaning and the reason is it is hard to read, is the extra F in the SS. So it’s actually FSS which stands for Fairly Sik Silk. Fairly was the early collection, named after the area where they lived. The brand is misspelt often with variants including sicksilk (sick silk) and silksilk (silk silk).
The Sik Silk Success Story
Initial interest was slow, but in fashion hard graft pays off. They visited stores in the North-East and Newcastle’s Project 722 took a fancy to give them their big break. The store its self was not the reason, it actually went bust a few years later. But it happened to be owned by a certain Gary Beadle who had spent the last 2 years being a lad on MTV’s Geordie Shore.
A dedicated follower of fashion (who later part-owned 11 Degrees), loved it and wore it on TV. His celebrity friends were happy to do the same, and the brand benefited from social influencing before the expression had been coined. And before the agencies stepped in to hike the prices sky-high, people in the public eye would post for free, so the social reach was huge.
The snowball had started and they signed to a Southern agent in London’s UK68 Agency, who swiftly introduced them to Brighton-based Fashion Design Solutions to help with design and manufacturing in Turkey. They then set up the deal with Footasylum which changed the fast fashion landscape forever.
ASOS soon followed, and a deal was struck in Las Vegas for Footlocker and international success followed. Sik Silk’s use of Social Media, Gaz’s Network of celebrity friends and Youth TV Programs naivety on product placement all helped the brand exposure.
And it’s not just in the UK the brand is popular, it has a huge following in Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
With collab deals with Barcelona’s Dani Alves, and Ronaldo and Messi wearing their clothes, the boys sure come a long way since that playground.
Is Sik Silk a good brand?
There are plenty of independent reviews that suggest that Sik Silk Clothing are a legit and popular brand. They design affordable and good quality style streetwear inspired by elite athletes and street culture.
For me, what makes a good brand is clothing quality & design, price and customer services (including delivery timeframes). Some things are within brand control, like where the clothes are made and how much is paid per unit.
This is the biggest indicator of garment quality. Of course, businesses look at margins and the cheaper made the better the profits. Sik Silk had the advantage of being popular which drove sales in quantity, which enables mass production. As a bigger brand, I’m not aware they’ve sacrificed quality for profit.
Sik Silk SS21
The brand is still going strong with a Spring Summer 2021 collection to continue its momentum as the leading streetwear brand. Continuing their use of bold colours and prints, there is some great styles for festivals and holidays. Included in the men’s range are trainers, jackets, shorts, t-shirts, caps, swimshorts, jeans, gilets, joggers, bombers, crew sweaters, shirts, vests, backpacks, and bucket hats.
The women’s SS21 collection has the above and also cropped vests, Tee’s and Hoodies for that essential summer style. There is a huge range of cycle shorts, bodycon dresses, bralettes, leggings and loungewear too that is worth checking out.
It’s also nice to see that despite the brand dominating the streetwear scene for years, they are always ensuring ethical production and sustainable fabric use.
Is there a Sik Silk Black Friday Sale?
Yes, there is always a Sik Silk Black Friday Sale. It’s best advised to follow their social media for advance warning. Like most clothing brands there are plenty of sales items all year round so plenty of bargains to pick up.