‘I’m So Brooklyn,” Apparel Designer Kirrick Wise Is Knocking Down Doors
By KD Bias
May 27, 2022
Brooklyn, NY is home to the infamous Brooklyn Bridge, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Jay-Z, Talib Kwali, Lil Kim, and Kirrick Wise. The latter of which is the CEO of KoolforLife, a lifestyle brand that promotes integrity, community, and creating your own heaven on earth.
Wise’s latest brand extension is the I’m So Brooklyn apparel. With a name that speaks for itself, his clothes caught the attention of the Black Ink Crew, Damon Dash, the Barclay’s Center, and more. All of whom share a love for the borough and its culture.
In fact, the Barclay’s Center features I’m So Brooklyn apparel neatly stacked in its merch shop. A dream come true for any designer, but more so for an avid community advocate. Wise earned his bachelor’s degree in social work from Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. He went on to obtain a master’s degree in social work from Long Island University Brooklyn in 2019.
Wise would serve as a social worker and restorative justice associate for seven years before embarking on his entrepreneurial journey. Through social work and his own life experiences, he would have an in-depth look into the disenfranchised youth and people of New York’s second-largest borough.
You are who you hang around
Instead of negatively affecting him, Wise is surprisingly enthusiastic. “To wear a piece of KoolforLife clothing represents you want to focus on the positive.” He comments. Focusing on the positive is what helped him build a friendship with Criscia Long, the Brooklyn Nets’ senior director of entertainment.
Long was impressed with the focus of KoolforLife and the look of I’m So Brooklyn. He helped Wise get the brand featured on the drumline team in March and April of this year.
Wise also made friends with Cesar Emanuel, owner of the Harlem tattoo shop that’s the backdrop of VH1’s ‘Black Ink Crew.’ Cesar rocked him I’m So Brooklyn on the show, gaining even more exposure for Wise and his brand.
Fellow Brooklynite and proud entrepreneur, Dame Dash, copped his own I’m So Brooklyn gear at the KoolforLife showroom. This purchase was particularly special because Wise first met Dash in 2013 and was inspired by the serial-entrepreneur first-hand.
A fresh look and a fresh outlook on life
I’m So Brooklyn flaunts the catchy slogan with an even catchier font, heat pressed and layered against tie-dyed loungewear. Wise also partners with friend and artist Robert Newman. Newman creates colorful, abstract mosaic renders of influential Black figures like Angela Davis and Malcolm X. These paintings are added to the backs of custom jean jackets.
More than the street-style aesthetic of KoolforLife and its I’m So Brooklyn apparel, Wise created a movement. “I bet you that one day soon, KoolforLife is gonna be a household name. I guarantee that KoolforLife is going to be a symbol for change,” he says “And there’s going to be hope for young people, that if they really believe in themselves, they can bring any dream to life.”
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