It all started with a four-letter word . . . A year ago in February, a North Carolina–based creative type known in Internet circles as Woodie launched a patch that would become something of an Instagram sensation: a blood red rose, encircled by the words Fuck Forever. His first run of 50 patches sold out in 12 hours. Fast-forward to today and the brand now known as Ball & Chain Co.’s lightly nihilistic, impeccably designed aesthetic is the stuff of social media fame: Nearly 46,000 Instagram followers eagerly await new B&C drops—which have grown to encompass a whole lot more than pins and patches.
These days, cut-and-sew styles, hoodies, and tees make up the bulk of Ball & Chain orders, which have skyrocketed in the past couple of months—last week alone Woodie and his modest staff shipped 1,100 orders. Indeed, despite having operated out of his home until last November, he’s got more than a decade’s worth of apparel design to his name. And with fashion’s newfound yen for flair of all sorts, the label’s styles have turned up in a glossy editorial or two. (It’s not every Instagram creator who’s fielding requests from Italian Vogue.)