“I always look at Circulate like a design firm,” says Corey Populus, the founder and main creative force behind the brand Circulate. “How do we use design to fix problems?”

Populus looks at fashion as a means of expression, a medium to tell stories, convey emotions, and create conversation, it’s part of the reason why his brand Circulate We consider him to be one of our favorites. vital voices In modern streetwear. Born from the Fairfax Avenue scene in 2018, Circulate has been on a roll this decade — when lockdowns threatened the viability of small streetwear brands, Populous built an audience over social media, using direct-to-consumer sales methods to stay in conversation with the fans of the brand.

In 2023, this brand is still growing and evolving. As the Uproxx Style Hotlist 2023 begins to roll out, we linked up with Populus to get an update on the brand as well as his take on what’s currently trending in streetwear, and which brands you need to be paying attention to right now.


So it’s been a minute since I talked to you. I’m just curious, where is Circulate in 2023?

Right now, our focus is on scaling up the business and getting more retail doors. We also want to get onto the calendar. When you’re doing retail, they buy on a calendar schedule. I’m still doing a lot of collaborations. We released a huge collaboration with Overtime recently, which was awesome. The feedback has been great, and we are super excited about that. Just working towards next season, man.

It’s all about getting ahead, growing the business and making it run like a well-oiled system.

Has it been a challenge? I know the brand took off because direct-to consumer was so successful due to the pandemic. Was it a smooth transition or was it a difficult one?

It’s actually been really easy because we’re still getting supported by all of our DTC customers, but it’s more so just expanding the business. More hitting those places that you don’t have eyes in, or you don’t have customers in. And just having it in a local shop where someone could just walk in, and be like, “Oh, dope. What is this?” And now, you have a fan. You know what you mean?

One of the stores that I’m selling to is called Corporate in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I don’t know anyone there, and I don’t know if anyone on my site shops from there. But the owner’s really cool, and he believes in my brand.

If someone comes in, and obviously our brand is new to the store, he is like, “Yo, check this out. This is a new brand.” So that’s more so the reason that I’m opening up more retail is just to get more eyes on the brand, and it’s also just a perspective thing. You can be more open to new things when you visit cool stores and see newer brands.

Does the brand continue to place a high priority on social justice?

Yeah. We’ll always do that, but I don’t want to get boxed into one thing. I don’t want people to just look at my brand, and be like, “Oh, it’s only about that.” You know what I mean? Because we’re capable of so much more. Circulate has always been a firm that I consider to be a design studio. How do we solve problems with design?

And that’s kind of the way we move when it comes to design. The ethos of our brand will always be Black culture, community, social justice, and things like that, but I also don’t want to get trapped into that. I don’t want people to just see my brand, look at it, and be like, “Oh, that’s the black brand.” You know what I mean? Because there’s so much more than that.

I’d like to share with you some information about the current streetwear trends. I felt like the past three years were a period of transition. This decade is trying to find its footing. What trends do you notice now that the early 2020s look is more solidified? What can we look forward to in the future

Man, it’s obvious that baggy will be back. It’s crazy. For so many years, we wore skinny jeans and other stuff. And now, you look at everyone’s pants, and they’re baggy.

This leads to bigger shoes. Crazy trainers and runners are being worn by people. For example, someone just sent me a pair of HOKAs this morning, and they’re like huge shoes, but they match the trend of everyone’s pants that they’re wearing now.

You’ll see runners like Solomon, New Balance and others. Even with Nike, they’ve got their version of a runner, in the Vomero. Everyone’s wearing Vomeros now, and that’s because it fits with the aesthetic of baggy pants.

I think big logos will also be back. I know that we have been on a crazy minimalistic path for the past 10 years. But I believe big logos will come back, as people move towards maximalism.

Honestly, I’m always stuck in my own world, and when I do take the time to leave my world and go scroll the internet, those are some things that I notice. These are the trends I see moving forward.

Are you aware of any recent changes in the silhouettes that are used for modern sneakers?

When it comes to that it’s all about accessibility. Not everyone’s going to be able to get the newest Jordans because you have to battle it out with the SNKRS app, or you got to go to your local shop, and there’s a raffle system in place. At the end of the day, not everyone’s going to win.

So I think that’s where a lot of these brands, the Solomons and the New Balances, and all the other brands that were in the backseat to Nike or Adidas. They’re starting to thrive because their shoes are a little bit more accessible.

There’s not crazy raffle systems to get them. That’s the reason why they’re winning right now.

Independent collaborators like myself, that have brands, they’re giving us a chance to collaborate on products. And that’s also adding to the success of sales, and things like that.

Fakes are what I see most of the time. Not everyone, but there’s a huge part of the sneaker community now that is supporting fake sneakers because they’re just fed up with not being able to access the limited hype ones. It’s a super prevalent thing right now.

It all comes back to the original point. It’s all related to the silhouettes of clothing that people are wearing. They want larger sneakers. You can’t wear a pair of Vans Eras with some big baggy pants. It’s just going to eat the shoe. So you need a bigger shoe to match the silhouette of the clothes you’re wearing.

