Streetwear on a budget: Toronto-based clothing line is making waves amid the pandemic

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Streetwear is a growing fashion trend among teens, young adults, and influencers alike.

The term streetwear is derived from a style movement that emerged in the 1990s. Streetwear style includes baggy jeans and cargo pants, oversized t-shirts, baseball caps and bucket hats, as well as a wide variety of sneakers. From brands like Nike and Adidas, to high-end names such as Supreme, Stone Island, or Fear of God, these are some of the go-to choices for enthusiasts of streetwear clothing worldwide. However, the popularity of these brands has inflated prices dramatically.

Twenty-year-old Bahador Pourvakil, a student based in Toronto, was inspired to pursue a business vision to create a line of streetwear with a creative twist. As the creator and proprietor of Ezra Pharoah, a streetwear brand he founded during the pandemic, Pourvakil was inspired by streetwear icons Kanye West and Jerry Lorenzo.

However, with high fashion comes high prices.

“For around 99 per cent of the general public, I don’t think a lot of people can afford a $200 T-shirt or a $600 sweater,” Pourvakil said. “That’s just unfeasible and it’s really unreasonable in my eyes.”

Ezra Pharaoh’s rap tee designs cost between $34.99 and $59.99. To keep his prices reasonable and customers happy, Pourvakil advertises promo codes and discounts on his Instagram page.

After studying business and economics at Western University, Pourvakil began to shift his full attention to bringing his clothing business venture to life.

“In 2018/2019, I transferred to Ryerson, and that’s where the idea of Ezra Pharoah really started, and the inspiration you know — Jerry Lorenzo and Kanye West — they never came from a fashion background… much like me, I never took art or fashion in high school. I thought if these guys can do it with little to no experience, I figured I had a pretty good chance to pursue this at 20,” Pourvakil said. “That was the main thing when I started this business. It wasn’t about money or fame or anything. I realized this is what my passion is.”

Originally based out of a printing operation in Toronto, production stopped in early 2020 due to financial struggles brought on by the pandemic. As the sole designer and owner of Ezra Pharaoh, Pourvakil needed help and was introduced by a friend who helps oversee Ezra Pharaoh’s manufacturing and international shipping.

In July 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Pourvakil publicly released his first line of clothing. It included a flannel shirt, a bandana jacket, two pairs of jeans, and a hoodie — all of which he designed and sewed himself. This collection was the driving force in the creation and direction of Ezra Pharoah. During the lockdowns, with time on his hands, Pourvakil was able to put the effort and thought he needed to grow the Ezra Pharaoh brand.