This week, the internet was gifted an image of Brooklyn Nets player James Harden watching his team dominate their opponent, all while casually sipping on a strawberry smoothie. A mood if we ever saw one.

However, beyond the objective coolness of the photo, look closer and you notice that Harden is wearing a pretty sick hoodie (if we want to get technical with it.) Designed by New York-based brand Barriers, the hoodie is a homage to the Jamaican-born Black activist Marcus Garvey, also known as "Black Moses."

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

This isn't the first time James Harden has repped Barriers. Back in February, he posted an image of himself on Instagram wearing a cream "Fred Hampton" hoodie, while the brand has posted pics of Young Thug and the late Pop Smoke both wearing its "Huey" hoodie, dedicated to Huey P. Newton the co-founder of the Black Panther Party.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

Clearly, there's a theme here. Barriers has released tees and hoodies with iconic Black activists and figures including Assata Shakur, Bobby Seale, Malcolm X, Jackie Robison, Maya Angelou, Kathleen Cleaver, and more. But it's not just about the clothes. Speaking over email, Steven Barter the brand's founder explained that Barriers exists to educate people about the positive history of Black people, in the US and across the world.

"I wanted to inspire the people to learn and embrace their histories instead of conforming to the public's misconceptions," Barter says.  "Some people do it for the money, others like myself do it for the story. I want people to appreciate the vision and the message behind every piece."

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

Case in point, Barriers recently posted an image of Kwame Ture aka Stokely Carmichael with a Free Palestine design over it, highlighting the organizer's support for the Palestinian movement. However, when asked in the comments whether this would be released as a product, the brand declined, writing that it just shared to spread the information.

"Being a brand that supports freedom and truth, we need to support and amplify the voices of the oppressed," Barter explains. "We have been using our platform to voice these issues to the people and influence the people to do their research and become more aware."

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

We caught up with the Barter over email to find out more about the brand.

Tell me about launching the Barriers.

I founded the brand in 2015. It was a long journey, but Jeff and Malik stood by me since the brand first started. As the years went on, we included more people who helped out, Chuk, Matt, Mazen, Daequan, Malcolm, Jose, and Rob. It’s impossible to do everything alone; having a brand like Barriers needs collectivity and a solid community. Not everyone will have the same hunger and drive as you; that’s why it’s crucial to have a team with a similar drive and appreciate the vision as much as you do.

Barriers obviously has a really strong point of view, can you tell me a bit about your vision for the brand? Why do you choose to work with the imagery of such iconic Black activists?

I want to tell people the truth, many kids aren’t taught enough at schools. Learning about such iconic figures on my own sparked my enamored passion for Black history and led me to realize that learning in the classroom wasn’t enough. For Black students especially, we are always taught about the traumas and oppression of Black people, but rarely are we taught the beauty and success of our people.

I always want to tell an empowering story, a story that people can recognize and internalize. We are more than slaves, we are people with a rich and beautiful history, and we are continuing to make history.

Your Highsnobiety privacy settings have blocked this Instagram post.

Tell me about this Afrika shirt, why did you choose to spell it that way?

Many Africans spelled it with the letter “K” instead of the letter “C.” European imperialism, however, switched the “K” to a “C”. When using the “K” instead of the “C,” we are symbolizing the triumph over the cultural subordination caused by European imperial powers. By reverting to the “K,” we want to emphasize the reclamation of what is ours, while also empowering and inspiring unity against the injustices we have experienced.

You recently held an exhibition and pop-up in New York, can you share more about that?

The pop-up was inspired by the St. Luke Penny Savings bank,  one of the first Black-owned banks in America. Just as a bank protects one’s money, we transformed the bank and added a vault that instead protects Black art. Black creativity doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. The vault emphasizes an urge to preserve and highlight the importance of Black creativity. Within the vault, we added many different art pieces created by Black creatives. To pay homage to Black creation, we included a cage within the middle of the pop-up space to showcase the inventions made by Black people. The cage highlights the fact that plenty would not exist were it not for Black pioneers.

Your webstore often opens for short periods and then closes again, why is that?

Since we are a small business, we want the people shopping with us a chance to enjoy and receive the clothes. We closed it to give the people time to appreciate and reflect on the clothing that they wear. We don’t want to rush the release process, we want to perfect our craft and ensure that we are producing the highest quality products while also highlighting the important messages we are trying to portray.

Want to keep browsing? Head to the Highsnobiety Shop for more products that we love. Highsnobiety has affiliate marketing partnerships, which means we may receive a commission from your purchase.

We Recommend
  • Jared Vanderbilt tunnel fits
    New Year, New Stylish NBA Players You Should Know About
    • Style
  • james harden louis vuitton outfit
    James Harden Stands on Cozy Business, the Louis Vuitton Way
    • Style
  • Salomon x Slam Jam FW23.
    Slam Jam's New Salomons Come With an Important Message
    • Sneakers
  • Phoebe Philo has launched her first collection under her eponymous label.
    What Do Phoebe Philo's Biggest Fans Think About Her New Brand?
    • Style
  • Dr. Martens has revealed its new 14XX footwear initiative.
    EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Martens' 14XX Is a New (But Old) Era For the Brand
    • Sneakers
  • Image on Highsnobiety
What To Read Next
  • new balance 2002R leather
    It Only Took Some Leather to Make New Balance's 2002Rs Look Even Better
    • Sneakers
  • Heaven by marc jacobs sandy liang collab 2024
    Sandy Liang's Heaven Collab Has Big Bow Energy
    • Style
  • Zendaya, Anya Taylor-Joy, Timothee Chalamet, Austin Butler on the Dune 2 red carpet
    Why the 'Dune 2' Red Carpet Outfits Feel so Vital
    • Style
  • dover street market adidas
    Dover Street Market's Sambas Are Quite Quiet
    • Sneakers
  • junya watanabe hoka fw24 collab
    Junya Watanabe's HOKA Mule Gives Link-Ups a New Meaning
    • Sneakers
  • PUMA x Pleasures campaign images
    PUMA and PLEASURES Are Bringing Punk to the Racetrack
    • Style
    • sponsored
*If you submitted your e-mail address and placed an order, we may use your e-mail address to inform you regularly about similar products without prior explicit consent. You can object to the use of your e-mail address for this purpose at any time without incurring any costs other than the transmission costs according to the basic tariffs. Each newsletter contains an unsubscribe link. Alternatively, you can object to receiving the newsletter at any time by sending an e-mail to info@highsnobiety.com

Web Accessibility Statement

Titel Media GmbH (Highsnobiety), is committed to facilitating and improving the accessibility and usability of its Website, www.highsnobiety.com. Titel Media GmbH strives to ensure that its Website services and content are accessible to persons with disabilities including users of screen reader technology. To accomplish this, Titel Media GmbH tests, remediates and maintains the Website in-line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which also bring the Website into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Please be aware that our efforts to maintain accessibility and usability are ongoing. While we strive to make the Website as accessible as possible some issues can be encountered by different assistive technology as the range of assistive technology is wide and varied.

Contact Us

If, at any time, you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of any particular webpage on this Website, please contact us at accessibility@highsnobiety.com, +49 (0)30 235 908 500. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the web page and nature of the issue in your email and/or phone call, and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page or the information contained therein accessible for you.