What’s the best way to style baggy? Do we do a baggy over baggy? Do we go baggy on the top half of our body?

All depends on who you are. I see a lot of people go baggy on the bottom with a small T on top that hugs their body, or sometimes you’ll see the guy with the baggy pants and the big T on top.

It’s all personal preference, but I do see a lot of baggy on top.

Right. Let’s talk a little bit about designers, or brands that you think are going to really pop up, get bigger in the next few years. Let’s just start with whoever comes off the top of your head first.

Aris Tatalovich

It’s a mixture between streetwear and high-end fashion, but dude, they make the dopest stuff, and their campaign imagery on Instagram is really dope.

They do an iPhone lock screen, but it’s the picture of the person wearing the clothes.

Their work is as cool as Balenciaga’s. They’re just super extra with everything. It’s important to see it to get the full picture.

Bricks & Wood

I love Bricks & Wood just because of how good they are at honing in on the community beyond the product. Obviously, they make really good product, but, for instance, they’ve been celebrating their five-year anniversary this past week and the events that I’ve been going to, and how they’re able to pack it out with different people I haven’t seen in a really long time is something special.

The celebration has just shown me that they’re really good at getting the community to come together for things. It can be a party or a special event in the store.

It’s been really dope to see.


I love Wckdthghts because of Khaleel Knight — his point of view on streetwear comes from a different perspective. He’s not the Fairfax kid that grew up in that environment and was able to take those lessons and apply it to his brand.

He’s coming straight out of the hood and I love that about him. He was able build his community on that basis, and I’m amazed at how big and supportive it is.

I think that’s really dope, and it just says a lot about how many different types of people are involved in streetwear. And we don’t all have to come from this Fairfax incubator to make something shake.


I love MENACE, because Steven Mena represents Latino culture in streetwear. It’s a unique perspective to see how he uses this as an inspiration for his designs.

Recenty, he collaborated with the LA Galaxy. From what I understand, Steven hasn’t done a lot of bigger corporate collabs. They’re a really big direct to consumer brand, and to see him starting to move in the space of big corporate is really cool. LA Galaxy, a major soccer team and something so important to Steven, is an amazing thing. I know Chicharito (Javier Hernández) is a huge figure in soccer and Latino culture, to see how hype Steven was on that, and how it meant so much to his brand feels very authentic.

He’s built a whole brand off of being direct to the consumer, to see him doing collaborations with brands that resonate really well with what Menace does, is really dope to see. Recently, he collaborated on the new DC superhero movie. Blue Beetle.

Blue Beetle is a Latino superhero so it’s cool to see him building his brand that way, and I’m super proud of him.

Infantry Collective

George Jenkins was working at Fairfax when I met him. He worked at The Hundreds, and I think he’s a bit younger than me. But lately, he’s building his brand, and I really love to see the grind of it. It kind of reminds me of myself when I was first starting out, and he’s doing it bigger than I ever did. He’s bought his own embroidery machine, which I’m sure is really hard to learn but every day, I see them on Instagram just churning out new designs. I love that he doesn’t wait for anyone to finish anything.

I don’t like waiting for someone to do something, to grow my business, or to do anything that will help my business grow. Lately, I’ve just been seeing him every single day just churning out new designs, new made-to-order stuff.

I think that’s a really cool way to grow your brand because you can make new stuff every day if you really want to, and get it into the hands of people, and that really helps grow your brand.

Seeing his dedication to it every day… he’s not asking for nothing, and that work ethic is really what I’m super excited about, and proud of. And I feel like that’s going to help him grow a lot.

Carrots By Anwar

Anwar always inspires me. He’s been around forever. He’s one of the first dudes that I always looked up to looking in at Fairfax because he’s always been so ahead of everybody.

I love Anwar for the way that he’s able to maneuver through the collaboration space. He could work with Sketchers one day and then collaborate with some crazy Japanese company the next. It’s always very true to his brand, and very true to him. The way that he’s able to maneuver through all of that, I really respect, and I admire.


I love Hypland. Jordan is another one of those guys with a big direct-to-consumer fan base, but he’s also carved out his own niche in streetwear.

Jordan was among the first to collaborate and use anime licenses. The way that he’s been able to do that before anyone was even hip to that stuff, has been amazing to watch. He’s done Hello Kitty, and Dragon Ball Z, and I want to say he’s done Pokemon, and just a bunch of that type of stuff.

It was a new lane for him when he began. To carve his own lane for streetwear, by making those licenses cooler is pretty cool.

It’s not like stuff you’d see at a merch store, or a Walmart or whatever. He’s just making that stuff cooler with his spin, and I think that’s really admirable, and he’s kind of set the trend now.

Everybody’s trying to do stuff like that, and I really respect that he did it before everyone. And his business has grown to be huge. He does really big activations with those licenses, I think that’s super cool.

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