The Legacy of 100 Miles Brand: The Clothing Line That Bridged The Gap Between Tupac & Drake
We spoke to founder Garie Adamson about the impact of his Canadian based clothing line.
Hip-hop has undergone plenty of stylistic changes, shifts in sounds, and facelifts in its brief yet rich history as a genre of music. But if there is one thing that has remained constant in hip-hop in the last 25 years, it is that no single rapper has been more influential than Tupac Shakur. From the tattoos, style, demeanor, and awe-inspiring confidence, Tupac has remained at the forefront of hip-hop’s subconscious more than 20 years after his passing and is still impacting hip-hop artists that have come generations after him. Look no further than Drake, arguably the biggest artist in the world today, rocking the same hoodie that Tupac wore in his iconic role as Birdie in the 1994 film Above the Rim during game six of the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals during the NBA Playoffs. I sat down and spoke with Garie Adamson, founder of 100 Miles Brand, who laced Tupac with the hoodie over 20 years ago and how he paid homage to his legacy again recently with the collaboration with Drake.
When did 100 Miles Brand become something that you thought could become a big deal?
Garie Adamson: When I started it in 1992, from the conception of the idea, I was very young at the time but I had a very big idea of where I wanted to see my clothing brand. We tried very hard in every single way to show people that we needed to be taken seriously and hence a lot of the artists that you see now that have worn my brand.
What is the inspiration behind the name?
Garie: The name symbolizes us as people. The fact that we have come 100 miles in everyday life but still have 100 miles to go. It’s like a speed that the human race has to travel. I was inspired by trying to unite people and unite cultures.
You recently had a big moment for the brand, obviously, with Drake wearing the hoodie in honor of Tupac’s outfit from Above the Rim. How did that come about?
Garie: It was kind of God’s plan, as Drake would say. I think sometimes it’s a higher power that said it was meant to be. But Drake reached out to us and requested our hoodie and purchased the hoodie, like any other client would. Next thing you know, everybody in the world was in shock of him wearing our brand at the game.
That really became the talk of that game, it was bigger than the actual game was.
Garie: Yeah, that was kind of crazy and cool for us, to see all eyes on us. God rest his soul, Tupac Shakur embraced us years ago and to see him still living on years later is an amazing tribute to his legacy. I’m just honored as a brand that he wore us in Above the Rim.
With Drake being from Toronto, having a past with [him,] and always wanting to work with him—it was just an amazing moment.
With all of the emotions towards it, what were your feelings in the moment seeing something you created on that stage?
Garie: I was elated and humbled. I was reaching out to my inner spiritual side and thanking God for the next amazing opportunity with the brand. We just never really studied those type of moments in our career with artists wearing our clothing, but with Drake being from Toronto, having a past with Drake, and always wanting to work with him—it was just an amazing moment. And no one could ever take that away from us, that excitement. We were very humbled by it.
In your honest opinion, when he came to you and told you that he wanted that and when you gave it to him, did you envision it becoming what it became?
Garie: I didn’t even see it at all. All I saw people saying things and reaching out. If you purchase our brand, you will see that we are very diligent in trying to make sure that our clients are happy and getting our products. We are a high end brand and that is something that we want people to know. We are not like these other brands, we try to put quality behind our name.
To circle back to Tupac, he is such a larger than life figure and for you to be able to take the piece that you made for one of his most iconic film roles, how important was it for you to nail this? Did you feel any pressure doing this again but with Drake or was it just another day for you?
Garie: I feel what it is, it is a Toronto thing also. We’re a Toronto brand, Drake is from Toronto, and it’s the Toronto Raptors. So it’s a whole Toronto vibe, mixed with basketball, Above the Rim, mixed with Tupac and being that we are 100 Miles. It’s more of a Toronto thing than anything else so there was no pressure, it just comes with the territory of being who we are as a brand.
Seeing how Drake is the biggest rapper and artist in the world of this generation and Tupac was clearly the biggest rapper of his generation, do you feel like that hoodie on that stage bridged the gap between two generations of people who might not have been too familiar with one another?
Garie: Yes, yes, yes, yes. It spoke to a lot of waves in Toronto, spoke to a lot of waves in Canada, spoke a lot of waves worldwide. And to me, it was a beautiful thing because it was that gap, new school to old school and people saying “I don’t rock with that because it’s the new school,” or “I don’t rock with that because it’s the old school.” So I believe that was an excellent move to keep the music and the culture going on both of their ends and it was honorable that we were trying to get that gap bridged.
You spoke a bit about how Tupac inspires you personally, can you speak to the type of impact he has on Canada? From hip-hop, to culture, and in general?
Garie: He’s impacted so much. Everywhere I look there is someone wearing a Tupac shirt, people are always reminding us “that’s the brand that Tupac wore,” so yeah, for such an iconic legend that’s bigger than life, we are a lucky brand to be blessed with such an honor. We are from Toronto, Canada and he was the biggest artist in the world so we give all of our inspiration and heart out to every artist such as Biggie Smalls, Big L, Freaky Tah of Lost Boyz, Guru, and all of the artists that have blessed us also and have gone on. But the biggest impact people have seen with our brand have come from Biggie and Pac and now Drake.
You’ve worked with some huge and iconic artists already, what’s next for 100 Miles Brand and is there anybody in particular that you would like to work with?
Garie: I want everyone in our clothes, not just some people, we want everyone. Every artist out there that’s doing their thing, get at us because we have been out here for 28, 29 years trying to keep the culture alive and keeping people current with the music and social status. We just want to keep it going on that level, worldwide.