From legends like André Leon Talley to innovators like Anifa Mvuemba, HBCUs have long molded the minds of designers, fashion architects and creatives alike. Tahir Murray, Howard University graduate and CEO of HBCU apparel brand Legacy History Pride, continues this legacy in a first-ever pop-up shop in collaboration with Nordstrom.
Selling clothing from Howard to Hampton, Murray’s brand has quickly become a one-stop shop for HBCU students seeking apparel to show off their school spirit. This loyal fanbase has garnered him not only the title of “Mr.Legacy,” but the attention of major brands like Nike, Google and Nordstrom. With the recent collaboration, Murray explains the reasons for the partnership were rooted in more than exposure, but also community impact. “For us to do our first pop-up in one of the biggest retailers in the world [was] an opportunity that I could not pass up… it was more than just being a pop-up and selling merch… it was a partnership… that can create impact in our communities.”
During the Howard vs Morehouse Football Classic weekend, the collaboration featured a two-day pop-up shop at the Nordstrom NYC Flagship where attendees could not only purchase LHP apparel and learn more about the brand but provided space to support Black creatives and HBCUs. “They wanted to provide an opportunity to be a platform for young artists like me [and] young brands such as LHP and really celebrating and honoring what, you know, what that weekend was all about,” said Murray. “They provided such an inclusive and welcoming environment, and I couldn’t imagine it being any other way with my experience with them…they just saw an opportunity to learn and also grow as a brand themselves. To hear and listen from the people in the communities that they want to tap into, honor and celebrate.”
Amid New York Fashion Week, working with Google and celebrating HBCU unity, the collaboration served as “a dream come true” to Murray, proving testament to years of hard work since the brand’s conception in the summer of his sophomore year. “I started my internship at J.Crew the summer after my sophomore year and during my internship, I had the idea of wanting to continue my family’s footsteps in the fashion space, and that’s when LHP was launched,” explained Murray.
As a third-generation apparel entrepreneur and Howard graduate, Murray sought inspiration for the brand from his family’s legacy and the “rich culture” at Howard University. “I wanted to continue what I was learning from my dad about the collegiate arena, but doing so [through] developing LHP to share my story, my family history, and HBCUs,” shared Murray. “You go to our school bookstores and there’s not a lot of merch out there that really embodies the richness that’s rooted in our experience and who we are as people… I wanted to bring that same richness and attention to detail through not only just the products but the storytelling and the collaborations.”
While many people worry the unique environment of an HBCU might cause a deficit when entering the workforce, Murray says his time at Howard provided him with the exact opposite. With space to develop as a creative and become confident in his voice, Murray became comfortable not only in his art but being “unapologetically Black.”
“Going into a completely different environment, that was when I really realized that I stood out compared to the other people that interned at J.Crew because I was the first HBCU student to intern at J.Crew, but also one of the first black students to intern at J.Crew,” shared Murray. “So seeing myself compared to other interns and how they presented themselves, how they stood
up and spoke, I realized how much Howard had prepared me to just be me in any room and be comfortable in being myself, unapologetically Black in any room.”
Joining the legends before him and adding to his legacy, Murray’s advice to those dreaming and aspiring is to simply be yourself and trust in your process and timing. “The most important thing is to be yourself… you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’re from… don’t compare yourself to what other people have going on… everybody has their own blueprint” said Murray. “Once you have a purpose and you have your why and you’re passionate about the things that you do and you show up every single day. You’ll be amazed at where that takes you.”
Copy edited by Nhandi Long-Shipman