Infamous clothing brand brings luxury streetwear to Baltimore

Published on: September 10, 2022 at 6:00 am EDT

Infamous888 brand owner Craig Williams holds out one of his shirt designs in his Baltimore studio on 8/27/22.

Scroll through the Instagram feed of East Baltimore-bred Craig Williams and you can quickly get a good feel for who he is. At least half the pictures are him giving a nonchalant middle finger to the viewer, while the other half are variations of him posing in colorful, perfectly coordinated outfits.

The 25-year-old is a clothing designer whose styles were influenced by innovators like Kanye West, Nigo and Pharrell Williams. You can see that in the T-shirts, sweatsuits and mesh shorts that he designs under his clothing brand, Infamous.

Infamous, also known as Infamous888, or simply 888, is a Baltimore-based luxury streetwear brand. Since the inception of 888 in 2016, it has become a staple in Baltimore’s fashion culture and is worn by some of the city’s most established personalities, like rap artist OTR Chaz, who is frequently seen posing in the brand’s threads.

When he’s not pumping his clothing line, which he sells at pop-up shops, Williams is studying for a business management degree at the University of Baltimore and running his own screenprinting business.

Williams talked to The Banner about the origins of his brand and what he hopes it can bring to Baltimore.

What is the meaning behind the brand’s name, Infamous, and the number 888?

Infamous basically represents what it’s like in today’s society, you know? If you do what you want, people tend to talk down on it. So it’s kind of wordplay on that. You being yourself whether society accepts it or not. People may not understand it, but you’re doing what you want to do and it makes you happy. So at the end of the day, that’s what I want to push. Be yourself regardless of if you feel like somebody’s judging you. If this is what your heart tells you, you should do it.

888 is just a play on numbers because it’s a good luck number and my logo is the eight ball. So I just tried to spice it up with the triple eights.

Infamous identifies as a luxury streetwear brand. What exactly does luxury streetwear mean?

So when I say luxury streetwear, I’m giving you real choices. Like a lot of brands here, you’re not getting oversized shirts or relaxed-fit pants. I’m not saying it’s a trend, but we’re keeping up with high fashion. Going to New York, you see guys with oversized shirts, you see guys with slack pants, relaxed fit. I’ve even had cargos, so I kind of just try to give you that feel for an appropriate price. Obviously I want to up the price eventually when I get to that point, but right now I’m focusing on just getting the art out there and creating.

Being around my girl, who is a high-end designer and went to Parsons School of Design in New York, played a huge part in how I wanted to step with my brand. She really is the one that made me feel like ‘Okay, I can make this into something.’

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How did the collaboration with OTR Chaz come to fruition?

I consider Chaz a good friend of mine and that came naturally. It’s funny ‘cause we always debate about how we linked up. I think I might have tried to get him some clothes and they [were] too small. So then I had another drop and he ended up reaching out to me and he paid for it and I gave him everything else for free. You know a lot of rappers gonna be like ‘Yeah, you should just give that to me for free ’cause I got all these followers,’ so I really respected how he did that and we been locked in ever since.

Another artist that did that was [Staytrue] Dnice. Dnice played a big part in a lot of people seeing my stuff early so I appreciate him for that. It was random cause he [saw] my stuff on Twitter and the same day he pulled up on me to buy some stuff. Just like Chaz, he ain’t expect nothin’ for free. So yeah, free Dnice.

You’re pursuing a college degree, how challenging is it balancing your education with running your own brand and accomplishing your other goals?

It’s really hard. I dedicate 100% of my time to this brand and everything else comes second. Sad to say, but this is really how I eat. If I don’t get this done, I’m not going to be able to provide for myself. Actually, it’s not sad to say ’cause a lot of people will just be messed up in life and not have any desires. I got desires and I feel like I’m still not where I want to be so I’m always trying to better myself.

I mean, I really want to be respected like a Supreme or A Bathing Ape or Heron Preston and transition to a high-end designer and even creative director for bigger brands — like, that’s my goal. And of course, still shed the spotlight as a Baltimore-based brand. That way I can bring resources and make the environment better. That’s a challenge because I’m trying to better myself while also trying to achieve everything I dreamed of.

What exactly is the end goal for Craig Williams and the brand, Infamous? What do you want your legacy to look like?

I feel like a kid like me who is trying to be a creative or trying to be an entrepreneur or trying to do something in art, it ain’t really too much out here for us. You might [have] rec centers for sports, but what about the kids who want to do T-shirts or they want to paint or they want to do graphic design? That’s what I want to do. My end goal is to have something like that, bring something like that back to the city.

My perfect utopia would be a program funded by the city in Baltimore where kids and young adults can be creative and be supported, but that all takes time.

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Infamous has a pop-up shop Saturday, September 10, 2 p.m.-6 p.m. at 2926 E. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore.

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