A Beginner's Guide To Cactus Plant Flea Market, The Brand Redefining Hip-Hop Merch (And Streetwear, Too)
There are a lot of streetwear brands that have emerged to relative success from the Instagram scene. However none seem to have commanded the kind of attention as Cactus Plant Flea Market, the LA brand that emerged in 2016 with an endorsement from Pharrell, and is currently charting a course for domination over the streetwear scene in 2019.
In the last few months, collaborations with Nike, Kanye West, Kid Cudi and Travis Scott have put CPFM at the epicentre of the streetwear conversation. Now, a piece from the eclectically-minded brand is one of the ultimate flexes, with some pieces from their various collections fetching well over $500 at resale.
Cactus Plant Flea Market was first established back in January 2015 as a simple Big Cartel page, routinely conducting random drops advertised through their instagram. However, CPFM quickly earned a name for itself with its designs, combining an eye-catching level of detail and social nuance with a deconstructed, overwashed almost rustic quality. CPFM's cause was helped by its founder, Cynthia Lu, who still serves as Pharrell Williams' PA and chief confidant.
Very quickly, photos emerged of Williams wearing Flea Market geat, and it didn't take the rest of the hip-hop community to catch on. Over the course of 2016 and 2017, the brand amassed itself a band of famous devotees, including Frank Ocean, Cara DeLevigne, and Kid Cudi. However the turning point for the brand came in the latter half of 2018.
A series of big collabs and statement pieces by CPFM caught the attention of streetwear afficianados and fashion cool kids last year, propelling the brand from the fringes of mainstream success into a must-have brand for anyone who took pride in the contents of their wardrobe. First, word of a Tom Sachs-led Nike collab emerged, then, off the back of the brand's long-standing relationship with Kid Cudi, Lu designed a series of CPFM merch for the laungh of Cudi's side project with Kanye West, Kids See Ghosts. Cudi later wore one of the pieces from the collection on SNL, sending tongues wagging.
As the album gained acclaim (helping to revive Kanye's reputation in the process), the merch that came with it quickly became hot property, and CPFM doubled down on the success, helping Nike celebrate Air Max day with its first collaborative sneaker, and launching another collection with Cudi surrounding his appearance at Coachella.
Throughout this, CPFM demonstrated a noted ability to commentate on hip-hop culture within their own designs and not largely get off scott-free, but create some of streetwear's most sought-after pieces. In the middle of Kanye West's much-publicised meltdown towards the end of last year, the LA brand dropped a hoodie bearing the words “ye must be Born again” on the front.
CPFM later clarified that it was a biblical reference, but at the time, when talk about the artist was at its most divisive, it was enough to send the brand nuclear. Since then, the brand has also received endorsements from two of hip-hop's biggest trend-setters, A$AP Rocky and Travis Scott.
For what it's worth, West himself later signed the brand up to make a merch collection for Jesus Is King — perhaps the brand's biggest coup to date. But with further collaborations with Nike, The Rolling Stones, Stussy and Lil Wayne all in the bank for this year, the momentum of CPFM shows no signs of slowing down.