How a Howard University student launched a bold clothing brand for HBCU

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By Christopher A. Daniel 4 minutes Read

In the spring of 2016, Tahir Murray watched then-President Barack Obama deliver the commencement address at his sister’s graduation from Howard University in Washington, DC. by the roar of the graduating class as she responded to Obama’s shout of encouragement. Murray knew right away that he wanted to go to Howard and create something that reflected both his school spirit and his heritage.

[Photo: courtesy Legacy History Pride]

Three years later, while a student at Howard, Murray established Legacy History Pride, an apparel company that celebrates the vibrant culture of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The name is a tribute to life “in the field” or on campus, and to the standards of excellence on which predominantly black colleges and universities were founded.

[Photo: courtesy Legacy History Pride]

LHP holds 40 licenses across 107 HBCUs that serve approximately 228,000 black and brown students, with a portion of the proceeds from each item sold going to partner institutions. The products – embroidered varsity jackets, crew necks in school colors and logos, fleece shorts, graphic tees, hoodies, beanies and cardigans – reflect current student tastes, a bold departure from products generally sold in campus bookstores. Murray designs most of the merchandise himself, working with an independent design team.

“We’re very intentional with every detail,” says Murray, now 22. “We are a swaggy culture, and we want to make sure the products we make are representative and synonymous with excellence rooted in the community.”

Today, LHP unveiled a limited-edition three-piece collection featuring the Brooklyn Nets NBA franchise as part of the team’s Black History Month and HBCU outreach programming.

[Photo: courtesy Brooklyn Nets]

“We celebrate trailblazers of the past, present and future,” said Jackie Wilson II, Nets chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. “Black history is not just something in the past, but something that is being created in real time. We try to show people in the community people who are like them and who do business. It is important that people see themselves in these leaders.

[Photo: courtesy Legacy History Pride]

Three generations of entrepreneurs

Murray was a full-time student when he started LHP, running its operations from his dorm: doing photo shoots, learning new software, waiting months for official license applications to be approved, sketching out concepts, producing content digital and recruit talent from his student. peer network.

[Photo: courtesy Legacy History Pride]

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic and rising social protests have led HBCUs to see an increase in attention, charitable giving and corporate partnerships. At the same time, LHP production was briefly halted due to supply chain issues.

[Photo: courtesy Legacy History Pride]

Then the brand started trending on social media. Chris Paul, Chance the Rapper, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson, Nick Cannon, Nikole Hannah-Jones and Cam Newton were spotted wearing LHP gear. The following year LHP in partnership with the Los Angeles Sparks on the WNBA Championship Franchises 25th Anniversary Capsule Collection.

[Photo: courtesy Legacy History Pride]

Murray was born in Brooklyn and moved to Atlanta as a preteen. He is a third generation entrepreneur. His grandfather, Ortner “Von” Murray, was a West Indian immigrant who opened a shoe repair business that later became a popular sneaker store in New York’s Queens borough. His father, Gerard Murray, founded 90s t-shirt brands Queens 7 and School of Hard Knocks as well as a college lifestyle brand, Tradition Ever Since, which ran from 2012 to 2020. Nike Yard Runner Twice, Tahir Murray accompanied his father on numerous trips to trade shows, black brotherhood and sorority shows, and homecoming activities in hopes of one day finding his place in the family business.

[Photo: courtesy Legacy History Pride]

During Murray’s first year, he convinced his “superhero” to let him become Tradition’s chief marketing officer, taking charge of the company’s social media accounts, digital marketing and promotion of the collection at Howard.

A summer internship with J. Crew’s men’s merchandising department in 2019 piqued Murray’s curiosity about branding and development as he shadowed his manager in meetings with various departments, observing how each division contributed to the brand identity of the clothing retailer.

[Photo: courtesy Legacy History Pride]

“It shaped my thinking about how to plan each step of the process,” Murray says. “Everything has to make sense and really merge into one vision.”

[Photo: courtesy Legacy History Pride]

LHP recently added Bowie State University to its roster of licenses and plans to publish collections exclusively for women and children. The company’s partnership with the HBCU Alliance continues to spearhead scholarship and school fundraising efforts. Now based in Atlanta, Murray hopes to make LHP the definitively black-owned HBCU clothing company while continuing the momentum created by his late grandfather and father.

“LHP is more than just a product,” says Murray, a 2021 Howard graduate. “It’s a legacy story of creating opportunity, and LHP is a black story of three generations in apparel. We just have to make sure that we use these platforms to educate people and get back into these communities that influence the culture.

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