In a mass market that’s oversaturated with lines of graphic tees, hoodies and printed street wear, Pink Dolphin has managed to not only be a top player, but a leader in the industry. Now valued at about $20 million dollars, the colorful and upbeat Pink Dolphin brand started out as the passionate project by then San Francisco high school student, Cena Barhaghi, as a way to offer a different and unique take on skater wear. So where does a high-school student get the thousands of dollars needed to start a clothing line? They don’t. With a mere $400, the drive of a pure entrepreneur and a shared idea and vision with rapper friend Young L, Barhaghi started teaching himself Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator through sheer will and YouTube videos. With a creative eye for colors and graphic design, he just knew that he wanted to start a clothing line.
Pink Dolphin isn’t his first venture into starting his own business either. His sophomore year of high school, he collaborated on a media package business for MySpace that created album and other art for Bay Area artists (Barhaghi is still only 22). Then Young L approached Barhaghi with the idea for Pink Dolphin and wanted his talent in graphic design to be on the Pink Dolphin team. As an original founder, Barhaghi is now the Chief Creative Officer and lead designer of Pink Dolphin.
With bright colors that clash perfectly together and limited-edition prints, this street wear line borrows a lot of inspiration from Japanese fashions (evident through the usage of Hiragana and Katakana characters) and the wants of fashion savvy, style loving youth that consistently rock the street wear trend. Their limited edition prints and unique branding have made it a favorite amongst Hollywood’s hottest and most talked about celebrities, and have allowed Pink Dolphin to carve out their own niche. With the likes of Justin Beiber, Big Sean and other major celebs being seen head-to-toe in the distinguishable and eye-catching graphics and hues of Pink Dolphin, it has become the go-to label for young street wear enthusiasts to be seen in, from the beach to the night-club, and be deemed stylishly au courant.
Another major collaboration that gives Pink Dolphin major street swag cred and has had the Pink Dolphin name saturating the fashion and celebrity news outlets is the Black Pyramid line, a joint force with big name singer/entertainer, Chris Brown. Chris Brown is also known for his colorful and whimsically dark graffiti art, which makes his Black Pyramid designs a perfect spin-off from Pink Dolphin. With celebs like Chris Brown helping gain even further media attention for Pink Dolphin, only time will tell what other fun and original styles, ideas and collaborations we will see from Cena Barhaghi and Pink Dolphin.
With cartoonish graphics that blend detail and mismatched colors in a way that’s clear and pleasing to the eye, as well as being made with quality materials and construction, Pink Dolphin is leaps and bounds above the competition, and their success proves it.
Text by IDA HSIANG