MATERIALISM™ was founded in 1999 by artist STILES.BE. This was during the first real boom in streetwear and as this was a pre-internet era, getting quality international street wear garments was hard work, with quality goods being even rarer finds. As STILES.BE was heavily into graffiti, the brand took on a real street edge, featuring street art-based imagery and logo, a look that continues with MATERIALISM to this day. The beginning was primarily screen-printed tees, with a cut and sew range being released on their 5th season. By this stage MATERIALISM was in skate stores and streetwear retailers all over Australia and had started exporting to Japan and Europe. The brand also featured in HILLTOP HOODS film clip for their song ‘Testimonial Year.’
In late 2005, STILES.BE was getting more involved in his art career and wanted to the brand to be an extension of his creativity more than a mass-produced brand, so he moved into one-off bespoke and custom streetwear. Hand painted denim jackets and sneakers featuring heavy graffiti imagery, sprays and drips were the core produce, with A$AP FERG, TJ MIZELL, MIX MASTER MIKE, WHAT SO NOT and MITCH CREEK (NBA) being clientele. STILES.BE also made custom t shirts and distressed jeans among other things.
The brand was very hard to obtain due to its underground status and super limited availability, which put it in a higher price point that traditional streetwear.
By 2015, after an Instagram post from STILES.BE of a MATERIALISM tee from 2005 sparked a wave of nostalgia and people posting their goods still being worn 10 years later, the decision was made to release of limited edition MATERIALISM shirts featuring a logo that had been developed in the initial building of the brand, but never been used, as a way of rebirthing the old name in a new light. These sold out within a day, so a second drop was created, and so forth. The first batch of cut and sew range was introduced in 2017 with a limited release of winter jackets, and MATERIALISM continues to grow with both its one-off customs and ready-made range working together to make it one of the most artistic and creative streetwear brands in the game.
The real genius of STILES.BE in what he has done with MATERIALISM, is that he has established and underground brand that encapsulates all that is true to the streetwear game, while having appeal to those who have success within the mainstream community.