By Darlene Donloe
INGLEWOOD — When it comes to showing love for his hometown, Bobby Brimmer, the owner of Reck’ Creations Clothing Company, literally wears his heart on his sleeve.
He also wears it on his caps, hoodies, T-shirts, sweats, and everything else he sells in his boutique located on Market Street in downtown Inglewood.
Nearly everything he sells in the store, crowned “The City of Inglewood Official Brand,” bears the name of Inglewood or something connected to the city.
There are various slogans on the merchandise including “Cultivated in Inglewood,” “Make Inglewood Dope Again,” “Camp Woods,” a single “I,” and the popular Doomlife Inglewood logo, which features the word “Inglewood” upside and backward.
“This is an all-Inglewood brand,” said Brimmer, who ships merchandise around the world. “It’s urban and stylish. I have something for everybody. It’s a one million percent homegrown brand.”
If the merchandise doesn’t make his feelings clear, a black-and-white sign on the store wall does: “Inglewood folk neva say I’m from L.A., we always say I’m from INGLEWOOD,”— Reck’ Creations
His enthusiasm comes in part from a sense of gratitude.
“Inglewood gave me everything,” he said. “It gave me my first job. For a few years, I worked in the Parks and Recreation Department for Inglewood. The Lakers were here. I would see Magic (Earvin Johnson) regularly. It’s a small city, but there’s a lot in it. For me, what’s not to love about it? People are figuring it out. I’m happy I’m playing a small part in bringing it back.”
Brimmer believes Inglewood helped him dream a bigger dream for himself.
In 2010, he teamed up with a childhood friend to start a T-shirt printing business. Through a connection with someone who worked for the Forum, they were given the opportunity to print the uniforms for the security and housekeeping staff during pop icon Prince’s 21 nights of performances.
“I made a T-shirt for myself for the Prince concert,” he said. “It said, ‘Inglewood Genuine Draft.’ It took off. People loved it.”
Brimmer received so many requests for his T-shirt that he started taking orders through Facebook Messenger.
“I wasn’t an official business yet and there was no Instagram yet,” he said. And no PayPal or online payment structure. “It was strictly text messages and Facebook Messenger. I was depending on the people who ordered the T-shirts to keep their word. I would print to order.
“I would get off work and from 4 to 9 p.m., I was parked in the parking lot of CVS on Market Street and Regent in Inglewood. I would wait in my car for hours with no guarantee that people would come pick up their shirts.”
But they did.
From 2011 to 2013, he made T-shirts that read, “Inglewood By Nature,” “RUN-ING” which featured Michael Jackson, and “Built Wood Tough.”
In 2013, Brimmer ventured out on his own.
He never had any ambition to become part of the fashion or sports gear world, and even after years in the business, he’s amazed that with no formal preparation or prior experience, he now owns a successful clothing line and clothing store.
“I’m not kidding when I say I wasn’t into fashion,” Brimmer said, “I didn’t know anything about fabrics. I just learned as I went.”
His brand became so successful that after a year, he quit his day job.
“It was killing me,” said Brimmer, a father of two daughters. “I feel better now that I’m working for myself.”
The tall and personable Brimmer, who began selling his signature apparel online in 2013, opened his brick-and-mortar location on July 9, 2022.
The name, Reck’ Creations, came from a friend.
“One of my friends came up with Reck’ Creations,” Brimmer said. “He said I was creating things. It stuck.”
His store got a huge boost when actress, writer and producer Issa Rae featured one of his sweatshirts on her HBO show, “Insecure.”
“Issa Rae changed everything with that one episode that aired in August 2018,” he said. “That sweatshirt just went crazy.”
Another “Insecure”-related item that continuously sells out is the ‘The Dunes 709′ T-shirt, the name of the apartment complex where Rae’s character lived on the show.
A sidewalk sandwich board outside of Reck’ Creations reading “As seen on “Insecure,” “Black*ish,” “Grown*ish,” and “This Fool,” identifies the shows that have featured Reck’ Creations apparel.
“We’ve been very lucky,” Brimmer said. “It’s great to see my clothes on television. But I’m more excited when my daughter sees it. Then she thinks I’m cool. I wish my parents were here to see it. My mom and I talked about Market Street a lot. She encouraged me to quit my gig.”
Brimmer, who studied political science and Black history, admits that, at times, being a business owner has been stressful.
“It’s hard doing this on your own,” he said. “The hardest part is that the revenue fluctuates daily. The hours can be long. I’m here from 12 noon to 7 p.m. daily. Then I pack everything myself and I do all the shipping.”
It’s worth it though, to be a part of Market Street’s revitalization.
“Inglewood is changing, with the sports and entertainment and the Inglewood Transit Connector,” Brimmer said. “I hope these investments can drive more and more interest and foot traffic to downtown Inglewood.
“I love the fact that we are helping to revive this street,” he said. “It’s been dead since the Lakers left in 1999. It used to be a thriving street with art galleries, the Fox Theater, major department stores, barbershops and hair salons, but then it became a ghost town. Now everyone here is pretty new. The majority of the street is owned by Black people.
“I wouldn’t do this anywhere else. I’d never leave Inglewood. This is my city for life. I love it.”
Darlene Donloe is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers South Los Angeles. She can be reached at email@example.com.