Founded in 2014 by Brooklyn natives Nigeria Ealey, Esaie Jean Simon, and Victor James, TIER has been breaking the mold and non-traditional standards in the fashion industry through its quality, comfortable materials, and incredible designs. The brand has grown to be known as the bridge between affordable luxury clothing and one-of-a-kind experiences that has been praised by the likes of A-list celebrities and tastemakers such as Winnie Harlow, Issa Rae, City Girls, Bryson Tiller, Carmelo Anthony, Young Thug, and more. Launching tomorrow, February 7, Brooklyn-based fashion brand TIER has secured the ultimate fashion and sports collaboration bag by teaming up with Brooklyn’s own Brooklyn Nets.
“It’s been [a] long time coming honestly. We’ve actually been in conversation since 2019,” Co-founder and Creative Director, Nigeria Ealey, told ESSENCE about the birth of the beautiful collaboration between the brand and the NBA team. “We were able to reconnect in 2021, and through different conversations, the timing was perfect and aligned with both TIER and the Brooklyn Nets.” The limited capsule collection includes three exclusively curated pieces that pay homage to the borough of Brooklyn that has birthed notable creatives, artists, and trailblazers in art and fashion from Fe Noel, Samantha Black, and Laquan Smith to Jay-Z and Lil’ Kim.
ESSENCE: What did your creative process look like while designing and producing this capsule?
Nigeria Ealey: The mindset going into this was creating pieces that focused on minimalistic graphics and phrases that reflected the essence of Brooklyn and our community. We took the concept of “from the streets to Barclays,” which really represents the journey of coming up in tough environments to beating the odds, and following and achieving your dreams.
ESSENCE: In your eyes, how does the borough of Brooklyn, New York truly embody fashion and streetwear?
Ealey: Growing up in Brooklyn, you really see a lot of different people with various backgrounds. In a sense, everybody has their own style and sense of what fashion is but at the same time everyone is aligned. Our perspective of growing up here is reflected in how we present ourselves to the world. You really can’t tell anyone from Brooklyn nothing. Everything from our lingo, to our style and aura is unique to the world and sets the pace.
ESSENCE: What is the significance of this collaboration to you, your co-founders, and the TIER brand as a whole?
Ealey: This collaboration represents paying homage to our city, our borough, and its team, the Brooklyn Nets. We wanted to inspire and show people in all communities that anything is possible. We all grew up here; I grew up in Farragut Projects in downtown Brooklyn. We’ve witnessed the construction and opening of Barclays Center, and I even graduated with my [Bachelor’s] and [Master’s] at Barclays Center. Victor, Esaie [and] I started TIER, in downtown Brooklyn at [Long Island University], so it honestly just means a lot to our foundation, and some of what we have planned moving into the future.
ESSENCE: What other projects, launches, and collaborations can we expect from TIER in the near future?
Ealey: Right now, we’ve just released the second installment of our F/W TIER Island Project. We do have a lot of big announcements coming up in the first half of the year, all while gearing up for our next show in September, which I’m extremely excited for and proud of. Within the next few months, you can [expect] some more collaborations, pop-up shops, events, and capsules. Our focus is to continue providing quality experiences and projects and furthering TIER’s impact.
TIER’s limited capsule includes a signature hoodie, classic crewneck, and t-shirt, which is set to release on Tuesday, February 8th at the Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics game and sold exclusively at the Brooklyn Fanatics, Nets Team store throughout the entire month of February. Pricing for the capsule will range between $90 – $125 USD.