I recently read an article from Iman and BethannHardison and they mentioned designer Willi Smith. I had never heard the name before and I'm well aware that ignorance is not bliss and goggle is a tap away, so I ran over to do a search and I was so surprised that I've been in the dark. My first knowledge of 'streetwear' had to have been FUBU and the Tommy Hilfiger craze of my youth. I was allowed to wear FUBU (only ever owning one piece) but never ever allowed to wear Hilfiger. I remember taking my 6th grade picture wearing a lime green (hideous) FUBUsweatervest paired with a too-big hat similar to the one she wore in the "All I Need" video with Method Man. Needless to say I thought I was the hottest girl on the planet....although my mom unforgettably thought otherwise. Anyway, before there was FUBU or RocaWear or BabyPhat there was WilliWear created by Willi Smith. And before his untimely death at 39, the company was at 25 million dollars a year in revenue. Willi Smith was born and raised in Philadelphia (seemingly where all things great come from) and later attended Parsons. You can see some of his work in Spike Lee's 1987 School Daze. WilliWear was popular because it was inexpensive but very 'now' (then). Salute to WilliWear for leading the way.