The RUFNEK brand was born out of the struggle of a young fifteen year old boy trying to live out his dreams in a small suburb of Los Angeles County, Lancaster, CA. I was born in the late 70's and had the pleasure of growing up in the revolutionary eras of the 80's and 90's. In my younger years the influence of a booming Hip Hop culture was taking form. I was also able to watch firsthand so many athletes and pioneers that still have an influence in popular culture today. The early and unprecedented world of sneakers a la Nike Jordan brand was just a baby unknowingly about to take the world by storm. To top it all off, I was able to experience the RAVE (pre-EDM) scene in Los Angeles warehouses and clubs and fell in love with Jungle music now known as Drum and Bass. All of these ingredients formed what is now know as the Original RUFNEK Souljah brand and are the DNA for everything that comes out of the heart, mind and soul of RUFNEK:21 aka Ruben D. Alvarez.
Although the original vision and brand concept was born circa 1993, it would be many years of blood sweat and tears before I would experience any legitmate success with the brand. I was honing my skills, in graphic design, art direction and printing and manufacturing for almost twenty years before the RUFNEK brand would see a new breath of life. The timing was perfect, social media was about to take the world over and the Sneaker and Streetwear cultures were about to seriously collide. With all of the experience and confidence under my belt, the opportunity was there for the taking. I was going to take my love of sneaker culture and enter the world of sneaker inspired streetwear at a very early and pivotal time. There were a few other brands that had paved some small paths to follow, but none were really able to execute to the fullest of their potentials. After a seven year tear in the market, selling hundreds of thousands of graphics tees, the culture was about to see a change with Kanye West leaving NIKE and taking his talents to Adidas, the throne of NIKE/Jordan brand was about to be tested. Fashion drastically changed to muted and neutral tones, elongated tees, minimal graphics and distressed styles, the graphic t-shirt had seen better days. WIth the roots of the brand I could not see myself shifting to this new trend and feel authentic at the same time. The brand has always been driven by my passion and love for the cultures that influenced me, it was strange time for my creative self.
After taking a couple of years off as a brand, I was working behind the scenes consulting and helping a few brands and companies with their fullfillment and manufacturing while still achieving great success behind the scene. All the while I was still creating projects and planning for my next big wave of attacks.
The year is Twenty: Twenty: One and after a year of dealing with the pandemic known as Covid 19. The time has come to awaken from my slumber and bring some more of my vision to the world and the cultures I still love dearly. I am hungrier than ever and even more focused on the original visions of the brand including a slew of other visions about to brought to life. The full history and story is about to take on a whole new life of what is means to be Original RUFNEK Souljah in 2021. I cannot wait to show you this year the seeds that have been planted and now ready to be harvested.
Its gonna be a RUFF Ride! Are you ready?
aka Ruben D. Alvarez