Black Citizens Brigade Brings Vintage Revamped Pieces via Syracuse Alums

PhenomenalMAG Staff  |  Fashion Me In Style

Cjala Surratt and Sarhia Rahim believed thrifting was a fun way to kill time. Less than a year later, thanks to these excursions, Surratt decided to launch a modest business that would both honor and protect the environment.

Surratt's firm, Black Citizens Brigade, has grown in the last year. BCB is a store that sells carefully chosen vintage and worn clothing. The BCB intends to fight fast fashion by selling distinctive vintage clothing.

Buying curated gear and used clothing from the Brigade helps them. “Deliberately altering larger systems in small but sustainable ways,” says Surratt.

Rahim Surratt is a newcomer. She models for BCB and works at their pop-up events. A lot of people like the outfits, according to Rahim. She praised the pop-up events' communal atmosphere and her mother's companionship.

Rahim believes BCB is all about connecting people.

Customers frequently beg for more events like this in Syracuse. Many visitors from outside Syracuse are startled to learn that BCB pop-ups exist in the city.

The BCB line includes a classic leather jacket, a chunky sweater, and a patterned shirt. Surratt wants BCB to collaborate with BIPOC artists and creatives to develop new additional things.

Surratt knew the history of inherited clothing is what made BCB. They make garments, buy worn items, and pass things down through generations.

People in the neighborhood used thrift stores to gain supplies they needed because they didn't have or couldn't afford them like white people.

“Historically, disabled or low-income people were kept out of many places. We had to buy and use items that had been around for a long time.

“With the downtown stores, we're back in the story,” says Surratt. She adds that it's not just a story of crime and decay. Despite societal issues, there were still companies in the 1940s that provided secure lodging for Black travelers around the country.

It's available online and at pop-up shops in Syracuse. In September, another store will open on Washington, making her the latest Black business owner downtown.

It's relevant because Surratt lived in Syracuse and believes it's odd not to see any Black or brown people in the newspaper's images of downtown.

Surratt says she has a dialogue with each buyer about their apparel. The history is available on BCB's social media pages.

Ecodessa founder Caeresa Richardson recently discovered BCB. Richardson, Surratt said, launched a retail incubator program in downtown Syracuse to help Black businesses.

Applicants must provide a business plan and indicate how the funds will be spent before being accepted into a retail incubator program. Richardson chose BCB because of their excellent business plan and proposal.

It wasn't simple for Richardson to establish a business as a Black woman. Ecodessa, a company that lets women express their social ideals via clothes, is now profitable.

Richardson feels it's necessary to assist lay a foundation that will help future business owners avoid his mistakes.

It was Richardson who made Surratt feel acknowledged and enabled her to launch a BCB store.

Surratt says there's a lot to help folks who wish to enter these sites.


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