Streetwear on a budget: Toronto-based clothing line is making waves amid the pandemic

20-year-old Bahador Pourvakil is on a mission to bring the hottest streetwear trends to his customers, with his own touch to the clothing pieces

Ezra Pharaoh owner, Bahador Pourvakil. Courtesy Bahador Pourvakil

Streetwear is a growing fashion trend among teens, young adults, and influencers alike.

The term streetwear is derived from a style movement that emerged in the 1990s. Streetwear style includes baggy jeans and cargo pants, oversized t-shirts, baseball caps and bucket hats, as well as a wide variety of sneakers. From brands like Nike and Adidas, to high-end names such as Supreme, Stone Island, or Fear of God, these are some of the go-to choices for enthusiasts of streetwear clothing worldwide. However, the popularity of these brands has inflated prices dramatically.

Twenty-year-old Bahador Pourvakil, a student based in Toronto, was inspired to pursue a business vision to create a line of streetwear with a creative twist. As the creator and proprietor of Ezra Pharoah, a streetwear brand he founded during the pandemic, Pourvakil was inspired by streetwear icons Kanye West and Jerry Lorenzo.

However, with high fashion comes high prices.

“For around 99 per cent of the general public, I don’t think a lot of people can afford a $200 T-shirt or a $600 sweater,” Pourvakil said. “That’s just unfeasible and it’s really unreasonable in my eyes.”

Ezra Pharaoh’s rap tee designs cost between $34.99 and $59.99. To keep his prices reasonable and customers happy, Pourvakil advertises promo codes and discounts on his Instagram page.

Pourvakil’s rap tee design paying homage to his idol Jerry Lorenzo.

After studying business and economics at Western University, Pourvakil began to shift his full attention to bringing his clothing business venture to life.

“In 2018/2019, I transferred to Ryerson, and that’s where the idea of Ezra Pharoah really started, and the inspiration you know — Jerry Lorenzo and Kanye West — they never came from a fashion background… much like me, I never took art or fashion in high school. I thought if these guys can do it with little to no experience, I figured I had a pretty good chance to pursue this at 20,” Pourvakil said. “That was the main thing when I started this business. It wasn’t about money or fame or anything. I realized this is what my passion is.”

Originally based out of a printing operation in Toronto, production stopped in early 2020 due to financial struggles brought on by the pandemic. As the sole designer and owner of Ezra Pharaoh, Pourvakil needed help and was introduced by a friend who helps oversee Ezra Pharaoh’s manufacturing and international shipping.

In July 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Pourvakil publicly released his first line of clothing. It included a flannel shirt, a bandana jacket, two pairs of jeans, and a hoodie — all of which he designed and sewed himself. This collection was the driving force in the creation and direction of Ezra Pharoah. During the lockdowns, with time on his hands, Pourvakil was able to put the effort and thought he needed to grow the Ezra Pharaoh brand.

Pourvakil’s first-ever released pieces of clothing (bandana jacket, hoodie, jeans) as part of the ‘Ezra by Baha’ collection.

“In a sense, the creation of Ezra Pharoah sort of came out of boredom. When I had people that I hadn’t talked to in years hitting me up and telling me how happy they were for me, how cool they thought my products were, that made me put things into perspective, you know? Not to mention, the first couple of products were doing alright in terms of profits, even if it was like the tiniest of profits… I was like this is cool, you know? I like this, this is fun,” Pourvakil said.

Pourvakil saw no problems in trying to expand his business with a growing social media presence. Pourvakil’s advertising opportunities included reaching out to influencers and sports figures, who he hoped would be interested in his products and give him public exposure. When former Raptors guard Terence Davis II complimented a shirt design of his and requested 50 pieces, he was ecstatic to see that his efforts were reaching a wide audience. Ezra Pharoah’s clothing has since been publicly worn by Detroit Pistons centre Isaiah Stewart, Utah Jazz guard Trent Forrest, as well as several TikTok and social media influencers.

Detroit Pistons centre, Isaiah Stewart, wearing Ezra Pharaoh’s Dennis Rodman vintage rap tee.

A devoted customer and supporter of Ezra Pharaoh, Branden Nikolaevsky said in an interview that he loved “the quality and pricing of Ezra Pharaoh clothing because it’s premium yet affordable. Great customer service and I love the designs. I hope to see tremendous success and popularity for the brand. As Ezra Pharaoh continues to grow, I am excited to see new summer and fall clothing lines and releases.”

The future of Ezra Pharoah looks extremely bright and could potentially see a childhood dream come true for its founder. Fashion mogul Jerry Lorenzo, one of Pourvakil’s biggest inspirations, has been in talks with Pourvakil about doing a limited collaboration project between Lorenzo’s fashion label, Fear of God, and Ezra Pharaoh.

“I’m praying everyday hoping this comes together soon,” Pourvakil said. “When you have one of your idols reach out to you and comment on something you made, that’s just amazing. Then to have the chance to work alongside with him — I’m very excited about this opportunity. So to all my Ezra Pharaoh customers, stay tuned!”

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Posted: Jun 21 2021 8:10 pm
Filed under: First-Timers Spotlight On Small Biz