“I always feel like money will come, it’s a byproduct of what you put in. Whatever you’re making, if it is speaking to your soul and who you are, the product will sell itself.”
— Troy Douglass
Troy Douglass is the creative and strategic mind behind Cultural Blends, a streetwear brand working to unite people through design.
The brand’s foundational values—authenticity, unity and common ground—were born out of Troy’s interactions with micro-aggressions and racism while growing up in Lake Oswego and a desire to dismantle racism through visual arts. “I think it’s something innate in me – I’ve always wanted to do good,” he says.
With products ranging from t-shirts and hoodies to growlers and phone cases, Troy’s designs have meaning beyond aesthetics. One of his most popular depicts a vertical row of license plates from Washington, Oregon, and California, with “THE BEST COAST” stamped across the image. “Oregon has this love/hate relationship with California, but we are the three states that make up the West Coast. It gives people in the Northwest representation. I felt like it was unifying.”
An athlete and loyal basketball fan, Troy designs many items that give a nod to the Portland Trailblazers. Fittingly, the brand’s first big break came during the 2014 NBA playoffs with his iconic “1977” snapback. Damian Lillard was photographed wearing the hat while travelling to the second round of playoffs, turning the hat into the centerpiece product for the playoffs that year. The brand’s recognition gained another boost again in 2015, when Snoop Dog reposted an image from the Cultural Blends Instagram featuring a photo-shopped picture of him wearing “THE BEST COAST” shirt.
In addition to donating a portion of the revenues from the “1977” snapback and other products to local non-profits, Troy is currently developing a line of branded air fresheners and plans to donate 50 percent of all proceeds in support of the Columbia Gorge restoration efforts. He says, “When the fires happened last year I was devastated, there’s an emotional attachment there. This will give people a way to help that isn’t physically demanding.”
Storyteller: Nicole Buchanan | Photos: James Huff | Published: April 2018